This week, Jonathan Jackson returns to General Hospital to reprise the role of Lucky Spencer. While fans may be thrilled with Jackson's return to the show after a ten-year absence, there is another human element to the story: six-year General Hospital vet, Greg Vaughan, had to lose his job in order for ABC to facilitate Jackson's return.
Vaughan says that he was in "a bit of shock" when executive producer Jill Farren Phelps phoned him and told him that she wanted to have a meeting with him. For Vaughan, he knew that something was up.
"I went in knowing one of three things; A) I was going to be fired, B) I was going to be put on recurring, C) There was a story coming. But usually your executive [producer] does not call you with a story; that is usually done by your head writer, and that only happened once to me in seven years," Vaughan recalls in an interview with Michael Fairman for his On Soaps website. "So I sort of prepared myself going in to it and going in just at ease and peace. It's not what you want to hear, but if you go in knowing you are a little bit more reserved, and that was my approach."
Shortly thereafter, Vaughan broke the news of his release from General Hospital to fans via his Twitter page.
"As of today, with sad regrets, I will no longer be a part of what has been a big part of me and my family's life," Vaughan tweeted. "GH and [The Powers That Be] have chosen to take [Lucky in] a new direction. I THANK ALL of YOU, for the many memories we've shared and new ones to come!"
The new direction that Vaughan spoke of, of course, was to recast the role -- or rather to bring back the first actor to have played the role of Lucky. ABC issued a statement of its own, but its statement seemed to contradict some of what Vaughan said.
"Greg Vaughan has decided to vacate the role to explore new opportunities," the network said in its statement. "We thank him for his years engaging our audience and dedication to the show and network. The cast and crew wish him well in all his future endeavors."
Vaughan stands by his decision to let fans know that he was let go, if only to end the rampant speculation that had dogged his job security in recent months.
"There was so much speculation as to what was going on: that I was being released from my contract, that I was in contract negotiations, and that I was done. This is months before and this was right before our fan weekend in July. I was in a long 26-week cycle and a four-year contract. So, I still had a year and four months left on my contract," Vaughan clarified. "I was an expendable asset to the show to make room for somebody else. They made the bed and they have to sleep with that. I have peace, and it is what it is."
Vaughan last aired on October 20. Jackson first airs October 27.
Photo Credit: ABC