Genie Francis will reprise the role of Laura Spencer on ABC's General Hospital next month. The actress was wooed back by executive producer Frank Valentini, who promised "nice stuff" for Francis to play. Francis debuted on GH in 1976, but has been off-screen since 2008.
General Hospital will mark its 50th anniversary in a way that many had hoped for: the return of Genie Francis
' Laura Spencer
reports that Francis will return to the show next month for an undisclosed period of time. The magazine's Lynette Rice reports that Francis will report to work later this month and will first air during the February Sweeps period.
Fans have been speculating for months about Francis' possible return to Port Charles. The actress wrapped up a year-and-a-half run as Genevieve Atkinson
on CBS's The Young and the Restless in November 2012
Details of Laura's return are being kept under wraps, but Francis told EW
that GH's executive producer Frank Valentini convinced her to return to the show with a promise of "nice stuff to play."
"It's so awesome! Genie Francis is on her way to Port Charles," Valentini exclaimed on Twitter.
In 2011, while a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show
, Francis explained what it would take to convince her to return to the role she played off and on from 1976 to 2008.
"I would like her to be funny and have a little bit of an agenda that might look a little bit vengeful, but it really isn't," Francis explained. "I think she'd have a plan. There is nothing in me that is willing to play a victim anymore. I'm sort of done with the wounded dove in my life."
Francis also asked that GH's writing team create a viable explanation for why Laura has been away from Port Charles and her three children for so long.
"It's not for me to tell them how to run their show. But my biggest concern was that there had to be a good reason for me to stay away from my family," Francis added.
Francis assumed the role of Laura Vining in 1976. The actress has made several breaks from the ABC soap in the past, but her most recent exit as a contract player came in September 2002
. Francis returned for a month in 2006
to mark the 25th anniversary of Luke and Laura's wedding. In 2008
, Francis made a similar short-term return. Shortly before Francis signed on with Y&R in 2011, rumors surfaced that General Hospital might be interested in having Francis return to the show. After several weeks of chatter, the rumors quieted down.
Francis' on-screen return is scheduled for February 11 -- 50 days before the series' 50th anniversary on April 1.
: Genie Francis reunites with her on-screen mom, Denise Alexander, in a once-in-a-lifetime edition of Soap Central Live