Fans are panicked as soap magazines announce that Maurice Benard, Steve Burton and Rick Hearst may be leaving General Hospital. Maurice Benard perhaps wants more money and more time off to explore other roles. Given Sonny's tremendous importance to the show, a deal should be able to be worked out if that is the case. Benard left General Hospital once before and was not happy with the results of that decision. As for Steve Burton, it may be the same kind of thing - money and time off - or he may not be entirely happy with his storyline. Contract talks are the times to discuss such matters, and it's hard to believe that both sides wouldn't want to come to an agreement rather than a parting of the ways.
Rick Hearst fans are especially disturbed because it seems that everywhere one looks, it can be read that Hearst is unhappy about Ric Lansing being on the back burner. The latest rumor is that General Hospital chose not to renew his contract, and that the character of Ric Lansing is being written off the show by dying as the result of a showdown with Anthony Zacchara, or getting caught in crossfire during a gunfight involving Anthony Zacchara. Already there's a discrepancy, which is why it's best to wait until there's an official announcement.
A source close to Hearst says the following:
"They have been predicting Ric's demise since he first locked Carly in the safe room ... And how many years ago was that? I'll believe that when I hear it from Rick and not before. They are just beginning negotiations and they always play hard ball with rumors and innuendo at this point. Just keep calling and writing to let them know you love Rick and want him to stay."
So fans of Rick Hearst need to lock and load by writing, emailing or phoning Brian Frons and keeping up the pressure to make sure that Hearst stays.
Brian Scott Frons
President, Daytime Disney-ABC Television Group
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4551