Roger Howarth is leaving General Hospital (Cast exit explained)

GENERAL HOSPITAL - Episode "15153" - "General Hospital" airs Monday - Friday, on ABC (check local listings). (ABC/Christine Bartolucci)ROGER HOWARTH
GENERAL HOSPITAL - Episode "15153" - "General Hospital" airs Monday - Friday, on ABC (check local listings). (ABC/Christine Bartolucci)ROGER HOWARTH /

Looks like there won’t be a miraculous recovery for Roger Howarth’s character–Dr. Austin Gatlin-Holt–on General Hospital. Nov. 17’s episode ended with the doctor being shot in his cabin. Of course, this means that a mystery is bound to be afoot since the killer wasn’t revealed.

Unfortunately, Howarth won’t be a part of the storyline, not even as a ghost. The actor confirmed his departure in an Instagram post thanking the fans and wishing his former costars the best. He also did an interview with Soap Opera Digest revealing that his exit coincided with his contract expiring and that he was not asked to re-up:

"“Well, several weeks ago, I got a phone call from somebody I’ve known for a very long time who I love very dearly [Executive Producer Frank Valentini] telling me that when my contract was up at ABC, I would not be offered a new contract and that the character of Austin would be killed, and that this was something that both wanted and needed to do to move story. And it took me a minute to kind of adjust, to kind of hear the news; it took a second for me to let that settle in. And then, immediately, I realized how lucky I was to have been able to do something I really love doing for more than a decade with people who I really enjoyed working with. I’m a lucky guy. I had a great run and this was a decision made by people who make these kinds of decisions for a living.For me, I felt it was very much like the scene in Moneyball and Jonah Hill had just told me I’ve been traded. I feel very respected and supported. For a long time I’ve enjoyed coming to work, learning lines and saying them with really cool people.”"

As Howarth notes, his exit was a part of a creative decision. Sometimes time needs to be called on a character and that ended up being the case for Austin. There also wasn’t an interest in spinning a new role for Howarth who’d lived two other lives on General Hospital over his run on the soap which began in 2012. He’d played Todd, his character that crossed over from One Life to Live, as well as Franco. Perhaps a fourth refresh was considered a step too far.

Howarth finished filming his last General Hospital episode in October but that doesn’t mean he’s done with acting. He told Soap Opera Digest that he’s “one hundred percent” open to working on another daytime show. You know who needs fresh blood to shake things up and could use a seasoned soap star in their ranks? The Bold and the Beautiful!

If Bill Spencer doesn’t turn out to be Luna Nozawa’s father, perhaps Howarth could come in for the role. Or, he could play the doctor that her mother Poppy unknowingly had an affair with who nearly ruined her sister Li’s career. Just a thought.

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