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General Hospital fans were shocked when Franco was seemingly killed on-screen earlier this year. Is the character really dead and will his portrayer, Roger Howarth, now assume the role of Todd Manning?

Roger Howarth in a 'General Hospital' promotional image
Roger Howarth in a ‘General Hospital’ promotional image | Craig Sjodin/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Franco’s history on ‘General Hospital’ at first

James Franco joined the show in 2009 when he was one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. The actor sought out a soap opera role, and sharing the same agent with General Hospital star Steve Burton, he decided to pursue a role on the show. The role was “Franco,” named after him. He was only set to appear for 20 episodes and was credited as a “special guest star.” Those episodes were filmed in just three days.

After this, Franco also appeared from late 2009 to early 2010. He also returned for a summer run a few months later. Then in February 2011, he came back for a couple of episodes to coincide with the actor’s Academy Awards hosting gig. The actor’s last appearance as the character was a run on the show from September 2011 to January 2012.

Franco’s Roger Howarth reform

The character was thought to be dead, however, he turned up alive and with a new face, portrayed by Roger Howarth, known for playing Todd Manning on One Life to Live. With Howarth in the role, the character went through a revamp, from being a sociopathic killer to being a reformed resident of Port Charles. The character was rewritten when it was revealed that Franco had a brain tumor that altered his personality. He also got huge tied on the canvas and was revealed to be the child of legacy characters Heather Webber and Scott Baldwin.

Earlier this year, Franco was shot and apparently killed by Peter August (Wes Ramsey). However, Howarth has confirmed in interviews that he’s still with the show and is not going anywhere right now. He told Soap Opera Digest, “I’m really excited. I have great faith in the people who think of these things. I’ve been in good hands so far.”

A report says that Roger Howarth won’t be back on the show as Todd Manning

Some rumors were going around that Franco is really dead and Howarth could come back as Todd Manning, a character that he played on One Life to Live and briefly on General Hospital. However, a new report in Daytime Confidential says that Howarth would not be playing Todd again on the show. A source told the publication, “The network was worried about bringing on another rapist.”


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Daytime Confidential states, “Apparently, one of the reasons cited for the recent killing off of Franco, is the character’s association with rape. When movie star James Franco played the role, Franco was written to have sexually assaulted heroine Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) and also arranged for Michael Corinthos (Chad Duell) to be raped in prison. Once Howarth assumed the role, those plots were retconned to reveal Franco never assaulted Sam and never meant for Michael to be attacked. Additionally, Franco’s past as a serial killer was explained away with a tumor.”

The source also told Daytime Confidential, “Howarth is definitely staying put but he won’t be back as Todd. They want a character with less controversy surrounding him so he can be paired with any of the women on the canvas.”

General Hospital has yet to say anything official about what will happen but it is sure to be unveiled soon.