Nina Cassadine is a new woman this week on General Hospital, quite literally. Daytime veteran Michelle Stafford exited the show, prompting ABC to replace her with another soap star, Cynthia Watros. Why did Michelle Stafford leave GH? We’ve got the latest on Nina from General Hospital, right here.
Why Did Michelle Stafford Leave GH?
In April 2019, it was reported that Michelle Stafford would be leaving General Hospital. Stafford had been portraying Nina on the show since 2014.
Nina’s fate wasn’t left in the dark, either, because ABC soon announced that Guiding Light alum Cynthia Watros would replace Stafford as Nina.
Stafford wasn’t fired, as some speculated. She’s just leaving Port Charles to return to her old stomping grounds in Genoa City.
As you’ve guessed, Stafford is reprising her role as Phyllis Summers (later Abbot) on CBS’ The Young and the Restless. She debuted the role in 1994 before leaving in 1997. Stafford then returned as Phyllis from 2000 to 2013, after which she came to GH.
Actresses Sandra Nelson and Gina Tognoni were cast as Phyllis during the periods Stafford wasn’t on the show. Tognoni reportedly was let go after Stafford’s contract negotiations with ABC fell through earlier this year. Sources said CBS jumped on the opportunity to lure Stafford back to her two-time Emmy-winning role.
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Cynthia Watros from Lost Is the New Nina
Cynthia Watros is no daytime newbie. After winning an Emmy for her portrayal of nurse Annie Dutton on CBS’ Guiding Light, the Lost actress famously debuted the character of Kelly Andrews on Y&R in 2013. But she left the show when she was cast on MTV’s Finding Carter in 2014. Cady McClain was recast as Kelly until she exited the show in 2015.
There are no hard feelings between Watros and Stafford, either. They’ve been friends on the daytime circuit for a few years. And they even appeared to have discussed how to play Nina going forward.
— Michelle Stafford (@TheRealStafford) May 7, 2019
Stafford’s last day on the GH set was May 10. Watros made her television debut as Nina on June 17, 2019—the same day as Stafford’s return as Phyllis on Y&R.
What Happened to Nina on GH?
In the days leading up to Stafford’s exit and the dawn of Watros’ Nina, soap watchers were anticipating Nina would go through the biggest revelation regarding her daughter. Fans were keen to know if Nina would learn that Sasha Gilmore is not her daughter during the actress swap.
ICYMI, Nina took ex Valentin Cassadine back when he found her biological daughter. But it turns out, Sasha is someone he hired to pretend to be Nina’s daughter.
But for now, Watros’ first task as Nina is to deal with Jax Jacks, portrayed by Ingo Rademacher who also returned to GH this year.
Valentin is trying to get Jax to negotiate his interest in Aurora Media, though Jax isn’t interested. And though Nina wants Valentin to stay away from Jax, Valentin goes ahead and looks for dirt on him.
We’re going to see Nina and Jax share a lot of screentime together, something Watros was excited about. Viewers anticipate a Nina, Jax, and Valentin love triangle is coming up.
“I get to play with this guy [Ingo Rademacher] a lot and Nina is trying to find a stronger role in the magazine and she’s really going to step up making that a success and her love for the magazine and trying to navigate her relationship with Jax,” Watros said.
Meanwhile, Watros’ debut as Nina has been met with positive reviews. Many fans miss Stafford and feel Watros has yet to liven up the character, but she’s slowly and steadily winning them over.
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