The long, sordid battle for three former One Life to Live actors and their alter egos has apparently come to an end. ABC has confirmed that Kristen Alderson (ex-Starr Manning), Michael Easton (ex-John McBain), and Roger Howarth (Todd Manning) will return to General Hospital just in time for May Sweeps.
"Kristen Alderson, Michael Easton, and Roger Howarth will return to ABC's General Hospital beginning May 10," an ABC spokesperson said in a statement. "Exciting storylines full of mystery and intrigue are planned to usher in the return of these actors that will lead to the answer of one of the most asked questions in Port Charles."
The network's statement did not reveal what characters the actors will be playing, nor did it give any indication what "one of the most asked questions" might be.
The character quagmire began way back in 2011 when ABC canceled All My Children and One Life to Live and subsequently licensed the rights to the shows to Prospect Park. Prospect Park wasn't able to get all of its ducks in a row in a timely manner, and the production company suspended efforts to keep the shows alive. Shortly thereafter, Prospect Park loaned use of several One Life to Live characters back to ABC for use on General Hospital. The three actors playing those characters were given long-term contracts with ABC.
That's where the undisputed portion of the story ends.
Prospect Park states that the OLTL characters were only on temporary loan to ABC while it reformulated its plans to relaunch the two canceled soaps. ABC, meanwhile, had seemingly inextricably woven the three characters into major storylines on General Hospital.
In a statement, Prospect Park said they were "willing to equally share the characters with General Hospital and ABC." A Prospect Park source told Entertainment Weekly that they only needed the three actors for a limited time to help get One Life to Live kicked off -- Alderson for a week and Easton for four. Howarth, meanwhile, agreed to reprise his role for several weeks.
Last month, TVGuide's Michael Logan reported that ABC had given up on any plans to continue using the One Life to Live characters, citing a source who'd said that Prospect Park was "extremely difficult" to work with.
The situation was a first of its kind dilemma: the rights to use the characters were owned by one company, but the actors that played them were under contract to another company.
While ABC is keeping quiet about the characters the former One Life to Live stars will play, Prospect Park has also been silent on whether or not it plans to recast the roles in question. That hasn't stopped fans from speculating. One Life to Live has cast a yet-to-be-named role of an aspiring singer that sounds an awful lot like Starr. On the GH side of the chatter, there are whispers that Alderson might take on the role of Serena Baldwin.