Michelle Stafford in, Gina Tognoni out as Y&R's Phyllis

Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 7:41:53 PM

In a whopper of a casting change, Michelle Stafford will be returning to The Young and the Restless to reprise her role as Phyllis Summers.

In what may be seen as one of the most surprising casting changes of the past decade, The Young and the Restless has lured Emmy winner Michelle Stafford back to the role of Phyllis Summers. The casting coup, however, leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

According to a report by Daytime Confidential, contract talks between Stafford and ABC's General Hospital "went down to the wire and they couldn't make a deal." In 2014, Stafford jumped from Y&R to GH, where she originated the role of Nina Clay. Stafford's addition to GH had been rumored for nearly a year before she actually appeared on-screen on the ABC soap.

With Stafford out at General Hospital, CBS Daytime reportedly jumped at the chance to lure the actress back to The Young and the Restless. Stafford's return to daytime's top-rated drama, however, meant that Gina Tognoni, who took over the role of Phyllis in 2014 and won an Outstanding Lead Actress Daytime Emmy in 2017, had to be let go.

In a post on Instagram, Tognoni said she is "beyond grateful for the creative experience that The Young and the Restless has given" her. The three-time Emmy winner thanked "Y&R viewers for their love and support."

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It is unclear what General Hospital will do with the character of Nina. With contract talks breaking off, the character could conceivably be written off the canvas -- or the show could opt to recast the role. Some fans, as you might expect, are encouraging GH to hire Tognoni to take over as Nina.

Stafford joined The Young and the Restless in 1994 but exited the show three years later. She returned in July 2000 and remained with the show through August 2013. Stafford also briefly played the role of Sheila Carter in late 2006 and early 2007.

Gina Tognoni is known to daytime fans for two previous roles. She made her daytime debut in February 1995 as Kelly Cramer on ABC's One Life to Live. She remained with the show for six years, but returned briefly in 2002 and on a more extended basis in 2010. From July 2004 to September 2009, Tognoni appeared as Dinah Marler on CBS' long-running Guiding Light. During her time with GL, Tognoni was named Outstanding Supporting Actress at the Daytime Emmys in 2006 and 2008.

A spokesperson for General Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

What do you think of the news that Michelle Stafford is returning to Y&R? Are you disappointed that Gina Tognoni will be leaving? Is there another soap you'd like to see hire Gina? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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