With rumors of the talented Rick Hearst (Ric) leaving General Hospital during May Sweeps heating up, this fan of his Guiding Light character Alan-Michael Spaulding (He was the second adult AM after Carl T. Evans) can't help but wonder if Hearst could be the salve the ailing P&G sudser needs to nurse its wounds?
With leading man Ricky Paull Goldin (ex-Gus) out, phenom Tom Pelphrey (ex-Jonathan) only popping up for the occassional blink-and-you-missed it short term arc and rumors of Beth Ehlers and Marcy Rylan (Harley and Lizzie) jumping ship, Guiding Light definitely needs a stabilizing force to rebuild the show around, who better than Hearst?
Hearst hasn't met a role he couldn't make work, from Julie Williams' snarky grandson Scotty on Days of Our Lives, to Brooke's preppy, smitten, faux-hubby Whip on the Bold and the Beautiful, Hearst has turned one solid performance after another. He even made us have sympathy for the Devil aka deranged rapist Matt Clark on Young and the Restless when he assumed that role originated by Eddie Cibrian. But it was on Guiding Light that Hearst did his best work, opposite the legendary Beverly McKinsey (ex-Alexandra), Melina Kanakaredes (ex-Eleni, GL/now Stella, CSI: New York) and Sherry Stringfield (ex-Blake/ ex-Susan, ER).
Even after his original leads retired or left the soap for primetime success, Hearst continued to shine as AM. His character's comedic, sexually-charged scheming with Liz Keifer, who replaced Stringfield as Blake, were some of the best stories of the Jill Farren Phelps era of the show. Not to mention AM's pairing with Harley's little sister Lucy (Sonia Satra) which elevated both characters into supercouple status. Maybe Satra could be persuaded to come back with Hearst? If not, Keifer as Blake is still there, just dying to be used. Could you imagine a Blake/Alan-Michael/Dinah/Mallet quadrangle with Rick Hearst as the anchor? Butta, I tell ya, Butta!