Roger Howarth Out at General Hospital — ‘I Had A Great Run’
When General Hospital ended its November 17 episode with Austin lying in a pool of blood after having been shot three times, many viewers assumed it was simply a Friday cliffhanger. Surely, they assumed, Monday’s episode would reveal that Roger Howarth’s alter ego was alive, if not particularly well, and would slowly begin his recovery.
But now we know that Austin is really, most sincerely dead. As the actor told Soap Opera Digest, he received a call from executive producer Frank Valentini “telling me that when my contract was up at ABC, I would not be offered a new contract and that the character of Austin would be killed off.”
And why was this decision being made? Valentini told the star that “this was something that [they] both wanted and needed to do to move story.”
Although the news came as a bit of a shock, Howarth says that after taking a minute “to kind of adjust,” he pretty quickly “realized how lucky I was to have been able to do something I really love doing for more than a decade with people I really enjoyed working with.”
He went on to say, “I had a great run and this was a decision made by people who make these kind of decisions or a living.” And to be clear, there were no hard feelings whatsoever on Howarth’s part. “I feel very respected and supported. For a long time, I’ve enjoyed coming to work, learning lines and saying them with really cool people.”
Truth be told, we’re still not giving up on the idea that this is the network attempting to pull a fast one on viewers so that Howarth can return as his One Life to Live alter ego, Todd. Once Kassie DePaiva’s Blair was revealed to be Martin’s much-feared third ex-wife, we began fantasizing about an on-screen reunion between the mischievous Mannings. And Todd could provide some much-needed conflict for Carly’s romance with Drew.
For those keeping track, after his General Hospital exit as Todd, Howarth stepped in for James Franco as Franco and miraculously managed to redeem the killer, only for him to be murdered during Peter’s reign of terror. Two months later, Howarth reappeared on the show as Jimmy Lee Holt’s son, Austin. The latter character, however, never seemed to fully connect with viewers.
For his part, Howarth says that “the writers and producers and the directors work really hard to entertain a really loyal and dedicated audience, and I hope they succeed in thrilling the audience for another 60 years. I will say this: I’m really proud of myself — like, totally, truthfully, honest to God, I always tried my hardest. So for me, ultimately, there’s no loss. I know I did everything I could.”