Why Isn’t Kelly Monaco on ‘General Hospital’? Did She Quit or Get Fired?

Kelly Monaco

Getty Actress Kelly Monaco arrives to the Los Angeles premiere of "Jimi: All Is By My Side."

When General Hospital returns to ABC with new episodes on August 3, fans of the soap opera may be surprised to discover that the character Sam Morgan will not be played by Kelly Monaco for a few episodes; the role was temporarily recast with Lindsay Korman-Hartley.

While the sudden recast could make it seem like Monaco quit or was fired, the recast is not a permanent one and Monaco is expected to return to the show for filming after her two-week hiatus.

On Twitter, Hartley confirmed her casting, writing, “Some big shoes to fill…precious too. I hope you enjoy watching Sam as much as I have enjoyed playing her, temporarily.” Monaco herself did not comment on her quarantine or absence from filming.

Monaco Had to Quarantine for 14 Days Following ‘Difficulties With a COVID-19 Mask’

According to a tweet made by Monaco’s mother, Carmina Monaco, her temporary recast was a result of Monaco’s on-set difficulties with a COVID-19 mask. Monaco wrote, “Kelly is safe and healthy. First day back she had a hard time with the Covid mask and was given a rather unexpected 14 day quarantine even though she tested negative twice for Covid and a third negative test for Covid antibodies. She is excited to get back on set next week.” In another tweet, Carmina reiterated that her daughter Kelly would be back on set filming as of August 3, the show’s first day airing new episodes. She wrote to a concerned fan, “Kelly is great and should be back on set Monday. 14 day quarantine after a breathing problem with mask 1st day back. 3 negative Covid test, I’d say she is better than great. Thank you for all of the love.”

Carmina’s tweets do not explain if Monaco had COVID-19 prior to filming; however, they suggest that Monaco’s 14-day quarantine off-set was mandated in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, as a result of her being unable to wear the mask safely on-set. Alternatively, it is possible that, since she was having breathing trouble, they wanted to isolate her just in case it was a symptom of coronavirus. The multiple COVID tests were likely administered to confirm that Monaco was COVID-negative before rejoining the General Hospital cast and crew for continued production.

Monaco Has Played Sam Morgan on ‘General Hospital’ Since 2003

Even though Monaco was only absent for 14 days of filming, the show will no doubt feel her absence. According to Monaco’s IMDb profile, she has played Sam Morgan on General Hospital since 2003. Over the past 17 years, she has appeared in over 1900 episodes of the long-running soap opera.

Monaco’s replacement Lindsay Korman-Hartley is a well-known soap star too, with a long list of credits. According to her IMDb profile, she played Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald on Passions from 1999 until 2008. Hartley later played Arianna Herandez in 170 episodes of Days of Our Lives; in 2010 she joined the cast of All My Children as Dr. Cara Castillo.

Episodes of General Hospital air Monday through Friday at 3/2c on ABC.

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