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Cameron Mathison Checks Into GH

Cameron Mathison has officially reported to work at GH, and though details about his character are still being kept under wraps, the actor made no secret about how thrilled he is to stamp his Port Charles passport when he appeared as a guest on Digest’s podcast, Dishing With Digest. “I am loving every second of it,” he enthused. “I’m having such a good time. It feels in many ways like coming home … Even though I’ve never been on GENERAL HOSPITAL, but just coming back to daytime after 10 years.”

Despite the success he’s had as a host, and as a frequent star of Hallmark movies (his latest, SWEET REVENGE: A HANNAH SWENSEN MYSTERY, is out this week), since exiting ALL MY CHILDREN as Ryan when the series ended on ABC in 2011, Mathison had never ruled out a return to daytime — in fact, he’d craved one. “It has got a very, very special place in my heart,” he declared of the genre. “It’s one of the best fits of anything for me in how I like to work and what I like about [acting]. I didn’t mind moving quickly. I like the spontaneity, I like the range in the character you get to play on a soap. Ryan was everything between, like, a con artist and in a fight club to, you know, being [a] hero — there are just all these incredible layers you get the opportunity to play, typically, in soaps.”

The actor made the overture to GH himself, after getting word that HOME & FAMILY, the talk show he had been hosting for Hallmark Channel, “was going to be reduced to two days a week; we were going to shoot all five of our episodes in those two days and I was going to have three days off,” he explained. “Something I’ve always wanted to do was work on GENERAL HOSPITAL, and I kind of reached out to Frank Valentini, who is, of course, the executive producer over there, and I just said, ‘Listen, Frank, I’m going to have three days a week [free] and I don’t know if there’s anything, I don’t want to be presumptuous, you know I’ve always been a huge fan of yours and the show.’ ” Marveled Mathison, “I didn’t even practically finish the text or whatever it was. He just took it and went with it and it’s amazing! Like, the whole thing has just been way beyond what I was sort of like secretly having, like, kind of fantasy hope for, you know what I mean? [And] then ultimately, HOME & FAMILY gets canceled, and so I have more than three days a week available [laughs]! Which is working out just great.”

The idea of joining GH particularly appealed to him because “I’ve always been a fan of GENERAL HOSPITAL. And my wife [Vanessa] has actually always been a fan of GENERAL HOSPITAL! In fact, when she met me, we met in the gym in New York, she had no idea who I was — you know, I was a decently popular character at the time on ALL MY CHILDREN! No idea who I was. She only watched GENERAL HOSPITAL. So, she’s very excited that I’m on the show!”

Mathison’s past experience with Valentini was another draw. He noted, “Frank and I had worked together a little bit back in the day in New York when he directed [a web-based crossover series called WHAT IF…], where I worked with Carly, worked with Laura [Wright]. I just enjoyed working with him and that’s a big reason why I reached out, too. So all of those little pieces, and then I had some time [in my schedule]. I’ve been, you know, doing different things since I left ALL MY CHILDREN and it hasn’t really left one big window to be able to do it, and I thought this three- day-a-week window would be perfect. It turns out it was kind of meant to be!” He said that the show’s plans for him were shrouded in mystery on his end, as well. “I was given like little decoy names of characters and storylines … It’s been also very easy for me to tell people I have no idea what’s going on — because I literally have had no idea what’s going on!” But, he teased of his new character, “It’s a great opportunity for me as an actor, I’m super-excited about it, it is different [from what he played as Ryan], and also, in some ways has aspects of it that really play to my strengths, too.”

As much as he looked forward to starting his new gig, Mathison freely admitted that on his first day, “I was anxious, for sure,” he said. But, he clarified, “I wouldn’t have been [nervous] — I can’t remember the last time I felt…. I mean, DANCING WITH THE STARS, I felt nervous, maybe my first day at HOME & FAMILY I felt a little bit, but the only reason I feel like I was is because it meant so much to me. I was so happy to be [there], you know what I mean? If it was something that I was like, ‘Eh, this is cool, just another job,’ there’s no way I would have that kind of, I don’t want to say anxiety, but just that anxious feeling beforehand, or a little bit of nerves, but I had it because it was a really big deal to have the opportunity — you know, however it works out, I was just thrilled. I love it.”

Mathison’s plan is to take whatever comes his way on GH in stride. He shared, “I’m trying to go in, truthfully, humbly and like a newcomer on this iconic show with these incredible actors and however Frank sort of sees it unfold, just embrace it and do whatever I can do to better the show because I love the show.”