Finola Hughes

Great news...or a sign of bad things to come? TV Guide Magazine has learned exclusively that suds superstar Finola Hughes is returning to General Hospital as Anna Devane, the globe-trotting mother of Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough). The Emmy-winning actress starts shooting the ABC soap in mid-to-late January and will hit the air during February sweeps. A GH spokesperson tells us the gig is "recurring, but front and center. Finola will be on our canvas for a while and be very involved with Robin and Patrick [Jason Thompson]."

McCullough recently announced she'll be leaving GH to pursue a career in directing and it triggered a report on Showbiz411.com that her landmark character, an HIV survivor, may be killed off with AIDS rather than recast. Is this why Anna is coming back? "Mum's the word on that," says the spokesperson. "The writers are still working that out. Everyone is very aware of Robin's history of living with HIV and wants to do the right thing. I will leave it at that."

Hughes, who came to fame in 1983 as John Travolta's leading lady in Staying Alive, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, joined the cast of GH in 1985. She has also appeared as Anna on All My Children and the GH late night spinoff General Hospital: Night Shift. She was last seen in Port Charles in 2008.

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