Rick Hearst

Soap vet Rick Hearst, who was recently and unceremoniously bumped down to recurring status at ABC's General Hospital (see item No. 5), has bounced back nicely, scoring a contract role at The Bold and the Beautiful.

On the CBS sudser, Hearst will reprise his role of Whipple "Whip" Jones when Brooke's ex-husband returns from working abroad for Forrester International.

What brings Whip back to Los Angeles? It's not so much what as who. Stephanie orchestrates his return, presumably to oversee the PR campaign for Jackie M — though Jackie (wisely) suspects that a secret agenda is at play.

Whip last was seen in August 2002, prior to Hearst's six-year gig as GH's Ric Lansing. Hearst's first B&B airdate is tentatively slated for July 17.

How and when will Sonny's half-brother be written off the GH canvas? An ABC spokesperson tells TVGuide.com that Hearst will last air sometime in mid-June, but declined to comment on Ric's exit storyline.