Amid rumors that General Hospital will be cancelled in 2012, fans of the show were thrown another curveball when Oscar-nominee James Franco announced a delay in his return to the soap. Franco was originally slated to return to the show beginning in September. Now, he may or may not do so, according to vague comments he has made to the press while promoting his latest film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Franco made his first appearance on General Hospital in 2009 and has returned several times since. He has played the role of Robert “Franco” Frank, an artist/serial killer. In late July, TV Line reported that Franco would begin a long-term role in which his character would engage in some twisted plans.

Then, on July 28, Franco told NBC, "I'm sad to say that that was a little bit of misinformation. I don't know why they announced that I would be back in September.”

However, on August 2, Franco seemed to flip again, telling USA Today, “I have a really big project planned for that show, it's just I don't have time to pull that part of it off yet.” The actor added, “I just hope it doesn't get canceled before we can pull this off because it's going to be awesome."

This year ABC announced the cancellations of the soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live, leaving General Hospital as the only soap left standing on the network. In an effort to court Katie Couric, who left her job as anchor of the CBS Nightly News this year, ABC announced that it would give her new show the 3:00 p.m. time slot currently occupied by General Hospital, leaving many to speculate that the soap was on life support. The network will not confirm a cancellation, however.

With the fate of the series, which is the longest running soap opera in American network television history, up in the air, fans were looking forward to the return of Franco. However, the actor seems to be unable to avoid overbooking himself. In the last year he has starred in several films, hosted the Oscars, attended multiple graduate school programs (including a PhD program at Yale), participated in a performance art exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and prepared to star on Broadway this fall alongside Nicole Kidman.