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'General Hospital' executive producer says the only thing 'weird' about James Franco is ...

December 8, 2010 |  3:53 pm

JamesIt seems Betty White has passed her baton to James Franco.

The staid thespian is popping up just about everywhere these days. He’s in talks to do a Broadway revival. He's showing off his manscape in N.Y. Times videos. He's getting Oscar buzz -- he's even hosting the Oscars! No word yet on whether a Snickers Super Bowl ad is in his future (a la Betty), but the actor is heading back to Port Charles.

The Ivy Leaguer is making a return to “General Hospital” for two episodes airing the Friday before the Oscars telecast (Feb. 27), which he’ll co-host alongside Anne Hathaway, and the day after.

He’ll reprise his “performance art” role as a serial killer/artist named ... uh ... Franco.

"When we realized he'd be in L.A. for quite a while -- hosting the Oscars and attending all these award shows, there was no question we wanted him back," executive producer Jill Farren Phelps told ShowTracker. "We figured he could squeeze in a minute or two for us."

Franco, 32, first appeared on the soap in late 2009 and earlier this summer.

The upcoming episodes will serve as a teaser for a bigger story arc he plans to do on the soap later in 2011, as first reported by TV Guide. He's even expressed interest in directing an episode.

"I told him if he wanted, he'd have to observe like everyone else," Phelps said. "It's a question of whether he’d have the time. We'll have to see."

The actor's eccentricity -- his enrollment in numerous graduate schools, his "performance art" on GH and other so-called oddities -- has had some people scratching their heads, but Phelps says there's nothing unusual about the actor except his work ethic.

"The only thing that seems weird about James is that he's willing to do anything," she said. "Clearly he doesn’t have to do 'General Hospital. He's James Franco! But he likes doing it."

ShowTrackers, what do you think of Franco’s return to daytime TV?

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: James Franco. Credit: Getty Images