General Hospital, check your budget: There may be a native of Port Charles who is ready to come back!

Genie Francis is leaving The Young and the Restless. The actress who played Laura Spencer on GH joined the CBS sudser in May 2011. The news of her ouster was first reported by CBS Soaps In depth, which says that budgetary concerns prompted the decision.

Surprise? Not really. Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps told TV Guide that some changes might be made to save cash. “I’m going into Y&R not with a hatchet but with a scalpel in order to make it function as a more economical show,” she said. “We have a cast of really wonderful actors but, at the end of the day, we need to look at the entire canvas and decide who is catching fire with the audience. And where can we create fire where there isn’t any?”

At least Y&R’s timing is excellent. GH will celebrate its 50th anniversary this seaason, and Executive Producer Frank Valentini told reporters this summer that he’d like to invite back several legacy players to celebrate the milestone. At the time, he said that Francis, who starred on GH from 1977 to 2008, was not an option because of her contract on the CBS show. “There is a rich history of amazing wonderful characters on the show right now in addition to us wanting to bring back players,” Valentini teased, adding, “we are a big fan of Genie.”