A cancer diagnosis.
The bad news will hit Barbara on the January 2 episode of As the World Turns, the same day she's banned from the baptism of her grandchild.
"She's all alone and desperate when she gets the diagnosis," Pinter told TV Guide. "She ends up at the church after the christening, praying for help. Let me tell ya, that was a tough scene to get through."
How will this story play out? "Hard to tell because of the writers' strike," the actress added. "But I told [executive producer, Chris Goutman], 'This cancer can be a real killer, so don't let Barbara ignore it too long. I need my job!'"