I think it would have been a decent story with Brenda/Vanessa. I am still not sure how much I would have enjoyed Jason/Brenda though. I liked Brenda's hatred towards him and then their bickering friendship. It really would have changed what GH is now to give S/B a baby and have Brenda/Jason hook up. I think at the very least the show's current attachment to Carson would be lessened.
Lol! I am like the biggest Brenda/Vanessa fan and it's clear Sam was a Brenda substitute. The best GH could do on short notice. GH spent years trying to employ any petite brunette that vaguely resembled Vanessa Marcil to recapture the magic lol. I don't think Brenda as a character is so unique. It was more the way Vanessa played her back then and the chemistry she had with her co-stars that made her special. Brenda on paper isn't super ground breaking. And now I don't think Sam/Brenda are very similar at all.
I don't think Guza had an investment in Jax period. Even with Brenda at the time. He was a means to an end to pave the way for S/B and Brazen. The Jax/Brenda coupling in 2003 was half-assed and Brenda already had doubts. She was clearly meant to marry Jax and cheat with Sonny leading to a Brax divorce and Sonny/Brenda/Jason/Carly shenanigans.
I really wish they had been able to sustain those shows. When they brought Angie and Jesse back it really felt like the show had a new lease on life for me, and I did not start watching AMC until both were gone/my ABC affiliate never carried Loving/The City. They just fit and belonged as a focus immediately.
AMC 2.0 got a lot of stick from some folks for "no Erica, no Kendall" and a smaller role for Bianca, at least initially per Eden Riegel's availability, but it had Angie and the Hubbards at its center alongside the Chandlers and Miranda/recurring Bianca. I thought that worked perfectly. You can't tell me Debbi Morgan is an unacceptable central hub for any show. She anchored Loving and she was only there two years!