Sunday, December 17, 2006

As the Revolving Casting Door Turns

Each week we get news of someone in the soap world not renewing their contract, or the show not renewing it for them, and then in return we see some new faces gracing our screens. It's always upsetting to hear that one of your favorite stars is leaving daytime, but also realize there is a good chance he or she could return after trying their luck in Hollywood. I love seeing soap stars succeed in primetime and movies, but I love it even more when one of my favorite stars comes back.

One such star is Jay Kenneth Johnson, who is returning to Salem ("Days of Our Lives") as Philip Kiriakis starting Jan. 12th. Johnson had a role on the now-defunct primetime series "North Shore" and a recurring role as the cutest gynecologist ever on the NBC sitcom "Scrubs." I'm not sure how long his stay will be in Salem -- if it's a typical 3-year contract or just a quick stint to wrap up Philip's storyline – but, either way, savor him while he lasts because he's young, talented and pretty enough to want to give primetime stardom a shot again someday.

Also coming back is Elizabeth Hendrickson as Maggie on "All My Children." Now I do know this is just a short-term gig, but fans are thrilled anyway. Now that Eden Reigel is back full-time as Maggie's partner, Bianca, everyone keeps asking, "Where is Maggie?!" The only thing we know so far is that Maggie cheated on Bianca, and that's why Bianca headed home to Pine Valley, but now Maggie has some competition with the peculiar Zarf trying to win Bianca's heart. If you're not tuning in already, make sure you do on Jan. 15th when Hendrickson makes her first appearance.

Unfortunately, we must say goodbye to two more "Days" stars who are being let go: Rhasaan Orange (Tek) and Judi Evans (Bonnie). Hopefully we WILL be seeing these two some more, either on another soap (to me Evans will always be Beth Raines on "GL" -- come back and bring Grant Aleksander, as Phillip, with you) or on a primetime show worth their talents.

Lastly, some good news. Hillary B. Smith has signed a new contract to continue as Nora on "One Life to Live." Yippee! I was worried because her character gave up the job of prosecuting Spencer to her colleague Evangeline, and her time onscreen seemed to be dwindling more and more lately, but the soap has shown renewed faith in her appeal (fans have long since known this), and she's supposed to have a juicy storyline coming up with Nora's rival, Lindsay (Catherine Hickland).

So we lose a few, we win a few. I wish all the stars good luck in their new endeavors, but if I see your mug back on my TV during the hours of noon and 4 p.m. someday, I won't be complaining.