Best Soap Opera Recasting DecisionsPublished on December 1, 2020.
Recasting a well-established soap opera character can be a daunting task for both actors and producers, especially if that role is a fan favorite. Daytime drama audiences can fall in love with a character, as well as the actors and actresses that play them, so filling those shoes can be a huge challenge. Sometimes recasts can be an epic fail while other times they can be a huge success. Below are some of the best soap opera recasting decisions.
11. Peter Bergman – Y&R’s Jack Abbott
Playing the legendary Jack Abbott for over three decades, it’s hard to believe that actor Peter Bergman is a Jack recast and not the original; however, he wasn’t the first actor to play the role. Bergman hopped into the land of Genoa City in 1989, while actor Terry Lester had previously played the part for nine years before Peter.
10. Brandon Barash – DOOL’s Stefan DiMera
Stefan DiMera had been a relatively new character before Barash was recast in the role in 2019. Actor Tyler Christopher originated the character in 2017, playing the unknown son of the Stefano DiMera. Two years later, Barash jumped into the role and knocked it out of the park. While Stefan is gone from Salem, for now, fans still get to enjoy seeing Brandon Barash on-screen playing Stefan’s nicer twin, Jake.
9. Marci Miller – DOOL’s Abigail Deveraux
Actress Kate Mansi SORASed the Abigail character in 2011, and Days’ fans watched Abby grow from an awkward teen into a beautiful young woman. As a fan favorite, viewers were skeptical when Marci Miller was recast in the role in 2016, but she’s doing an incredible job. While the actresses have played hot potato with the role since 2018, with Miller exiting the role for Mansi to step in and then leave in the winter of 2020 (Marci would then re-emerge in fall 2020), both ladies create an interesting yet consistent spin on the role of Abby Deveraux DiMera.
8. Mark Grossman – Y&R’s Adam Newman
It had to have been hard for Mark Grossman to step into the Adam Newman role in 2019. Not only did he have to follow in the footsteps of actor Justin Hartley, which aren’t shoes that are easily filled, past-Adam actor, Michael Muhney, also did a fantastic job of portraying Adam Newman during his time. While fans thought the fresh-faced Grossman looked a little young to play Adam initially, once he hit daytime drama screens, he wowed viewers all across the board.
7. Emme Rylan – Y&R’s Abby Newman
Emme Rylan seems to be the queen of recasts when it comes to soaps. She stepped into the General Hospital (GH) Lulu Falconeri role in 2013, and was very successful. But that’s not why she’s on this list! She hits this list for a part she helped evolve back in 2010, playing spoiled rich kid Abby Newman on the Young and the Restless (Y&R). Rylan was able to turn a one-dimensional character into a multi-faceted role where fans could truly connect with the part. Emme’s portrayal of Abby helped elevate the character into the major player she is now in Genoa City.
6. Robert Kelker-Kelly – DOOL’s Bo Brady
Peter Reckell is synonymous with the Days of Our Lives’ (DOOL) character of Bo Brady. He originated the role back in 1983 and played the part (on and off) for 30 years. He took a brief hiatus from 1992 to 1995, when Robert Kelker-Kelly joined the DOOL cast to play the legendary Bo. While Reckell will always be known as Bo, Kelker-Kelly did a fantastic job during his three-year stint. He slipped into the part effortlessly and kept true to its essence while crafting the character into something of his own.
5. Julie Pinson – DOOL’s Billie Reed
Speaking of Bo, he had an incredible love story in Salem with one Billy Reed. While the beautiful Lisa Rinna originated the role, when Krista Allen stepped into the part in 1996, the recast was an epic fail. In 2004 Billie Reed would return to DOOL in the form of Julie Pinson. While Julie had big shoes to fill when it came to Rinna, she was able to do a much better job in the role of Reed than Allen did. It’s true, there is nothing like the original; however, Pinson did a solid job entering the world of Salem and taking on the Billie Reed character and putting her own spin on the role.
4. Jess Walton – Y&R’s Jill Abbott
No one can imagine anyone but Jess Walton playing Y&R’s iconic Jill Abbott, but believe it or not, there was a time when other actresses had played the part. Walton did not originate the role and was the fifth actress to step into the part. When Walton entered Genoa City in 1973, she took the town by storm and has been the last actress to play Jill Abbott, portraying the character for over forty years now.
3. Jason Thompson – Y&R’s Billy Abbott
When Billy Miller left the Billy Abbott role in 2014, Y&R fans were quite upset. Perhaps the show’s producers may have been the ones who suffered the most, as recast after recast after Biller left did not seem to work when it came to this character. They brought back David Tom (an actor who had previously played Abbott as a teen) immediately in 2014 to replace Miller, but the Billy Abbott character had evolved considerably since Tom had been in the role, and the actor did not seem like a good fit. Burgess Jenkins was brought in next, but he didn’t work out either. Then came GH alumni Jason Thompson in 2016. Thompson has simply nailed the Billy character since and added some unique elements to the part. Seems like this ‘Billy’ is here to stay!
2. Laura Wright – GH’s Carly Corinthos
Laura Wright entered into the role of General Hospital‘s Carly Corinthos in 2005 and has been the longest-running Carly in the role’s history. Carly was a very complicated woman when the character first emerged in 1996 and has evolved incredibly over the years to become a dynamic role in the land of Port Charles. A lot of this has to do with Wright’s portrayal of Carly, and the part has become a staple on GH over the years thanks to Laura.
1. Justin Hartley – Y&R’s Adam Newman
Speaking of dynamic roles in the daytime drama world, you don’t get any more complicated than the Y&R’s Adam Newman. It’s certainly a role that fans love to hate! Y&R audiences were upset back in 2013 when news hit that actor Michael Muhney would be leaving Genoa City behind. In fact, many believed that no one could portray the infamous Newman as Muhney had. Enter: Justin Hartley. He wowed fans with his interesting twist on Adam and nailed down the facial expressions and body language that Newman was known for. He was also able to help Adam evolve from a zero to a hero.