Y&R Weigh In: Rey Is Gone, So Who’s Next?Published on April 28, 2022.
When it was announced that The Young and the Restless (Y&R) had fired Jordi Vilasuso, viewers and cast members alike were stunned. However, one month later, the CBS soap’s sneaky contract cancellation makes much more sense.
The Casting Shuffle Isn’t Over
Shortly after news of Vilasuso’s exit, Y&R offered contracts to reinstate Michael Mealor as Kyle Abbott and recast Allison Lanier as Summer Newman. It’s widely assumed that Vilasuso was fired in order to free up money for Mealor’s return.
And now that Susan Walters is back in the role of Diane Jenkins, Josh Griffith (executive producer and head writer) has all of his ducks in a row as he turn his attention to Abbott family drama.
Will any other characters follow Rey out the door? One insider recently leaked that Abby, Chance, Nate and Elena might exit due to the soap’s tight budget. Do Griffith and his writing team have anything planned for these characters?
“No way!” is what I can hear readers exclaiming – and they have reasons to be so dismissive. Not only is Abby related to three of Genoa City’s most famous families, but she’s also considered a muse for head writer Josh Griffith.
In spite of those advantages, actress Melissa Ordway has never been as popular with viewers, who tend to compare her unfavorably to her predecessor in the role, Emme Rylan. It hasn’t helped that Ordway’s recent storylines – involving Chance’s absence and baby Dominic’s custody arrangement – have been hard to sit through.
Abby’s familial relationship to nearly everyone in town, plus the audience’s lukewarm reception, may’ve tarnished the character’s dollar value. And with new rumors percolating that Chance might get involved with Chelsea Lawson, it doesn’t bode well for Abby’s future.
The odds of Conner Floyd getting dropped from the role of Chance Chancellor seem astronomically low right now. For one thing, Floyd only debuted last fall and has really evolved as a performer since then. Just ask Y&R’s head writer!
“Conner Floyd is amazing!” Griffith recently told Soap Opera Digest (SOD). “When I saw him in the audition, I knew he was Chance and that we had the opportunity to tap into what’s mesmerizing about this actor.”
In that same interview, Griffith also promised “twists that you never see coming” connected to Chance. Could this involve the detective getting caught up in a relationship with Chelsea, or uncovering a criminal element connected to his partner’s demise?
Chance is also the only cop in Genoa City now. So it seems unlikely that budgetary concerns would scratch this character from the canvas.
If any of the four characters named in this report seem vulnerable to an exit, it’s Elena Dawson. Much like Vilasuso, who acknowledged receiving “very minimal” scripts before his firing, actress Brytni Sarpy hasn’t had a storyline of her own in the past year.
Although the doctor just moved in with Nate Hastings, she’s on the fence about his new business career and rarely spends time with other characters. Plus, Imani Benedict (played by Leigh Ann Rose) has been boldly flirting with her boyfriend non-stop – and fans are loving it!
It would make sense if Y&R opted out of Sarpy’s contract, much like they did with Vilasuso’s, because sadly, they’re treating her character with the same indifference.
While Elena is in a holding pattern, Nate appears to be on the cusp of major changes. Not only is he about to navigate a new career as a business executive, he’s also in the crosshairs of Imani’s lustful gaze.
On top of everything, he just moved into Neil Winters’ old apartment, which implies a commitment to telling future storylines in that space. Living right across the hall from Amanda and Devon could add some drama, too — especially if Imani ends up spending the night!
Granted, Rey also had new storylines in development when Y&R opted out of his contract, so it’s possible that Nate and Elena could decide to “move away” from Genoa City at some point this year.
Although Ashland isn’t mentioned in that report, how much storyline can this character really have left? Or, as Sharon recently put it, “Why is he still alive?!”
He’s already been busted for duping everyone into believing he had a terminal illness; that act alone tends to ruin a character (just look at Sally Spectra’s exit from The Bold and the Beautiful). Making matters worse, Locke has now caused a multi-car accident that cost Rey his life. So, Josh… can you answer Sharon’s question?
“[Robert Newman] has brought a whole different level to the role,” Griffith explained to SOD. “The direction he’s taken Ashland has spun the story even further than I thought it would go. There’s a lot more coming.”
It sounds like Newman’s performance has extended this character’s life, but for how long? As rumors build about Locke being the victim of a murder mystery, it seems like Ashland’s days might be numbered.
Remember when we mentioned that Chance can’t leave the soap because he’s the only law enforcement left in Genoa City? Well, that’s because police commissioner Paul Williams has been MIA from the canvas for approximately eighteen months!
CBS insists that portrayer Doug Davidson is still part of the cast, but the actor has fumed about his neglect on several occasions. Will the network finally step up and do the right thing by addressing their plans for this beloved legacy character?
Although there is no evidence to suggest that Kevin Fisher will formally depart Y&R, there’s no evidence that they’ll put him to use, either. Actor Greg Rikaart recently stated as much during an interview with SOD.
“For better or for worse, I’m not particularly heavily utilized at Y&R at the moment,” he said of his schedule, which frees him up to make waves as notorious scoundrel Leo Stark on Days Of Our Lives.
Rikaart’s run on DOOL has already been extended, so could this actor eventually cut ties with CBS in order to make NBC his full-time home?
Elsewhere in his interview, Griffith turns his focus to uniting the Abbotts against the threat of Diane Jenkins. Insiders are also predicting that storyline priority will be given to Sharon and Nick, as well as Sally and Adam. That means a lot of characters will be reduced to sounding boards, or disappear entirely.
As Y&R fights to stay in budget, which character do you think will wind up being written out or recast?
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