Sunday Reflections 7: Central Actors’ Leave-takings on Days of Our Lives, Bold & Beautiful and General Hospital; Headlocks and Diction on B&B and GH; One Strange Interview from B&B

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

Peter Reckell
Is there time to recast?

Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital:  When I used to work on newspapers it was journalistic thinking that a list of three of anything — three sightings of groovy over-the-knee boots on the subway, three Hollywood divorces, three murders in a Queens neighborhood — signal the birth a new trend.  Now, with the leave-takings of three leading men – Peter Reckell (Bo) from Days of Our Lives and Ronn Moss (Ridge) from The Bold and the Beautiful (both because of reduced salaries), and the rumored departure of Steve Burton from General Hospital (do you believe it will actually happen?) — we practically have another new daytime trend. And central, long-term veteran actors abandoning our sinking shows has become a really serious problem.  I guess this is a sign of the soap times, as the daytime drama medium implodes all the more.

Can headwriters successfully handle the exits of the centerpiece actors of their shows? Or will the loss of these leading men leave too big a hole in their shows and cause ratings slides? Can recasts of such important central characters work? In the past, replacements in roles that were defined by the very long-term actors who played them were hard to adjust to initially.  But the new actors were ultimately successfully and their   major characters lived on with popularity.  Examples are Jerry ver Dorn’s replacement of the late Clint Ritchie as Clint on One Life to Live and in the changing faces in the role of Ed Bauer (Mark Hulswit, Peter Simon) on Guiding Light.  In both cases, new actors eventually improved the characters overall and gave the writers some new qualities to work with. But that was another time in daytime.  In this soap era there’s comparatively little to no time for audiences to get used to the new actors (before the approaching end of the medium). Decades ago, it took me years to get used to Vicky Wyndham as Rachel Davis when she took over for the very popular Robin Strasser on Another World. Can the fans adjust to replacements for Bo, Ridge and possibly Jason fast enough? Or are the original actors who have played them forever irreplaceable?  I guess we are about to find out.

Ronn Moss
Dazed and confused?

Marlena Shorts:  Here are just a few quick comments on things I’ve seen this week … Why oh why did they have to kill off Dr. Tim Reid on The Young and the Restless? I loved him especially with Phyllis back in the 90s and now that he was blackmailing her. They sparkled and were so funny together (I admit I also loved Tim because actor Aaron Lustig is a doppelganger for Phillipe L’Ouef).  Lustig is one of those character actors who add so much color to our drab soaps, a species, for example, like GH’s Bruce Weitz as the late Anthony Zacchara that seems to be dying out with the rest … Loved it on B&B when take-no-nonsense Bill Spencer put his son Liam into a headlock after Junior was caught partying with Steffy before his aborted wedding to Hope. (Loved Liam’s party hair dyed brown with just the shock of hot pink in the front.)   If only someone would put a headlock on the interminable, all-encompassing young triangle  story that’s choking so many fans’ enjoyment of this show … So I’m  very confused as to what to think now that newly out and very confused Will has slept with  Gabi,  a girl on Days.  What do you think? … Sebastian Roche is such a scene stealer as Jerry Jacks on GH.  If only half of the young marble-mouthed actors on daytime could get a handle on this actor’s marvelous diction … Speaking of actors’ leave-taking, did anyone this week read the bizarro and edited-for-length Entertainment Weekly interview with Ronn Moss as to “exactly” why he’s exiting B&B. I couldn’t tell “exactly” anything after reading Moss’ mixed-up reasoning and long-winded quotes. Talk about being dazed and confused!  Among other strange things, he talks about a “sign” he believes is making his exit OK:  on his last day at the studio, Moss saw a clock that had stopped at the exact minute of his birth.  Huh?   Read this interview and ask: does our poor dear Ronn really know what he’s doing?

Comments

  1. Chris says:

    I agree that Sebastioan Roche speaks perfectly well on GH, but I think most of the younger actors on that show speaks just fine to me and not “marbled mouth” as you described them in your latest column!

  2. Esther says:

    While I get why our veteran actors don’t want to take a pay cut, I’m afraid they’re biting off their noses to spite their face. These shows, sadly, don’t have much time left. They’ll have the rest of their careers (if they’re lucky) to get their salaries back up to soaps’ golden days. But for right now, if these shows are to survive a bit longer, owners/networks have to see these things made more cheaply. They can hold out and maybe win — getting to keep their large salaries. But there better not be any crocodile tears when they see 5 of their younger co-stars and perhaps a few behind-the-scenes people axed so that their salary requirement could be met. Cuts have to happen. It’s a tad unrealistic (and dare I say selfish?) to think it should be everyone BUT you. There’s so little time left — take what money you can get before it all goes dark. There isn’t a lot else out there any more.

    Marlena says: Hard-headed logic and speaking forth boldly. That’s my Esther! I agree with all you’ve said. The end of civilization is no time for ego and being selfish! Remember the ancient Romans! I love your remark about these actors thinking “anyone but me.” And there’s certainly very little to absolutely nothing out there for them.

    Or perhaps Burton, whose leave-taking is only in the early rumor stage as of today, is going elsewhere? You need a scorecard to keep up with the breaking soap news (and rumors) this summer.

  3. SZima says:

    I completely agree with Esther above.
    NO ONE is indispensible, and the sooner these over-paid actors with over-inflated egos realize that, the better off they will be. The gravy train has been put out of commission and these actors will just have to learn to live on less like the rest of us. If they can’t bring themselves to take a lower salary, let them go! Let them find out just how easy they’ve had it all this time with a guaranteed paycheck coming in.
    Many of them are not known except in the soap community, so if they think they can just go out a get a primetime job, more power to them. Many have tried…and many have returned to their soapy roots.

    Marlena says: Yah! Way to go, SZima!

  4. Kevin says:

    Sorry, Marlena, but Steve Burton (yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwn) leaving “General Hospital” would not be a bad thing for that show.

    He’s been so robotic and on auto-pilot for the last ten years.

    Marlena says: Aw, the actor has been on 21 years! No matter what you think of his Jason, perhaps its time to give Burton the respect he deserves for his efforts and experience.

  5. DS0816 says:

    Can I get used to a different actor taking over the role of Ridge Forrester on “The Bold and the Beautiful”? I’m willing to give that person a chance. Connie/Marlena mentioned one of the all-time greatest recasts — Victoria Wyndham — and I came across a YouTube video of the late Beverlee McKinsey performing with Wyndham on “Another World.” This was from the second half of the 1970s. McKinsey had a psychological grip on her Iris character, yes, but Wyndham was such a burning sensation as the evolving Rachel.

    I think when experts put together a list of the all-time greatest leading ladies in daytime, they may unfortunately overlook the powerful force of Wyndham. I recommend soap lovers, those who first became exposed to the genre pretty late in the game, check her out in the scene with leading man Douglass Watson for the intimacy and the smashing intelligence with which Wyndham portrayed her character.

    Wyndham worked wonders with her role. So have others, such as Peter Bergman (having replaced in 1989 the late Terry Lester) on “The Young and the Restless.” And, if it turns out Ronn Moss is permanently done with “B&B,” I wish him good things but also keep in mind that this may be a positive new beginning.

    Marlena says; Wyndham and Bergman probably were the of the be recasts ever. It took me years to see the genius of Wyndham because her talents really were subtle at first and she was quite an original for daytime. I was honored to interview her, finding her one of the smartest and cool people I’ve ever talked to professionally. By the way, DSO has given us a fine clip of her work:youtube.com/watch?v=SX6YS7gLWi8&feature=rela.

  6. SkinTheKat48 says:

    The issue of writing out veteran leading men wouldn’t be such a daunting challenge for daytime writers if there had been balanced writing to begin with. It never made much sense to me to focus so much attention on a select few while ignoring the larger ensemble cast.

    For example, on Bold and Beautiful, viewers were subjected to the triangle of Stephanie Forrester with her surrogate Taylor, Ridge, and Brooke Logan for years. Yes, it was flashy and caught a lot of attention. But the show’s ratings would have been consistently strong if the writers had used it to create larger ripples and then tied it into dynastic issues than recycling it for Steffie/Liam/Hope.

    When Susan Flannery retires, the void that the loss of B&B’s scheming matriarch, Stephanie, is going to leave is going to be enormous. The writers had years to create a younger character to fill the gap and could have easily done so if they had remembered that the true Forrester heir and the man who should be the rightful CEO of Forrester Creations is the only biological son that Eric Forrester and Stephanie Douglas share; Thorne Forrester. Rick and Ridge are respectively Eric and Stephanie’s bastards. While Taylor and Brooke were fighting over Ridge about five or so years ago, this would have been the perfect time to put Thorne with an ambitious woman who would want him and THEIR children to take over Forrester Creations; erego a NEW Stephanie Forrester. The Queen is dead; long live the Queen.

    On GH, I always felt that Edward and Lila Q should have been killed off together and Alan and Monica moved forward to Quartermaine patriarch and matriarch status. I had no problem if Steve Burton wanted to play “Stone Cold” Boring Hitman with Maurice Benard’s mini-mobster, but why not focus on Tracy Quartermaine as GH’s answer to Angela Channing of Falcon Crest? Why not bring back Ned Ashton and Brooklynn and Dillon Quartermaine to deal with AJ Quartermaine as GH’s answer to JR Ewing?!

    Why not center the action more around the hospital? Why did they not cast a more dynamic actor to play the pivotal legacy character, Steven-Lars Weber? Why not introduce a doctor along the lines of that rascal, Phil Brewer? Why was it All Mob All The Time?!

    Shows need balance and crazed fangurls and their mailing campaigns should NOT control the focus of a show and put it out of balance. Otherwise, you alienate a bunch of other viewers who do not have the time nor feel they should have to beg or manipulate the show into writing for their favorite characters.

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