2019 Soaps Casting Shake-Ups: Best, Worst and Most Shocking
Image: Jill Johnson/JPI
Some of the best and worst in our soap operas this year included recasts.
The year 2019 saw a lot of casting shake-ups across the board, many connected to 2019’s best and worst soap moments, which Soaps.com detailed. Bold and the Beautiful continued their pattern of stunt casting in hiring reality show celebrities for small and large roles. The time jump Days of our Lives resulted in some recasts, but it was the exit of Stefan O. DiMera that shocked many. A major fan favorite left General Hospital and was written off in a way angering many fans of the show. And as one fan-favorite returned to Young and the Restless, others departed leaving viewers surprised. Read on for our selection of the best, worst and most shocking casting shake-ups for 2019.
Bold and the Beautiful stunt casting vs. fan faves
Unless you’re a fan of the show, Bold and the Beautiful’s stunt casting can annoy the majority of the audience when they pull in cast members from other CBS shows such as Big Brother with Jessica Milagros for example or Let’s Make a Deal’s Wayne Brady. Wayne Brady took a lot of flak from some fans on social media who couldn’t separate reality from fiction between the actor or his character and didn’t understand why the game host was even on the soap.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Denise Richards (Shauna) was originally hated by some fans who felt she was only hired for her popularity on the reality TV show, though she quickly won many over with her charm and some loved her or loved to hate her for being with Ridge.
On the other hand, The Talk co-host Sheryl Underwood returned briefly as Emmy, in scenes with Bill (Don Diamont) much to the delight of most fans.
Last but certainly not least, the role of Thomas Forrester has been recast many times over the years and when Matthew Atkinson filled the role this year, most fans loathed him as on the spot. He was hated on so ferociously which could only mean one thing – the actor was doing a bang-up job!
Days of our Lives new faces win hearts
When Stefan O. DiMera was recast with Brandon Barash, the actor made us forget Stefan raped mentally ill Abigail DiMera and sniffed her wig in a creepy scene once she reintegrated. Now, with a change to the writing and a new face, Stefan was someone many could root for. But because Days of our Lives has an 8 month ahead taping schedule, the character was killed off before the show could realize how much chemistry Stefan and Gabi (Camila Banus) had. Many fans were devastated that Stabi was no more so soon after they found each other. Since Barash is returning, we’ll see how that pans out.
Stacy Haiduk joined Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera – and though some will argue this, while we love Eileen Davidson, Stacy has also won a special place in our hearts, especially when they gave Kristen back her vulnerability. Susan, on the other hand, kept us in stitches and at times annoyed the heck out of us as that kooky old maiden aunt.
Tionne T-BOZ Watkins returned to Days of our Lives as Sheila Watkins much to the delight of most viewers. Though she started out a few years ago as a nasty inmate who made Hope Brady’s (Kristian Alfonso) life miserable in prison, she turned into quite the loveable and comical character once out from behind bars.
Marilyn McCoo returned to Days of our Lives as Tamara Price. She hadn’t been seen since 1987 and was brought back briefly for her daughter Lani Price’s (Sal Stowers) wedding to Eli Grant (Lamon Archey). Though she reminisced with her old flame Abe Carver (James Reynolds) about their past, sadly this appearance fell flat.
General Hospital big cast shakeups
Marcus Coloma joined General Hospital as Nikolas Cassadine back from the dead. Many viewers took an immediate dislike to him because he appeared too young to be Nikolas, and also he was not Christopher Tyler. Soon though the dislike became about the changes in Nikolas’s character, who has been ruthless and downright cruel to characters like Ava (Maura West) and Hayden (Rebecca Budig).
Coby Ryan McLaughlin played Shiloh, the cult leader that almost everyone hated, both on and off-screen. Though his character was evil, the actor did an amazing job with the role of the villain. What was originally supposed to be a long term role was cut short when the powers that be decided to kill him off. A lot of viewers felt they missed the opportunity to do a “who killed Shiloh?” storyline.
Dominic Zamprogna briefly returned, but only to finally wrap up Dante Falconeri’s storyline, leaving him dealing with PTSD and cutting off his entire family. This paved the way for his wife Lulu (Emme Rylan) to move on with her life and the introduction of a new love interest Dustin Phillips, played by One Life to Live alum Mark Lawson.
Many fans were upset over Billy Miller’s decision to leave the ABC soap as Drew Cane, though not surprised, as the storylines for his character fell flat after Steve Burton returned as the real Jason Morgan. Drew’s death also upset viewers, who felt his send-off was as lackluster as his last year on the show.
Rebecca Budig’s return as Hayden Barnes delighted many fans, who were then crushed when it was revealed her visit was only a brief one and she once again fled Port Charles.
Young and the Restless’ hiring and firing frenzy
We love both Gina Tognoni and Michelle Stafford and were very confused when Tognoni was fired as Phyllis on Young and the Restless and replaced with Stafford, who up and left her popular role of Nina Reeves on General Hospital. Both actresses brought something special to the role of Phyllis Summers Newman but once Stafford was back on the canvas, Phyllis was back-burnered and when seen, wasn’t used to her full capacity.
Mark Grossman was cast as yet another incarnation of bad boy Adam Newman, who was back from the dead and seeking revenge against everyone who wronged him. However, between taking Nick to court for custody of Christian and attempting to kill Victor, it was hard for many to find the latest Adam devilishly charming.
Mishael Morgan, a fan favorite whose character Hilary Curtis Hamilton was tragically killed in 2018, returned in the new role of Amanda Sinclair, a dead ringer for Hilary. Amanda, a lawyer, was embroiled in a storyline involving Devon (Bryton James) being conned out of his inheritance and causing problems for Devon’s new relationship with Elena (Brytni Sarpy). Given Morgan originally left Young and the Restless due to her and the show’s inability to settle on a new contract, viewers have wondered how long she’ll be back and where her character is going. Only by the end of 2019 did the show begin to explore who Amanda was and her possible connection to Hilary.
Another fan favorite, Daniel Goddard, was let go as Cane Ashby. Goddard was previously let go in 2011, but a campaign by viewers brought him back. However, with the end of Cane’s marriage and Lily Winter’s (Christel Khalil) exit from the show, the storylines for Cane dwindled. An awkward romance between Cane and Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland) also failed to win over viewers, who honestly didn’t get it or feel the couple.
Finally, 2018 saw the introduction of the Rosales family, who was either loved or hated by the viewers. In a shocking turn, 2019 saw the departure of most of the family, including Noemi Gonzalez as Mia Rosales and Jason Canela as Arturo Rosales, along with the Rosales matriarch Celeste played by soap opera vet Eva LaRue.
– Dustin Cushman/Christine Fix