Young & Restless’ Jason Thompson Laments the Loss of a ‘Gem’ of a Castmate: ‘We Will Miss’ Michael Mealor
The Emmy winner seconded the emotion that had been expressed by so many of the CBS soap’s viewers.
Although Soap Opera Digest already reported that both Michael Mealor and Hunter King are leaving The Young and the Restless after contract negotiations stalled, we were still holding out hope that 11th-hour agreements could be reached. Alas, it doesn’t seem like that has happened, at least in Mealor’s case.
When a fan tweeted Jason Thompson that she was “really going to miss [him] and [Mealor] in scenes together,” adding a crying emoji to hint at just how much, the Emmy winner replied, “Me, too!
“Michael is a gem,” he added. “We will miss him.”
— Jason Thompson (@MyJasonThompson) July 9, 2021
We all will. Not only do Mealor and King’s exits cut a supercouple-sized hole in the Genoa City canvas, they significantly diminish the show’s younger set — which is especially odd, considering the way soaps pursue a younger demographic with the same intensity that we do a bottle opener at wine o’clock.
Already, King has her next gig lined up. Even before the reported contract impasse, the Life in Pieces vet had signed on to star in the ABC comedy pilot Prospect, as a 19th-century schoolteacher who learns only after she’s moved to the frontier that her new students are unruly ranch hands, not cherubic children.
If all this talk of “Skyle” saying sayonara has got you bummed, (a) we don’t blame you, and (b), here’s a picture of Mealor and his adorable dog to cheer you up.
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Before you slump away to read another article, make sure you’re up-to-date on all the latest Young & Restless exits by consulting our newly amended scorecard, aka the photo gallery below.
<p>After fans started noticing that the Emmy winner’s name was no longer in the soap’s main credits, she revealed in September of 2022 that she was <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/comings-and-goings/647564/young-restless-mishael-morgan-confirms-exit-amanda/" target="_blank">stepping back from her role of Amanda</a>. But “I’m still going to be recurring,” she Instagrammed, “so you’ll still catch me in Genoa City.” Just… maybe not as much.</p>
<p>On July 27, 2022, <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/wp-admin/_wp_link_placeholder" target="_blank">the soap vet confirmed via a video</a> posted to Twitter that his run as Ashland had — along with the treacherous tycoon himself — come to an end. But, he added, “Maybe I’ll see you again one day. You never know.”</p>
<p>Apparently, Chelsea’s crush on Rey wasn’t going anywhere after all. In the spring of 2022, his portrayer announced through <a href="https://soapoperadigest.com/" target="_blank"><em>Soap Opera Digest</em></a> that he was leaving his role after four years. And even before his exit, you could well imagine Nick and Adam starting to inch closer to a soon-to-be-single Sharon…</p>
<p>Why, no, we <em>won’t</em> drink to the <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/comings-and-goings/619865/young-restless-shocker-as-richard-burgi-announces-his-exit-as-ashland-locke/" target="_blank">news that Ashland’s portrayer broke</a> in an Instastory shortly after New Year 2022. “I’m moving on from the show,” he said. “I’ve had a great year on [<em>Young & Restless</em>]. I’ve just thoroughly enjoyed the great cast and crew.” Sigh. Just as viewers thoroughly enjoyed <em>him</em>.</p>
<p>He came, he stirred up a whole mess of trouble — first for Ashland, then for Billy — then in the fall of 2021, he <span style="text-decoration: line-through">met his maker in a hell of a whodunit</span> slunk off into the sunset. Yup, Gaines amounted to <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/616299/young-restless-gaines-exit-missed-opportunity-new-victor-storyline/" target="_blank">one big missed opportunity</a> if you ask us.</p>
<p>Remember how excited we all were in the summer of 2021, when <em>Young & Restless</em> brought back Stitch, a character with oodles of untapped potential? Whelp, that’s how disappointed we were when before the first autumn leaf had fallen, he was written into a corner and right back off the show, all that potential still untapped.</p>
<p>First, rumors spread that Kyle’s portrayer was leaving. Then, <em>Soap Opera Digest</em> reported that contract negotiations between the actor and the show had stalled. Finally, in early July, Jason Thompson sighed right along with a Twitter follower who lamented that there wouldn’t be any more Kyle/Billy scenes. “Michael is a gem,” <a href="https://twitter.com/MyJasonThompson/status/1413549005489917954" target="_blank">the Emmy winner tweeted</a>. “We will miss him.”</p>
<p>At the same time as <em>Digest</em> reported that Mealor was out, it also reported that his leading lady was rowing away in the same boat. At least she already had her next project to focus on: She’d landed the lead in an ABC comedy pilot called <em>Prospect</em>, in which she was to play a 19th-century schoolteacher who moves to the frontier, only to discover that her new students aren’t kids, they’re full-grown ranch hands!</p>
<p>Tara should have been a supervixen for the ages, an old-school Jill or a spare Phyllis. Instead, <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/606548/young-restless-tara-locke-what-went-wrong/" target="_blank">she was written in such a way</a> that when she was booted off the canvas in August 2021, no one complained. No one cheered. No one cared.</p>
<p>You could’ve knocked us over with a feather when in late March of 2021, our sister site <a href="https://deadline.com/2021/03/the-young-and-the-restless-reylynn-caster-cast-of-cbs-daytime-drama-1234723804/" target="_blank">Deadline</a> revealed that Alyvia Alyn Lind, who’d played Faith since 2013, had been recast with <em>American Housewife</em> vet Reylynn Caster. But in retrospect, maybe we should’ve seen it coming, since Lind had just landed a lead in a Syfy series based on the killer-doll Chucky movies.</p>
<p>We didn’t know it when the news broke in February 2021 that Lola’s portrayer had been <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/592623/young-restless-sasha-calle-leaving-lola-flash-role/" target="_blank">cast as Supergirl in the big-screen <em>Flash</em> movie</a>, but that meant that she’d pretty much stirred her last pot as Genoa City’s lovelorn chef.</p>
<p>It felt as if the actor had scarcely returned as Chance following his stint on the bench when he announced via Instagram on January 31, 2021, that his final episode would be airing the following day. Wait, <em>what</em>? “I’d love to say that this was my choice, that I’ve booked the next big project and [am] leaving of my own accord,” he wrote, “but that wouldn’t be the truth.”</p>
<p>“That’s all, folks,” tweeted the actor on November 2, 2020. He wouldn’t be finished airing as newfound Abbott Theo for a while yet, but he was done taping at the CBS show. “I’ve always been an optimist,” he told bummed fans, encouraging them to see that “today isn’t an end but a new beginning.” (It certainly would’ve been <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/583339/young-restless-theo-tyler-johnson-cross-over-bold-beautiful/" target="_blank">if the network had heeded <em>our</em> advice</a>.)</p>
<p>In the fall of 2020, the health crisis that’s upended the world rocked that of Chance’s portrayer, forcing him to sit out a few episodes — including, unfortunately, his character’s wedding to Abby. At least the show found a fantastic temp to fill in: Justin Gaston (ex-Ben, <em>Days of Our Lives</em>), the real-life husband of Boaz’s on-screen fiancée, Melissa Ordway.</p>
<p>When the Abbott family’s matriarch Dina succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in October of 2020, it wasn’t just the end of a long run for her portrayer, a soap vet who’s also appeared on <em>General Hospital</em> (as Gloria) and <em>The Bold and the Beautiful</em> (as the Logan girls’ mom, Beth). It was the end of an era on <em>The Young and the Restless</em>, one that will forever shine brightly in our minds.</p>
<p>We wouldn’t have minded if this hottie had stuck around, but like Tanner’s marriage to Tessa, it simply wasn’t meant to be. So we had to make do with a short run by the <em>One Life to Live</em> alum (who’d played Garrett) and content ourselves with the notion that maybe someday he’ll return. It’s been a while, after all, since <em>Young & Restless</em> had on hand a rock-’n’-roller a la Danny.</p>
<p>After 13 years as Cane, the fan favorite announced “with a heavy heart” in the fall of 2019 that he had been let go. Despite being “shocked and gutted,” he added that he would be “forever grateful” for his time on the show. “It seems that without Neil and Lily, there just is no Cane.” Hmm… but now, since his former wife is back in Genoa City… perhaps there could be Cane again?</p>
<p>We’d say that he was fun while he lasted, but that just seems wrong, considering that the <em>General Hospital</em> alum (as Carlos) recurred briefly in the fall of 2019 as Simon Black, a nefarious villain who created a hostage situation at the Grand Phoenix. “Bravo,” he tweeted on his way out, “to Sally McDonald for directing an action movie in one day!”</p>
<p>Three years after he last appeared as Cane’s father, Colin, the soap legend (who’s now back at <em>General Hospital</em> playing Robert) returned to <em>The Young and the Restless</em> in November 2019 for what would be his final couple of episodes. Or at least as “final” as anything ever really is in daytime television, where even death is more of a journey than a destination.</p>
<p>The Emmy winner’s back in the thick of things on <em>The Young and the Restless</em> now — thank goodness! — but she crushed fans in the fall of 2019 when she revealed that she was dropping to recurring status as Lily, the legacy character she’d first played nearly 20 years earlier. Viewers were so upset, in fact, that she had to clarify to <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/51314/interview-christel-khalil-reveals-her-decision-to-go-recurring-at-yr/" target="_blank"><em>Soap Opera Digest</em></a> that “no, I was not pushed out.” Rather, the network had made a real effort “to try and get me to sign another contract.”</p>
<p>Jaws dropped in the summer of 2019 when it was revealed that Michelle Stafford was leaving her <em>General Hospital</em> role of Nina to reclaim her <em>Young & Restless</em> role of Phyllis from her fellow Emmy winner. Looking on the bright side, Tognoni, who’d been with the CBS soap for five years, reflected not on her loss but on the camaraderie that had “made it easy to give <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/comings-and-goings/538085/gina-tognoni-exits-young-and-the-restless-as-phyllis-summers/" target="_blank">110 percent every day</a>.”</p>
<p>The writing was on the wall for Ana — or, rather, it was in a tweet — when in July 2019, her portrayer responded to an official <em>Young & Restless</em> post captioned, “It’s not a goodbye… it’s a ‘See you later’” with three simple but telling words: <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/comings-and-goings/546334/loren-lott-exit-young-and-restless-ana-hamilton/" target="_blank">“A whole mood.”</a></p>
<p>After putting in an appearance at Neil’s memorial service in April 2019, Cane and Lily’s twins, Charlie and Mattie, were sent away to school off screen. Presumably, they are being SORAS’d even as you read this and will one day return to Genoa City ready to be made executives at Chance Comm or Hamilton Winters.</p>
<p>As quickly as the Rosaleses arrived in Genoa City, they began to leave. A half a year into her run as Rey’s troublemaking wife Mia, Gonzalez announced that she’d already wrapped up at the show. And having been the victim of online body-shaming during her short run, she told <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/580848/young-restless-noemi-gonzalez-reveals-online-bullying/" target="_blank"><em>Entertainment Tonight</em></a> that the only way she’d ever come back was “if I time-traveled to the ’80s when there was no social media.”</p>
<p>After a year as Arturo, the veteran of the megapopular telenovela <em>¿Dónde Está Elisa?</em> exited stage left from Genoa City. But unlike us — we wished the hottie’s May/December affair with Nikki had gone on longer — Canela had no regrets. “I feel blessed,” he tweeted in March 2019, “to have been a part of something so special.” In late 2019, it was announced that Canela would be bringing Arturo <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/comings-and-goings/586169/jason-canela-returns-young-restless-arturo-rosales-confirmed/">back to town for several episodes</a>. </p>
<p>The doctor is out. In March 2019, <em>The Young and the Restless</em> prescribed itself a new Nate, replacing Brooks with Sean Dominic. Don’t think anyone can say that <em>that</em> switcheroo hasn’t worked out well for the show!</p>
<p>In the spring of 2019, the actress revealed on social media that alter ego Kerry would be taking “an indefinite hiatus” — one that has since proven to be permanent. Nevertheless, Hunter sang the praises of the story arc that took her off the canvas “even if I’m sad to leave… This journey has been indescribable.”</p>
<p>She’s back now, of course, playing Hilary’s surprise twin sister, Amanda. But in June of 2018, “Hevon” fans were bereft to learn that the actress was leaving her uberpopular original role. As her manager explained to <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/51037/interview-mishael-morgans-yr-departure-explained-by-manager/" target="_blank"><em>TV Source</em></a> at the time, “they were not prepared to give her a raise… We felt that we were put in the position that we had no choice but to explore other options.”</p>
<p>Though the Emmy winner still appears as Paul now and then — infrequently at best and certainly <em>too</em> infrequently for our taste — there are Crimson Lights coffee mugs that get more screen time than he does. And it’s not just fans that are disgruntled. “It’s a mystery to me,” <a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/news/575665/young-restless-eric-braeden-defends-doug-davidson-contract/" target="_blank">tweeted Eric Braeden (Victor)</a> in August 2020, “why Dougie isn’t far more present on a show he helped create!”</p>
<p>When Ashley’s portrayer left the role she’d played off and on since 1982, the show decided not to recast (as it had twice before). Instead, it took her up on her offer to come back for short stints — and <em>often</em>, as a matter of fact. Which suits the actress. “It’s always great to see my <em>Young & Restless</em> family,” she told <a href="https://www.soapoperadigest.com/content/exclusive-eileen-davidsons-ashley-back-for-a-yr-visit/" target="_blank"><em>Soap Opera Digest</em></a> in 2019.</p>
<p>Ravi wasn’t so much written off <em>The Young and the Restless</em> as… discarded. “Since the new writer took over, I have not been asked back,” <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BpCs3PZFg5V/" target="_blank">he told his admirers</a> in October 2018. “While I have been fortunate enough to not be killed off… the future is uncertain.” Alas, at this point, it’s probably safe to say that his fate in Genoa City is well and truly sealed.</p>
<p>Announcing her departure from <em>The Young and the Restless</em> after six years in January 2018, Chelsea’s portrayer assured fans that “<a href="https://soaps.sheknows.com/the-young-and-the-restless/comings-and-goings/1921/young-and-the-restless-melissa-claire-egan-confirms-exit-from-soap/" target="_blank">this isn’t goodbye</a>. Truly.” And by God, she meant it — only a year later, she made tracks back to Genoa City, where her character has continued to prove that, as trouble magnets go, she’s virtually unrivaled.</p>
<p>After Lauren’s son, Scott, moved from Genoa City to London in 2018, viewers expected him to return. They’d have a <em>long</em> wait, though. Years later, and we still haven’t seen hide nor hair again of the character that Hall inherited from Blair Redford (<em>The Gifted</em>).</p>
<p>As elated as we are every time daytime’s Bette Davis returns as Michael and Kevin’s Mommie Dearest, Gloria, we can’t for the <em>life</em> of us fathom why the scene stealer isn’t on contract (and hasn’t been a series regular for years). It’s OK, guys — our TV screens can handle the drama; keep it, <em>and</em> Chapman, coming!</p>
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