On Friday, when The Young and the Restless star Steve Burton shared the news on Twitter that he was exiting the CBS soap, the daytime television scene got a little bit smaller. Even though Burton was positive about his time on the show, it’s hard not to think that the soap world is having a tough year.
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Burton’s departure is another notch on a string of high-profile exits this year on soaps. Tyler Christopher and Bryan Craig on General Hospital immediately come to mind. Even though they both left for different reasons, why can’t the networks keep their top-notch talent on the roster?
With someone like Christopher, the contract became the sticking point. For Craig, it was the desire to see what else is out there.
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For Burton, his message was upbeat, but a bit curious. He wrote on Twitter, “With lots of reflection, I have decided to move on from Y&R at the end of my contract in Dec. I’ve had an amazing time, but it feels right to move on to new adventures in my life.”
He was recruited to Y&R back in 2012 to play Dylan McAvoy, but his flexible contract allowed him to spend more time with his family back in Tennessee. With new executive producer Mal Young and new head writer Sally Sussman Morina in place, did he see the warning signs that some of these special conditions might not be met?
While there’s been no indication of strife on the set, Y&R is still reeling from the loss of Justin Hartley after he moved on to the primetime show This Is Us. Daytime television is one of the best places for steady employment for actors, but there seems to be an uneasy feeling in the air.
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Television is seeing a ratings dip on both primetime and daytime shows because technology has changed the way we view content. With the daytime landscape filled with lifestyle shows and only four soap operas, how do producers retain viewers?
If actors are seeing interest in their show dwindle, it’s no wonder they are looking for new opportunities. Viewers worry about their favorite soaps being canceled each time the network contracts come up for renewal — and we all remember the loss of All My Children and One Life to Live in 2011.
The writers have to figure out a way to keep their storylines consistent and the legacy characters in the mix. There’s a reason these roles are so iconic, and fans want to keep seeing them pop up on their TV screens.
With the end of the year approaching, let’s hope there aren’t any more cast exits because daytime needs as many big stars as possible to keep the quality up and the consistency going.
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