Stepping into another actor’s role is a tough job, but that’s often the norm on a daytime soap opera. Performers tend to come and go as they search for primetime and film fame.
Top 10 Soap Opera Recasts
However, sometimes, a new incarnation of a character becomes a bigger hit than the actor who originated the part. Here’s a look at the top 10 soap opera recasts. Let us know your thoughts about the list in the comments section below.
1. Erika Slezak
How successful was Erika Slezak after she took over the part of One Life to Live protagonist Victoria Lord? Number one, few people even remember her predecessor, Gillian Spencer, who went on to play Daisy Cortlandt on All My Children. Number two, Slezak won six Daytime Emmy awards for her work in the role, which spanned four decades.
2. Peter Bergman
When the late Terry Lester left The Young and the Restless in 1989, recasting Jack Abbott seemed like an insurmountable task. Lester had become synonymous with the charismatic playboy during his 10-year stint on the show. Fortunately, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, YR) had seen Peter Bergman’s work on All My Children, where he’d just been pink-slipped as Cliff Warner, and recommended him for the gig. It was a perfect match.
3. Robert Scott Wilson
In the hands of his original portrayer, Justin Gaston, Days of our Lives’ Ben Weston was a character with minimal appeal. Then the soap replaced him with Robert Scott Wilson, who brought an intensity to the role. Ben was turned into a serial killer and, ultimately, sent to prison. However, the powers-that-be wanted Wilson back, so they diagnosed Ben’s murder spree as the result of a mental illness and deemed him cured. He’s been a popular leading man ever since.
4. Laura Wright
In the middle of a successful run as Cassie on Guiding Light, Laura Wright opted to split the New York-based soap, when the part of Carly was up for grabs on General Hospital. Following in the successful footsteps of Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun, and a short appearance by Jennifer Bransford, Wright swept in and quickly made Carly her own in 2005, putting her own unique stamp on the character.
5. Heather Tom
Katie Logan came to The Bold and the Beautiful forefront in the hands of Heather Tom (ex-Victoria, The Young and the Restless). While her predecessor Nancy Sloan’s version of the character hovered in the background of her bombshell sisters, Tom’s Katie quickly became a bona fide leading lady. She’s continually driven storylines and earned four Daytime Emmys, since taking over the gig in 2005.
6. Alicia Minshew
Sarah Michelle Gellar left a void that seemed insurmountable when she departed All My Children as Kendall Hart. But after a seven-year break, the soap brought in Alicia Minshew to take over as Erica’s (Susan Lucci) scheming daughter. Minshew quickly mastered the complexities of Kendall, keeping the defiant devious aspects of her intact, even as she transformed into a heroine.
7. Melody Thomas Scott
Yes, there actually was another Nikki Reed before Melody Thomas Scott – actress Erica Hope, although she only lasted six months. Her portrayal of the character wasn’t what Bill Bell had envisioned, so The Young and the Restless creator demanded a recast and hit pay dirt with Nikki: Take Two. Thomas Scott brought Nikki’s early stripper days to life with oomph and ease, and when the character hooked up with Victor (Eric Braeden) and transformed into a lady, she was totally up to the task.
8. Mary Beth Evans
There was actually a Kayla Brady before Days of our Lives’ Mary Beth Evans, too. In fact, actress Catherine Mary Stewart had been quite popular; however, she chose to split daytime after a year on the job. Evans was cast as the kindly nurse in 1986 and quickly laid claim to the part. Her pairing with Stephen Nichols’ Steve “Patch” Johnson and their rise to supercouple status only intensified her adoration by fans.
9. Kassie DePaiva
Although the only actress people tend to think of when One Life to Live’s Blair Cramer is mentioned, Kassie DePaiva was actually her second portrayer. The former Guiding Light star (she once played Chelsea Reardon) replaced Mia Korf, and, in the process, the character’s original Asian heritage was discarded. Overnight, Blair had a Southern twang and became even more of a consummate schemer. DePaiva held the role for 20 years.
10. Thorsten Kaye
When Ronn Moss up and left The Bold and the Beautiful after 25 years as Ridge Forrester, head writer Bradley Bell promised to recast the role. In 2013, soap opera vet Thorsten Kaye (ex-Patrick, One Life to Live; ex-Ian, Port Charles) debuted as the handsome fashion designer. His performance in the role was spot on and quickly garnered acclaim.