Some yesteryear stars returned to the daytime fold to shake things up in 2020; some in brand new roles, others in old familiar ones — but they certainly brought joy to the many soap opera viewers out there who welcomed them back with open arms.
2020 Soap Opera Returns
Which comebacks stood out among the pack? Here are the top 10 soap opera returns of the year.
1. Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, General Hospital)
Port Charles hadn’t been the same since Dominic Zamprogna’s Dante left town on an undercover assignment. It left a void in the Corinthos clan, the PCPD, and Lulu’s (Emme Rylan) heart. Fans rejoiced when he resurfaced in August, but were befuddled when Lulu was written off months later, leaving the reconciliation they’d hoped for never to be.
2. Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip, Days of our Lives)
The “real” Philip, actor Jay Kenneth Johnson, stepped back into the entitled Kiriakis’s shoes in August, after nine long years. His presence immediately shook up life at the “K” manse and Titan Industries, as he and cousin Xander (Paul Telfer) were set up as instant adversaries.
3. Christel Khalil (Lily, The Young and the Restless)
After opting not to renew her YR contract in 2018, Christel Kahlil made occasional appearances as Lily. But in 2020, she returned for an intriguing front burner storyline opposite Jason Thompson’s Billy. The key move also instantly revitalized the flailing Winters family.
4. Réal Andrews (Taggert, General Hospital)
Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) longtime nemesis, Taggert, had been MIA since 2003, but in 2020, Real Andrews suddenly reappeared in the role with a backstory tied to the PC police commissioner. And in a surprise twist, soap opera viewers learned he was Trina’s (Sydney Mikayla) never-before-mentioned father.
5. Tamara Braun (Ava, Days of our Lives)
Another Salemite was resurrected, when Ava turned up alive, after being killed in 2016. Tamara Braun’s manipulative character quickly stirred things up, revealing a friendship with Kristen (Stacy Haiduk), an alliance with Philip (Jay Kenneth Johnson), and a lingering obsession with Steve (Stephen Nichols).
6. Kim Delaney (Jackie, General Hospital)
All My Children alumna Kim Delaney, who played sweet Jenny in the 1980s, nabbed Demi Moore’s old role as Jackie Templeton on GH. Aside from a romantic past with Robert (Tristan Rogers), fans also learned she was Chase’s (Josh Swickard) mom and had had an affair with his brother, Finn (Michael Easton).
7. Cady McClain (Jennifer, Days of our Lives)
Another former AMC star, actress Cady McClain (ex-Dixie), stepped into a pivotal role at DAYS, when actress Melissa Reeves opted not to return to the soap after the COVID-19 shutdown. Suddenly, Jennifer Horton Deveraux was being portrayed by someone new for the first time in over 20 years.
8. Courtney Hope (Sally, The Young and the Restless)
A non-traditional return, but a return nonetheless. After getting axed as Sally on The Bold and the Beautiful, Courtney Hope got a new lease on life on YR, playing the same character. Sally arrived in Genoa City in November and immediately landed a job as Lauren’s (Tracey Bregman) executive assistant at Fenmore’s.
9. Emily O’Brien (Gwen, Days of our Lives)
Jake’s (Brandon Barash) unbalanced ex, Gwen, suddenly appeared on the scene in the form of Emily O’Brien. Having first come to soap fans’ attention as Jana on YR, the British actress was once again playing mercurial and offbeat, and with a calculated plan to destroy Abigail (Marci Miller).
10. Brook Kerr (Portia, General Hospital)
Two-plus decades after her soap opera debut as teen Whitney Russell on Passions, Brook Kerr returned to the daytime scene as General Hospital’s newest doctor, Portia Robinson. The character was quickly revealed to have other Port Charles ties — as Trina’s mother, Taggert’s ex-wife, and Curtis’s (Donnell Turner) former lover.