Deep Soap: Shocker! Trevor St. John Leaving ‘One Life To Live’

Trevor St. John arrives at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)

Trevor St. John arrives at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)

Trevor St. John Leaving

Every now and then, some soap news breaks that makes absolutely no sense to me. Trevor St. John’s announcement Monday night, via his website, that he will be departing “One Life To Live” well before the show’s finale is one of those occasions. St. John is one of the show’s most popular and most talented actors. He is in the midst of the red hot “Who is the real Todd Manning?” storyline, which seems like a plot that would, ideally, have repercussions for years to come. St. John made it clear that his contract ends in July, but he had hoped to continue with the show until its conclusion, writing:

“I want to let you know that my current contract on “One Life to Live” is coming to an end and my last shooting day will likely come the week of July 18th. Although I expressed a willingness to make myself available to shoot beyond the aforementioned date the producers have decided they’d rather press on without me. To be clear, I was not fired. But the producers feel it’s in the show’s best interest not to write any more story for my character.”

A spokesperson for OLTL told me, “We have no comment at this time.”

I cannot imagine why the show would choose to write off the character that I shall call TSJ Todd. He has played the role for the past eight years. He is the only Todd that many OLTL viewers have ever seen. St. John is without a doubt one of the most successful recasts in daytime history, making a role many thought could only be convincingly played by Howarth, his own. Much of the fun of the current storyline, for me at least, was the anticipation of watching St. John and Howarth work together. I assumed that, if Howarth turned out to be the real Todd, than the second part of the story would be discovering TSJTodd’s actual identity and watching him forge new relationships with the people who cared about him. (I suspect that RHTodd has yet to have scenes with any major characters because many of his scenes were post-taped and added to existing episodes, thanks to storyline changes mandated by the show’s cancellation.)  I hoped that TSJTodd would end the series happily married to Tea (Florencia Lozano) while Blair (Kassie DePaiva) If he leaves early, that cannot happen.

Given the show’s finite ending, I would think that both actors and producers could agree that everyone whose contract expired before the show ended would keep getting paid the same rate for the final few months of taping. I cannot imagine that anyone would demand a raise, and it’s not fair for the show to expect anyone to take a paycut when they are about to be unemployed. If St. John is truly being written out for storyline reasons, then that is a huge, surprising misstep for a soap that is 90 percent awesome right now. (I am deducting 10 percent for the Fords and other assorted newbies.)

Tuesday’s episode ended with Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) extorting Clint into giving him the entire Buchanan fortune in exchange for agreeing to allow his dead fiancee Gigi’s heart to be donated to him. Then, he told a comatose Gigi that he only wanted the money so that he could get revenge on Jack (Andrew Trischetta) for killing her and TSJTodd for paying Brad to take the fall. That is the sort of big, epic storytelling that makes the show fun to watch. How can there not be enough material to last until January? A OLTL without St. John is a Llanview with one too few Todds.

In other OLTL casting news, the original Jessica (Erin Torpey) will be appearing on the show as a new character who has no connection to Jessica. Torpey appeared in a dream sequence in the 40th anniversary episode as a grown up Megan, the child Jessica miscarried when she was in college. First Howarth, now Torpey. I think OLTL should carry this “bring back the original actors as new characters”concept to its logical conclusion. One of the other Dorian’s (Elaine Princi?) could have played the actress portraying Dorian in the David Vickers movie and Gillian Spencer, the original Viki, could pop up, too.

Eden Returns

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Hey, third time’s the charm. Right? How else to explain “The Young & the Restless’s” decision to bring back the character of Eden, now played by Jessica Heap. Michael’s bitchy half-sister from the Ashram was not a character I had any interest in seeing. But, I have to say, after one day Heap is already my favorite Eden. Granted, the bar was set very low. Popping up unexpectedly at the rehab center Abby is attending, she has now been SORASed into a twentysomething smart ass who seems to be using rehab as an excuse to hide from the world. Heap proved a decent verbal sparring partner for Marcy Rylan. Unless this is the amazing, unexpected summer storyline that Maria Bell was touting at the Daytime Emmys, I doubt that I will be riveted by whatever went wrong between Eden and Noah (Kevin Schmidt). Maybe he’s freaked out that she suddenly aged five years while he remained the same. However, if Eden has to be a part of Genoa City, at least she is now being played by an actress that does not remind me of fingernails on a chalkboard.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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