Like most soaps, As the World Turns has been in need of some diversity lately. Viewers have complained about Jessica Griffin's (Tamara Tunie) absence for a while now, along with Jessica's on-again, off-again husband, Ben (Peter Parros). Tunie had been with the soap for almost 20 years, refusing to give up her role even though she had landed many prime-time roles. Then her airtime on ATWT got smaller and smaller, and she jumped ship. She continues to play Dr. Melinda Warner on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Unfortunately, Jessica isn't returning anytime soon, but her daughter, Bonnie McKechnie, is. ATWT has cast Chauntee Schuler, and she first airs November 5. She was previously played by Napiera Danielle Groves. Word is that Bonnie will be helping Holden (Jon Hensley) through a difficult time. This statement doesn't bode well for Holden's marriage to Lily.
This is Schuler's first daytime role. She appeared as Nala on the touring version of Broadwa's The Lion King. Even though she is new to soaps, she is not new to daytime. Schuler and her husband were contestants on The Today Show Throws a Wedding. They didn't win the free wedding, but married shortly thereafter.
In other casting news, the character of Bonnie's cousin Dallas is now being occupied by the third actor since the role was introduced. Beginning November 14, Wole Parks will take over the part previously occupied by Kenneth Franklin and Duane McLaughlin. His previous credits include guest appearances on Undressed and Law & Order.
Over in Llanview, Marty Saybrooke will be packing her bags along with her portrayer, Christina Chambers. Apparently, the recast never caught on, and the character is being written out of the show. The original actress to play the role, Susan Haskell, was supposed to come back, but she was pregnant and had to turn down the part. One Life to Live fans are clamouring for Haskell to return, but as far as I know, there is no official plan to bring her back at this time. If that changes, you can look for the news here.
Fiery redhead Blake Marler is seldom seen on Guiding Light these days, but the actress who plays her, Elizabeth Keifer, is keeping busy on stage. She appears as Charlotte in a production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, from October 26 through November 16 at the Philipstown Depot Theatre located on Lower Station Road in Garrison, New York For more information, log on to www.philipstowndepottheatre.org or call 845-424-3900.
Recording artiste Enrique Iglesias will appear on The Young and the Restless November 7. Just like Aaron Neville once did, Iglesias will be performing at Neil Winters' (Kristoff St. John) jazz club, Indigo. He's promoting his new CD Insomniac and will sing the soon-to-be hit song Somebody's Me.
Iglesias recently appeared on a couple episodes of the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. He has seven gold and multi-platinum albums, is a Grammy- and Latin Grammy-Award winner, having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.
A lot of recording stars are turning to soaps these days to promote their albums, and it's working. Record companies have noted a spike in sales after their appearances, so it's no surprise to see Iglesias join artistes like Timbaland and Nelly Furtado (both appeared on OLTL) serenading daytime stars.
- Dana Block