On Wednesday, January 13, The Young & the Restless’ comatose Billy will be waking up a new man. Because he will be played by actors Jason Thompson who, only last week, as Patrick on General Hospital, was (re)-marrying Robin and heading out of town with their daughter for a presumed Happily Ever After (or as close as a soap can get to one).
One of the guests at Patrick and Robin’s wedding was Jason, played by Billy Miller. Billy Miller used to play Billy (Abbott) on Y&R. The actor who played Jason on GH prior to Miller was Steve Burton. Burton now plays Dylan on Y&R. Got that?
You should. Because it’s just another day in the world of soap hopping. Back when there were over a dozen shows on the air, actors had a lot more roles to inhabit (and some even played two different characters on the same show, though usually separated by a period of years). Now, the circles they spin in are a lot smaller, and the time gaps between roles a lot shorter. GH, for instance, brought on actors Michael Eston, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth as their One Life to Live characters. A lawsuit from Prospect Park, which had re-launched OLTL online, forced the show to turn all three into new people within a matter of months.
Meanwhile, due to the furiously shrunken soap-opera universe, actor Tristan Rogers is pretty much bouncing back and forth as Colin on Y&R (where he plays the ex-husband of Genie Francis, who was his best-friend’s wife on GH) and Robert on GH, while Eileen Davidson is doing the same as Ashley on Y&R and Kristen on DOOL, and Wally Kurth is splitting his time between Justin on DOOL and Ned on GH. Because of the shows’ different shooting schedules, they sometimes air on both shows simultaneously.
Now, word comes that a pair of soap hoppers, Vincent Irizarry of Guiding Light (where he played two different roles), Santa Barbara, Y&R and All My Children, and Jordi Vilasuso of Guiding Light and All My Children, are coming to DOOL.
The reasons for casting the same actors over and over again are numerous. But the main two are that they bring their fan base from the previous show(s) and, when faced with 40 script pages that need to be done in one take, they know how to do it. That last bit counts for a lot when it comes to producers who most definitely don’t want to pay overtime.Soap hoppers are daytime’s reliable MVPs. And in honor of them, we list our three favorites at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/01/12/favorite-soap-opera-hoppers/