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Quality Casting

In recent weeks I have stressed the importance of quality writing in soaps, what works and what does not. In this post I want to discuss the importance of quality casting. It sounds simple enough to say that every show needs talented actors in order to stay afloat, but many shows seem to struggle with this, even with the thousands and thousands of out-of-work actors looking for work.

Y&R is certainly a show that I would say struggles with finding talented actors to fill their roles. The only truly great find that Y&R has had in recent months has been Billy Miller (Billy), but technically they did not find him because he was on All My Children first. I would say that Y&R got lucky in casting Billy. He has the right look and is a gifted actor who is believable as an Abbott. Y&R has not been so lucky in finding other talent. Neither of the actresses they have hired to play Eden have been suitable for that role. The first actress (Erin Sanders) seemed too inexperienced to take on that sort of material and the new Eden (Vanessa Marano) just does not fit somehow. However, it is entirely possible that the fault lies within the makeup of the character, a writing flaw. Y&R's casting problems continued when they hired Clementine Ford to play Mac, a role that is just not right for her. First of all she looks too old to have been Billy's high school sweetheart. This was obvious from day one. And even though Y&R has apparently given her hair extensions to try to make her look younger, it is just not working. She has no chemistry with Billy and does not seem to connect with any of the other actors on an emotional level. Then of course, there is Michael Muhney who replaced Chris Engen as Adam a few weeks ago. I know that Y&R had little notice of Engen's departure, but I am sure they auditioned other actors for the Adam role before hiring Engen, so I am surprised that they could not find someone other than Muhney to fill that role. I must reiterate, however, that Y&R's problems are more complex than just poor casting, so I am going to move on to GH, a show that is excelling in finding great talent.


GH is in the middle of aging their younger actors by replacing them with older talent. This is a pitfall for many shows, a task that can either be beneficial or harmful to a show's storylines and overall quality, depending on the actors that are hired. Fortunately for GH they seem to have a brilliant casting department because lately they have hired young actors that not only fit in their roles but seem to be thriving in them. For close to a year fans of the show waited to see if the Michael character would wake up from his coma, a more mature version of his former self. Everyone hated to see Dylan Cash exit the role of Michael, uncertain if another actor would be able to fill his shoes. And while the new Michael, aka Drew Garrett, is completely unlike Cash's Michael, Garrett shines in this role and takes the character to a whole new level. Another great find has been the actress who plays the older Kristina, Lexi Ainsworth. She not only looks every bit like her fictional mother's daughter, and Sam's half-sister, but fits the role so well it is hard to imagine anyone else playing this part. The part of Kristina was soon followed by the casting of her other half sister Molly, played by Haley Alexis Pullos. And while it is too soon to tell what if anything the aging of Molly will bring to GH, Pullos seems capable of holding her own as a young actress and certainly looks the part of Molly. Another recent great find for GH has been the introduction of Olivia and Sonny's son Dante, played by Dominic Zamprogna. Fans have waited for a long time to see who would play Olivia and Sonny's secret love child and so far Zamprogna has not disappointed. He seems to have chemistry with every actor he has shared a scene with and looks exactly like how one would expect Sonny's son to look. He even shares some of Sonny's mannerisms.

These are just recent examples of GH's good fortune in finding the right actors to fill their roles. And unlike other soaps, I have been unable to detect any casting errors on this show for a long time. GH seems to be taking their time with both writing and casting to make sure all of the pieces fit just right before presenting them to the viewers. They seem to realize that quality is more important than quantity of storylines or actors. And in the end this type of patience will pay off for both the viewers and the show.

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