Monday, April 15, 2024

Soap Opera Cliffhanger Resolved: Doug Davidson, Longest Running Cast Member of “Young and the Restless,” Is Back


Good news for soap fans and for common sense.

Doug Davidson, who’s played Paul Williams for 40 years, is back on “The Young and the Restless” after months of being taken off contract.

Davidson, a gentleman, announced last fall that the show had no plans for him after 4 decades. He’s won Emmy Awards, and been the captain of the team, so to speak, through a lot of good times and bad.

Now ex-producer Mal Young started writing out the show’s veterans last year, and swept Davidson out. Also gone were Eileen Davidson (no relation), and several others. The show’s ratings tanked. Young was ultimately fired. It’s hoped that Young’s victims will all return if they haven’t been killed off.

An interesting aspect of this was how it all happened. Apparently, the show’s nominal star, Eric Braeden, took off around Labor Day and didn’t return. He became very vocal on social media. There must have been some real great backstage wrangling on his part. Braeden at one point admitted that Young was trying to get rid of him, too.

Braeden was like a deposed leader of a banana republic. Now he’s back, and so are his minions. Congrats to him!

The sad part is that the show was writing out Kristoff St. John, only adding to his depression about his deceased son. St. John took his own life, a terrible turn of events.

There’s something weird about the insular world of soap operas. The actors usually don’t speak out, thinking they will risk being fired or blackballed. New executive producers come in, convinced they will re-invent the wheel. It never works. Just watch “SoapDish” or “Tootsie.”


PS If the show really wanted to be clever they’d bring on songwriter Paul Williams for a cameo.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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