Not Making the Same Mistake

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Do recasts deserve a chance?

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Are the Fans Right Again this Time?

Dear Suds Buds,

Late last year, Days of our Lives lost one of its fan faves when Kirsten Storms (ex Belle) opted to leave daytime to pursue a primetime career.  Nothing much the show could do, but wish her well on her other endeavors and look to recast the role of Belle. 

The first actress brought in was a teen horror movie starlet named Charity Rahmer.  She was blond like Storms, more slight than Storms, but was not the most confident and secure in front of the camera.  Days fans were brutal in their criticism of the nuBelle from the first day she aired in the role.  Soapdom’s boards buzzed with dismay and chagrin at the casting choice. 

I always take a wait and see attitude.  It’s not easy for an actor to assume a role that had been once portrayed by a fan favorite.  The new actor is different. Has different vocal range. Looks different.  Acts different.  And I can remember writing in this column that the fans should try to give her the benefit of the doubt and let her work her way into the role. 

The day after my column was published, which was the second day Rahmer starred in the role of Belle, I was given quite a surprise.  The powers that be at Days of our Lives contacted us to say that the role was going to be recast.  Yipes, I thought.  That was quick, but I guess the show runners were about as impressed with Rahmer in the role as the fans were.  Not that Rahmer isn’t a fine actor, but perhaps the rigors of daytime just weren’t yet in her bailiwick.  So, no sooner was she cast and aired, she was out.  Shortly thereafter, Days cast Martha Madison as Belle, and although fans still clamored for Kirsten Storms to return in the role, they definitely took to Madison far more readily than they did to Rahmer. Madison still portrays the character.

Fast-forward to April 2005.  Tamara Braun, fan favorite star of General Hospital in the role of Carly, chooses not to renew her contract so that she may pursue other film and television work.  Braun had stepped in when Sarah Brown originally vacated the role of Carly several years ago. (Brown recently showed up in Oakdale to stir things up as Julia, who caused havoc and was murdered.)  Braun was terribly nervous about fan reaction as her predecessor was also extremely well-liked.  The fans took to Braun in spades, however, as she made the character of Carly her own.

But now that Braun has moved on, GH has cast Jennifer Bransford in the role of Carly.  Last Monday was her first air date.  Soapdom’s boards are already buzzing and the news isn’t good. Again, fans are loathe to welcome her into the fold.  Again, I took the position on the boards to give her a chance.  But in the case of Days of our Lives miscast of Charity Rahmer, I am not one to say so quickly this time that the fans are wrong.  Will GH pull the plug on Bransford like Days did with Rahmer?  Or will Bransford find her footing in the role and win over fans and show runners alike?  Only time will tell.

And here’s one for the coincidence files.  Kirsten Storms, who originally played Belle on Days, is now about to star on General Hospital when she assumes the role of Maxie in late May.  Will GH fans be receptive? We’ll just have to wait and see!

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Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

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