Billy Miller (left), David Tom (right)
Yesterday, news broke that Billy Miller, who's portrayed Billy Abbott on The Young and the Restless since 2008, couldn't reach a deal with the producers and will be leaving the role that's won him two Daytime Emmy Awards. In a surprising twist, David Tom, the first actor to portray Billy as an adult, is returning to the role nearly twelve years after leaving. Tom, who was critically acclaimed, portrayed Billy from 1999 to 2002 (the last known period that Y&R was said to be "golden") and also won a Daytime Emmy for his portrayal in 2000.
I, for one, am very surprised by this casting change. It isn't completely shocking that Miller is leaving, because he's a great actor and should definitely be pursuing primetime roles, but the fact that Tom is returning is very surprising to me. Given the fact that Jill Farren Phelps (executive producer of Y&R) is heavily known for casting people she's previously worked with (known as "friends of Jill"), we all kind of assumed that we'd have to deal with another one of her friends as fan fave Billy. But it appears the powers-that-be have pleasantly shocked all of us! Tom was widely popular with viewers and critics alike and surely created the basis for what Billy Abbott is today.
However, what I find strange is that Miller's rumoured exit was kept secret for so long. Casting calls issued in the summer for contract roles were reported to in fact be a recast for Billy, including Andrew Abbott, who was said to be a previously unknown Abbott cousin and a doctor. That character information was met with much negativity and I'm glad that never actually materialized. Morever, it all happened very quick; revelations that Miller was in heated contract negotiations one day, and the next, he's out and Tom is returning. Makes me think talks with Tom began secretly awhile back, and he's been kept in the wings since then. A bit too good to be true if you ask me, but maybe the climate of the show is generally turning around. I'm quite enjoying all of the current storylines and the casting changes are quite pleasing. All we can do is watch! Miller will continue taping at Y&R until December 19. His last airdate will be January 30, with Tom's return scheduled for February 3, 2014. Catch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS.