Mantooth had been offered to join the show in a one-month-long role as Opal's new love interest. The role, which would have been recurring, apparently did not fit into Mantooth's schedule. Mantooth is currently at work on a show based in Los Angeles.
With Mantooth out, AMC approached Dukes of Hazzard veteran Tom Wopat. Wopat accepted the job offer and will begin appearing as Hank Pelham by early December. In an interesting twist, Wopat has ties to All My Children star Susan Lucci (Erica Kane). Wopat appeared with Lucci during her run on Broadway's Annie Get Your Gun.
The move to cast a new love interest for Opal comes in the wakes of hints from AMC head writer Richard Culliton that Opal is not yet done fighting for ex-hubby Palmer Cortlandt. Though Culliton did not state that Opal and Palmer would get back together, he has said that Opal hasn't gotten over the pain of losing her "Lovebug."
Wopat begins airing on December 5.