2008 has been a year of marked diversity in All My Children's cast. Since January, the show has added six African-American characters to its roster. It's by far the biggest attempt to provide a better cross-section of society since the mid-1990s and the introduction of the Santos family. Now, however, comes word that two of the actors are on their way out.
Newcomer YaYa DaCosta (Cassandra Foster) will exit her role sometime in August, according to a show insider. The former runner-up on America's Next Top Model debuted as Cassandra back in April. DaCosta has been slow to win over fans, with many viewers either questioning her character's purpose or grumbling about the character's presence.
The exit is said to be dictated by story. An All My Children spokesperson did not respond to requests for a statement.
Meanwhile, published reports say that Mario Van Peebles (Samuel Woods) is exiting All My Children. Despite the high-profile addition of Van Peebles back in January, the actor has been on recurring status with AMC. He has never been a contract player. Accordingly, Van Peebles is under no obligation to the ABC soap and can pursue other projects.
Van Peebles will return to the FX series Damages this fall where he plays Agent Harrison. Ironically, Van Peebles' role on Damages is also recurring.
Meanwhile, an AMC spokesperson denies that Van Peebles is bolting, commenting that Van Peebles "continues to appear on recurring status and will continue to appear on recurring status."
In terms of story, Van Peebles' exit would seem to be the most easily facilitated. With his character running for public office, Van Peebles' character could simply win the election in the fall and be sent off to Washington, D.C. The fate of Cassandra is far less certain. As buzz grows that newly anointed head writer Charles Pratt, Jr. is planning a massive "umbrella story" that will involve a natural disaster, so does word that Angie Hubbard may have to cope with the death of another loved one.