"After much consideration, I had decided to approach [ATWT executive producer] Chris Goutman about the possibility of my leaving the show," Chase said in an official statement. "It was decided that it was in both our best interests to go our separate ways, as the storyline ran dry and my own professional desires were leading me elsewhere."
Chase later stated that ATWT execs decided against picking up the third year of his three-year contract.
Chase joined the cast of As the World Turns in December 2002. He was the seventh actor to have played the role of Chris Hughes. Chase's tenure as Chris is one of the longest of the pack; the first Chris, Adam Hirshan, lasted from 1987 to 1990 and Paul Korver had an almost-two-year run from 1999 to March 2001.
"I wish the show the very best and thank the fans from the bottom of my heart who have supported me the last two years," Chase added. "I hope that you continue to take an interest in my career and I encourage you to keep in touch."
An As the World Turns spokesperson confirmed that Chase will be exiting the show, adding that the exit is "storyline-dictated." Chase's contract expires December 10th. The role of Chris Hughes will not be recast at this time, according to a show spokesperson.