In February, contract talks between Byrne and As the World Turns execs hit a roadblock, prompting Byrne to make the difficult decision to leave the show. Speculation swirled as to the reason for Byrne's exit. In a rare move, the show issued a statement on Byrne's departure, hinting that Byrne brought about the exit of her own accord.
"We made Martha an incredibly generous offer in hopes that she would remain a valuable member of the As The World Turns cast," Christopher Goutman, ATWT's executive producer, said in a statement.
To that point, Byrne had remained silent on the issue, but was moved to comment after the show released its statement. The actress asserted that she very much wanted to remain on as Lily, but that the show had not negotiated in good faith. Byrne stated that she wanted the show to offer her a contract with a guarantee that she would have appeared in the same number of episodes as she had the year before. Show brass refused and the situation was further exacerbated when a casting call was put out for Byrne's not-yet-vacated role.
Though perhaps not as well-known to daytime viewers as Byrne, Noelle Beck does have a lengthy soap opera run under her belt. From 1984 to 1995, Beck appeared as Trisha Alden on ABC's Loving. Since then, Beck has made numerous guest appearances in primetime series. Her most recent work was featured in the NBC primetime series Cashmere Mafia.
"I get cast a lot as the poor little rich girl or a girl that's got money," Beck laughingly said of her career arc in a 2004 Soap Opera Weekly interview. Her ability to hit that particular note bodes well for her stepping into the shoes of Lily Walsh Snyder, the penultimate poor little rich girl.
In a web chat just two days after filming her final ATWT scenes, Byrne stated that Lily would head out of Oakdale in a limousine and return at a later date with a different face. In the same chat, Byrne sent good wishes to her inevitable replacement.
"I only wish whoever it is the best of luck," Byrne told her fans. "She will be working with an incredible group of people."
Byrne will make her final As the World Turns appearance on April 22nd. She has already landed her first post-ATWT gig, starring in the play Other People's Money at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, NY. The play runs from May 1st until June 1st.
Beck will debut on May 8th.