In one of the biggest casting moves of the year, The Bold and the Beautiful has hired multi-soap veteran Thorsten Kaye as its new Ridge Forrester. Kaye, who has spent the past nine years as Zach Slater on All My Children, will take over the role played for more than 25 years by Ronn Moss.
In an exclusive interview with TV Guide's Michael Logan, Kaye spoke about his new role and its potential impact on AMC, which relaunched as an Internet-based series earlier this year.
"I don't have a contract there anymore. It's sad, you know? And I hope it all works out for them," Kaye offered. "And I certainly hope that my leaving will not affect the show in some bad way. There is just so much uncertainty in this business, especially in what we've been trying to do with AMC."
Sources say that The Bold and the Beautiful has had its eye on Kaye for some time, but the actor's contract with Prospect Park, the producers of AMC, made him unavailable. All My Children has been on hiatus since a labor dispute stopped production in June. Prospect Park announced plans for a second season of All My Children last month, but a timeline for the show's resumption has not been established.
"Thorsten's powerful screen presence and vast range as an actor has intrigued me for years," B&B's head writer and executive producer Bradley Bell told Soaps In Depth. "The timing was right so I took the opportunity to cast him in the role of Ridge Forrester. I'm confident Thorsten will make this role unique on every level."
In July, B&B released a casting call for the role of Harper, and the description immediately set off speculation that it was to replace Ridge. Harper was described as a Caucasian male in his mid-to-late 40s. The casting notice also described the character as "Handsome! Very upscale. Great business man. A commanding presence. Refined -- comes from money."
Ridge Forrester is one of the original B&B characters. Ronn Moss created the role in March 1987, but the actor unexpectedly opted to exit the role in 2012. At the time, Moss said, "It's been a great run and all good things end eventually. As this door closes, others are opening. I want you all to come with me through these new doors of opportunities and experience how cool it's going to be."
"Ridge will not be dead or presumed dead," Bell said after Ridge was written off the canvas. "He will just not be in the picture. I don't want to do a presumed death because I don't want the story that follows to be all about Ridge. [...] There will be a period of time without Ridge, which is where some new, interesting avenues for Brooke will come into play. But at some point it will be necessary for Ridge to return to the show. Who will be playing the role at that point remains to be seen."
Kaye began his daytime run as Patrick Thornhart on One Life to Live in 1995. The actor exited the show in 1997 but returned to ABC's lineup as Patrick's brother, Ian, on the General Hospital spinoff, Port Charles. A year after that series' 2003 cancellation, Kaye joined All My Children and -- with the exception of a short period after the show relocated from New York to Los Angeles -- he remained with the show through its network television finale in September 2011. Kaye rejoined AMC for the show's online incarnation, which began in April 2013.
During his time in daytime, Kaye has received four Daytime Emmy nominations as Outstanding Lead Actor.
Kaye acknowledges that he has his work cut out for him with the new role, explaining that he hopes that he will not be "tarred and feathered" by fans. He will first air as Ridge on The Bold and the Beautiful on December 13.
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