According to a Guiding Light spokesperson, the departure is storyline dictated. "We're taking the character in a new direction," explains the spokesperson. "We will miss Billy, and we wish him all the best in future endeavors."
"Billy loved his time on the show; it's been a positive experience," a representative for Kay said in a statement.
With a new type of storyline in the pipe for Shayne, show executives felt it best to recast the role. This is a relatively common occurrence in soaps; when a character suddenly takes on a new demeanor, there is a belief that some viewers will have a hard time believing an actor that they've been watching can suddenly act so differently.
After Kay exits, daytime newcomer Marty West will assume the role. While Guiding Light will be the actor's first daytime gig, he has seen previous television experience as Pepper in the HBO series, Six Feet Under. West also appeared as Master Fry in the Austin Powers' flick, Goldmember.
Kay makes his final appearance on January 24th. West makes his debut on Valentine's day, February 14th.