Fans of The Young and the Restless who’ve been holding out hope that the smoldering Shemar Moore will reprise his role as the tempestuous Malcolm Winters are in for a rude awakening … the dude’s never coming back! But his character is: EW has learned exclusively that Darius McCrary – best known for playing Eddie Winslow on the long-running ABC sitcom Family Matters – has signed a multi-year deal to assume the role beginning Nov. 18. His debut will air on Dec. 29.

“We are thrilled to have the character of Malcolm back on Y&R,” according to a statement from Maria Bell, the drama’s co-executive producer/head writer. “Malcolm, Neil Winters’ brother, has always been a catalyst to exciting stories. He’s coming back to town to see his brother and to reunite with his biological daughter, Lily Winters, as she fights for her life. Malcolm is a photographer…someone who lives on the edge and who always pushes the envelope.”

Though he left the sudser in 2005 to co-star in CBS’ Criminal Minds, Moore once entertained the thought of briefly returning to the show that made him a star. His reps could not be reached for comment, but it seems obvious that Moore’s busy schedule (Minds is about to air its 100th episode) — combined with the fact that Bell wanted the Malcolm character back full-time — made it impossible for Moore to return (one insider even said that Moore has been approached before about coming back to the show but it was clear that it wouldn’t work out because of his commitment to Minds).

McCrary will find a familiar face on the Y&R set; the Emmy-winning Bryton James (Devon) used to co-star as Richie Crawford on Family Matters, as well.

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