Susan Lucci Erika Slezak
Credit: Everett Collection; Mathew Imaging/

Soap fans don’t go away just because their favorite stars do. But while the four remaining soaps are probably hoping to absorb the millions of bereft fans who watch All My Children and One Life to Live, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to take on some of the more beloved denizens of Pine Valley and Llanview.

That’s because Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless — which are produced by Sony for NBC and CBS, respectively — underwent serious cuts in the last few years to remain profitable. (Remember how Eric Braeden was all in a tizzy over his salary?). Days would have to cut an existing actor to make way for an out-of-work one from AMC or OLTL — assuming the sudser would even want to make such a move. “Not sure they’d want to,” admits one high-ranking NBC insider. “They’re really running on a shoestring budget.”

Y&R makes more sense; after all, it just hired Genie Francis as a series regular and made a home for former AMCers like Eden Riegel (Heather) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe). But TV’s most-watched soap has already inherited actors from its canceled soaps (hope you are liking Genoa City, Guiding Light’s Marcy Rylan and As the World Turns Maura West!). Plus, it has 30-some regular cast members. How does CBS make room for a Susan Lucci and a Erika Slezak when it already has some serious daytime doyens like Jeanne Cooper, Melody Thomas Scott and Jess Walton? CBS’ other soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, only runs 30 minutes, making it even harder to shoehorn in additional talent.

“You have to write for all those people!” says one Y&R insider. “You’ve got to give them storylines! You can’t keep hiring.”

It probably makes more sense for GH to take on additional actors. But GH — like AMC, Days and the CBS sudsers — tapes in the Los Angeles area while OLTL is based in New York. Though AMC moved to the west coast, Lucci worked out a sweet deal to leave her east coast home just for a week or so out of each month.

Where do you think the folks of Pine Valley and Llanview should go?

Soap fans, come mourn with me @EWLynette