How to kill off a soap star
Daytime television is a ruthless business. Just ask Days of Our Lives character Tommy Horton who, in 1980, went up to the attic to retrieve his skis and never returned.
Or The Young and the Restless' Jill Abbott, who has been played by so many actresses across such a revolving door of actresses it's difficult to remember what she actually looks like*.
As the world comes to grips with the news that The Bold and the Beautiful will lose its boldest and most beautiful - dashing Ridge Forrester, played by actor Ronn Moss - the question must now be asked: what will be Ridge's eventual fate?
Death? Coma? Abduction by Prince Omar, the nefarious demi-villain who once abducted the lippy, lovestruck Dr Taylor Hayes? Or worse, a bit more plastic surgery than usual and the indignity of being replaced by a new actor?
It appears the last of those options - the old revolving door trick - is the most likely.
Bradley Bell, the head writer of The Bold and The Beautiful told US media that Ridge Forrester will not be killed off.
"Ridge will not be dead or presumed dead," he said. "He will just not be in the picture. Ridge is a pivotal part of the show and he will be back in a matter of time ... and probably not all that much time.
"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."
But the soap opera revolving door is a risk. And not all re-casts are successful, particularly when you're dealing with an iconic character and an audience as loyal as The Bold and The Beautiful's.
In Australia, the 1970s soap Number 96 replaced Abigail with Vicki Raymond but the audience didn't buy it and the character was written out shortly after.
Similarly, audiences didn't respond to the decision by Dallas producers to replace Barbara Bel Geddes - the show's iconic matriarch, Miss Ellie - with Donna Reed. A year later Bel Geddes was back on the show.
* in the greatest soap tradition, this statement may be overblown. In fact only three actresses have played Jill: Brenda Dickson, Deborah Adair and Jess Walton.
WHO COULD BE THE NEW RIDGE?
Soap opera pedigree: played TJ Werner on Guiding Light.
Suggested plot twist: Ridge been exploring the poncho factories of South America and playing Six Degrees of Ridge Forrester before returning to LA to take revenge.
Soap opera pedigree: played young Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara.
Suggested plot twist: Ridge leaves LA on a cruise liner which sinks. After kicking Kate Winslet off a bit of wreckage, he floats back to LA to take revenge.
Tommy Lee Jones
Soap opera pedigree: played Dr Mark Toland on One Life to Live.
Suggested plot twist: Ridge leaves LA for a job with the Men In Black agency, protecting earth against aliens. He then returns to LA to take revenge.
Soap opera pedigree: played Jackie Templeton in General Hospital.
Suggested plot twist: Ridge travels to Norway for a sex change operation and jaw transplant, before returning to LA - with boobs - to take revenge.
Soap opera pedigree: played Chris on Another World.
Suggested plot twist: Ridge leaves LA, marries Madonna, adopts a dozen children, changes his name to Ridge Von Trapp and returns to LA to take revenge.
Soap opera pedigree: played Dr Snapper Foster on The Young and The Restless.
Suggested plot twist: Ridge leaves LA and becomes a middle-aged lifeguard with a worrying paunch, before returning to LA to take revenge.
- Sydney Morning Herald