Emily O'Brien to Exit 'Y&R' After Soap Looks to Concentrate on Core Families

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — According to published reports, CBS' "The Young and the Restless" has let actress Emily O'Brien go. The two time Daytime Emmy Award nominee, who joined the cast of "Y&R" in the then recurring role of Jana Hawkes Fisher, the future wife of Kevin Fisher (Greg Rikaart), on May 11, 2006, was said to have been in shock when she learned the news. O'Brien was upped to contract status with the soap in October 2006.

In an interview with Soaps.com, O'Brien revealed that she learned she was being let go by her manager. "I think it was the beginning of March, on the fourth. I was on a run and my manager called me to say I was let go," O'Brien said. After her initial shock, the actress made it clear that she has no hard feelings towards the soap. "I'm not taking it personally," stated O'Brien. "The show assured me that this had nothing to do with my performance, which was very sweet." According to the actress, the reason for her ouster is due to a decision by executives to concentrate on core families in an effort to shore up sagging ratings. "They said that they're trying to get back to the core families. I think it had something to do with the ratings, and I understand that," said O'Brien.

Maria Arena Bell, Executive Producer and Head Writer of "Y&R," made it clear in an interview with On-Air, On-Soaps, following news of O'Brien's ouster, that she adores and respects the actress."I love Emily as an actress! She is one of the great young actresses on the show, and it's much more about a character arc and a story point, and has absolutely nothing to do with her as a performer. She has always delivered and was always terrific." Bell also shared that she'll miss O'Brien, but a story is a story in the end. "I am going to miss her very, very much," Bell said. "But again, it's about the storytelling and storytelling has to keep moving forward."

Prior to joining "The Young and the Restless," O'Brien appeared in an episode of ABC's canceled "What About Brian," and had roles in such films as "Seance," "South of Hell," "Rock & Role Eulogy" and "Champagne Society."

While O'Brien's last tape date was Thursday, March 31, and no definitive last airdate has been announced by the soap, sources confirm that O'Brien's last airdate will be the end of April or early May.

  • The Young and the Restless
  • Greg Rikaart
  • Comings & Goings
  • Emily O’Brien
  • Maria Arena Bell
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