Sami Brady is going to have to start looking for a new roommate. Matt Cedeno, who joined Days of Our Lives in 1997, has announced that his character, Brandon Walker, is being written out of the show. Cedeno will continue to air through May. "Matt got really close with the cast, and he's going to miss that," says the actor's publicist. "But he's looking forward to new possibilities and opportunities that will come his way." Days declined to comment on the actor's release at this time. Cedeno will still participate in Fan Festival, an outdoor showcase of NBC soap and Telemundo stars on April 5 at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles, Calif. "I may be leaving the show, but I'm still dedicated to my fans, so I will definitely be there," Cedeno assures TV Guide Online. The handsome hottie, voted one of People magazine's Most Beautiful, may well be on to the next stage of his career. He's returning as a co-host on The Other Half on April 28 and 29 and May 19. (NBC, 12pm/ET)
NO MORE DAYS FOR JOHNSON
In other Days news... Philip Kiriakis is definitely returning to Salem, but he won't be played by his last portrayer, Jay Kenneth Johnson. Johnson, who was in talks to reprise his role in August, had to pass on the opportunity to accept a leading role in Aaron Spelling's remake of Hotel, a pilot project for UPN. Johnson plays Ethan Cox, a handsome bartender who works at the lavish resort. Johnson is already shooting the production in Los Angeles and Florida. "He's very excited," declares his rep. "He's been working out to get his body in tiptop condition for all those beach scenes." Days has put out a casting call to find the next Kiriakis heir. No word yet on whether he'll be a striking blonde as well.
STILL IN FOCUS
They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but it's certainly not saying "You're fired," to One Life to Live's Nathan Purdee (Hank) and Shanelle Workman (Flash). Purdee, an accomplished photographer, recently staged himself and several colleagues in a vampire-inspired portrait piece called "Beautiful Murders" as part of the "Indulge Your Photographic Fantasy" exhibit, sponsored by American Photo magazine. After published reports deemed the shots, which appeared on the Internet, as "sex photos," rumors flew that the Purdee and his muse colleague had been axed from Llanview. "They have not been fired in response to the photo exhibit," reassures an OLTL rep. Former castmate Teddy Sears (ex-Chad), who also appears in the exhibit, stands behind Purdee's artistic vision. "I was very proud of the work I did. It was nothing that my friends nor family wouldn't be able to see, and nothing that I feel uncomfortable with," he shares. "Unfortunately there were other photographers who weren't adhering the theme and ended up shooting some poses in more provocative ways than they were meant to be shot... When the photos come out in American Photo, you will see them the way they were meant to be portrayed," he states. "I was happy to work with Nathan, and I would absolutely do it again."
SOAPNET DOLLS UP FOR AWARDS
Taffeta and tuxedos need not apply as Soapnet presents the Soap Opera Digest Awards, where daytime viewers select the winners. The network will broadcast the ceremony on April 5, which has been declared "Soap Day" by Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn. "This is going to be one sexy, cool awards show," exclaims Ty Treadway (Troy, OLTL), who will host the 90-minute broadcast with his Soap Talk co-star, Lisa Rinna (ex-Bille, Days). "It's definitely edgier," he reveals, and that starts with the Hollywood hip dress code. "'s Erin Hershey-Presley (Alison) and Kelly Monaco (Livvie) and Tamara Braun (Carly, GH), they all have great figures, so I'm sure they'll dress in some sexy stuff." As for his own wardrobe choice for the evening, Treadway teases, "I don't know exactly, but I know leather will be involved." Soapnet has added a new category to the line-up, the Soapnet Plot Twist Award, and will kickoff the show with an opening number. "I hope I'm not singing," Treadway chuckles. "People would tune out immediately." Fans voted on categories such as Outstanding Newcomer and Favorite Couple, which makes the emcee duties more appealing for Treadway. "I'm hoping we won't have to take ourselves so seriously, and we can wink with the audience." Shouldn't be too hard to accomplish in buckskin. Catch all the funky glory live on April 5 (Soapnet, 8pm/ET).
ATWT CELEBRATES 12,000
The stars were out — silver and gold ones — atop the two-tier cake As The World Turns wheeled on its set on April 2 to celebrate 47 years on air and its 12,000th episode. "We should be celebrating our 12,530 show, but we've been preempted 530 times," declared original cast member Helen Wagner (Nancy), who uttered ATWT's first lines. When asked how she came up with her figure, Wagner's husband, Broadway producer Robert Willey, chimed in, "It's Helen's math." The Valentine's Day special that aired last year has become Wagner's favorite ATWT moment. "I think it's the best show we've ever done," she revealed. "We're up for the Emmy, and that's our show . We really do deserve it for that." Katherine Hays (Kim), who's clocked 31 years in Oakdale, credited ATWT's commitment to family as the backbone of its longevity. "Our head makeup artist was watching an old episode, and he was absolutely stunned on how the families immediately pulled him into the show and made him want to stay with it." ATWT's newest cast member, Grayson McCouch (Dusty) feels that sense of family extends off-screen as well. "I think I'm fitting in quite well," he shared. "It's such a hallmark of daytime, and it's certainly a great ship to get on board." His thoughts were echoed by longtime ATWT vet Don Hastings (Bob). "We are a very close group here. Some of us have come and gone, some are still with us. It's a good place to come and work." The 12,000th episode is scheduled to air on May 6.
The Young and the Restless has promoted headwriter Jack Smith to the position of co-executive producer... ATWT will audition for its next soap star on The Early Show (CBS, 7 am/ET) beginning April 21. Fans will be able to vote for their favorite competitors... Nancy Sloan (Katie) and Ethan Wayne (Storm) return to B&B for a very special event on April 30... Soapnet, the cable network dedicated to soap-related programming, can now be seen in 30 million households.... ATWT's Larry Bryggman (John) is set to star in A Bad Friend at Lincoln Center in New York City, beginning May 15... Screenwriter Ben Watkins (Wesley, Y&R) is about to commence production on his urban thriller Winners, which stars soap alum Roger Guenveur Smith (ex-Miles, AMC) and film vet Nick Turturro... OLTL is currently casting a teen male to play River, Reverend Andrew and Cassie Carpenter's adopted son... GH is searching for a 40-something debonair male to join its canvas. Sources whisper it may be a recast for Stefan Cassadine.
All My Children: The Brady Bunch alum Eve Plumb guest stars as a talk show personality on April 7.
As the World Turns: WCBS-TV correspondent Katie McGee plays a reporter who aks difficult questions during Jessica's press conference on April 9.
Guiding Light: Elizabeth Roby plays Harley's nurse on April 7... Nathan Corrdry is Mr. Whiting, a Spaulding Enterprises employee, on April 8... On April 9, Chad L. Coleman plays Moses, an internal affairs employee investigating Gus, and Wills Robbins plays a union representative.
Passions: Christopher Johnston and Carl Bresk portray cops on April 8.
ODDS AND ENDS
WCBS-TV Entertainment/Arts reporter for New York City Katie McGee is in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes with a inside peek of As the World Turns for CBS 2 This Morning on April 9 (CBS, 5 am/ET).
Jonathan Bennett (ex-JR, AMC) guest stars as Ethan Guest, a student running for student council president, on Boston Public on April 7 (FOX 8pm/ET).
Kelly Preston (ex-Gillian, Capitol) gets all that's coming to her in the Brit-infused teen comedy What a Girl Wants, which opens on April 4.
Spring is finally in the air, and it's stirring up some old romantic notions for As the World Turns's Grayson McCouch (Dusty). He relived his first kiss for TV Guide Online during ATWT's 47th birthday anniversary celebration. "Her name was Kristen Patteu. I think I was in the third grade," he recalls with a grin. "After kickball, when we were being called to line up before we went back to class, all the guys gathered around to watch. Kristen and I were waiting for the big moment and then we kissed." A prepubescent McCouch was unprepared for the reaction his liplock caused on the playground. "It was terrifying," he moans. "Everybody roared and applauded. I was so embarrassed. I had no idea that everyone would respond in such a horrid manner." Was McCouch egged on by pint-sized peer pressure, or did he actually dig the gal who got smooched? "Oh yeah, I liked her. She was a beautiful girl," he remarks. "She was great at kickball."
MY POV: Talk about an intriguing plot twist, Port Charles style! Take a charismatic vampire, who believes he's destined to suffer eternally as a creature of the night, then hit him with an unimaginable fear — that of mortality. It's a downright tasty character transition for Michael Easton, who has played PC's top chopper for several months. Other PC actors like Thorsten Kaye (Ian), Brian Presley (Jack), Ian Buchanan (Joshua) and Rebecca Staab (Elizabeth) had to tear into themselves and heighten their senses of awareness as their characters morphed into blood-sucking fiends. But Easton's facing a reverse commute; he must uncover the extraordinary qualities that define an ordinary man. That shouldn't be too hard for Easton who has subtly infused his supernatural alter-ego with the humanlike qualities of guilt, regret and compassion. This is one actor who's sharp enough — even without fangs — to pull off the challenge.