All My Children's latest casting coup comes at the expense of struggling CBS soap Guiding Light... again. Long-time GL veteran Beth Ehlers (Harley Cooper) exits the show later this month. An official announcement on her addition to the AMC cast is expected at any time.
While Guiding Light fans wonder if Ehlers' exit will bring about the end of the 71-year-old soap, All My Children fans have an entirely different question on their minds: who will Ehlers be playing when she debuts on All My Children? There are two popular theories and everyone wants to be the first to break the news. In fact, one publication ran a headline announcing Ehlers' new role only to have to retract the announcement in its next edition.
Despite reports to the contrary, Ehlers will not be playing the role of Liza Colby, though there is no word on whether or not the show still plans to recast the role previously held by actress Marcy Walker. Walker, who appeared on All My Children from 1981 to 1984 and again from 1995 through September 2004, has said that she has no desire to return to the acting world. She has since shed her stage name, opting to use her husband's surname of Smith, and begun work as a children's minister in North Carolina.
More recently, rumors have indicated that Ehlers might soon be taking on the role of Hayley Vaughan, a role last played by Kelly Ripa. Ripa appeared on AMC from November 1990 to December 2002. She has since gone on to star as Regis Philbin's co-host on Live! With Regis and Kelly.
Adding to the confusion over Ehlers' future role is the announcement of a new head writer at AMC. Earlier this month the show ousted the team of Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown and installed for General Hospital scribe Charles Pratt, Jr. It is widely believed that Pratt will ultimately decide how Ehlers fits into his vision for the show.
Regardless of the role Ehlers ends up playing on All My Children, she is expected to eventually reunite with her former Guiding Light love interest Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake Martin). As Harley Cooper and Gus Aituro, Ehlers and Goldin were one of the CBS soap's most popular couples. The couple twice earned fans' choice awards at the Daytime Emmys naming Harley and Gus the "Most Irresistible Combination" on daytime television.
An All My Children spokesperson did not respond to requests for a statement.