The list of actors departing Days of our Lives continues to grow. Amid the already announced decisions by Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Deveraux) and Farah Fath (Mimi Lockhart) to leave the show and the forced exits of Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux), Christie Clark (Carrie Brady) and Austin Peck (Austin Reed) comes word that Jason Cook (Shawn Douglas Brady) will exit DAYS by the end of the month.
Cook's departure may not come as a surprise to fans of Days of our Lives, but it does not make his exit any less emotional. Last year, Cook inked a new one-year contract with the NBC soap. The contract was structured in such a way that Cook was able to remain a contract player with DAYS, but also pursue other outside projects. Cook was off-screen earlier this year while he filmed the movie Social Security Guard.
A native of New Jersey, Cook joined the Days of our Lives cast in 1999. While he did not originate the role - four other performers walked in Shawn's shoes before Cook - he has held the role longer than any other actor.
Show executives have already decided that Shawn is too vital to the show's story to simply disappear. After all, the character is the son of one of the show's biggest supercouples, Bo and Hope Brady. This may be one of the deciding factors in the show's decision to recast the role.
Newcomer Brandon Beemer has already started taping scenes as the new Shawn. While a newcomer to Salem, Beemer is not a total stranger to the world of daytime television. For several months in 2005 and 2006, Beemer appeared as Seth on ABC's General Hospital. In primetime, Beemer has guest-starred on CSI and was featured as Lucas on Season 4 of MTV's soap, Undressed. In addition to television work, Beemer has appeared in at least three feature films, including Material Girls, Suits on the Loose and The Brotherhood.
"I will be meeting up with Brandon Beemer (the new Shawn) and the DAYS acting coach next week to work on his first few episodes," wrote Farrah Fath (Mimi Lockhart) on her official web site. "We're taping eight episodes the week back from break (and Brandon's first week, period) so we agreed we should go over it before walking out on set that Monday and going 'Hi, I'm Farah,' 'Hi, I'm Brandon,' now let's start crying and screaming at each other."
Cook has no immediate plans for other projects. The actor has stated that he wants to spend time promoting Social Security Guard as well as catching up with friends.
Cook taped his final scenes on August 21 and will last air as Shawn on September 22, which is a Friday. Beemer will begin appearing the very next episode, September 25.