Bryan Dattilo, who has appeared as Lucas Roberts on Days of our Lives off and on since 1993, will be returning to the show in 2012. Rumors of Dattilo's return surfaced last month when the actor was spotted near the soap's Burbank studio.

When Bryan R. Dattilo (Lucas Roberts) was spotted outside the Days of our Lives studio last week, it raised some eyebrows -- and led to speculation that the actor might be headed back to Salem. NBC has now confirmed what fans suspected: Datillo will return on-screen to Days of our Lives in early 2012.

"We are very excited Bryan Dattilo, who has been greatly missed on the show, is back in Salem," co-executive producer Greg Meng said in a statement first obtained by Soap Opera Digest. "The reset of DAYS is about bringing core families back together, rekindling old romances, and sparking new ones."

Dattilo first appeared on Days of our Lives in 1993. He remained with the show for eight years before exiting in March 2001. He returned briefly to DAYS in February 2002 before signing on for a long-term contract in September 2002. Dattilo exited DAYS in February 2010 after the NBC soap declined to renew his contract. The actor, however, issued a statement asserting that he had quit and had not been fired.

Dattilo was last seen on-screen in June 2010 for Alice's memorial.

A first airdate has yet to be announced, but fans will have to wait a little while to see Dattilo. Dattilo isn't expected on-screen until February.

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