One Life to Live is about to subtract one of the Buchanans from its roster. While the actor's departure may come as a surprise, the problems that the show seems to have in keeping this role viable are anything but a surprise. Soap Central has learned that on August 23rd Dan Gauthier (Kevin Buchanan) was informed that he was being released from the show.
"It is with sadness that I have to officially report that Dan has been let go by One Life to Live," read a message on Gauthier's official web site. "He was told that they plan to write Kevin off by sending him out of the country somewhere and do not plan to recast."
The official explanation offered to Gauthier by the network deals with his perceived likeability among the fans. According to an inside source, the network-hired focus groups do not have an overall favorable opinion of the character of Kevin. For those familiar with ABC Daytime's recent hirings and firings, this "unlikeability" factor from focus groups is the same reason that ABC gave for firing The View co-host Star Jones Reynolds.
Gauthier, who joined One Life to Live in 2003, is the eighth actor to portray Kevin since 1990 and the eleventh actor overall. For one reason or another, One Life to Live's casting department has had a difficult time keeping an actor in the role for any length of time. The average lifespan for an actor holding down the role of Kevin has been a little over one year. Timothy Gibbs , the Kevin directly before Gauthier, was a One Life to Live cast member for three years. Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to the 1970s to find an actor who portrayed Kevin for more than three years: Morgan K. Melis played a young Kevin from 1976 to 1981.
"[Dan] has enjoyed his time on One Life to Live and has always enjoyed meeting the fans," the statement on Gauthier's web site continues. "He thanks all of you for your support over the past four years."
Gauthier's co-stars are weighing in with their unhappiness over the decision to let the actor go and many have urged fans to write to the network to help keep Gauthier around.
"I am saddened by the news of [the departures of] Dan Gauthier and Heather Tom," Hillary B. Smith (Nora Hanen) said. "Kevin is a Buchanan and a Lord and Kelly is a Buchanan and a Kramer. They are both exceptional actors and wonderful people."
"I love working with Dan and I don't want to lose him," said Erika Slezak (Victoria Davidson). "Dan is a brilliant actor and it would be a great loss to the show if he were no longer playing Kevin Buchanan".
"Dan is a very talented actor and as anyone who's had the good fortune to have met him knows an even better human being. His presence around the studio and his contribution to One Life to Live will be deeply missed," added Michael Easton (John McBain), who himself was on the verge of being cut from the cast earlier this year.
Gauthier was informed of the network's decision to let him go on August 23rd. He will remain on-screen through the November Sweeps period. Gauthier will last air on November 16th.