Two Passions stars have been let go. Richard Steinmetz, who joined the show in 2004, and Brandi Burkhardt, who first appeared earlier this year, are out.

The Passions cast will soon shrink by several members as the show phases out some of its characters and drops some of its contract players to recurring status. The move may come as a response to a mandate issued to the NBC soap that it dramatically pare its budget.

Richard Steinmetz (Martin Fitzgerald) has been dropped from his contract and placed on recurring status. While the official word is that the actor could appear again in the future, Steinmetz seems resigned to the fact that his days with Passions are done.

"I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with some of the best [actresses] in the business," Steinmetz said of co-stars Leigh Taylor-Young (Katherine Crane) and Eva Tamargo (Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald).

A final airdate for Steinmetz was not made available.

Meanwhile, newcomer Brandi Burkhardt (Siren) has been let go. The actress, who joined the Passions cast on April 21, will exit later this month. The introduction of a mermaid to the supernatural-tilting soap was heralded as one of the most shocking plot lines in soap opera history. However, fans seemed to tire of the plot device and the writing team has decided to phase out the character.

Burkhardt last airs on September 25. The role of Siren will not be recast.

In other exit news, temporary Chris fill-in Marsh Mokhtari will leave Passions this month. Mokhtari was called in to sub for Adrian Wilson (Chris Boothe) when the actor was briefly hospitalized for an undisclosed ailment. Wilson returns to the show on September 21st.

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