CBS' The Young and the Restless is reportedly in the midst of recasting the role of Summer Newman, a legacy character who's been played by Hunter King since 2012.
According to Soap Hub, the daytime drama has issued a casting call for Summer, who is described as "a dynamic, attractive woman in her late 20's - savvy, fun-loving, and refined, from a powerful and rich family." The casting notice says the open position is a contract role with producing studio Sony Pictures Television with the potential of being a three-year deal.
The recast news comes as a shock to many Y&R fans who were disappointed by Hunter King's exit in 2021, which was reportedly due to an impasse regarding her contract. Michael Mealor, who played the role of Summer's beau, Kyle Abbott, was also written out, allegedly for the same reason, which led to Summer and Kyle moving to Italy together.
King and Mealor made a brief return to Y&R last October for Ashland (then Richard Burgi) and Victoria's (Amelia Heinle) wedding, which took place in Tuscany. At that time, King spoke with Soap Opera Digest and revealed that she had decided to focus on her education following her exit from the CBS soap.
"I'm taking an accelerated math class that's only six weeks long, but next quarter, I'll be taking a lot more classes," she shared at the time. "As of right now, my major will be psychology. And hopefully, I'll be working that in with acting, but I'm in the pursuit of learning as much as I can and constantly growing as a person."
She also noted that her own mental health issues were instrumental in spurring her toward studying psychology.
"Depression is something I've struggled with for years, so I'm passionate about finding ways to not only help myself but others in that way. That would be extremely rewarding for me," she shares. "I also went to Europe for a while and I'm also auditioning, but I feel like I'm at a weird crossroads in my life of, 'What do I want to do next?' I'm just taking it day by day of exploring what options are out there for me. I have a lot of things brewing, so, it's about finding out which one is the most interesting to me."
As for how she felt about a future in Genoa City, King told SOD, "Y&R will always have a huge place in my heart. I'm not sure exactly what the future holds and how often I'll be back, and how often they want me to come back, but I'm always open to coming back."
In addition to today’s surprise appearance and her appearance last October, the two-time Emmy-winning King also popped onto the screen for a special Y&R episode that centered on the life of Summer’s father, Nicholas Newman (Joshua Morrow). The Christmas episode saw the actress appearing as Summer via an on-screen call with her dad. More recently, Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) flew to Italy to visit her daughter and spend time with Kyle's son, Harrison. Phyllis entertained a job offer from Summer but chose instead to remain in Genoa City.
Despite the potential recast of Summer, it doesn't appear as though Y&R has plans to recast the role of Kyle at this time. However, Soap Hub reports there is currently no word yet on whether Summer will be returning to Genoa City alone or if Kyle will be with her, played by either Mealor or someone new.
This is a developing story. Please check back to Soap Central for updates as they come.
How do you feel about Y&R potentially recasting the role of Summer Newman? How much will you miss Hunter King as Nick and Phyllis' daughter? Who could you see stepping into Summer's shoes? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.