Fans of The Young and the Restless were beyond thrilled when it was recently announced that Doug Davidson would be bringing Paul Williams back to Genoa City. The actor was unceremoniously let go when Mal Young was executive producing the CBS soap opera, and thanks to massive fan support, he is finally returning to the soap opera he has called home for over 40 years.
Now that all is right within the soap opera world again, Davidson is opening up about the nightmare scenario that left Genoa City without its best detective. It all started last year, when he was removed from contract status and put on recurring status, which then led to him disappearing from the screen altogether with absolutely no explanation. As it turns out, Davidson didn't get much of an explanation, either.
"I finished a scene and one of our associate producers got a text from Mal Young. Mal Young does have my phone number -- we have texted in the past. But he texted the Associate Producer and said, 'Have Doug come to my office.' I thought, after a scene? That was kind of a red flag," he shares with Soap Opera News of the uncomfortable moment. "After I finished, I went to his office. Mal told me he was taking me off contract and that he preferred no one knew because it wouldn't do me or them any good. He'd rather use me [in a recurring capacity] than hiring somebody nobody knows. I thought that was the nicest take it or leave it I ever heard. And if I didn't agree they would probably kill me off or something like that. I did agree to go on recurring."
However, as fans know, recurring quickly turned into nothing at all. And Davidson shares that he wasn't the only long-running Y&R actor who faced such treatment.
"It was pretty clear they were diminishing the vets, and it wasn't just me," the actor reveals. "Kristoff [St. John, ex-Neil Winters], God rest his soul, went through the exact same thing. They were doing the same thing to his character. They got rid of Greg Rikaart [ex-Kevin Fisher]... So, basically, they were doing similar things to all the characters who had been there for a long time to some degree or another."
Thankfully, the ship is being steered in a different direction (though Davidson reveals the current scripts are still Mal Young's, and material by new head writer Josh Griffith won't air until March). So, what can fans expect when Paul Williams returns to the canvas on Tuesday, March 26?
First of all, Davidson is not on contract, so Paul isn't likely to carry his own storyline -- at least for the time being.
"I was told that [a contract] wasn't on the table," the actor says. "But I was assured I'd be treated with respect and I trust the people in charge now enough to let me know if there are winds of change."
Second of all, the character's on-screen absence won't be addressed; instead, Paul will seamlessly slip back into the storylines.
"Paul tries to make everything right in lickety-split time," Davidson shares. "There is no explanation of his absence. As someone said, maybe he was just on a very long coffee break!"
For more from Davidson on his recent experience with Y&R -- including how he dealt with being fired, what he learned from his awful exit, and how he feels about Josh Griffith taking on the role of head writer -- check out his full interview with Soap Opera News.
What do you think about the behind-the-scenes details Doug Davidson has revealed about his abrupt firing from Y&R? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.