We don’t do much (okay, any) soap opera coverage over here at ScreenCrush, but this is one of those interesting little stories that feels like a mere curiosity but actually sits upon a massive fount of questions about the entertainment industry and acting as a profession. The news is that Ronn Moss is leaving CBS’ ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ after starring in the show since its first episode 25 years ago, but the questions this raises are numerous and worth pondering.

According to EW, Moss is leaving the show due to salary disputes, making him the first of the show’s “core four” to depart. Naturally, the official response paints his departure as amicable, but there’s no hiding the fact that soap operas are a dying breed. Despite being television staples since the creation of the medium, only a handful of them remain on the air, their audiences quickly dwindling. It’s not common that we get to witness the death of an iconic form and as easy to mock as they are, soaps are certainly a vital piece of television iconography. Soap operas only tend to get ink these days when their longrunning stars jump ship. Heck, this post is proof of that!

The second point of discussion deals directly with Mr. Moss and his soap opera brethren, many of whom get cast on a show and stick around for decades. Heck, Moss’ epic 25 year stint on ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ is dwarfed by Don Hastings and Helen Wagner, who were on ‘As the World Turns’ for over fifty years. Think about that from an actor’s perspective: every day, you go to set and play the same character. Your character may change over time, but you’re the same guy. For years. For decades. For actors who simply want steady work, this is a blessing, but can you imagine how weird it must be to put on the same mask for thousands of hours of television? Where does actor Ronn Moss end and ”fashion magnate Ridge Forrester” begin? Now that he’s off the show, is it even possible for him to get work elsewhere or will he forever be that guy from that soap opera? Sure, this is the kind of work that gives you job security (rare for anyone in the performing arts), but it’s also the kind of thing that can kill a career if you latch on for too long and attempt an escape too late.

So, here are the questions to ponder, TV fans. Are soap operas dying? Will you miss them? Do you care? Do you think they’re a valuable part of the television landscape or are they just old fashioned and deserve to go extinct? Can actors who play the same role for decades at a time ultimately escape from their character? If you were an actor, what would be more important to you: a steady gig or the chance to pursue many roles?

In any case, don’t feel too bad for Moss: he finished in second place on Italy’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and he has a really popular orange juice commercial in Australia.

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