— Soap Opera Digest is reporting that Lauralee Bell is returning to The Young and the Restless as Christine “Cricket” Blair (or “The Bug” as Phyllis calls her). So what can we expect we expect with Christine under her sister-in-law’s pen (Marie Arena Bell)? Maybe Sheila’s got Saint-Christine’s face?! Jokes aside, hopefully Christine can deal with the fact that Phillip, the man who cheated on her with Nina (and got her pregnant) faked his death because he was gay. It would also be good for them to address the fact that Christine’s BFF Nina is now dating her ex-husband Paul. No word on how long Bell is expected to stick around her family’s show but SOD reports that she’ll start taping in June. Could Danny be far behind?
— Scott Clifton (ex-Schuyler, OLTL; ex-Dillon, GH) is headed to The Bold and the Beautiful as Liam and will make his debut on July 19th.
— Fan favourite, Larry Bryggman is set to return to As the World Turns as Dr. John Dixon later this summer. Unfortunately, it’ll only be for a day. The actor played the role from 1969 until 2004.
— Academy Award nominee Bruce Davison is set to appear alongside James Franco on General Hospital this July. The Willard actor will play Wilhelm Van Schlagel, Franco’s art dealer.
— Sad news for American soap fans…Disney will pull the plug on SOAPnet, the 24-hour cable network that rebroadcasts all the ABC soaps along with The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives. While ABC remains committed to All My Children, General Hospital and One Life to Live, this is also bad news for the SONY soaps, as both Y&R and DAYS rely on SOAPnet for additional revenues. SOAPnet is also the American broadcast home of CBC’s Being Erica. Disney announced the channel will be rebranded as Disney JR in 2012 and will be aimed at preschoolers. The network has changed quite a bit since its debut 10 years ago. Reruns of classic soaps like Another World and Ryan’s Hope were replaced with primetime hits like the original Beverly Hills 90210, The O.C. and One Tree Hill.
— While we’re on the topic of depressing soap news, let’s get to the two shows that CBS is toying around with as replacements for ATWT this September. The first would be a chatfest featuring Julie ‘the Chenbot’ Chen and Sharon Osbourne. They’ve also tapped Andy Richter as the host of the new Pyramid pilot.