Young and the Restless spoilers on Greg Rikaart’s exit as Kevin Fisher haven’t revealed specifics, but Rikaart will continue taping through next month, with his final scenes airing in August. With Kevin now an integral part of the Genoa City landscape and Greg Rikaart beloved by many fans, it begs the question: Why wasn’t his contract renewed? Many fans wonder if Rikaart chose to leave or if the show let Rikaart walk because he wanted Y&R to reveal Kevin as gay. Here are some critical things to know about Greg Rikaart’s exit from The Young and the Restless.
1. Rikaart Was Not Fired
First, Greg Rikaart was not fired – his contract was simply not renewed. That is a major distinction. Firing is when a show breaks an actor’s contract as The Young and the Restless did with Michael Muhney (ex-Adam Newman) around allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Second, Greg Rikaart didn’t quit as Steve Burton (ex-Dylan McAvoy) did when he walked from Y&R to focus on other pursuits. Contract renewals come up every year or two, and talks can fall apart for several reasons, including money, character storylines, and other actor projects. It’s standard for soaps and show business in general.
2. Rikaart Wanted Kevin to Come Out as Gay
Many Young and the Restless fans are wondering if the contract talks died on the subject of Kevin Fisher’s sexuality.
At the 2013 Daytime Emmys, Greg Rikaart told Gay Star News, “I want him [Kevin] to come out,” and he reminded readers, “I think his relationships with women have been difficult at best.”
Greg is certainly right on that point about Kevin and the ladies.
Despite Kevin’s history as heterosexual, Rikaart told the publication, “I think it would be more socially responsible than just bringing on a gay character – to have someone on the canvas that the audience knows and thinks of as family and takes that journey.”
It seems the openly gay Rikaart wanted a different path for Kevin than the Young and the Restless writers offered.
3. Y&R Has Fewer Gay Characters Than Other Soaps
Also, consider this. The Young and the Restless has the least sexual diversity of any of the current daytime soaps. General Hospital has married gay couple Lucas Jones (Ryan Carnes) and Brad Cooper (Parry Shen) plus Kristina Corinthos (Lexi Ainsworth), who had a lesbian experience and considers herself sexually fluid.
Days of Our Lives has such intricate gay character storylines that it’s sometimes referred to as Gays of Our Lives, and this is ramping up with the improbable return of Will Horton (Chandler Massey) and Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith). And The Bold and the Beautiful has garnered heaps of praise for transgender character Maya Avant (Karla Mosley).
4. Y&R Flirted with Gay in Kay Chancellor
Longtime Young and the Restless watchers might recall when Katherine “Kay” Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) lavished attention on Joann Curtis (Kay Heberle) back in the late 70s. This was more of a flirtmance than a real romance because Kay was sad over Phillip Chancellor’s death, and it never turned into anything.
Phillip Chancellor III (Thom Bierdz) came out as gay, but then came and went and is only back now and then. Perhaps the one time Y&R dipped its toes into an interesting gay plot was with Rafe Torres (Yani Gellman) and Adam Newman (Michael Muhney), but that never went anywhere either.
5. Why Not Just Let Kevin Come Out as Gay?
Given the Young and The Restless character canvas’ lack of LGBTQIA diversity, why would Y&R showrunners not just let Kevin come out as gay if this was the deal breaker for Greg Rikaart? The fact that Kevin has had several female love interests doesn’t negate him coming out as gay.
Plenty of men have been married, had children, and then later came out. Caitlyn Jenner spent 60-plus years not being who she wanted to be, so Kevin in his 30s coming out would not be anything unusual. Plus, it would explain the awkward sex with Mariah Copeland (Camryn Grimes) and some of his past issues.
6. Y&R Has a More Conservative Fan Base
In many ways, The Young and the Restless has a different fan base than other soaps, and the fan base is what has kept it tops in the ratings since forever. Y&R fans seem to want good-old fashioned romance rather than controversy like the other three soaps seem to court.
Of the four remaining soaps, Y&R is consistently more devoted to legacy couples, slow-burning romance, and family-driven plots. The Young and the Restless has clearly found its niche, and there’s no doubt Mal Young had ratings on his mind during contract negotiations with Greg Rikaart.
#7 Kevin Can Still Come back
The Young and the Restless spoilers say we’ve got another couple of months of Greg Rikaart as Kevin Fisher playing dad to Bella Mitchell (Cali May Kinder) and laying the groundwork for his departure from Y&R. Both CBS and Rikaart expressed that the door is open for a Kevin return in the future.
Fans seem torn on whether they want Kevin to stay or are satisfied with him leaving but with the option to return in the future. As of now, though, it seems Greg Rikaart’s hopes for a gay Kevin aren’t happening. Viewers will see what happens with Kevin’s exit in August, according to Young and the Restless spoilers.
[Featured Image by Angela Weiss/Getty Images]