John McCook Returning to 'The Young and the Restless' as Eric Forrester (Not Lance Prentiss)

Tracey Bregman and John McCook reunited on Y&R later this month.
It's hard to top Victor and Nikki when it comes to couples in The Young and the Restless lore, but for me the one that comes closest is Lance and Lorie, played in the late 1970s by John McCook (1976-1980) and the divine Jaime Lyn Bauer (original cast in 1973-1982, with a guest spot in 1984, and a brief run in 2002). If you've read my Twitter feed over the years, you've probably seen numerous tweets in which I explain express my adoration for Ms. Bauer, and my longing for Lorie's return, as well as the arrival of Brooks Prentiss, the son Lance fathered with Lorie's sister, Leslie (long story!). The return of Lance is a bit trickier, since McCook left Y&R in 1980 and was replaced by the late Dennis Cole. Cole did an admirable job, but the romance was never quite the same for me. McCook went on to join the original cast of sister soap The Bold and the Beautiful as Eric Forrester in 1987, a role he plays to this day. When McCook returned to Y&R in 1993, 1995, 1996, 2005, 2008 and 2013, he played Eric, not Lance. For many fans, his crossover appearances are a big treat. But for me personally, I find myself wishing he was playing Lance and, even after all these decades, probably always will.

McCook is terrific on B&B, and Lorie hasn't even been a thought in the Y&R stratosphere in ages, other than the wonderful 1984 classic episode that aired at the end of the year, featuring her 1984 return. So when McCook makes his next crossover visit, on Friday, January 27, I will do my best to believe he's Eric Forrester, and not Lance Prentiss, no matter how hard that may be for this Lance and Lorie fan. To be clear, I adore McCook on B&B and have always thought he was underrated as an actor. And this isn't a complaint about the crossover. It's a cool treat for fans. I just loved him as Lance so much on Y&R when I was a kid that I can't stop wishing for one more Lance and Lorie storyline. I guess some moments and characters in our soap viewing lives are forever etched in our memory banks, making it difficult for newer stories to ever top them. And those moments probably correlate, for many, to the early years of viewing, when your lifelong dedication was formed.

It also bugs me (just a little) that some actors who star in B&B and Y&R appear as the same character on both soaps, and sometimes they are playing different roles.  It's the same universe, supposedly.  Of course, in daytime, much stranger things have always happened, and always win.

Anyway, in Y&R's January 27th episode, Eric will visit Genoa City to meet up with his old flame, Lauren Fenmore Baldwin (Tracey Bregman). As longtime fans should remember, Lauren and Eric had a brief fling when she temporarily relocated to Los Angeles (Bregman had joined the B&B cast) in the late 1990s.

Now Lauren will reconnect with Eric, who is the founder of the Forrester Creations fashion house, just as her own company is considering an investment from Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman).

Even when many years have gone by, I tend to have a hard time accepting an actor that returns to his or her soap in a totally different role than they were known for, at least when the role was as significant as Lance. The prime example of this is Josh Taylor as Roman on Days of our Lives, a part he has now played or 20 years. Why can't I see him as anything but his original character, Chris Kositchek?

Do any of our readers that are lifelong fans ever have this issue when actors play a new role on their old soap? Or even with a recast of a favorite character? Are there actors you just can't accept in certain roles? If so, share your thoughts below in our Comments section.

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