Genoa City has found its new Ashland Locke. Just days after it was revealed that Richard Burgi, who had portrayed the character since early 2021, would abruptly be leaving the series, The Young and the Restless has reportedly tapped Guiding Light alum Robert Newman as Burgi's replacement.
Newman's casting was first confirmed by Soap Opera Digest on Tuesday, Jan. 11. Although few details were provided, and an official announcement has not been made, the outlet reported that Newman will begin appearing in the role sometime in February, though an exact date has not been provided at this time. Newman is, of course, best known for his portrayal of Joshua Lewis on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light, a role he held from 1980 until 2009. His other credits include appearances on Santa Barbara, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Chicago Fire, and Venice the Series, among others.
Newman has not yet shared news of his reported casting, the announcement of which came just three days after news of Burgi's exit from the long-running soap broke. The actor announced in a Jan. 8 Instagram post that he would be "moving on from the show." Newman, who had appeared as Ashland Locke across more than 100 episodes, thanked his fans "who have been so kind and generous and supportive with your words," adding that he "had a great year on Y&R and I've just thoroughly enjoyed the great cast and crew. Such wonderful people."
Shortly after the announcement, Burgi's wife, Lilliana Lopez, revealed he had been ousted by the show. Responding to a fan asking if it had been her husband's decision to leave The Young and the Restless, she wrote, "Nope! Their choice! It's the Writers."
Addressing the reports that followed, Burgi "set the record straight" in a Tuesday video shared to his Instagram Story. The actor explained that his wife "had said something about it being the show's choice, which is true." He went on to add that, "the reality is that I naively and inadvertently violated the show's COVID policy" while he traveled back home to visit family over the holidays. During this time, Burgi said, he "tested positive." Following current CDC guidelines, the actor isolated for five days before he returned to the CBS studio and received two negative COVID tests. However, "It was not within the show's 10-day off policy." Burgi said he "felt terrible about it and I still do. It bothers me mightily, but it is what it is." The actor added that he respects "whatever the show's decision is. They're doing the best they can as we all are."
As for Newman replacing him in the role, Burgi said, "I truly wish the gentleman who's coming in to play Ashland a wonderful time. He's going to be working with the most incredible actress and a great, great cast. It's an amazing show, I have nothing but good memories and good wishes for it."