'Riverdale': Major Star Exits After Season 5 Finale

When Riverdale returns for Season 6 in November, it will be without one of its most beloved characters. During Wednesday night's Season 5 finale, titled "Chapter Ninety-Five: RIVERDALE: RIP (?)," the town of Riverdale officially said goodbye to its resident villain, Hiram Lodge, with actor Mark Consuelos exiting Riverdale after four seasons.

Consuelos' exit was confirmed Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Riverdale creator, executive producer, and showrunner, in a statement to Deadline just after the episode aired. Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed that "tonight's episode is Mark's swan song playing our hunky villain Hiram Lodge on Riverdale after four insane, glorious years." Reflecting on Consuelos' time on the series — he joined in the Season 2 premiere, "Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying," as the dashing and dangerous criminal father of Veronica Lodge, played by Camila Mendes - Aguirre-Sacasa said that from the moment Consuelos joined the show, "he was up for literally anything, a hundred percent committed to making Archie's life a living hell." He went on to "wish Mark the best and hope this isn't the last we've seen of Hiram Lodge."

"First and foremost, I would like to thank Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for this incredible opportunity," Consuelos added in his own statement. "Never before has playing a character that was so bad, felt so good. Huge thanks to the Riverdale fandom, to the brilliant crew and amazing cast, whom I consider dear friends and family."

Although a reason for his departure was not provided, Consuelos' participation on the hit CW show involved him being away from his family for long stretches of time, as Riverdale films in Vancouver and his family resides in New York. In the past, Consuelos has been open about missing his family during the Vancouver-based shoots, sharing in a social media post in September 2020 as filming on Season 4 was underway, "one month down...three to go...missing my home team." Consuelos' wife, Kelly Ripa, also expressed some pain over the separation, stating on Live With Kelly and Ryan, "we've been apart for nine days and it feels like 90 years. It was a testament that we really like each other. I'm sad not to wake up with him, it's very sad. I will miss him, that's all I can say."

Consuelos is just the latest cast member to depart the series in Season 5. At the start of the season, Skeet Ulrich, who portrayed FP Jones, leader of the South Side Serpents and father to Jughead Jones, departed. Mendes, K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Casey Cott, Madchen Amick, Vanessa Morgan and other cast members are expected to reprise their respective roles for Season 6, which returns to The CW on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET.