Late yesterday we learned the surprising news that both Ashlee Simpson (who plays Violet) and Colin Egglesfield (who plays Auggie) were fired from The CW‘s new version of Melrose Place and at the time producers for the show, Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, told Entertainment Weekly that it had been the plan “all along” to have these characters leave the show early once their storylines wrapped up in December. In a new interview with E!, Egglesfield reveals that that notion is NOT true, that he was not aware “all along” that his character would be written out of the show and, in fact, that when he signed on to the show it was with a multi-year contract as a core main character. Egglesfield has some idea why he was let go, tho … read on:
One day you’re happy as a clam, working as a castmember on a prime-time network drama, and the next day someone’s feeding you a line about changes in your show’s “tone” and shuffling you off to Buffalo. That’s what just happened to departing Melrose Place star Colin Egglesfield, who sums up his rollercoaster Thursday this way: “I’ve had better days, to be quite honest.” We just spoke to Colin exclusively to find out why he’s being pushed out of the show, not to mention where Auggie fits into the show’s big murder mystery, and despite what you may have theorized, Auggie’s not getting killed off, and despite what you may have been told, this exit was not planned from the beginning: “[They said it] was a network decision and obviously the ratings aren’t what they need or want them to be, so they’re going to try things to shake things up.” So what really happened today, and what’s going to happen next on Melrose Place? Here’s what we learned from Colin:
You were initially hired to be an ongoing series regular on Melrose Place, right?
Yes, definitely, I was slated to be in 10 of the 13 first episodes, but I had a multiyear contract.
What happened to change that? How did you learn they weren’t going forward with you and your character?
I got the call this morning from our producers, Todd [Slavkin] and Darren [Swimmer]. They were really saddened, and you could tell it was difficult for them to break this news to me. They said it was a network decision, and they said the network thought Auggie was a little too dark, with his alcoholism. They felt like in the landscape of Melrose they wanted to change the tone of the show. So that’s the explanation that they gave me.
And this morning was the first you’d heard of it?
They said that it wasn’t anything against me or my talent or anything. There was never any discussion that they weren’t sure what they were going to do with me or my character. And it wasn’t like I was getting in fights with crew members or punching people out.
Was your agent or manager told anything else or anything different about what happened?
No, that’s what they were told as well: that it was a network decision and obviously the ratings aren’t what they need or want them to be, so they’re going to try things to shake things up, but why they chose this, I don’t know.
Storywise, there’s the murder mystery, although I could have sworn we already absolved Auggie of killing Sydney Andrews. Is this a twist thing? Are you the killer of Sydney Andrews who must be punished?
The way in which I’m leaving the show, I’m not being killed off, I’m just leaving. It keeps the door open for, potentially, my character to come back, but who knows?
Are you done with the show for now, or are you still in the middle of production?
I’m shooting one more episode, and we start shooting that on Monday.
Do you have anything you want to say as a farewell to the fans and the people you’ve worked with?
Todd and Darren are great, I love those guys and they’ve always been straightforward and straight shooters and just great people to work with. I respect the decision that they had to make creatively to do what they need to do, I’m just frustrated that I’m not going to be a part of the show, because it was such a great job and a fun place to go to work every day. I’m disappointed to be leaving because I became really good friends with not only the cast of Melrose Place but many of the crew as well, so that’s sad, to not be able to go see them at work. But hey, I’m still friends with them, and I’d just like to say to everyone out there who’s been watching and supporting, thanks from the bottom of my heart, because this is something that I love to do.
OUCH!! Poor guy … it really sounds like this news came out of nowhere. I absolutely did not believe the bull the producers gave us that the plan all along had been to write these characters out of show from the beginning. As we hear from Colin himself, he just found out yesterday morning … AND, he still has another ep to film on Monday — poor, poor guy. As for Ashlee Simpson, she’s talking about her axing from the show as well. After the jump, check out what she has to say …
From People magazine:
In a statement released after the announcement, Simpson-Wentz said, “Having the chance to play Violet on Melrose Place has been a thrill. Although I always knew her story would come to a final, insanely unpredictable end, playing a creepy, unstable character was something I always wanted to do, so I jumped at the chance. Thanks to the CW and the entire cast and crew of Melrose Place for allowing me this opportunity.”
See … Ashlee knows how to play the Hollywood game better … a statement like this doesn’t anger anyone on the show (primarily because she is toting the party line) and leaves the door open for her return. Honesty, like we got from Colin Egglesfield, lets fans know what’s going on but might make him persona non grata to producers of the show. In any event … at least now we know a bit more of the story … and, again, I’m gonna miss both characters on the show :(