Michael Mealor Talks Kyle’s Return to ‘The Young and the Restless’

The Young and the Restless star Michael Mealor
Sonja Flemming/CBS

When The Young and the Restless approached Michael Mealor to reprise his role as Kyle Abbott, he was enticed by more than just another steady acting gig. The show shared with him that he’d be sharing screentime with fan favorite Susan Walters, who is playing Kyle’s back-from-the-dead mother, Diane Jenkins.

“I adore [Walters],” says Mealor, who first joined Y&R in 2018 as Jack Abbott’s (Peter Bergman) son. “She and I clicked from day one. We’re both from Georgia and we learned recently that she was living back in Atlanta about a half a mile from where I was growing up. She was at one of my [high school] football games when my school played against her daughter’s.”

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Like any daytime drama, Young and the Restless has brought characters back from the dead before but resurrecting Diane is a bit of a stretch for them as the character was last seen as a corpse, having been killed in self-defense by Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott). At the time, Diane was being played by Maura West who spent less than a year on Y&R.

“I think at Y&R we do try to keep stories as grounded and based in reality as possible,” Mealor says. “But once the fans see the work that Susan’s doing and the struggle that she brings to the Abbotts…they will suspend belief. What Susan brings to the screen is fantastic. I love it.”

During his time away from the soap last year, Mealor appeared on FXX’s long-running comedy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He played an aspiring thespian who took an acting class from Kaitlin Olson’s Dee. “[Dee] had the hots for my character,” Mealor shares. “It was very tongue-in-cheek.”

Joining Kyle as he returns to Genoa City will be his son, Harrison Locke, played by Kellen Rodriguez. Also, the show has recast Kyle’s wife Summer with actress Allison Lanier, who is set to make her Y&R debut next month. Mealor will have plenty to do before being joined on-screen with his new TV spouse. For starters, he’s going to learn that his mother, whom he believed was dead for over a decade, is alive and well.

Additionally, Ashland Locke, who believed he was little Harrison’s dad for the first three years of the tyke’s life, has been recast with actor Robert Newman (formerly, Josh on Guiding Light). “At the moment, Kyle doesn’t know that Ashland has fibbed about his medical status,” Mealor notes of Ashland lying about being terminally ill. “As Michael, I can say I love what Robert brings to the table as Ashland. I’m really looking forward to Kyle going to toe-to-toe against him.”

Will Kyle be able to forgive his mother for lying about having gone to that great soap opera in the sky? “That’s a heavy question,” Mealor responds. “I don’t know if he can risk that one. It kind of goes to what is your personal definition of forgiveness?”

Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS