The Young And The Restless' Longest-Running Cast Member Might Surprise You

"The Young and the Restless" is among the longest-running soap operas in history, with its reign only recently extended through 2024. Variety reported in 2020 that CBS and Sony Pictures Television had renewed the beloved show through the 2023 — 2024 broadcast season, which will also culminate with "The Young and the Restless" celebrating its golden 50th anniversary. 

"Having the #1 show for any length of time in any daypart is a tremendous accomplishment," enthused Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, in a statement. "But 'The Young and the Restless' has been daytime's top drama for over three decades. The last time any other show was on top, Ronald Reagan was president, and the Berlin Wall was still standing." The soap consistently dominates the Emmy Awards too, further solidifying its staying power. 

"We are thrilled to continue the legacy of 'The Young and the Restless' at CBS, as this renewal will take us to our 50th anniversary in 2023, and beyond," added Steve Kent, senior executive vice president of programming at Sony Pictures Television. "The iconic characters created ... 47 years ago continue to captivate audiences in the U.S. and across the globe, and we look forward to building on the dynamic storylines featuring these beloved characters."

Per Deadline, the hit show follows the frequently dramatic lives of the denizens of fictional Genoa City. Of these beloved characters, though, who's been appearing on "The Young and the Restless" the longest?

This actor has been with the show for many decades

According to The Sun, actor Doug Davidson, who's been with "The Young and the Restless" since 1978, is the longest-running cast-member. Davidson plays private investigator Paul Williams on the hit soap, meaning he's been appearing on it for more than four decades, with no plans to leave any time soon (the actor briefly departed in 2018, but quickly returned following massive fan backlash, per Melody Thomas Scott is the next oldest cast-member, clocking up 41 years to Davidson's 42, as Nikki Newman. Scott took over from Erica Hope, who left "The Young and the Restless" in 1979.

It's especially impressive Davidson has stuck around this long, since every single original character bar Jill Abbott has been written out due to an overwhelming amount of departures and re-castings. In an interview with Soap Opera News, the actor opined that Paul's story isn't over yet, despite him being essentially written out in 2018. "We are only limited and freed by the writing," Davidson explained. "There is always story."

He continued, "The writers are focused in a different direction. I understand that. There have been choices I would not have made, but that's not my call. I know the history first hand and there are some things I would never touch. But again, not my call. It's hard for me not to be emotional, period, in any circumstance, but I've been doing this show so long, I can't help but be subjective."