‘The Young and the Restless’ Used a Fake Character Name in Scripts to Hide Diane’s Return

In the world of soap operas, characters come and go. They often meet a tragic fate only to return as an alter ego, evil twin, or some form of reincarnation. Such is the case with the return of Diane Jenkins to the CBS daytime drama The Young & The RestlessEven though the complex character got killed off in 2011, it did not stop writers from creating an unexpected comeback.

Fans, crew members, and even the cast were not let in on Diane’s top-secret return. The scripts contained a fake character name to mask her triumphant return to Genoa City.

Susan Walters smiling
Susan Walters | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

What happened to Diane Jenkins?

Diane, the ultimate bad girl, was first introduced to the long-running soap opera in 1982. Alex Donnelly played the original role and was replaced in 2001 by Susan Walters, who remained on the show until 2004. Walters made a brief return in 2010 until being replaced by Maura West.

The following year Diane was found dead in the park, lying face down in the pond with her skull bashed in. According to Soaps in Depth, “Nikki Newman confessed to killing her in self-defense.”

Now, it appears Diane staged the whole scene with the help of her then-husband, Deacon Sharpe (Sean Kanan). They took a corpse from the morgue and paid off the “right people” so she could make her escape from town.

Diane is now back and alive and well, trying to rekindle her relationship with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman). She is also attempting to reconnect with her son, Kyle, who she abandoned when she staged the complicated murder scene. Michael Mealor will return to The Young & The Restless cast to reprise his role as Kyle Abbott.

The top-secret return of Diane to the cast of ‘Y&R’

Walters is thrilled to be back on the set and admits it was hard keeping her return under wraps. The actor told Soap Opera Digest, “I wanted to reach out to a couple of people in the cast, but I couldn’t do it.” Producers wanted to keep her return a surprise for loyal fans.

They went to great lengths to keep her return a secret, even changing her name on the scripts to “Taylor” to ensure no one knew what was happening. The camera feeds to monitors throughout the soundstage and in the dressing rooms were blacked out when Walters was on set so no one would know she was there. The plan worked, and none of the cast members realized Walters was returning to the soap opera.

Walters explained she stayed in her dressing room and did not go out for lunch to avoid being seen. She was always referred to as Taylor when being called to the set to keep her presence hidden. The experienced actor admitted, “It was actually kind of fun.”

How long Walters is expected to stay on ‘Y&R’

According to The Listthe 58-year-old actor revealed on the Dishing With Digest podcast that she has nothing but fond memories of her time on The Young & The Restless. She said she had a lot of fun with fellow cast members, saying the experience was great. 

Walters is looking forward to working with Mealor, saying, “He seems to be a very popular, very professional, nice, kind, and open actor to work with.”

The former Melrose Place actor admits she has a lot to learn about what her character was up to before her traumatic demise. According to Soaps in Depth, Walters asked the writers why her character was so hated. She said the response she got back was “hysterical.” 

Walters said she was told, “Diane slept with Victor. She slept with Nick. Adam helped her fake her death, and she was with this guy named Deacon.” There is no indication of how long Diane will stay in Genoa City, but the actor admits, “I have so much to learn!”

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