Jesse Metcalfe is moving on! In April, fans of Hallmark Channel’s hit series, Chesapeake Shores, were saddened to hear that Abby’s (played by Meghan Ory) on-again, off-again romantic partner Trace Riley, portrayed by Metcalfe, was leaving the show after five successful seasons.

Metcalfe’s Reason For Leaving

Chesapeake Shores follows the lives of the O’Brien family and focuses on the eldest daughter Abby O’Brien, a high-powered career woman and divorced mother of two. 

After her divorce, Abby moves back home to Chesapeake Shores and rekindles a romance with her high school sweetheart, Riley. 

Metcalfe played Riley, a contractor by day and a musician by night, on the drama series since 2016. The romance between him and Abby had been the heartbeat of the series, and by the end of the season 4 finale, it seemed like they were getting back together again. 

Many Chesapeake Shores viewers were rooting for the high school sweethearts to get a happily ever after eventually, and Metcalfe apparently felt the same way. In response to fans bemoaning, he explained he was leaving because he didn’t like what the writers had planned for Riley’s storyline. 

The actor also noted that he wanted to leave the series on a high note. When fans complained that they had no reasons to watch anymore, Metcalfe replied that it was “still a good show with a lot of great actors!”

It appears the show was meaningful for the actor. He gushed about the series while previously speaking to Heavy,

It’s a great family drama where I play a country music singer and songwriter. So, I can sing on the show, which is something I find incredibly gratifying. It’s always nice to be on season 5 of a successful series.

Metcalfe’s Replacement

Upon Metcalfe’s exit, it was reported that One Tree Hill alum Robert Buckley is now joining the series next season.

Buckley will play a character named Evan Kincaid, a successful and young self-made billionaire who brings a new development project to town. He will also star opposite Ory’s Abby as her new leading man. 

According to TV Insider, Kincaid hires Abby’s father’s construction company, O’Brien Construction company, to build a boutique hotel in Chesapeake Shores, and during a meeting, the two of them interact. 

New showrunner Phoef Sutton revealed that the curious and mischievous Kincaid is different from Riley, who was brooding. He also teased that Kincaid and Abby won’t fall in love at first sight. 

It’s a classic romantic-comedy, Tracy–Hepburn type of thing where they don’t get along… but they will in the future. 

Abby, who does not give in to the millionaire’s whims, is brutally honest, which piques his interest in working with her.

Michelle Vicary, Hallmark’s executive vice president of programming, opines that “the show’s fans will thoroughly embrace him [Buckley] in this new role.” 

Buckley previously appeared in the Hallmark Channel movie The Christmas House and the series iZombie.