When Ruby Herring Mysteries started on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Taylor Cole’s father was played by her real-life stepfather, Shawn Christian. But by the second movie, the character was recast and is now portrayed by John Wesley Shipp. What happened to Christian?
Shipp Said Hallmark Wanted to Go a Different Direction with the Character & Everything Happened Fast
Ruby Herring Mysteries: Silent Witness premiered in 2019 with Shawn Christian playing the role of John Herring, Ruby’s dad. The second movie, Her Last Breath, premiered in late 2019 and John Herring’s character was already recast with John Wesley Shipp in the role. Shipp continued in that role for the third movie, Prediction Murder, which premiered in April 2020.
In an interview with Media Village, Shipp said that Hallmark wanted to go a different direction with the character, but stepping in was a bit awkward. He said:
The situation with Ruby did give me a moment’s pause. I think they knew it was a bit of an awkward situation and that I didn’t know what I was walking into. It all happened really fast. Production wanted to go in a different direction with the John Herring character, so they called to talk me about how he was a legendary crime reporter whose daughter was following in his footsteps. It really sounded like a fun thing to do. The entire cast could not have been more welcoming.
Shipp said he was allowed to be creative with how he played the character and didn’t have to follow what was done before. It wasn’t completely unfamiliar territory for him, since he’s played a recast father on TV before.
“It happened to me on Dawson’s Creek, as I wasn’t the original dad in the pilot,” he shared.
He’s really enjoyed working with Hallmark and hopes to have more opportunities, Shipp added.
“I also love working with Hallmark, as it feels like the old studio system with a stable of actors they like and the audience enjoys seeing in different roles,” he shared.
Scheduling Conflicts Also Contributed to the Change, But Fans Were Divided on Whether They Liked the Change or Not
Just before the second Ruby Herring movie premiered, Parade reported that Christian left the series because of previous commitments and scheduling conflicts. As a result, Shipp took over the role.
Hallmark fans are divided on whether the recast was a good or bad choice. In a discussion on Hallmark’s official Facebook page, one person wrote: “Why was Shaun Christian replaced as Ruby’s father? I really like him. He has an easy way of acting that’s great to watch. Not so his replacement.”
But another fan had the opposite opinion, writing that the new father had helped improve the series:
Some fans commented that because Christian looks so young, some viewers had trouble realizing that he was supposed to be Ruby Herring’s dad.
On a Primetimer discussion forum, one viewer wrote: “Shawn Christian looks younger than he is, and it really threw people off. I think he and Taylor Cole probably thought it would be fun to work together since they are family in real life. But I don’t think they considered that just because they are stepfather-stepdaughter in real life, it is not going to necessarily translate well on camera. The average viewer was not going to know right off the bat that they were actually family, playing family. Instead, viewers just wondered why this young-ish guy was playing her dad. lol”