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The Real Reason Trace Riley Won't Be Returning To Chesapeake Shores

Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Tracy Riley in the drama series "Chesapeake Shores" on the Hallmark Channel, always knew he wanted to be involved in films. In an interview with Imagista, Metcalfe talked about taking his first acting class while attending New York University, and he immediately started having thoughts of being an actor professionally. After he scored his first role in the soap opera "Passions," Metcalfe moved to Los Angeles. After five years playing Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald on the show, he got the part of John Rowland, the young love interest of Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), on "Desperate Housewives" (via IMDb).  

In 2012, Metcalfe nabbed another main role in the "Dallas" series revival as Christopher Ewing, later moving on to star in the Hallmark series "Chesapeake Shores" beginning in 2016, playing songwriter and musician Trace Riley. In the series, Trace returns to his hometown after a long time on the road, reconnecting with love interest Abby (Meghan Ory) and considering a career change.

A longtime musician himself, Metcalfe previously spoke with ET about his hope to release music of his own, and how much he likes performing his original songs on the show. Then suddenly, Metcalfe announced he would be leaving "Chesapeake Shores" in Season 5 (via Deadline). With rumors swirling about why, Metcalfe decided to sit down with ET again to clear some things up, explaining exactly why Trace will not be coming back to "Chesapeake Shores," at least for now.

Jesse Metcalfe wants to be in critically acclaimed shows

With how satisfied creatively Metcalfe appeared when discussing "Chesapeake Shores" in the past, his unexpected decision to leave right as filming got going on the fifth season created a lot of confusion. In March of this year, the Hallmark Channel gave a statement to Deadline saying that their relationship with Metcalfe would continue, as he was currently filming a film for the channel. 

With the show starting with its third showrunner in the fifth season, creative concerns seem a legitimate reason for Metcalfe to consider leaving. But was it the real reason? In his interview with ET, Metcalfe opened up about what he wants for the future. "I really want to get on a critically acclaimed cable TV show again," he spoke frankly. "I want to continue to pursue a film career and I think the best way to do that is to get on a respected, critically acclaimed television show." Clearly, Metcalfe wants to be remembered as more than a soap star or a Hallmark Channel character. 

Since announcing he was leaving the show, the actor's already been making moves towards that end. According to Variety, Metcalfe's signed on to make a film with Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham called "On a Wing and a Prayer," and his film "Fortress," with Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray, will be released December 17, 2021. Maybe someday Trace Riley will return to "Chesapeake Shores," but for right now, Metcalfe is busy with other roles.