Posted tagged ‘Behind the Scenes’

Head Writer Switcheroo AGAIN

January 23, 2017

Breaking news! Dena Higley is out — though her Co-Head Writer, Ryan Quan, remains in a Creative Consultant post — and former One Life to Live/General Hospital Head Writer, Ron Carlivati, is coming to Days!

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From Soap Opera Digest:

The show has replaced Co-Head Writer Dena Higley with Emmy-winning scribe Ron Carlivati, who toiled at both GENERAL HOSPITAL and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, effective immediately. His title will be Head Writer. Higley’s Co-Head Writer, Ryan Quan, will remain with the new title of Creative Consultant. Daytime Emmy-winner Sheri Anderson Thomas, who has served on DAYS’s writing team in various capacities, including head writer and co-head writer in the ’80s and ’90s, will also hold the Creative Consultant title.

I’m actually way less shocked by this than I maybe should be. Carlivati has been a free agent for a while, and his brand of heightened storyline has been talked about a lot online as a possible fit for Days. And former Head Writer Sheri Anderson, who has long, long been buzzed about as being the needed fix for what ails the show, will be consulting!

I definitely agree that Salem could use a shot in the arm. As I’ve said recently, I like a lot of what Higley and Quan have set up, but I don’t necessarily think it’s playing out with as much energy as it needs to have. Carlivati’s initial time as HW of OLTL was very, very strong, with interweaving, character-driven storylines, and he brought a lot of that to GH at first, though that show seemed to get away from him for whatever reason. At any rate, I’m excited (interested?) to see what the hell happens next.

One thing Carlivati did at both those shows was establish a gay presence, so I would not be surprised to see Sonny/Paul become more prominent, or to see Will’s murder reversed. He also definitely loves vets and history — though sometimes applies established canon, er, liberally — so we should be up for some unexpected stuff in the coming months, or at least when his material begins airing in the 22nd century.

Of course, the real question is: when do we get our next The Plan to Save Days interview?!

Cancelled Casting Tidbit

January 23, 2017

Thought this might be of interest to some of y’all…

According to Serial Scoop, there was a casting call out last spring for a “Dr. Caleb Cooper” last spring/summer:

The character was a described as a “Good-looking loner. He lives on a self-sustaining farm in middle America, completely off the grid.… He finds peace and joy in nature. He keeps his past as a doctor secret, hiding the truth about a traumatic tragedy from his past.”

DAYS was looking for a strong, established actor between the ages of 44-55 to fill the role.

Actor Michael Lowry, who did stints on All My Children and One Life to Live in the past, posted a video of an audition he did for the role:

Serial Scoop adds that the role has “been scrapped,” which, of course it has, since Eric has clearly taken on the “Caleb” role — which was supposed to be involved with Hope — in this story. If I had to guess, Caleb was initially going to look like a love interest for Hope, but then he’d become obsessed with her and wind up as a crazed obstacle for Hope/Rafe, because this is Days and that’s how things go.

Latest on the Future of Days

January 21, 2017

During NBC’s presentation to the Television Critics Association this past week, some of the honchos had things to say about the pending renewal for Days. From Deadline Hollywood:

“We haven’t made decisions, but we like that show,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt told Deadline at TCA. “I think we will know more in couple of months. As they age, these shows diminish, there is a lot of delayed viewing and very little linear viewing anymore, you have to keep looking at that.”

Added NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke, “We hope that the show comes back.”

This leaves me cautiously optimistic about the show getting another renewal. We’re really coming down to the wire here, but these comments sound a little bit like a “Get your shit together” threat. I still don’t think they’re confident in the ability of any talk show — including and especially Megyn Kelly, whose “popularity” feels very tied to the now-finished election cycle — to carry that hour any more effectively than Days has done in recent years, but it also can’t keep sliding for the rest of eternity.

Megyn Kelly: The New Stefano DiMera?

January 5, 2017

Over the years, we’ve seen some serious threats to Salem, and even some pretty dangerous cancellation rumors, but when word broke on Tuesday that NBC would be stealing Megyn Kelly away from Fox News, it seemed to signal near-certain doom for Days of Our Lives. 

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From Forbes:

Megyn Kelly, one of Fox News’ biggest stars, is heading for rival NBC News when her contract is up later this year, according to a spokesperson for NBC News. She will host a daytime news and talk show, anchor a Sunday night news show and work on special programming.

Here’s the thing about that “daytime news and talk show”: NBC actually has very few daytime hours to fill. Over the years, they’ve given more and more hours over to the affiliates to fill with whatever (presumably syndicated) programming they choose. There are only three current hours of actual daytime programming controlled by NBC itself: the third hour of Today; the fourth hour of Today (otherwise known as “The Kathie Lee & Hoda Shitshow”); and Days. And if something were to be cut from that slate…

I was reluctant even to write about this, because I didn’t want to put bad thoughts out into the universe. Days is only guaranteed to be on-air through this coming fall, and frankly, the ratings continue to slide and it isn’t exactly hitting creative peaks — though it has improved significantly from last year’s various nightmares. The whole thing made me very nervous. Makes me very nervous, I should say. And given the current Days production schedule, they’re already shooting into June and July right now, which means that if the show were to go off the air in September, they’d only have a few weeks to re-jigger plans and write the scripts for those final weeks.

But today there was this, from a variety of news sources:

Megyn Kelly’s new daytime show on NBC is expected to replace Today’s 9 a.m. hour, sources said Wednesday.

NBC News declined to comment. A network source said that timing on everything involving Kelly is still up in the air, including when she will join NBC News and when her new shows will debut.

That third hour (as the article linked above goes on to discuss) is sort of a mess right now. It’s a pale imitation of the first two hours, only without any actual news and a lot more emphasis on pop culture and light human interest. Most recently, they brought in Billy Bush to be a part of it, only to lose him after the scandal of the leaked Donald Trump tape (involving Days‘ Arianne Zucker) this past fall. It doesn’t sound like that hour would be a huge loss, since they’re struggling to fill it as-is.

So we’ll see what happens. I suspect we’ll know either way very soon. My fingers are crossed for word of a renewal right around the airing of the 13,000th episode of Days and that the sands will keep running through this particular hourglass for many years to come.

2016 Year-End Episode Rankings

January 4, 2017

As he does every year (and has done for pretty much every year of the show’s history, amazingly), Jason47 has just released his year-end rankings for 2016, showing how many episodes each character and actor appeared in. I don’t want to repost the info here because it’s his hard work and he deserves the clicks, but I always find this stuff fascinating and thought some of you might want to check it out, too. As seems to be the norm with Days, these lists — especially the year-end counts — give a good indication of how chaotic the show was over the course of the past year. A lot of the contract cast arrivals from 2016 are also listed under contract cast departures, and a bunch of the departures have either already returned or are about to.

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A few interesting tidbits from the year-end list, though:

  • Rafe was the most-appearing character, and Galen Gering the most-appearing actor, with 122 out of 244 episodes. I guess it does say something that the most-seen character was still only in 50% of episodes, but good grief. What did he even do this year besides tail Hope around or mope over her?
  • The top ten, aside from Rafe in the #1 spot, indicates a pretty decent 2016 version of Days of Our Lives. Hope, Nicole, Kayla, Steve, Victor, even Brady — these are all characters who should be at the core of the show and on a lot.
  • Ciara was only in 91 episodes? It felt like 500!
  • Deimos was on way too damn much.
  • Susan Seaforth Hayes getting 32 episodes in her sixth decade on the show! Love it.

If you’re as big a nerd as me and interested in checking this out, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Casting News Roundup

December 15, 2016

All sorts of casting tidbits to report today. Info behind the cut for the spoiler-averse…

(more…)

Joseph Mascolo Passes Away at Age 87

December 9, 2016

I was not ready for this. I had a feeling it was coming, but I was not at all ready, as evidenced by the fact that as soon as my friend texted me the news, I had to leave the  restaurant where I was picking up lunch because I started crying.

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Joseph Mascolo, a.k.a. Stefano DiMera himself, passed away yesterday, December 8th. From TV Line:

Mascolo passed away Thursday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, the show said in a statement on Friday. He joined the Days cast in 1982 and made crime lord/business tycoon Stefano DiMera into one of the most hated (and most loved) bad guys in soap-opera history.

Mascolo left and returned to the role of Stefano several times over the years, even joining CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful for an extended stint from 2001 to 2006. But he always came back to Days, most recently for the character’s death earlier this year. He also made appearances on TV shows like All in the Family and Lou Grant, and in films like Jaws 2 and Sharky’s Machine.

I feel much the same way I felt when Frances Reid (Alice Horton) died. Maybe it made more sense in Reid’s case, because she played a loving grandmother and the moral center of the show, but Joe Mascolo was every bit as much a staple of Days of Our Lives. He might have played a villain, but he brought such an energy and excitement to the show, and it was clear that the cast respected him in the same way they did Reid, Macdonald Carey, and the like. Stefano was so over-the-top, and Mascolo’s performance took viewers away to another world in which truly anything was possible — and yet he played so much of the material with a knowing smirk. Without his Stefano, the resurgence that Days experienced in the 1990s might not have been possible at all.

My friend Ira and I had the honor of meeting Mascolo last year at the 50th anniversary party. He could not have been kinder or more gracious, even though it was odd to hear him speak without the trademark Stefano accent! And it still amazes me that, despite battling Alzheimer’s, he continued to appear onscreen and embody a character as distinctive and powerful as Stefano for so long.

Goodbye to a true legend. Rest well, sir, and thank you for the many, many years of joy.

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