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DAYS Executive Producer Ken Corday Talks with SOD On: Cast Changes, Focus On Romance & Plans For 50th Anniversary!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

In an in-depth interview in the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest on newsstands now, Editorial Director Stephanie Sloane chatted with Days of our Lives executive producer, Ken Corday on the big plans for DAYS 50th anniversary kicking off this fall.

Corday explains his decision to change head writers from Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesell to Dena Higley and Josh Griffith, as well as the renewed focus on the fan favorite returns, storyline change-ups, cast shake-ups, and his plans to save the ratings struggle of the long-running NBC soap opera.

When discussing what was number one of his listed of changes that he wanted to implement, Corday related:  “I needed to, first of all, change the cast.  The cast on the show was no longer recognizable to me and those that were recognizable were doing nothing.  So we had to flip that. We had to jettison stories that were not going over well with the audience and we had to give characters on the show that were recognizable and powerful more story.”

Corday also confirmed that romance will be a main factor in the 50th anniversary and with the new writing regime relating: “Romance is the basis for where the story starts.  This is how Dena and Josh approach their storytelling with me and with the producers:  Who is the couple I want to die for here?  Who are the couples we want to root for? Let’s isolate three or four of them and build great story around their high, romantic stakes. Every one of their stories is based on romance.  And a little bit of psychosis, but that is also dramatic.”

Make sure to pick-up the latest edition of Soap Opera Digest on sale now to read the entire interview.

What do you think of Ken Corday’s comments on changing the cast, and what will happen in the romance department? Are you encouraged for the future of DAYS?  Share your thoughts below!

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28 Comments

  1. Gmbenet

    July 3, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I want to know about the shocking deaths! Who dies?

    Also, the problem with the show is not always the characters, but what the writers do with the characters. When the writers have the characters do stupid stuff (i.e. Eve sleeps with JJ; Nicole and Sami and Abigail going from man to man), it takes some of the enjoyment out of watching the show. It is not the characters that iritate but what the writers have the characters doing. Some of their actions are over the top or immature. For long time characters what makes it especially irritating is knowing that by now they should have grown up enough to know better.

    So if the writers stop making characters do stupid stuff, the show will be fine.

    • blake

      July 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      I’m sure Clydee will be killed off before the anniversary to make room for the vets. I will be soooo glad to see him gone!

    • 4ever DAYS

      July 4, 2015 at 9:27 am

      It would seem to be “True” that heads roll during big anniversaries!

  2. john

    July 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    So the yearly edition of SOD’s Plan to Save Days is here.
    It sounds good, but like I said, it’s not the first time.

  3. Mary SF

    July 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I honestly think Mr Cordy abandoned the ship and it ran off course, then he finally noticed that and decided to get hands on again and make the changes needed to save the ship before it sank. Whether he would have done that if the 50th wasn’t on the horizon I don’t know, all I know, by the sounds of it, Days might become my favorite soap again come fall.

  4. Newc11

    July 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    It is refreshing to know that he recognizes that the show, while still good, is nowhere near where it could and should be. Getting back to the show’s roots is exactly what is needed. We’ve suffered through too many years of watching these “B” and “C” characters and families. Focusing on the Horton, Brady, Dimera and Kiriakis family is a great start. I truly believe they need to alter their production schedule so when a story is not working, they can respond. Recording 5 or 6 months ahead of the airdate is detrimental. Also, a small change they could make that I personally feel would make a big difference to the viewer is updating the sets. The decor of the interior sets they use are totally outdated. Slap some paint on those walls and go to IKEA and get some tchotchke’s for the shelves. While I am on the topic of sets, the park has to go. It seems that almost every storyline involves meeting in the park. Enough with it. Bring back Salem Place or go to Horton Square for crying out loud. Nobody in America spends as much time in parks as the cast of Days of Our Lives does.

    • Joel

      July 3, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      I agree about story happening in the park. So sickening! If I never see that park again, I’d be thrilled beyond words.

    • Sally

      July 4, 2015 at 6:01 am

      I agree, recording the show so far in advance is a HUGE hindrance! We have to suffer through months of what’s *not working* even after we’ve rejoiced that an actor/character has been let go. How did they ever get on this stupid schedule in the first place? Give everyone 3-4 months off and GET CURRENT!

      And the sets…they are the absolute worst in ALL of television! When I started watching this show 3-4 years ago, I couldn’t get over how terrible and out-dated they were. And don’t even get me started on the wardrobe department! Do they even have a wardrobe or set design staff?

    • Rodd

      July 4, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Newc11, I agree with what you’ve written; especially about the filming so far in advance and the sets. I started watching DOOL when I was in grammar school and then stopped when the show started looking cheap and the story lines bored me. I watch occasionally now, hoping that something will draw me back into to regular viewing and nothing does. The sense of family is not there for me anymore and the sets look so cheap they might as well just hang a curtain. I hope it improves and hooks me back in the coming months. DOOL has a special place in my heart and mind as a “memory”. I want it to be something actively “current”.

  5. TMJ

    July 3, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    The thing they need to work on is the length in time between filming and airing. There is something wrong when General Hospital shoots 6-8 weeks ahead, and Days shoots 6-8 months ahead. A lot of the problems with these current storylines is that they can’t be corrected quickly because of the absurdly long gap in time before they can get any viewer reaction.

    • 4ever DAYS

      July 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      DAYS shoots five months ahead. The others shoot 2 months ahead. 3 months is not a big difference…and before someone says it wouldn’t take as long to make corrections with storylines if they weren’t so far ahead, then where are all the storyline corrections for the messes that the other soaps make?

      • Jake from NJ

        July 3, 2015 at 7:04 pm

        I agree…the only way to correct a casting mistake or a storyline is to get insync with a 6-8 week advance schedule. I am so glad mr Corday finally listen to the fans to bring back fan favorites…so looking 4ward 2 it.

      • Sally

        July 4, 2015 at 6:01 am

        Actually, I believe the other shows shoot 4-5 WEEKS in advance, so that is a huge difference!

    • blake

      July 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Yeah I know they say it helps with the budget but it’s not helping the show at all. Hell Eileen Davidson might return more as Kristen if they did that, she was burned out from the filming before.

    • Me

      July 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      I think by now DAYS is shooting 7-8 months ahead which is beyond ridiculous! But 7-8 months or 7-8 weeks wouldn’t change anything or save the show. For whatever reason, Corday has clearly ignored the viewers for the last couple of years.

  6. Jimh(leave it to beaver)

    July 3, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Days lacks humour for starters…bring back Jack…have Jack and Jen be the next Tom and Alice but in a more comical way…tackle some real life subjects…maybe Caroline could be acting strange and hasnt allowed vistors to see her…the family worries her Alzheimers is progressing quickly but one day Roman visits he discovers Carolines apartment above the Brady pub is one big mess…Caroline is a hoarder…move forward away from the Eve/JJ/Paige…4EverDAYS mentioned Rafe’s father is also Paige’s daddy so lets move on to that…lets have Doug and Julie relive their first kiss…then have Lee Dumonde(Robin Strasser) show up and interupt Doug and Julie’s romantic moment in a short story arc…Lee is once again involved with Stephano and plots to run Kate out of town plus reveal Lee(i know people hate history changes but…) as the real birth mother of Peter and Kristen and Stephano really is their father!!! Stephan Schnetzer back as Julie’s brother Steve and the father of the new African American actress character who is joining Days…Steve is a con artists who attempts to romance Kate out of her money but actually ends up falling in love with her…Bring back the romance Days!!!

  7. maddiehayes

    July 4, 2015 at 7:46 am

    FINALLY, someone GETS it! ROMANCE is what we want to see, why oh why has it taken DAYS this long to figure that out? This is an audience full of WOMEN! Do they think we tune in to see who’s sleeping with who THIS week? Sure, some do, but most of us want at least ONE couple we can ROOT for! Eric&Nicole was that couple for me. I haven’t been watching much since their breakup, but I will tune in when the new writers’ stuff airs in August. I’m expecting a big turnaround from the depressing plots we’ve been getting lately.

    • 4ever DAYS

      July 5, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      There’s been a lot of Ericole in the last few weeks. If you didn’t see those episodes, you should.

  8. Allen saint james

    July 4, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Action adventure romance please!!

  9. Rj

    July 4, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    First, I want to start off that I have tremendous respect for Mr. Corday because I think it is phenomenal how he has kept the show going for 50 years despite many obstacles and challenges. I know there are armchair critics, but anyone who has ever run anything knows this is no small feat! Congrats and Kudos!

    The basis for the soap opera genre is romance, and I am glad that he is going to make that the foundation of every storyline and then build the drama around that. The relationships pull you in, you become invested in the couples, and then you follow the storyline and drama that they are involved in. Good that they are going to focus on core couples, and go more in depth in the storyline instead two many storylines. It is fine to have a few subplots, but best to stay more focused or else the show starts to feel all over the place and you start to lose interest.

    I am glad they are going to give the vets stronger storylines and some vets are coming back. I understand new characters have to and should be introduced to keep things new and fresh, but the vets should be the mainstain at least until the new people become the vets! 🙂 I really think they should go back to the formula and model that was used in the golden era of soaps. I understand that they have to stay contemporary, change a little, and try new things -loved the Sonny and Will storyline because it was a great contemporary romance. Many of us who watch the show like the nostalgia of the past, and that has been missing, so honestly I have not watched in months and months because I did not feel a connection or history with many of the characters or storylines. While Days is trying to gain a new audience they maybe losing a lot of people who could or would watch like me. I am glad Mr. Corday and company realizes this, and is returning to stronger romantic storylines for the vets. Look forward to seeing the comfort of the familiar again, so we recognize the show like sands through the hour glass!

  10. liz

    July 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I hate to be a spoil sport but I don’t think bringing back the vets is going to save Days. They tried it before during the last big anniversary celebration and what happened? After the Young and the Restless, Days has got to have the most veteran cast on daytime. Some of these cast members have been on the show for 20 or 30 years and the ratings still tanked. It doesn’t mean bringing back the vets wont provide a short term ratings fix but in the end its the writing and the willingness to take chances that will either save the ship or sink this show. Its clear Days has got to deal with its production issues and the long lead time before an episode is aired so that they can jettison bad story lines. But another key will be if the show can think out of the box and come up with creative story lines for the cast. My big fear is Days will try to recreate the 1980’s again and pretend that many of these actors are not in their 50’s and 60’s. My nightmare scenario is John and Marlena dealing with yet another evil, dastardly Stefano plot. I know mentioning age will upset some people but -time marches on and you cannot freeze the past like a dragonfly in amber. So if you don’t plan for Marlena and John to reunite why not have him date say Eve. They look well together and have a common interest in Teresa and Brady’s son. Eve is a strong enough character to give Marlena a run for the money. Or why not have Eric and NIcole marry. There is a big secret involving Nicole and Roman. Can you imagne how Marlena or Sammi would react if they knew the truth? I Nicole disappeared for a while what if there was a secret love child? Like I said think out of the box, more Joan Crawford, less James Bond and less of the DiMera crime syndicate..

  11. Rj

    July 6, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Liz I totally agree with you. They have to have creative storylines not recycle old ones. . Bringing back vets is not enough. Also they have to have appropriate storylines for the vets since time has moved on.

  12. Jaime

    July 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Always loved our Patch man. Just hope these writers do him justice. Gary Tomlin treated beloved characters horribly in order to justify his onslaught of Passions people. Tomlin just has zero respect for the history and the theme of Days. I hope these writers get it right.

  13. Steph

    July 7, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Looking at the cover — what about Mathew Ashford? We watched him die. Please don’t bring a dead Jack back!

    …..but. Remember after EJ’s death they had that split second scene of someone injecting him with something? That has to go somewhere eventually.

  14. CeeCee

    July 7, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Out of context….I think Nicole will be pregnant! Who’s the baby daddy? Eric or Daniel…hmmmm.
    Such a cliché!

  15. Rose9

    July 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Well he is saying all the right things, and I hope they are true.

    Unfortunately, their are so many things about this soap that have disappointing me for a lot of years now. Like the fact the show works over time on false red herrings and then goes nowhere with the actual story.

    Plus I’m so sick of this particular soap working so hard to preach at me about characters, actions, consequences or lack there of. Can’t I just watch and enjoy? No, I have to watch cheating stories and then be lectured about how the one cheated on was truly to blame, cause god forbid some of these “perfect” characters take a the comeuppance.

    Hopefully the new writers will turn this back into the soap I use to love. How many more months till they air……?

  16. Becky

    July 12, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Please please bring Molly Burnett back; when Sammantha and EJ left she was the one thing that let me come back to watching show! How acting is impeccable and she makes you love her and what’s going on in her life! Please she 100 times better then Theresa poor poor acting. Don’t want to see another day with her!

  17. Alice Reed

    November 24, 2015 at 2:32 am

    I love days. But more than ever, when Marlena and John are happy together. Can’t she have some psychological input, for a recovering dope addict, or teenage bullies, or abusive parents, or deposed monarch? Especially important are the popular terms and definitions for the “nut-cakes” of the world. And touch on the well known facts of the day, ie: marajana cannot hurt you. It helps people deal with pain. Doctors and Nurses are hooked on perscription drugs. People don’t know how to stop a baby from crying. By the way I do. The point is, let her sit behind a desk once in a while listening to someone distressed and then she makes intelligent comments THAT help him.

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