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45th Annual Daytime Emmy Winners: Days of our Lives Takes Drama Series, Davidson & Reynolds Top Acting Honors!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

On Sunday night, the men and women of daytime television gathered together to celebrate their accomplishments and to celebrate one another at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards handed out by NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Science) at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.

And the envelope please … it was a big night for Days of our Lives! The NBC daytime drama series took home the gold for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for Ron Carlivati and his team, and Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series.  In addition, James Reynolds walked away with the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award for his heartbreaking performance as Abe Carver. Most of DAYS submissions in the major categories centered around the episode where JJ (Casey Moss) contemplates suicide, and the Christmas Eve episode where Theo finally comes out of his coma, as well as the double-wedding episodes were Ben busts through the door for shocking news for Sonny and Paul, and Chad and Abigail.

In addition soap vet, Greg Vaughan won the Emmy for his work on DAYS in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category.

Y&R took home two major acting honors. First, Eileen Davidson bested the other 4 strong women in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Ashley Abbott.  The Lead Actress category was the toughest acting category of the night for many to call.  Davidson had now one two Lead Actress trophies, having won previously for her role as Kristen DiMera on DAYS.   Camryn Grimes also added to her trophy collection winning for her role as Mariah Copeland in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category.  She previously won an Emmy in 2001, and was the youngest ever to receive an honor for her role as Cassie Newman.

In the Younger Acting categories; General Hospital’s Chloe Lanier received the Outstanding Younger Actress prize, while former B&B star, Rome Flynn (Ex-Zende) took home the Outstanding Younger Actor gold.  GH’s Vernee Watson (Stella) was named the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series, and The Bay added to their collection with another win for the Outstanding Digital Drama Series.

Daytime’s beloved Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie Williams) of Days of our Lives were honored with the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award.

After the jump check out the complete list of winners from the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Then after the jump, let us know what you thought of the night’s winners via the comment section below.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Days of our Lives

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Eileen Davidson (Ashley, The Young and the Restless)

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
James Reynolds (Abe, Days of our Lives)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Camryn Grimes (Mariah, The Young and the Restless)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Greg Vaughan (Eric, Days of our Lives)

OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Chloe Lanier (Nelle, GH)

OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Rome Flynn (Zende, The Bold and the Beautiful)

OUTSTANDING GUEST PERFORMER IN A DRAMA SERIES
Vernee Watson (Stella Henry, General Hospital)

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES WRITING TEAM
Days of our Lives

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES DIRECTING TEAM
Days of our Lives

OUTSTANDING DIGITAL DAYTIME DRAMA SERIES
The Bay

OUTSTANDING GAME SHOW HOST
Wayne Brady, Let’s Make a Deal

OUTSTANDING GAME SHOW
The Price Is Right

OUTSTANDING LEGAL COURTROOM PROGRAM
Judge Mathis

OUTSTANDING MORNING PROGRAM
Good Morning America

OUTSTANDING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS PROGRAM
Entertainment Tonight

OUTSTANDING INFORMATIVE TALK SHOW HOST
Steve Harvey, Steve

OUTSTANDING INFORMATIVE TALK SHOW
The Dr. Oz Show

OUTSTANDING ENTERTAINMENT TALK SHOW HOSTS
Adrienne Houghtton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley, The Real

OUTSTANDING ENTERTAINMENT TALK SHOW
The Talk

OUTSTANDING CULINARY PROGRAM
A Chef’s Life

OUTSTANDING CULINARY HOST
Lidia Bastianich, Lidia’s Kitchen

 

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Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Denzel Washington in a recent interview says men give awards, God gives rewards for what we do. All of us — audiences too — are blessed we have daytime drama yet, even though it is not the deep genre it once was. I pray that will change. Anyway… It seems the Academy made the right choices for trophies. No head-scratchers here. The nominees were strong in every category. I found the show to be too long and heavily scripted. I miss the network broadcasts and hope the Academy again can make a case for those broadcasts again. For audiences, the… Read more »

dmr
Guest
dmr

Very happy that Eileen Davidson won-love her! (So happy that she smartened up and left “Real Housewives”). James Reynolds-a well-deserved win, as well! Disappointed that Marla Adams didn’t win. Ms. Adams was a powerhouse this year. I don’t really care for Camryn Grimes or her character, but congratulations to her. As always, Eileen looked beautiful. Camryn looked fabulous in red. & I loved the black on black on Mr. Reynolds-very classy!

Boop
Guest
Boop

I thought that Ms. Adams should have won, also.

Celia
Guest
Celia

Yes, Boop…..she’s wonderful. Love Ms Marla…..too bad we, the fans, don’t do the choosing….

Mo
Guest
Mo

So happy for Days. Totally deserved.

I’m really surprised Rome won. I watch B&B and have never thought he is a good actor. I thought Casey would win.

Congrats to Eileen and Camryn. I also wanted Marla to win as she has been killing it, but Camryn did some great acting so can’t be mad there.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

dmr
Guest
dmr

What material did Rome have to even support his nomination? Casey Moss has shown such growth in his acting skills and definitely deserved to win the gold! I’m happy that Days is being recognized and rewarded. Although, I don’t watch much (The NuAbigail Hour) I have fond memories from the ’90’s-when I used to watch. I’ll always tune-in when Eileen Davidson visits!

Celia
Guest
Celia

I do not watch B&B, dmr….but, if you say Casey deserved the award, then I trust your judgment.
I am not into Gabbygail one bit….especially the latest turn of events where she and Stefan escaped the ‘fire’….getting away with his crimes….she’s forgiven…..not herself.
Abigail better come out soon…sick of the alters already….especially when en league with Stefan…ugh.

Joel
Guest
Joel

It was shocking enough that no actress from GH was nominated in the Supporting Actress category or that Maurice Benard was left out of the Lead Actor category with strong material for Sonny following Morgan’s death , but I was stunned that Nancy, Laura, and Maura all lost the Lead Actress category. They all had a stellar year, but maybe they all just cancelled each other out. I’m glad DAYS won best soap, if not GH. They’ve got Ron Carlivati now, who is not afraid to write strong stories for the vets, like he did for a time at GH.

dmr
Guest
dmr

I have to say, I am sick to death of hearing about The Moron (Morgan). His name is mentioned more than the living characters on the show. Not sure what Laura Wright did this year; however, I thought for sure that Maura West was going to win-always stellar. Nancy Lee Grahn submitted a great reel, as well. I love Eileen Davidson, though…

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

No to Maura; enough is enough!

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Fans didnt even like Moron when he was alive!

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Not shocked.

Robert in Jersey City
Guest
Robert in Jersey City

Casey Moss was robbed.

conniemac
Guest
conniemac

i totally agree

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

agree

eddie
Guest
eddie

I agree the blue ribbon panel has to come back.Unpaid volunteers who are a part of the industry should choose the winner.Michael fairman,jamie giddens,michael logan,carolyn hinsey,stephanie sloane,dan kroll and the staff of soap opera digest should choose the nominees and winners.Every year for 44 years people are ignored.Did anyone notice that brian datillo did not attend the show.

dmr
Guest
dmr

AGREED!

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Totally agree, Robert. Even the audience seemed surprised. Not to mention Flynn himself, who apparently needs to have a script to speak coherently.

Llanviewer717
Guest
Llanviewer717

I definitely agree with you Robert. Casey Moss is a fine actor who always delivers. His performances during the Theo shooting story were outstanding.

blake
Guest
blake

Yes, Casey Moss losing Best Younger Actor was the biggest upset of the Emmys.

eddie
Guest
eddie

The show was magnificent.However,where was freddie smith and chirstopher sean.Days is taped 5 months in advance,I geuss in five months the 2 of them are off the show.Thaoo penghilis was their and that means carvalatti is bringing tony back to life.Chandler is not in this picture,but he was in the audience.This show was so good because there was no music playing to make winners get off the stage.David and michael did a spectacular job.

Phyllis Fontaine DeMarco
Guest
Phyllis Fontaine DeMarco

No complaints here. I thought the show was very well done and happy for all the nominees and winners. Great fashions-and seems like all had a marvelous evening. Shout out to Michael Fairman- Loved the GH55 segment you produced. Excellent job, Michael. Also saw your pics from the red carpet and inside-lookin’ good!

Shay
Guest
Shay

@Phyllis….Greetings “my fair lady!” Even though I didn’t watch the show, I did happen upon an online sartorial slideshow of fashion favorites and magnificent material mishaps…probably about 60 in total?? All I can say is that more than a few frocks truly took my breath away due to their utterly appalling artistic abberations that were so heinously OTT I more than once thought that these atrocious examples of apparel couldn’t even possibly rate as charity cast-offs from John Waters’ “’DragQueensRUs Classic Collection”…..Yep, THAT bad! (And no, I shall not be naming names….) However, whilst there remained some quite lovely conventional… Read more »

Celia
Guest
Celia

Oh, Shay, amore……Anna ( my apologies to Finola, whom I love; it is what it is) would not do that frock justice. One must have the body—-a generous, yet not overwhelming, bosom; shapely, feminine hips, in order to stun and/or raise the dead!!!! Finola, as pretty as she is, has a boyish body…..thus, she needs to choose her habillement with extra care. In contrast, Nancy has it all….I can only hope to maintain mine, as she has. She, as Michelle Stafford, looks good in anything. Very admirable of you to regale such a compliment to one of your not-so-favorable-character. I… Read more »

Shay
Guest
Shay

@Phyllis……Hey there, lovely lady! Where have you been? Still aimlessly wandering the prairie, searching for that elusive “Delores Claiborne” DVD or did you fire up the Pontiac to hightail it down to the Kentucky Derby’s weekend of grand festivities? (I can totally picture you donning their customary millinery creations with the greatest of aplomb!) Regardless, I simply wished to check in, say hello and remark that although I applaud the down-to-earth, viewer-friendly Lidia Bastianich’s Emmy win for “Outstanding Culinary Host,” you remain my sentimental favorite as “cookshow hostess with the mostess” for your sassy, saucy presentation of “La Cucina Italiana,”… Read more »

Gary
Guest
Gary

I don’t think she is coming back, Shay. Hope she does, but seeing how she has been treated here- she deserves better. Swore I would never jump in here again after the last wars-and being called a liar for calling out behavior from the defender of fictional characters. Thanks for having my back during a couple of those battles. I still get majorly irritated thinking about all that. I wanted to reply to Phyllis, and wish I would have. She was funny as hell and just wanted to have some conversation and humor and human contact. Instead, she gets outed… Read more »

Gary
Guest
Gary

I was waiting to see if you would reach out to Phyllis-notice how everyone else has all of a sudden shunned her, don’t respond to her posts. I doubt she will return. Don’t blame her at all. She shares some personal info with Fairman and tries to offer comfort during his personal grief-and gets outed and questioned about her gender identity-classy! Who knows-really-who is whom on here-and there are no restrooms in Fairman City or whatever this is for people to freak out about her going into. She seemed lonely, and I did not see her do anything offensive-she even… Read more »

Gary
Guest
Gary

Have very much enjoyed your posts. Very funny. Hope you are doing ok.

Shay
Guest
Shay

@Gary…..How very nice to see you back here after such a lengthy “hiatus!” (Despite your great reluctance to do so….) And thank you for your kind words! You have written two very insightful and thoughtful posts and I hope somewhere out there, Phyllis is reading them, so she (or he) realizes how much they’ve touched not just you and me, but so many others who have enjoyed the most creative, spirited and entertaining material this website has seen in some time. Whether she is a he or he is a she——-or whatever, matters none…what does count is that Phyllis is… Read more »

Rodd
Guest
Rodd

Congratulations to all who won. I can’t say I did cartwheels over a lot of them but am so happy that the competition was so strong. That just shows that the soap opera genre is making a creative comeback; people are upping their game. I do think that DAYS win was well deserved. Since Ron has been writing this show, things have really gelled nicely and I find myself wanting to watch every day. If GH didn’t win, I was glad it was DAYS. Happy, too, for James Reynolds to finally get his “due”. Bill and Susan Hayes’ Lifetime Achievement… Read more »

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

So happy Days won-the only soap i rarely miss…James deserved that emmy..Casey should had won but there is hope for next year…nice to see the Hayes-my all time favorite super couple recieive a Lifetime Achievment award…Chloe Lanier-so Heather Webberish as bad Nelle-best thing about GH these days as well as Max Gail…so disappointed how Genie was treated and Kin being fired at GH…that Jim guy could had been Laura’s stalker but everyone believes its Scott-there is a story for them…also Scottys daughter could had showed up and Carly could had used her to keep Micheal away from Nelle-more story…jmho!!!

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

Days…locked in that room for days but these three women still have their hair, makeup and clothes all so perfect-lol

Mo
Guest
Mo

Do we really want to see them looking all grungy? I’m fine with suspending a little belief that maybe there is a hidden bathroom we can’t see. I’m sure Stefano thought of all that. And remember, Marlena was locked in a room in the tunnels before by Kristen.

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

It has been days in our time, but in soap reality it has only been 1 day — Stefan and Gabby put them in that room and planned to leave town, but took time to have a roll in the hay, and Chad caught them–when he beat Stefan– was arrested, and while Stefan was in the hospital Gabby was caught visiting him– this is all happening on the same day in Salem

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Yes, I have no words how Genie was treated. Will she really come back with a “Genie-worthy” story? Can we believe anything TPTB say?

Halliah
Guest
Halliah

James deserved his. But Days of Abigail and little else merits no applause. And a writer who cheers on a man who poisoned another is a sick writer not a good one.

Rather disgusted with Ron Carlivati and his rehash of OLTL. He did earn the title rehash Ron. Never anything but DID with Ron and frankly I’m ready to cancel a program I once loved for years.

Jules
Guest
Jules

Random thoughts…. GO DAYS!!! So happy for all their wins! The big trifecta, and the two for acting (not to mention the Lifetime Achievement Award to the Hayes duo). Casey losing was most definitely the biggest shock of the night. I wanted James and Greg to win, but my money would have been on Casey that he would win. I am super disappointed for him because he earned that win big time. That being said, it was nice to see all the shows got love this year- every soap had someone go up with the chance to honour their show.… Read more »

Debra m
Guest
Debra m

I am a long-time GH watcher and started watching Days again when Ron took over. The show deserved to win this year! I want all the remaining soaps to last. I was rooting for Michael Easton but James derserved to win. Happy to see Greg V. finally win, always liked him, even when he was on GH. Was shocked none of the GH actresses won but all three were so good they probably just over-shadowed each other. Was hoping Marla and Casey would win. He was robbed. Hope Max Gail gets a special guest star award next year and wins… Read more »

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Good on Greg Vaughn; Casey was great also!

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

And good on James!

Mo
Guest
Mo

Ryan was working. He was hosting “American Idol” the same time as the Emmys. And then he had to fly back to NY.

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Oh, Jules, I agree about the length. Sometimes less is truly more. And Casey’s loss was the only real low point for me. Regarding Steve Harvey, his daughter was lovely and poised in the acceptance speech but honestly, I’d never let my daughter wear such a revealing outfit. Ditto for several other actresses. Again, less exposure can be more flattering than more. Between that and those ridiculous short, ruffled skirts on women way too old to be wearing them, I found the fashions underwhelming. Susan Seaforth Hayes, Deidre Hall, Eileen Davidson looked great.

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

So happy for recognition for Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes.
Next time: Give Genie Francis a special award! Well, one can dream, can’t one?

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

I agree with your fashion statements, but Suzanne/Maggie being the beautiful woman she is, would have looked more so , in a dress.

dmr
Guest
dmr

I love Eileen Davidson-always so classy and beautiful!

K/kay
Guest
K/kay

Absolutely thrilled for James Reynolds so well deserved! I am glad Days won as far as I am concerned GH is The Sonny hour B&B is the Liam hour and Y&R is the Victoria hour. Newsflash it takes a ensemble cast working together to make a good soap .

shilo0845
Guest
shilo0845

I can’t believe not everyone shown was not dressed for the show. I know it was in the bkground but it just was hard to enjoy the interviews being done. I think Carolyn did a great job.

su0000
Guest
su0000

I really don’t care..
It’s no big deal and has little to no meaning that one is chosen over the many others deserving of the award.

now, its over and won’t come to mind until the next one.

Out of all the awards given through the years I recall only one, just one.
When Anthony Geary/Tony was noted as having 8 awards..
A record I don’t believer will ever be broken by another.

as for others that received rewards I’d have to google ..

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Re Anthony Geary: Why, su0000?

Harry
Guest
Harry

STELLA! HEY STELLA!!! I cannot help but hear Marlon Brando as Stanley from A Street Car Named Desire when I hear the name Stella.
I wonder if the actress yelled her acceptance speech? “I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY FOR THIS WIN!!!”

rpm
Guest
rpm

so happy for days but Casey Moss was robbed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rpm
Guest
rpm

Steve Harvey is a hack

su0000
Guest
su0000

rpm,
And Dr, Oz is an infomercial Quack ..

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

So glad you said that, rpm. He is startlingly ubiquitous, despite his incredibly unprofessional, ludicrous mistake of announcing the wrong winner at the Miss Universe in 2015.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

He is the next Bill Cosby. What a fraud!

Celia
Guest
Celia

Who, T? Oz? Never watch these trash shows. Harvey? I like him…..in FAMILY FEUD ( and Harry, no, I’m not YELLING, LOL. Titles may be in caps). Why is Harvey a fraud, my Timmmy? What don’t I know??

K/kay
Guest
K/kay

Ron get back on the tracks I was chuckling because Geary and Bernard called him the writer and they were not in the audience nobody is perfect hepegully RC gets back on track as for CH she was totally rude to Gina for what reason? She took over a part yes she is younger but move on Stafford has

Boop
Guest
Boop

I hoped that Marla would win.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

SALUTE

Days of OUR Lives

BEST :

directing
writing
show

BEST : leading man
BEST: supporting actor , man

it was a rob we will steal : Casey Moss

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Was it me, did I miss something when the crew came up to win their award for The Price Is Right, and I never even heard Drew Carey’s name mentioned, nor was he there either. I normally skip over the game show awards, that’s why I watched it Mon. on Utube, just so I could pick and choose what I wanted to see, and decided to watch the TPIR award. I know I miss a lot doing this but don’t have the patience for all of the awards.

Chaz
Guest
Chaz

Missed the beginning of the show – forgot start time. Add me as another surprised at Casey Moss’s loss. I only tune into B&B on rare occasions and Rome Flynn was no match for him. Plus, I remember his stupid comment a year or two ago that he was shocked he wasn’t nominated. Hubris.

Happy about Greg Vaughan. I think he should also get an award for Best Male Hair….hahaha.

Hopefully, Days can keep up the momentum and remain strong.

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

He does have great hair! 🙂 And that great smile.

K/kay
Guest
K/kay

Stop with the attacks on Rome nobody was more shocked then he was so please go dry somewhere else this actor Casey Moss will survive better actors then he have been snubbed RF does not deserve this constant abuse

peter
Guest
peter

Congrats to the winners.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

I am so glad that Camryn Grimes, Greg Vaughan, Wayne Brady and The Price Is Right all won. As for the rest of them…well, never mind.

Later.

xmascarol
Guest
xmascarol

Days deserves it just wish that Marci Miller would have won,guess what I found out about her she can really sing check it out on you tube I guess that was really her voice we heard on the show she has such a beautiful voice.This woman can not only act but she can sing too wow

rpm
Guest
rpm

rome flynn sounded lost during hi speech his win was a scam and his team scored him a win because he has an upcoming gig on how to get away with murder and he did by beating the much more deserving casey moss

rpm
Guest
rpm

btw did anyone find it interesting that reign edwards didn’t win when she was holding rome flynn up in that storyline

dante williams
Guest
dante williams

I agree Reign Edwards was robbed. She and Maya carried that whole damn story, and neither one won anything? What the heck?

K/kay
Guest
K/kay

Are you talking about he wig she was wearing? Please stop with the attacks on Rome ok he got the stupid Emmy he was gracious he was shocked get off the guys back please

K/kay
Guest
K/kay

Ok regarding the actor who won for young actor I did not watch the reels is the fact he thanked God is what has most of you twisted in a knot? Newsflash you are not robbed of anything unless it is in your possession to begin with. The young actor has been attacked enough get on with it Lordy Emmys do not in the final scheme of things mean a dam thing.

xmascarol
Guest
xmascarol

I don’t mean to sound mean ,but as much as i love the Abby story the writers need to stop referring someone with a mental illness as aloony and a nut case.We are not mental illness is also a physical one because it effects the brain.Otherwise everything else is okay.I am not going to make a big stink out of it but they just need to chance there wording around.I have friends who are mentally ill and they have so much compassion for others.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alison Sweeney on Working with Bryan Dattilo: “28 Years Later, Some Things Never Change. Still Laughing Between Takes and Grateful to Have Such a Talented Supportive Co-Star”

This week, Days of our Lives viewers have witnessed that Sami Brady DiMera (Alison Sweeney) and Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) hit the sheets, and Lumi fans everywhere rejoiced!

On and off, for almost three decades. Alison Sweeney and Bryan Dattilo have played the relationship between these two exes who share children together to the hilt, because Sami and Lucas’ history is well … complicated.

But, what will happen if and when EJ finds out that Sami had sex with her ex? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Alison took to her Instagram and shared her thoughts alongside photos of her and Bryan, then and now.

Over the years, Bryan had remained one of Alison’s good friends.

Sweeney expressed: “I have always had such fun working with @bryan.dattilo !! 28 years later, some things never change. Still laughing between takes and grateful to have such a talented, supportive costar. Thanks @nbc for this great archive photo! And so grateful to @nbcdays for the incredible opportunity to play Sami.”

What did you think of the scenes where Sami and Lucas slept together and its aftermath thus far? Comment below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ali Sweeney (@alisweeney)

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Breaking News

REPORT: Dan Feuerriegel is DAYS New EJ DiMera

Could Days of our Lives finally found their new EJ? Rumors have been circulating on the internet for weeks that the character of EJ DiMera may finally have a new face and a new actor portraying and heading back to Salem, especially since Sami (Alison Sweeney) is back on the canvas.

The role was previously played by longtime fan favorite James Scott, who had made it very clear he would never return to Days of our Lives.

Photo: DFeuerriegelIG

Now according to Daytime Confidential and their report from setside sources, the new EJ will actually be played by former Spartacus actor Dan Feuerriegel.

The Australian-born actor has been seen in Starz’ Spartacus franchise in the role of Agron.

According to the report, look for the new EJ to make his debut sometime this summer.

DAYS fans know that in story, EJ was brought back form the dead, from the serum from Dr. Rolf, but then was injured in an explosion and had reunited with Sami and had been recovery in Europe.

So, if this reports turns out to be true, what do you think of the new EJ? Comment below.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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