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Days Of Our Lives

Crystal Chappell named Ambassador for Hetrick-Martin Institute!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Days of our Lives and Venice star, creator, producer, writer, Crystal Chappell has been named the newest Ambassador for the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI). The Hetrick-Martin Institute creates a safe and supportive environment in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, ages 12 to 21, can reach their full potential.  Through a comprehensive package of innovative and creative after-school programs support services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin, with its experienced professional staff is a leader in caring for our most vulnerable at-risk youth.

HMI is also host to the Harvey Milk High School, an inclusive voluntary New York City public high school focusing on the educational needs of children who are in crisis or at risk of physical violence and/or emotional harm in a traditional educational environment. Crystal recently became involved with HMI after visiting the Harvey Milk School in New York City and through her efforts as well as her wonderful fans, HMI has received hundreds of donations and in-kind gifts from individuals and Starbuck’s coffee.  Each Ambassador agrees to raise awareness about HMI and share a common belief that no young person should feel ashamed of who they are and that each deserves a safe, supportive space to grow and thrive. Other Ambassadors of HMI include Andy Bell, Tim Gunn, Cheyenne Jackson, Heather Matarazzo, Mary-Louise Parker, Robert Verdi and B.D. Wong.

Congrats to Crystal, and what a great advocate for this important institution!

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Ruby
Ruby

that woman has a heart of gold

James Scott fan
James Scott fan

Crystal Chappell is wonderful actress,producer,director,writer,mom,wife & amazing person. CONGRATS

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Head Writer Ron Carlivati Talks On: Ben Weston, Soap Amnesia, Doppelgängers, and the Time Jump

Days of our Lives viewers have been going through some changes over the past month since the launch of the innovative time jump from the creative mind of the series and Daytime Emmy-winning head writer, Ron Carlivati.  As episode after episode unfolds, the audience has been finding out just where their favorite Salem residents have landed and with whom, in the one year flash-forward.  There have been shocking deaths revealed, longtime couples facing different kinds of obstacles that could change their relationships forever, and some characters brought back on the canvas, in one form or the other, to shake things up.

On the series finale of the Inside Salem: Days of our Lives Podcast,  Ron Carlivati was the very special guest and addressed many of the decisions that went into making the flash- forward happen starting with when Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) wakes up from her coma after her fall, thanks to Princess Gina (Kristian Alfonso), and how it impacts the canvas.  You can listen to the can’t-miss interview here via iTunes or at NBC.com/Inside Salem.

Due to the length of our conversation with the talented head scribe, some of the questions and answers did not make it into the podcast finale due to time constraints.  So, we have brought you the rest the interview here as Ron discusses: the popularity of  #Cin, back-from-the-dead storylines, writing for the original series on the DOOL app and further creative decisions that went into crafting the one-year time jump.  Check out what Ron had to say below.

Photo: JPI

You have been able to make #Cin, the hottest duo on daytime by taking a now reformed serial killer, Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson) and pairing him with the daughter of one of DAYS all-time supercouples, Bo and Hope in Ciara Brady (Victoria Konefal).  Were you ever  concerned as to how this story/romance would play to the audience at home, because in reality no parent would ever just stand by and let their child get involved with a man who strangled and killed women, previously? 

Ron:  To sort of try to glorify a guy who strangled women and make him into a romantic lead, we don’t do that lightly.  Not unlike, Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) on One Life to Live who was a rapist, and who became sort of an anti-hero, but also a romantic lea.  And in this day and age, it’s even a bigger decision to do something like that, I think.  So, that said, it is a soap opera and there are certain things where we know we are pushing the envelope.  We know in the real world that no mother would ever get past her daughter being with a guy who murdered, killed, and strangled three women or strangled and shot one, but the pairing worked so well.

Photo: JPI

In the time jump, you gave Ben an intriguing prison cell mate in Will Horton, given that Ben had “killed” him previously.  Add to that you brought back Ben’s criminal father, Clyde back into the mix.  There’s lots of prison orange these days on the screen.

Ron:  When we knew we were sending Ben to prison, then obviously father and son have to cross path. It just added another element, so it wasn’t just going to be Ben and Will (Chandler Massey) talking to each other, and making a shawl together like Martha Stewart. (Laughs). Ben’s relationship with Clyde was interesting to me.  As horrible as Clyde was and is – there does seem to be some sort of love that he has for Ben.

Photo: JPI

On the soaps, and as has been part of DAYS enduring legacy, characters are killed off, only to be brought back to life somewhere down the road. Many return with classic soap amnesia as a vehicle to drive story.  Is there ever a time when as a writer, or as a soap fan, you think “enough is enough”, and characters should just stay dead?  Many fans who watch daytime dramas get very invested in tragic death stories, where characters have these shocking or sudden, or long goodbyes, and the viewers goes through the grieving process; along with the other characters, for what then seems like a waste of an emotional investment when said character turns back up alive.

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Ron:  We were talking about bringing Jack (Matthew Ashford) back right around that same time we had the Will story.  We couldn’t bring two people back from the dead at the same time, and that’s why Jack’s return kind of got put on the back-burner, so we could do the ‘Will is alive’ story arc.  Look, the audience will go with you, especially if they want somebody back desperately.  They will overlook how did it happen, and how could they be alive.  They will accept almost any explanation, but I think you’re right, if you do it too much, you tend to water down the permanence of death … especially deaths that you saw on-camera.

Photo: JPI

Viewers know you love doppelgänger storylines.  And, in the time jump you brought back none other than Hattie Adams (Deidre Hall).  Why the decision to bring Hattie back at this time?  I know Deidre loves playing her.

Ron:  I think Deidre likes playing something different than Marlena, because she played Marlena for many, many years, and she knows her like the back of her hand.  Hattie is an escape and something fun, and the chance to do and say outrageous things that Marlena would never do.  So, we bring her back whenever we can to have fun with, and again, it seemed to work because  she was in prison, and we set Eve in prison when we started the time jump off, and we’re like, “Who’s Eve (Kassie DePaiva) going to be talking to?” and we’re like, “Oh, well of course.  It has to be Hattie.” (Laughs)

When do you first see the fruits of your labor?  Do you see a feed from the set as the show is taping? Do you receive episodes where you see how what was written has come to life? 

Ron:  In prior shows, One Life to Live and on GH, I saw it when it aired. At One Life, I was in the studio, so I often saw production shooting scenes.  Here, they send me the completed shows once it has been completely edited, the music has been put into it, and it’s all ready to roll, and they email me the link to 5 or 6 shows.  So, I could in theory watch a couple of weeks ahead of the audience, but I tend to (unless I’m so, so curious about how a certain thing turned out) watch it when it’s on TV.

Photo: JPI

The “Lani (Sal Stowers) and Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) joining a convent” storyline is at a critical point in story.  How did you come up with the decision to put Lani, and of all people, Kristen together and about to take their vows as nuns, and kind of becoming bff’s?

Ron:  I mean, you can’t imagine sort of two more unlikely friends as Kristen and Lani.  We grew to really love the relationship that developed between the two of them.  I think we sat down and said about the time jump, “There have to be enough big changes that you do the double-take.”  Like, Will is Ben’s cell mate, Adrienne is dead, and Justin and Kayla are together now.  You had to have enough of those WTF moments to justify passing a year of time.

You have also been writing series for the DOOL app.  What did you think of Chad and Abby in Paris with that being the initial one and how it all came to pass?

Ron:   It was fun.  I had no time.  I was writing six episodes a week of DAYS, and I was asked “By the way, can you write two seasons of a web/app show for us?” (Laughs) Greg Meng (Co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) has really been the mastermind behind this app and developing this app into something.  I love all of the stuff you guys came up with for all the behind the scenes content, but I know that Greg really wanted original series content on it, too.  Chad (Billy Flynn) and Abigail (Kate Mansi) just seemed like the logical couple to do that with.  You wanted somebody tied to Salem that wasn’t currently on the campus, but you know the audience cares about what their up to, and Chad and Abby just seemed perfect.  The process was totally different because I’m used to writing six outlines a week that are 15 pages long, and all of the sudden, I’m like, “She comes in, this happens, and this happens.” .  That’s like a whole episode of an app series right there.  Corday Productions produced it while they were producing the regular show, and they made a special set into Chad and Abigail’s apartment, which I thought looked incredible.

Photo: JPI

Chad & Abby in Paris had a bit of a different look and feel then the regular airshows, which I think made it enticing.

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Ron:  I loved the look of it.  I felt it was just a little bit different than Salem.  We had the establishing shots of the Eiffel Tower and all of that stuff, and look, we had to keep it simple, but we added in Austin (Austin Peck).  We had Tony (Thaao Penghlis) come in season 2.  We had the new characters of Juliette (Rachele Schank) and Sylvie (Shawna Della-Ricca).  So, it was fun, and it weirdly just timed out so perfectly because we did 8, took like a week off, did another 8, and that last episode was posted right when Jennifer fell.

Right, so it timed perfect to get Chad & Abby back on the airshows.

Ron:  It timed out perfectly so that we could have Abigail get a call: “Something has happened to my mother.  We have to go back to Salem.”  So, you last saw Chad and Abby in Paris, and then the following week they were back in Salem.

Photo: JPI

Now, with the kind of massive move for DAYS with the time jump, you have to figure out: “Who are the casualties?  Who am I going to lose?” Viewers learned in short order that: Adrienne (Judi Evans) isn’t alive, Haley (Thia Megia) isn’t alive, and Jordan (Chrishell Stause) isn’t alive.  What went into the decision-making process to kill those characters?  I’m assuming it was to further the story of others on the canvas.

Ron:  Yes.  Anytime we kill somebody, it breaks my heart every time, because these are like my babies.  You fall in love with these characters, and you care about them a lot, and you care about the people who play them.  So, it’s a big decision to say, “Let’s kill them.”  It may be a great story, like, “I’m going to get this amazing story if I kill X,” but that’s a person and a job, and it’s not something we ever do lightly.  That said, in a year of passage of time, you know that life and death is going to happen, and to us, it felt like to really signify the passage of time, there had to be at least one or two people who are no longer alive, and then show how that affects our story.

Photo: JPI

Did you ever think that instead of 1 year that you’d do a bigger jump?  Like, “What if I did 5 years?”  Because it’s interesting, I was reading some comments on social media from fans who are like, “What year is it?  Is it just 1 year?  Why didn’t they do 5?” (Laughs)

Ron:  5 seemed like a lot.  I think people change physically a lot in 5 years. I wasn’t prepared to cast little children as teenagers… that would be a lot. (Laughs)  I think you run the risk of it being almost too disorienting for the audience.  Also, then it would be me having to figure out what happened over 5 years instead of just 1. (Laughs)  So, 1 year just kind of seemed perfect, and it had to be an even year so that even though it’s a crazy coincidence that Jennifer woke up 1 year to the day she fell into the coma, you needed Thanksgiving to still be Thanksgiving, and Christmas to still fall on Christmas, and that kind of thing.  So, it had to be an even year.  I think it worked out great and I hope the audience continues to go on the journey with us, because there is a lot more to come!

So, have you been enjoying the DAYS time jump thus far? Which storyline has piqued your interest most? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Noted Soap Opera Producer Lisa de Cazotte Has Died; Daytime Community Mourns Her Passing

Sad news to report on Sunday as the soap opera community and its fans learn of the passing of Daytime Emmy-winning and noted soap opera producer, Lisa de Cazotte,

Lisa passed away yesterday on Saturday December 7th after a long illness at the age of 58,   From early in her career her love of the soaps and passion for it were evident.  She began right out of college as an intern on ABC’s One Life to Live, where she worked her way up to Coordinating Producer.

Photo: JPI

Next, Lisa eventually became the Supervising Producer of NBC’s one and only Santa Barbara.  She spent time also on All My Children, before heading back to NBC and Sunset Beach where she assumed the role of Supervising Producer there.

However, it was in 1999 where de Cazotte became the  Executive Producer of Passions, which she helmed and remained till the end of its run in 2008.  It was a show that she loved so much.  She continued her career in the soaps in 2012 stepping into Salem and Days of our Lives where Lisa was named Co-Executive Producer of the series winning two Daytime Emmy Awards. for her efforts.

Sadly, now her final gig began in 2017, when she became Supervising Producer of The Young and the Restless and won her third Emmy in the process this past year.  De Cazotte was said to still be producing Y&R at the time of her passing. She is survived by her husband, Antoine de Cazotte, and her beloved brothers: Michael Patrick Smith, Robert Terence Smith, and Brian Charles Smith.

Photo: JPI

On social media over the last several hours, many actors, and colleagues have shared their sorrow and remembrances of Lisa.  Here are just a sampling:

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Jason Thompson (Billy,, Y&R): We lost a member of the family last night, one of our producers, Lisa De Cazotte. I first worked with Lisa when she produced the 2nd season of “Night Shift”. Years later and currently on @YandR_CBS  She was kind and smart. Our thoughts are with her family.”

Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS): The kindness and opportunity this woman furnished me was immeasurable. We have lost one of the hardest working and graceful producers in our genre. I will miss you terribly, Lisa. #RIP”

Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) “Sometimes you recognize those women who are part of “the tribe”. Whether you know them for 20 years or 20 minutes… they are still part of your tribe. Lucky for me. Godspeed beautiful Lisa”

Angelica Rosas McDaniel (Ex-CBS Daytime Exec) “Last night we lost a light in this world with the passing of Lisa De Cazotte. Lisa was smart, strong, kind, vibrant, an incredible friend and an Emmy winning producer on many beloved shows. I was blessed to know her. Sending love to her family and friends.”

Michael Logan (Former TV Guide Columnist): “RIP Lisa de Cazotte, one of the truly great soap producers. A real nose-to-the-grindstone talent, she never wanted personal glory choosing instead to do the work, quietly and fabulously. Her partnership with James E. Reilly on #Passions was epic.”

McKenzie Westmore (Ex-Sheridan Crane, Passions):  “Heart broken at the passing of my Passions EP Lisa!!”

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Sara Bibel (Writer, Y&R): “Lisa was a wonderful producer, a joy to work with, and knew everything about daytime. She will be missed by everyone at Y&R. RIP”

Michael Fairman TV will continue to update this section of the post as more remembrances are posted over the next 24 hours.

Share your condolences and thoughts on the passing of Lisa de Cazotte in the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Alison Sweeney Reveals She Is Making A Return To DAYS In 2020

Looks like Sami Brady will be back in action on NBC’s Days of our Lives later in the New Year, according to Alison Sweeney, Sami’s portrayer.

During a visit on Friday to the set of Hallmark Channel’s morning talker Home & Family, to promote her upcoming holiday film for the network entitled, Time For You To Come Home For Christmas, Sweeney chatted it up with hosts Cameron Mathison and Debbie Matenopoulos.

During her segment, Alison revealed “Sami is back, causing some trouble.”  But she was quick to note that it will be awhile before she is seen on-air clarifying “My scenes are not going to air until next Summer, next August.”

Sweeney promised the viewers and DAYS fans that there was great stuff coming up with her visit.  And if Sweeney’s last few returns are any indication, whatever is cooking in and out of Salem that may bring her back on to the canvas, we know it will be juicy, because when Sami is around the pot gets stirred!

So, excited to hear Alison will be back on your DAYS screens in 2020? Comment below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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