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DAYS Arianne Zuker Interview: Will Nicole find love with EJ? Someone else? Or, Self-Destruct?

Courtesy/NBC

Courtesy/NBC

As Days of our Lives had its official reboot this week with many returning favorites and the launch of several new storylines, where does that leave troublemaker and often misunderstood, Nicole Walker Dimera?

On-Air On-Soaps had the opportunity to catch up with the talented Emmy nominated actress, Arianne Zuker (Nicole) to find out!  Is there a future with EJ? Brady? Someone new? Or, should Nicole go it alone and get her life in order?  These are several of the talking points in our chitchat.  So, here is the fabulous Arianne on what is going on in that complicated mind of Nicole!

What is happening with Nicole? Is she jockeying for an opportunity to be with EJ? What is her deal?

ARIANNE: I think with Nicole she is trying to find some independence here.  I think Gus really shook her up! It was very scary for her.  I can’t imagine that happening.  It is one of my worst fears and then having it go further. I mean, yeah, he could have gouged her neck, but Kamall Shaikh (Gus) was awesome.  I said, “Dude, just go for it, as long you don’t choke me, I am good.  Just do it.  Do what you need to do and if you are hurting me, I will kick you in the you-know-what.”  He was great and I trusted him, and we had a conversation.  To put yourself there especially as a woman, you go, ‘Oh my God. If this ever happened to me, I would be freaking out.’ And so, that shook her up and takes a moment and reboots who she is.  Nicole has got to change, she is getting up there. (Laughs) She has been making such bad choices in her life.

Courtesy/NBC

Good point. You know she has never really quite learned. And I would think it is fun to play her, because Nicole is so unpredictable. But then I would also think as an actress, you would like to see your character grow.

ARIANNE: You do! And I feel for her and am frustrated for her, but in a good sense. That allows me to try and understand where she is living.  I try to make a timeline with her and why these things keep coming back.  Why does she make recurring bad choices? It is something that is in all of us. How many times has someone dated the same type of person over and over again?  How many times has someone mis-balanced their checkbook over and over again? And you can look your own life and go, why do I keep doing the same thing? Why do I keep leaving ten minutes late and getting to work ten minutes late? It’s the little things, and that is what this character does. Nicole cannot get herself out of doing the same thing over again.

Do you think much of her issues to this day stem from her past and being so abused by her father?

ARIANNE: Absolutely. I definitely think she has a disadvantage. She was abused by her father, and her mother, who never did anything about it!  I hope that would get brought up again, dealt with, and fixed a little bit.  Number one, I think it would be great drama for a soap. And on a personal level, I have changed a lot. I am such a different woman than I was in my twenties. I almost don’t remember them as much, because I am so different than I was, and I have a child now.  I don’t want to remember my twenties as much either, because I didn’t really like that person that much as much as I like this one. And I got to tell you, I love my thirties.  In your thirties, you kind of get who you are, and so I can only imagine what my forties will be like.  So you spend that time figuring yourself out and that is what is happening with Nicole. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had any guidance, or a mentor, or a mother in her life, or friend, or anything, to push that process along.

I heard new DAYS head writers; Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas were taking meetings with the actors to discuss their characters. Did you get an opportunity to speak with them?

Photo Credit: NBC

ARIANNE: Yes, I took my meeting. I listened a lot more than I spoke up. Because listen, I have ideas and thoughts, but I am also not the head writers of this show.  I can put my two cents in, but mostly it’s about that if they have an idea, I want to run with it.  More like, “Here is what I would love to see, but if you are going to do that, then I am going to dive right into it.”  It’s a collaborative team. Now, not everybody agrees with that, and that is fine. But, that is how I chose to do it and I like it because I feel I am just tested constantly. It’s a really good feeling.  I am not speaking for them, but perhaps they may be thinking, “Let’s turn her this way, or let’s turn her that way.”  You can never say anymore, “Nicole would never do something”, because she is so out-of-the-box or abused or because of where her life has taken her. So who’s to say she would never do this or that? She can be capable of almost anything, as we have seen in the past!

So with Nicole’s relationship with EJ? Is she in love with him?

ARIANNE: I think the biggest thing with EJ is … OK, let me put it this way. Have you ever in your lifetime been in love with someone who never really loved you back 100%?  And you stay with that person, and you are never going to get him the way you really, really, want him?  I think Nicole is so blinded by whatever she thinks she loves about EJ, that it colors her perception at times.  I will tell you there was someone I was with a long time ago, and I was in love with the idea of being in love or getting married. However, that person was not the right person for me.  So you manifest stuff that isn’t there. I think that is what Nicole does a lot with EJ, because he will turn around and do whatever he is going to do to Sami, and whatever he is going to do to Nicole’s sister, Taylor. Then Nicole is like, “OK, come back.” (Laughs)

Then, is she delusional when it comes to EJ?

ARIANNE: For sure, because EJ gives her a little bit and she takes it.

Courtesy/NBC

Everyone was very upset online yesterday and on Twitter with whether or not James Scott (EJ) would be leaving DAYS, after an item broke on his contract talks. Later, fans were somewhat relieved when James released his own statement, that he is working things out and trying to stay put. That would be terrible if he chose to leave, but everyone needs to also understand if an actor wants to go, they need to go and do other things. What are your feelings if he were to leave DAYS?  It would be a big loss for the show, wouldn’t you say?

ARIANNE: Oh yes! James is a great actor.  He will do whatever he needs to do and I will support him. But again, all of that is none of my business, so I just leave it alone. But I am a huge supporter of his and I just adore working with him.  I think he is awesome.

What do you think will happen with Nicole and Brady now? I think that is done, right? Brady is getting involved with Madison played by Sarah Brown. Or, will Nicole then get all jealous and weird, as only she can? (Laughs)

ARIANNE: That is a very good question, and I would love to mix it up with Sarah. She brings such a different type of woman to the show. It is something fresh in Brady’s life, and I think he needs that.  I think Brady had been in this crappy place.  I think it was comfortable for him to be with Nicole, because they know each other, and they can sleep with each other and know it is fine.  But at the end of the day, we are like, “You know, this isn’t healthy for either one of us. We are never going to see what is outside of this if we don’t break it off.”

Who on set do you have the biggest laughs with? Isn’t it Eric Martsolf (Brady)? Haven’t you told me many times you two get in trouble with your giggles?

Courtesy/NBC

ARIANNE: (Laughs) It’s between Eric and Alison Sweeney (Sami)! With Ali and me, I think people want to shoot us, because we can’t stop quoting Mel Brooks movies! That is all we do all day long.  (Laughs) It is so bad. And, of course Martsolf and me could be inside a paper bag for days and just laugh and laugh and laugh.  He is hysterical. I always said he should be writing a script or something.  He is just good at that.

So, do you think there could be any other man on the horizon for Nicole?

ARIANNE: God, I hope so.  I have no clue.  I would like to be a fresh face or Eric Brady come back … Sami’s twin!

And, who would you love to see play that role, if you could cast it?

ARIANNE: That is great question! Well, I still like Jensen Ackles (Ex-Eric) and I watch Supernatural. So many people have said that my husband, Kyle Lowder (Ex-Brady) should come back as Eric, and I love working with my husband, don’t get me wrong, but really? We like our own projects and I think its better that way.  It’s like, “Love you babe, but I gotta go make out with somebody else!” (Laughs)  You know who would be good? Michael Weatherly from NCIS . ( pictured below)  He is charming, funny, and good-looking, and I think he would be terrific as Eric Brady.

Courtesy/CBS

Isn’t Nicole back-burnered a little bit right now?

ARIANNE: Yes, a little bit, but in respect to everyone that has just come back, they have got to tell their stories. And, with the return of Bren Foster (Quinn), too, they have got six returns. So they have got a full-plate.

What if they paired Nicole with Quinn? Would you be into it? After all, they both have a scandalous past; perhaps they could find some spark and common ground.

ARIANNE: Oh, that would be great! I would be very open to that. Bren Foster is a great actor. I think he could really bring something, too.

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Love Ari. She’s a brilliant actress and gorgeous as well. Hope they don’t back burn Nicole for too long. Quinn and Nicole could be very hawt together. Love Nicole, but just not with EJ.

I love Nicole. Ari brings so much to her now. I hope the new writers can figure out what to do with her. If she’s going solo for a while it would be fun to see her with Jack. Not romantically but if Jack revives The Spectator, Nicole can invest in it and be part owner. She had a brief career as a reporter herself. I think they could have a good friendship giving their past.

I haven’t been interested in Nicole since she was with Eric Brady. A recast would be cool and spice things up!

Another great interview Michael!!!!!!
Absolutely adore Arianna and her acting abilities. She’s done an amazing job of making me absolutely hate the character of Nicole Walker.
I think Nicole deserves a new man in her life. One that supports Nicole for being Nicole!!!!

Love Ari but not with EJ, Brady and her are awesome but Quin would be fabulous too, she is gorgeous and so talented and such a nice person.

Love this interview and it shows why Arianne and Nicole are my favourite actors on Days!

I’ve been hoping for the return of Eric for a while now. He’s been the preferred choice for Nicole in Ari’s opinion for quite a while and same for me.

As much as I like Nicole and Brady I think it would awesome to have Eric Brady come back into Nicole’s life. Awesome interview, I hope Nicole won’t be backburned for long.

Funny thing is I was just starting to get into EJOLE, lol, but they really do have this long tragic unrequited love thing going on, dang it… I will continue to enjoy Nicole (Ari is AMAZING) no matter what wonky turn her story takes. Eric Brady could be just the ticket! I love that idea and it comes up from time to time in discussions with other fans.

i loved brady and nicole together i want them back

I’ve been loving all of Ari’s interviews these days. She really has an amazing grasp of her character, and it’s clear that she loves Nicole just as much as her fans do. I agree with her that Nicole should be single for a while. I’ve never liked watching her with EJ because the characters really have to go through the ringer to work. EJ and Nicole just aren’t themselves when they’re with eachother, no matter what the writers try to make us believe. I love Nicole with Brady, but I don’t like what they’ve done to them, so I wouldn’t mind seeing her take a long break from men altogether. What I really, really want is for Nicole to work with Jack. Nothing romantic. I just want them working together – her as a reporter and him as her mentor. MA and AZ’s chemistry has always been crackling and they’re both great with comedy.

I think Nicole with Eric or Rafe would be awesome, but I think she belongs with EJ.

Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives wins WGA Award for Daytime Drama Series

Sunday night, April 14th in concurrent ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City, the Writers Guild of America is handing out their 76th annual WGA Awards in the fields of motion picture, television, news media, and radio/audio.

In the Daytime Drama category, Peacock’s Days of our Lives was the winner, taking home its fourth WGA Award in this category in a row.

The DAYS winning writing team consisted of Head Writer Ron Carlivati Creative Consultant Ryan Quan and Writers Sonja Alar, Jazmen Darnell Brown, Joanna Cohen, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Cheryl Davis, Kirk Doering, Christopher Dunn, Jamey Giddens, David Kreizman, Henry Newman, Dave Ryan, and Katherine D. Schock.

Photo: JPI

The team from Days of our Lives bested the only other team in the category from General Hospital, which consisted of former GH head writers: Dan O’Connor, Chris Van Etten Writers Ashley Cook, Emily Culliton, Suzanne Flynn, Charlotte Gibson, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Shannon Peace, Stacey Pulwer, Dave Rupel, Lisa Seidman, and Scott Sickles.

Courtesy/Peacock

As previously reported, a show spokesperson for Days of our Lives shared that the episodes submitted for the competition were #14663, #14678 & #14679, and mostly centered around the death, and the funeral of Victor Kiriakis played by the late John Aniston.

This week, DAYS head scribe, Ron Carlivati, confirmed that, and told Michael Fairman TV on the decision of the scripts the team submitted: “I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, and then there was Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s (Louise Sorel) crashing the reading of the will.”

You can follow along with the live updated list of all the winners from tonight’s WGA ceremonies here.

Michael Fairman TV will have more on DAYS WGA Award win as it becomes available.

So, what do you think of Days of our Lives winning the WGA Award writing award for a Daytime Drama series for the fourth year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves Talk Return to DAYS for Doug’s Funeral, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Their Enduring Friendship

Last week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode which is tentatively scheduled to air on December 3rd. The story will feature emotional and heart-tugging scenes of Doug Williams funeral and honor his portrayer, the beloved Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th at the age of 98.

While the actors, producers, and crew took a lunch time break to pose for some pictures and speak with the press, they knew they would have to get back to taping the funeral, which was going to make it a tough day, but also cathartic for all who loved Bill Hayes.

Several returns have thus far been announced including; Melissa Reeves reprising her signature role of Jennifer Horton (a part she first played in 1985), and Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux. Reeves had last appeared on the show back in 2021, and she was replaced by Emmy-winner Cady McClain in her absence when Jennifer was in storylines. In real-life, Melissa had moved full-time to Tennessee along with her husband, Scott Reeves (ex-DAYS, GH, Y&R). Now, and as previously reported, Reeves will first appear back on DAYS for the Thanksgiving episodes with the Hortons.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Matt and Melissa during the 15,000th episode celebration to get their take on: being back for these special episodes, how it has been working with and watching Susan Seaforth Hayes portray Julie’s grief over losing Doug, and how they have supported each other through the years. Check out what they shared below.

Melissa, you are back on the set of Days of our Lives for this very emotional and special moment in the series history. How does it feel?

MELISSA: Oh, my goodness. I am honored. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but to be here for Bill. He was like my real-life dance partner. He taught me how to ballroom dance. And to be here for Susan, of course, who’s just been our sweet hero this whole week. We’re just following her lead. She’s just been this incredibly strong example for us in the midst of this trial and season of her life. She is like just lifting us all up with her. It’s been incredible.

I was at Bill Hayes memorial service which was truly incredible and I know at the time you were in Tennessee. It was moving and celebratory of his life, all at the same time.

MELISSA: That’s all I have heard. I have to watch it on You Tube. They said it was just a real celebration of his life and I love that.

Photo: JPI

This must be difficult for Susan Seaforth Hayes depicting the death of Doug, when she is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband. (Susan pictured above with the returning Stephen Schnetzer who plays her on-screen brother, Steve Olson).

MELISSA: I’m sure Susan has those moments at home by herself, but she’s so good at being a leader and leading all of us. We’re following her, you know, and she’s like, “This is how I want to feel today.” And we’re just going along with her, you know? It’s so sweet.

Photo: JPI

How is it to see Matt Ashford again live and in-person?

MELISSA: You know, Matt and I can go years without talking, or seeing each other, and then the minute we see each other we’re chatting away.

MATT: Melissa was out on set doing a scene yesterday on the phone talking to a stage manager; as she was telling some really tough news on the phone. I’m like crying in the background, literally, I’m off-stage crying.

MELISSA: And then we get like back into normal life, and we’re like, okay, “What’s happening? What’s happening with this … or what’s happening with that?”

I had read, Melissa, that you were in touch with Matt about if there night be a possibility for you to reprise your role as Jennifer for these special episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. Well, Matt was like, “Hey! Would you want to come back? “And I was like, “Matt, you know, I would always come back. ”

MATT:  Every time I come here to Days of our Lives, they ask, “Where’s Missy? How’s Missy?” Everybody backstage says, “I miss her.” All of the crew is asking about her and saying, “It would be nice to see Missy. Nothing wrong with you Matt, but …”  They said, “Where is she?” I said, “She wants to come!”

Photo: JPI

There are some beautiful photos of Missy and Bill and Susan thorough the years that I found. It just reminded me of just the deep and entrenched history we all have had with the show, personally and professionally.

MATT: Missy is roughly the age where Francis Reid (ex-Alice Horton) was when she started the show, which is just crazy.

Photo: JPI

I’ve always said Missy was going to be the next generation Alice. Do you feel that Jennifer is the heir apparent matriarch of the Horton family?

MELISSA: Yes. I mean, this has been greatest blessing of my life, and that would be great. I told Ken Corday (executive producer, Days of our Lives) when I was 17 that this show would be my life. Ken always told me, “This is your home,” and I’ve always felt like that.

How have gotten through the scenes watching Susan Seaforth Hayes as Julie go through the loss of Doug?

MATT: Susan is bringing her best performance life for her and Bill. I mean, she’s a showbiz baby. She always has been one hundred percent, and she’s doing it for him, and this is who they’ve always been. So, you’re seeing this amazing performance colored by her life. She has her private life as Susan, but she has enough plugged into Julie that she’s done amazing work. The director, producers and writers are giving her room to live in these moments and it’s quite wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

MELISSA: Yesterday, but today’s taping of the actual funeral I think they want us to try and be just more celebratory.

MATT: I mean, it is a beautiful long life for Bill Hayes and his character of Doug Williams, and so it will be about that. Then, you get a bunch of us together in the church pews, and there’s going to be hijinks.

MELISSA: We all have been through the waves of grief. You have that awful cry and then all of a sudden you feel okay.  There are those family situations we are portraying where you’re like, “What do we do? What do we do now? You know, no one knows what to do. But, it’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the scenes all turn out.

So, are you glad that Matt and Melissa are back for the 15K episode and Doug’s funeral? From what we can tell, it’s going to be quite an emotional journey for Days of our Lives fans, and especially the performance of Susan Seaforth Hayes, 

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian (Louise Sorel). We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows. So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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