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DAYS Co-EP Greg Meng Speaks Out On The Writing Regime Changes to Save Salem!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Days of our Lives is going through yet another overhaul, and once again timing is critical! The show has been faltering again in the ratings and apparently not even the great Will Horton coming out storyline, extremely well-written by Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas could save the scribes, because the other storylines with Salem’s favorite couples being torn apart for various reasons, was not clicking with viewers.  So with that, and host of other issues facing the lone NBC soap, DAYS co-executive producer spoke to TV Guide for what happens next in trying to get Salem back on the map!

Meng on if NBC instigated and demanded a writing change at DAYS:  “We spoke with the network and collectively felt we needed to take a pause, make a change with the writing and the style of the show for a while and see if that will redirect things. The ratings situation is very complex and difficult, and we have a tremendous challenge with that right now. Everybody on the Days team, and that includes NBC and Sony, our distributor, wants this show to succeed and we’re doing everything we can to make it work. We all have different visions as to how to achieve that success but the good news is that we’re all in synch on the future. No one wants cancellation. Even though we brought in Darrell and Marlene to reset Days last September, it was always our feeling that the show needed to constantly be nurtured with smaller resets. This isn’t the end of the world. We’re just resetting it again in an effort to get it right.

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Meng on how all the Salem couples were written under McPherson and Thomas:  “People do want to see the major couples but the problem is you can’t tell good story when couples are together and everything’s all hunky-dory. That’s the challenge Darrell and Marlene have been up against. They tried some unique ways to split up those couples yet that hasn’t quite worked. But they get an A-plus for effort. In hindsight, I do think too many couples splitting up has been an issue. We also brought in the wonderful Sarah Brown (Madison) and threw her into a lot of material very quickly. Maybe too much too quickly.  But, again, we feel like we’re in a great place to make the next step.”

Meng on if the next step is seeing another major shuffle of major characters being weaved in and out ( as already posted today, DAYS let-go four actors) and if the firings will be epic, like Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn being pink-slipped a few years back.  “Yes.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that right now,  We’re looking at weaving people in and out, and bringing them back later if we can.”

Meng on if there is viewer backlash from the gay storyline as OLTL faced with KISH:  “I don’t know. I think it’s a beautiful story and we are committed to it. But probably it’s not the story that most women are going to tune in for every day, the one they don’t want to miss. I think it’s a story everybody likes, but the women want to see romance. Our goal is to get back lapsed viewers — our family of viewers who stopped watching altogether or aren’t watching us every day.”

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So soapers, what do you think? Can another round of firing actors and bringing in writers save DAYS? What do you think the integral problems with the show are? What would you like to see on-screen that you are not being given the opportunity to see?  Let us know!

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kay killgore
kay killgore

Translation: I talk out of both sides of my mouth and I have become very good at it!

Jared
Jared

DAYS is so tragically messed up. The issue at DAYS is and has always been Corday.

Rodd
Rodd

Amen!

Avelina
Avelina

Agreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He really has no idea. Its a shame really

Manelli1234
Manelli1234

I think they need to fire Greg Meng!!

jerrica
jerrica

at the end of the day if it saves Days …

Teresa
Teresa

What’s the point for Days to be saved for savings sake if the stories are written poorly, rushed and overlooked for weeks at a time? They fired Matt Ash. so by default they fired me as a loyal fan too.

Avelina
Avelina

Me too!!!!

AlistairCrane
AlistairCrane

That’s how I feel about Carrie and Austin, although I am a Jack fan too. These firings are devastating and remind me of 2006 when Jack, Carrie and Austin were shown the door yet again. These are the characters we want to see! No one wants to watch a DOOL about useless characters like Rafe, Daniel, Gabi, Melanie, Chad, Ian and Madison. Yuck.

The actors are taking the blame for the failings of the writers and producers. Such a shame.

Crystal
Crystal

You proven to be a the biggest idiot in just one line :”“People do want to see the major couples”. You don’t know us fans at all. You have no FREAKING CLUE what we want. You NEVER listen. Not the actors fault or the couples, characters. Its you writers lousy writing. It takes more than just bringing back fan faves. You have to write them in character but with a compelling storyline around them, not one done a million times over. There are tons of fans who love the MAIN COUPLES and is the main reason we have turned in. We Fast Foward scenes with new characters, useless characters like Rafe, Melanie,Chad, Madison, Daniel.Gabi. Why not get rid of them? Characters fans DO NOT care about cause they have been shoved down our throats. We DO WANT our couples but you won’t write for them. You keep bringing them back to run them into the ground then fire them. I can think of tons of stories to do with JAck And Jennifer, Carrie & Austin, etc. But you have proven YOU DON’T CARE, about the actors, The Fans or the show. My only hope now is the SHOW gets CANCELLED, cause as far as I am concerned, a DIEHARD FAN over over 20 years, The Show is as good as DEAD TO me. You Took away my Sun, which is Carrie & Austin. Christie, Patrick and Matthew and whoever else you fire deserve better. IDIOITS!!!!!

Avelina
Avelina

Exactly then show us EJAMI, jenn/jack, Brady/Nicole. I agree with your comment 100%. They have shoved useless characters that cant act down our throats and we have to like it. I hope the show does get cancelled because the way they are treating the VETS, they deserve it. I have lost ALL faith in DAYS and I am no longer going to watch. Letting go of Matt, Christie and Patrick just about does it for me.

Heather
Heather

I think NBC will end up cancelling Days in 2013. NBC wants to extend Today to a fifth hour and Days’s timeslot is the only one that is available for such project. All the other timeslots belong to the affiliates and they’ll never give them to the network.

NBC wants to exit the soap business just like ABC and CBS.

RJ4
RJ4

First, glad Mr. Meng spoke out, we needed to hear from ‘The Management’ about the direction the show was going to take even if we anticipated what he would say. Any way, want to say thank you, still good and important to hear because you kind of feel that this is the beginning of the end, so some reassurance that the show is going to continue for awhile anyway, and they are going to continue to try improve it is helpful. With that said, I think with all that goes on internally, they may lose sight of what the viewer is seeing. Aside from the Will/Gay storyline which I think has been well done, the rest of the show has been very ‘messy’ the last few weeks with hollow story lines that really do not lead any where important, missing pieces in the story lines, dropped story lines, too many small story lines all over the place, too many superfluous characters that should just have peripheral story lines, but have been given main story lines, and too many characters in general. They need to clean the show up by staying focused on the main core characters who have been on the show for awhile, write better more well developed story lines for them like the Gay/Will story line – they could do this by either writing a main story line/plot that involves all the characters and have a few inter-related sub-plots or if that is difficult to write then have a few interesting plots going on, but not too many of them and if possible see if some of them can be more connected. What is key is to keep a story line going – do not start something, drop it, have missing pieces, have big gaps in the story line when you start something then you focus on another story line for weeks then go back to a story line after you have not said anything about it for weeks. You lose the audience if you do that. I do think the show has been better at the length of the scenes, the dialogue, and having some story lines end more quickly ( thank goodness the Austin/Carrie/Abigail story line is finished; the the Gina/Pawn seems to be ending, hopefully, the Brady/Madison/Ian story line is moving to a close also). Obviously, we would like to have story lines that are interesting, compelling, can deal with contemporary issues like the Will /Gay story line, have some intrigue and of course romance ( whether it is straight or gay). I like when you see people dealing with work issues by day and romance at night. The show started to go in that direction a few months ago and then shifted direction and was lost. I also liked the Post War Syndrome story line, that could have been good , but it was dropped. I liked the Will/Gay story line because it was developed in a way that you felt a lot for… Read more »

Manelli1234
Manelli1234

DOOL used to be so good when Crystal Chappell was on and now they have slaughtered the show. I cant believe they are firing actors once again. Recasting the recasts didn’t work.
Whats the point of watching a show that treats their actors the way they do. One certain
actress cant keep the show going in fact I think the sand is going to run out of the Hour Glass sooner than we think!

R.P Johnson
R.P Johnson

I couldn’t agree more. I loved Carly and still think she and Chloe should be front and center. I would also like to see Belle and Shawn-Douglas come back. The misuse of Mary Beth Evans, Judi Evans and Wally Kurth has been embarrassing.

mike
mike

They need to keep the Will story on track, but it sounds like they might just throw the baby out with the bath water. I think Days needs someone like Ed Scott at the helm.

Crystal
Crystal

DAYS NEEDS TO BE CANCELLED ASAP!!!!!! THIS HAS NOT BEEN MY SHOW SINCE 2003. DOESN’T”T MATTER WHO IS WRITING, ITS STILL CRAP! NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO TELL GOOD ROMANCE STORY LINES ANYONE. ITS ALWAYS MUSICAL BEDS.

Dmitri
Dmitri

I hate this Meng guy, and Corday sucks! Me and my grandmother will gladly take up the roles of head writers and set some things straight.

RJ4
RJ4

Just want to add to my last overly lengthy comment. In relation to how I said they could improve Days, I do not necessarily believe they have to spend massive amounts of money (or blow the budget) to achieve what I have outlined. If there are good quality story lines that are compelling and engaging and character development that makes you feel for the characters this will compensate for glitzy sets, location shots, clothing, etc. To tell a good story you do not necessarily need excessive ‘props’ just good writing and acting! The Gay/Will story line is an example of this.

AlistairCrane
AlistairCrane

Extremely upset and disappointed that Carrie, Austin, and Jack are leaving. I only started watching Days again after a 5-year absence because they brought back my favorite couple (Austin and Carrie). I won’t watch Days again after they leave, except for maybe the series finale in September 2013.

stephanie
stephanie

What was the point of bringing back all those vets and stirring trouble with stories that were boring back them. And using old stories lines that have already been used. It’s like someone is trying to sabotages to show to kill off . I have been watching the show for over 25 years. Why they didn’t they just brought back Carrie and Austin give them a story line about them having baby or adopting a baby instead destroying Sami and Rafe.

Sara
Sara

Destroying Sami and Rafe was the BEST thing they ever do, this pairing is awful and boring !

Brian
Brian

I’m over it! I can’t even think of anyone that they could bring back or add that would make the show better. Why get rid of writers who were just getting their stride? Matt Ashford should not be let go. I can see why Carrie and Austin might be leaving because their characters were ruined

Michael
Michael

Keep Christie Clark! And Do NOT even THINK of letting Deidre Hall go again. If you have to, get rid of Drake- can’t stand the Gina/Pawn rehash…just give us more of Deidre Hall!

Sara
Sara

He’s a sexist pig! Who is he to tell me or any woman what we like or don’t like to watch? The only reason I still watch Days is because of the gay storyline! Chandler Massey, Freddie Smith and Deidre Hall are kicking this story out of the ballpark. It’s obvious he nor anyone at NBC know what they are doing or even know who their audience is. The network execs all have their heads up their a**es! This is 2012 and women are not just fans of “straight” love. There are many kinds of love and this story has to potential to tell a good and thought provoking tale. But then again…I doubt NBC even cares about Days fans anyway. They just want a 5th hour of Today anyway…

Side note…I’m truly saddened about Matthew Ashford getting the ax. He is also a great actor but he was never given a chance to flourish. His story could have been really good and realistic! That poor guy has been fired so many times…I hope he tells them to go to hell if they ever ask him back! He deserves better!

R.P Johnson
R.P Johnson

Well said.

lew
lew

I totally agree!! Clark and Brown should do the same!

Denise Beckett
Denise Beckett

I agree with you about Straight women have no problem with the Gay storyline I love it and wish they would just get on with it it is extremly frustrating that they are taking so long getting it started and Greg does’nt have any clue what we want!

Rodd
Rodd

I’m not a women, so I can’t reply for them. But as a man who has loved soaps all his life, I totally disagree about the WILL sotry line. It is the ONLY reason I am tuning into DAYS. His scenes are the ONLY scenes I do not FF to when I tape it. This story line has been well written and acted. It makes sense when so many of the other ones do not. If DAYS’ new writing team decides that they need to stall or change the direction of WILL’s story, I’ll find something else to do with that hour…and I well suspect I won’t be the only one to do so.

Sarah White Sees
Sarah White Sees

Excuse me, Mr. Meng, but the Will storyline is the ONLY one I tune in to see every day. Actually I DVR the show and skip the storylines I don’t like. I think it was condescending of him to say that “the women want to see romance.” I’m assuming he thinks that a gay storyline can’t be romantic. I think there is great potential for the Will/Sonny storyline to be very romantic. If he is truly interested in saving Days, he ought to realize that many of the storylines are not working; but the Will/Sonny storyline may truly be the only one that is working!!

Denise Beckett
Denise Beckett

I totally agree with you that is why I tune in as well to watch the Will and Sonny storyline I can care less really about the other Characters they are the ones I want to see and I also agree the gay story line can be very Romantic and yes I agree also that its the one that is working!!!!!!!!!

heidi
heidi

the main character in this show right now is the Horton town square and I am getting tired of it already. oh… what romance… evryone is breaking up and or turning into characters from the very tired past. how many times can you shake up the writers and reset the show? doesn’t all of thst resetting just give us very disjointed stories?

It is so sad… too many talented people in the soap world and too few well written soaps!

Karen
Karen

You’re right on about the Horton Town Square. In the middle of February, people are eating lunch in the square wearing a light jacket. People have intimate, private conversations in the square, as if it’s the most private place in the world. Every press conference is held in the square. The Dock used to be the place to go for all conversations, muggings and make-out sessions.

anna
anna

I dont think anyone likes Will being gay,I sure as hell dont and no one I know that has watched Dool for as long as its been on likes Will being gay.
they should have done a gay SL with new charecters and when the SL was over they could be gone.

Daisy
Daisy

Anna…what a stupid comment. Gay people don’t just go away. Ignotant people like you should crawl back in your cave and go away.

cathy trinque
cathy trinque

The Nielsen ratings are always wrong and way outdated! I don’t know why the networks don’t do something else. I am glad Carrie and Austin are leaving. The storyline with Abigail needed to be more mental. The fatal attraction was not played enough. Stefano needs to go.

AlistairCrane
AlistairCrane

Carrie and Austin shouldn’t be cut. They are a popular supercouple. Unfortunately, the writing DESTROYED them this time, particularly Carrie. Not looking forward to months more of this Rafe crap followed by a rushed Aurrie reunion.

cathy trinque
cathy trinque

Carrie is boring…..The sooner they go off in the sunset the better.

AlistairCrane
AlistairCrane

Cathy, Carrie is a sweetheart. She is one of the best characters on Days. Getting rid of them is a HUGE mistake. They’ve just lost an entire fanbase.

lew
lew

News for the Meng/Corday company: The problem was not Brown, Ashford, Clark and Muldoon. It also was not the previous writing regime. It is the head guys in charge! They don’t commit to story and everything the writers write, they change direction mid-way through the stories. Days was on track a few months ago. They brought back fan favorites and got me back as a viewer. Salem seemed like a real town where people really cared about each other and I couldn’t wait to get home to watch the show. Now I am sure we can expect the storyline for Will and Sonny to be thrown away (Mr. Meng sorta said that himself); Marlena and John will probably disappear like Maggie and Victor and Sami and EJ will be shoved down our throats! If the head guys want to keep their jobs, then hire good writers (Lorraine Broderick was a good move) and let them do their jobs. If they want to save money, get rid of the character of Ian (even though I love Ian Buchanan), Gabi and Billie. Focus on the DiMeras, Hortons and Bradys. Focus on family. And PLEASE allow Sami to GROW UP!!!! Her act is getting a really tired!

Harlee
Harlee

You wonder why soaps are dying, this is another prime example. They are slowly committing suicide and how can you ask viewers to continue watching when GH, DOOL, & Y&R are churning out a big pile of dang.

Anne Jordan
Anne Jordan

So sad the “reboot” flopped, but all our favorites returned only to be ravaged with crummy storylines. Such a waste! Now the firing of our favorites begins. I returned after Steve/Kayla, John /Marlena, Jack/Jenn, and Adrienne/Justin disappeared. Now Maggie and Victor have disappeared. The Will/Marlena story has been really good, the rest is a mess. I want to see all the iconic Brady/Horton/ couples and families restored. Ian is way too creepy, Gabi, the Spa, Abigail turning ugly, now a new doctor? Who cares! The Horton Sqare was great, but the stories it spawned, not so much! I, too, will tootle if Jack, Marlena, John, Kayla, Carrie, etc leave. Not interested in Salamites with no Brady/Horton history or connection.

rae boyd
rae boyd

I am a woman and the only storyline that is drawing me in every day is Will’s coming out. Yes, I want romance and Will finding someone is romance!

Denise Beckett
Denise Beckett

Totally agree but so far as of todays show it looks like they are going to butcher that too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anne-Marie
Anne-Marie

These guys have no idea how to run a soap. I worry for the future of Days……

Barbara
Barbara

DAYS seems like it is in MAJOR trouble. The “zig zag” decisions it has made over the past 3 years are inane — Deidre Hall is fired; the show later cleans house, sending lots of characters and writers packing, bringing back Hall and other veterans; 6 months after this “alleged reboot”, the new writers and a lot of the returned veterans are sent packing.

This guy can offer all the explanations that he wants to make things sound reasonable. However, even Helen Keller can see, the DAYS bosses either (1) have NO idea on how to build interest in the show; or (2) are terrified that the show is near cancellation and are desperately throwing everything on the screen to try to keep it alive. Personally, I think it is a combination of both. It won’t come as a big surprise to me if NBC yanks DAYS next year.

I will give the producer some credit. He really appears to be making a HUGE effort to build interest in his show. I really wish some of his passion would rub off on the Bell family so they would try to fix their trainwrecks over on CBS!!!

Anna
Anna

I can’t believe he made such a ridiculous comment about women not tuning in to watch gay romance, where has he been??!! Don’t they keep an eye on the internet? Thousands of women worldwide tune in specifically for gay romance stories, they’re desperate for more gay storylines. Nothing like a good m/m romance! I know that’s why I tune in to Days, hoping for more and for them to be more adventurous with the storyline. If they drop the Will (and Sonny) storyline, I won’t watch DOOL anymore.

Denise Beckett
Denise Beckett

I agree That is why I tune in is to watch the Gay storyline!!!!!!

MavenCree
MavenCree

I don’t watch soap operas. I watch characters. I used to watch Luke and Reid on ATWT and then they fubared that up at the end. I had to content myself with Europe and Austrailia for my characters. Christian and Olli, Aaron, Chris and Aiden… You’ve probably noticed, they’re all gay characters. I am a straight female. The only romantic storylines that interest me on tv are gay storylines and so I follow them. I seek them out. And I am not alone. Started watching DOOL the day that Sonny K came to town. I ONLY watch on the days that he and/or Will are on (except for that damn website clusterfudge.. I mean, what the hell?!). And I’ve been watching soley with the hope and promise of Will finding a guy to love. Why? Well, a friend in one of the online groups I attend said it so well, I just have to quote her: “The straight relationships tend to be far-less romantic. However, with gay storylines it seems as though the writers are so scared of messing it up that it turns into the beautiful fairy tale relationship that turns us into little giggling girls, who believe in true love again.” – Eve Straight relationships on soaps tend to be more an exercise in bed hopping than anything else. This is boring to me. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt, use it as a rag now. A gay relationship is new. It faces new challenges that we haven’t seen before. Add to that that as a newly visible minority, they are the underdog so you WANT them to succeed even more. And when they’re not doing that, the women become plotting whorish shrews. I mean, what the hell are they doing with Gabi’s character. She’s going all Fatal Attraction now. She was never one of my favourites, but now? This type of behavoiour is supposed to ATTRACT new viewers? I know the plotting female was a soap opera staple in the past, but it’s 2012 – as it would be rediculous to to posession storielines now, this too should be left in the past. There are other ways writers. A character can be plotting and manipulative without giving up all of her self respect. TPTB need to adapt to 2012. Not everyone watches soaps on tv. More people have to work these days. A lot of people, myself included, only watch their stories, or just their favourite characters’ stories, online. I understand that they are worried about revenue and such and don’t want to look at alternate viewing options, but there’s a very easy way for them to keep their advertizers happy – PUT THE PRODUCTS IN THE SHOW. This week there was a long episode with Sami in the kitchen with EJ. Put a bottle of Sunlight in the background. Have Will drink a coke in Horton Square… Then it wouldn’t matter what form of media people were watching because the products would be there!… Read more »

Denise Beckett
Denise Beckett

Well said Research research reasearch get a clue Greg Meng!!!!!!!!!!

Sara
Sara

This must be an error about Austin and Carrie, i mean i don’t mind their characters but they are quite boring and their coupling without Sami plotting is an abyssal bore..so i don’t believe their numbers are higher than folks like Marlena or Sami..come on, as for the gays stories, characters they are very popular online, it is not new. Gays viewers love soaps and love to watch it online, they are pretty obsessed actually..lol

MavenCree
MavenCree

For those who are angry about the Greg Meng article or the latest firings and have twitter accounts…many are planning a twitter bomb to @daysofourlives and @nbcdays with hashtag #DaysAngryViewer and #days and any comment you’d like to add. Scheduled for tomorrow 04/12 at 1:30pacific/4:30eastern. Try to get it to trend and let TPTB know we care about this show and where they are headed with storylines. Pass it on. If you visit Daytime Royalty link them as well. There are 115 pages and counting of angry posts. Push for them to continue Will/Sonny or save your other favorite characters.

Michael
Michael

Not quite sure what the point of this interview was. If it was to reassure the fans that despite all the changes, yes, there’s a plan, and it’s going to result in something worth watching . . . it’s an epic fail. Some of it is pretty preposterous, even for a spin attempt; the tripe about “smaller resets” (or whatever it was he said) is just pure nonsense: you build viewership by having a vision, finding the right people to execute that vision, and then going forward confidently to enact that vision (in other words, through continuity), not by throwing stuff up against the wall and seeing what sticks. The constant major cast upheavals are also a sign that those in charge have no idea what they’re doing. (Alternate possibility: there is quite a power struggle going on among various players, and no clear winner has emerged yet.) I haven’t had any investment in DAYS for a long time, so ultimately I suppose I don’t care if these nuts drive it into the ground, but I feel so bad for people who are very attached to this show and have to watch these clueless, clueless people make one bad decision after another. And it also hurts me to see another soap circling the drain–especially when the potential is still there, but those in charge can’t get it together well enough to make some sane decisions. I haven’t seen enough of the outgoing writers’ work to judge whether they had real potential, but past experience with Messrs. Tomlin and Whitesell does not inspire confidence.

jagger
jagger

You fire Matt Ashford and think you are making good decisions for the show. Think again. I dropped all abc viewing after oltl was cancelled. I guess I’ll have to drop nbc too if this situation is not rectified.

david
david

There is no limit to the number of times characters can be presumed dead and never really die because it is a soap opera. After viewing the May 7 promo, I had to laugh. Who is Sami going to have grief sex with this time?

Breaking News

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Reveals TV & Film Production Restart June 12th; But May Not Include LA County

There was some significant signs that Hollywood and the state of California’s show business production looks to be gearing up for a restart after all TV and film production was halted a few months ago as the coronavirus pandemic hit the state, our country, and the globe.

The reopening for production may not include L.A. County, however, which is the epicenter of the state’s show business production.

According to Deadline: On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state could begin TV and film production as early as June 12th.  While the California Department of Public Health released the following guidelines:  “Music, TV and film production may resume in California, recommended no sooner than June 12, 2020 and subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

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For LA County,  on Friday, the same day the guidelines were announced they saw a slight increase in hospitalizations, which could cause delays in getting production started.  “This has been a slight increase over the last three days in the number of people hospitalized,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, “and we’ll need to make sure that we’re not starting to see a significant increase in the number of people requiring hospitalizations.”

So the question remains: if there is a surge in Los Angeles in COVID-19 cases production could again be delayed getting started back up and running? So what do you think about the June 12th date for the state of California to start TV and film production? Do you hope your favorite soaps get back into production as soon as possible, or do you want to make extra sure that all your favorites will be safe and sound when they tape new episodes?

 

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Days Of Our Lives

Wally Kurth Talks on His Daytime Emmy Nomination For DAYS As Justin’s World Is Turned Upside Down

You kind of know when you are handed the ball in the world of daytime drama, and it’s your turn to shine, especially when you get meaty material that runs the gamut of emotions. And this past Emmy season, Days of our Lives’ Wally Kurth delivered the performances of his soap career (although we suspect there is some more to come in 2020!) in the role of the grieving Justin Kiriakis.

For Wally not only played grief, but starting life anew in a romantic entanglement that can be all too familiar when someone tries to move on after the loss of the love of their life. Add to that, the complication that his son’s husband, was believed to be the person who caused the accident that killed his wife, Adrienne (Judi Evans), and with that the deck is stacked for an emotional fallout that landed Kurth in the running for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at this year’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to air on CBS on Friday night, June 26th, albeit in a virtual presentation.

While Wally is getting many accolades for his work on DAYS, let’s not forget the double duty he pulls on General Hospital, where this week his Ned Ashton. This week Ned is front and center during the encore presentations of the GH’ Nurses’ Ball episodes, which feature Wally singing his heart out in numerous memorable performances through the years.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kurth to get his thoughts and insight into his well-deserved acting nomination for DAYS, plus to find out his favorite GH Nurses’ Ball performances, and much more. Here now is what Wally had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

I am so thrilled about this nomination because you know, I willed this to happen.  I was like, “It’s got to happen!” (Laughs)

WALLY:  You actually were saying that, and you have been very supportive and positive.  I appreciate it.

What did you end up submitting? I believe I gave you “Power Performance of the Week” honors on my site for some of them, too.

WALLY:  I do try to put together a little story in my submissions for Emmys.  I think that’s kind of important because if you’re asking someone to watch 8 or 9 minutes of just you… I didn’t want to just (not that I had this material) but bludgeon them with one sad, sobbing scene after another.  I wanted to give them a whole range of Justin and a little story.  So, I did start off where Justin was asking Adrienne to marry him, and Justin is very happy, and it’s all good, and he gets down on his knee, and you see her, and it’s like, “This is something really good,” and I also wanted to include a scene with Judi Evans in my reel.  Then, I cut to where it’s a year later, and Justin is with Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) in their apartment. They are already living together, and they are discussing the anniversary of their marriages, and about the sadness of Adrienne, and she’s talking about Steve (Stephen Nichols), and then she brings up having to tell me that Adrienne died.  So, that was obviously in a flashback that happened six months earlier; where Justin is obviously very upset, and scared, and doesn’t want to hear it, and breaks down, and Kayla comforts him. Then, I did the continuation where Justin tells Kayla how much she has meant to him, and how he felt like he wasn’t going to survive, and how she came to his aid in a way to make him feel like he really has something to live for.   Then, at the very end, I did two scenes with Will (Chandler Massey) in the jail which is where Justin confronts Will, who obviously Justin thought was responsible for killing Adrienne.  It was a really lovely, really well-written scene where Justin tells him, “You’re a son to me, and you can be disappointed with a son, and you can be hurt by a son, but you never stop loving him.” I think it showed a nice range of the anger, the hurt, the happiness (because Justin tells him about Kayla), so you get an idea of what happened to Justin last year.  I thought it was a good collection of scenes that told a little story, and you could see the range of what Justin went though.  Evidently, it worked on some level because I got nominated.

Courtesy/NBC

In the scene with Will, doesn’t Justin also tell him, “Don’t give up on life?” in a very hankie-inducing moment?

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WALLY:  Yes.  “Don’t give up.  Don’t give up on life,” which is really positive… even though he started the scene like, “I don’t even want to talk to this guy.”  Justin is there talking to Ben (Rob Scott Wilson), and Will kind of surprises him. So for Justin it;’ like, “Now I guess I’ve got to talk to Will about this,” and so he is still angry, he is still hurt, and you’re right, at the end, the scene has sort of transformed him in a way.  So, all of that stuff was just really nice, really nice scenes to get to play and very emotional.

I’ve watched most everything on the soaps from the performances to the storylines, and that one scene with the two of you was one of the best scenes I have seen in long time.  It was just so good from the writing to the execution of it. 

WALLY:  Oh yeah, I can’t even imagine a scene that was as good. Thank God that scene aired in December.  My story really didn’t get started until October/November, and all of those scenes that I included were from October, November, and December.

So, what did you think then when you found out that Chandler, along with you, and Paul Telfer (Xander) are all in the Supporting Actor category together?

WALLY:  I love it.  How great is that?  I love both of those guys.  I mean, I am such a fan of both of them.  Chandler kind of gets nominated every year, so I wasn’t surprised there.

Photo: JPI

Well, he had one year, as he pointed out to me (laughs), that he didn’t get a nomination. But, Chandler has been pretty much a perennial nominee every time he submits!

WALLY:  Yeah, Chandler just delivers.  He is a really an outstanding actor Paul, I think is great.  I love the character.  I was kind of surprised and happy for him because sometimes his character gets overlooked; just like the bad guy with the smarmy smirk and the great English accent.  So, there you go.  It’s terrific.  I think people saw more to his performance, and they should.  He works on a lot of different levels, and Paul brings a lot to the game.

And obviously, you know James Patrick Stuart (Valentin, General Hospital), since you work on that show too, and he is also nominated in your category. 

WALLY:  Yeah, and I have been a big fan of his too.  So, I was really delighted.  I called him up and left a message.  I love James.  We did a thing last year together where we went back east and played some music in some clubs,   I always think that James should be nominated.  He does such an exceptional job at bringing that character to life.  That’s not an easy thing to do either.  It’s kind of like a Xander character, and so, it is nice to see my fellow actors see the complexity in their performances and appreciate it.

Photo: JPI

Last week’s DAYS airshows contained scenes where Justin confronts Orpheus (George Delhoyo), over killing Adrienne, and Justin also goes to visit Adrienne’s grave.  I think you have another run of shows next year to submit for the Emmys (Laughs)

WALLY:  I do like to include the big four emotions that an actor has to play:  happy, sad, angry, and fear.  That is a scene where you get to see Justin really angry.  So, I will probably look to that as you get to see the anger part of the character, which I think is important.  You don’t get to see Justin very angry and lose it like that.

No, and that’s what was so great about it.  George was a great scene partner, though.

WALLY:  Oh, he was great.  George and I had a great time.  It was really awesome.  I mean, it was a challenge because it was very tricky, especially when Steve (Stephen Nichols) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) came in because you know; there is a part of the character that is just like, “Please, just let me shoot.  Just let me fire a bullet and just put it over his head or something, or maybe his hands are shaking so much that he misses the target!”  I don’t know, but you do just want to let him shoot, just one bullet.  (Laughs) Another moment that I really, really loved – and I’ll probably include it next year in my submission -was that scene with Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) at the hospital.  They gave me a beautiful speech to tell her that she should be her judge and jury and sentence herself to death, a beautiful speech about how she reminded me of Adrienne.  It brought out a different side of Justin that you don’t usually see.

Photo: JPI

When I spoke to Chandler about this nomination he related to me, “I am so happy for Wally because I feel like he is often underrated.” You have always been the guy on soaps who is always delivering consistent work, but now you’ve been given a story.  So now everyone can see what you can do or are reminded of it.  It’s hard without a story on the soaps; especially playing the Emmy game.

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WALLY:  It’s true.  What did Maurice Benard (Sonny, General Hospital) say?  “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.”  It’s really true.  Let’s face it, you can only do so much, and that’s why I don’t get too competitive.  If I lose, that’s totally fine.  I feel like I’ve already won.  Being recognized by my peers, that’s it.  Being nominated is awesome, and honestly, after this, so much of it is the material and what the actors got to do.  It’s sort of out of your control, you know.   I am happy for all of my fellow nominees.  It’s all good at this point.  I’m really, really happy.

Photo: ABC

You’ve been nominated once before, right?

WALLY:  Yes. I’ve been nominated once before, two years ago on General Hospital.  It was the year that Jane Elliot (Tracy) left.  In story, Tracy leaves, so there was all of that emotional stuff to play.  That was the year I also submitted myself for Days of Our Lives too, and I was really proud of that work.  That year saw Adrienne having to choose between Justin and Lucas (Bryan Dattilo), and she chose Lucas.  There were just some really nice scenes there that they wrote for Justin and Adrienne, and she was dealing with cancer.  Anyway, I got nominated for General Hospital, and I learned from that year that I am never going to nominate myself in the same category for both shows.  That’s just stupid.

Well, you’re everywhere.  You’re on the Nurses’ Ball encore episodes right now on GH,  

WALLY:  Oh, isn’t that funny?  All of these Nurses’ Balls, it’s hilarious.

Courtesy/ABC

Are you watching them?

WALLY:  Yes!  I watched parts of them the other night, especially my performances. It looked good; actually, they were really good.  I’m always kind of surprised like, “Wow! The dances … the singing … the production!”  I always feel like there should be more people at the Nurses’ Ball.  Shouldn’t there be more people in the seats? (Laughs)  But other than that, good stuff, good story.  It was fun to see the beginning of Ned and Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) as well, you know that first year where she and Sonny were just breaking up on the red carpet at the ball, and the next year, Ned and Olivia are already together.  This week they aired where I sing with sweet little Brooklyn Rae Silzer (Emma), the Elton John and Kiki Dee duet, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

Photo: ABC

Do you have one favorite Nurses’ Ball number you performed of all-time?

WALLY:  You know, someone has been posting old Nurses’ Balls from the 90s, and I forgot that I sang “Forever Young” with Amber Tamblyn (Ex-Emily), and that was so sweet.  I also loved singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” in the very first one or the second year, we did it. Some of my other favorites include: “I Feel Good,” with the Quartermaine boys, and Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” – that was fun because I got to put my own vocal stamp on it, and I remember performing George Michael’s “Faith.  It was fun singing that with Lisa.

Courtesy/NBC

So, we know that this year will be a virtual Daytime Emmy ceremony, and we don’t know what that will look like yet.  So, how would you dress for it, if they had a shot of you from home during the broadcast on CBS?

WALLY:  I definitely am going to wear a suit and a tie.  I think that’s important to try to give the Emmys the dignity that it deserves.

So, thrilled that Wally received a Daytime Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series? What were your favorite moments of his last year? Are you enjoying seeing his performances on the encore GH Nurses’ Ball episodes? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination For Julie and Doug’s Emotional Storyline

When you think Days of our Lives, what would it be without the legendary Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie) and her real-life and on-screen husband, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams)?

This past Emmy season, the beloved duo got a chance to shine, when they were put through a ‘heartbreaking’ predicament – Julie’s heart gives out, she is in need of a transplant, and things take a turn for the worse.

What would life be like for Doug without his Julie? How would she say goodbye to him? Fans clearly felt the sentiments overflowing from this real-life duo capturing the essence of their characters in such a raw and realistic way. So much so, that Susan landed a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category for her work.

Already a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient along with her husband, Bill back in 2018, will Susan finally get an award for her acting for her decades of beautiful work on the long-running NBC soap opera? Fans will need to tune-in to CBS on Friday, June 26th to find out with the virtual presentation of the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  But for now, here is our conversation with Susan.

Photo: NATAS

Congratulations on your Supporting Actress nomination.  You have been racking up a lot of these recently, having been nominated in the same category two years ago, and also receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award along with your husband, Bill Hayes at the 45th annual Daytime Emmys in 2018.

SUSAN:  It’s really nice to be nominated, because I’ve had a few gap years.  I’ve had, what? 25 gap years between the recent nominations.

What scenes did you ultimately chose that landed you the nomination?

SUSAN:  I submitted when Julie dies.  I submitted the farewell montage scenes with Bill Hayes, and they were very moving to us… and we’ll see.  I did not submit anything snappy, or bitchy, or hysterical.  I’ve lost against hysterical every time.  Comedy has never worked.  So, I am going to try the heart and soul of soup opera: not bitchiness, but loss.

Photo: JPI

Can I ask how you got through those scenes with Bill, because it was so touching?  I don’t know how you did it.

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SUSAN:  It was very difficult.  I mean, these are the things that make us so connected to the characters and the show.  This is a place where we can show the public what love means to us, which is everything.

They were beautiful scenes.  Do you remember when you did them, if you felt good about them at the time?

SUSAN:  No… no.  I didn’t know.  Everyone on the set seemed happy.  We are blessed to have feedback from out producers now, and they didn’t say, “I think you can do it better,” and, “Another take,” not that we would have anyway, because there is never time to do another take.

Photo: JPI

How did you find out that you were nominated? 

SUSAN:  One of the producers, Randy Dugan called me, or I wouldn’t have found out for a couple of days,

What are your thoughts on this being a virtual Daytime Emmys ceremony because of COVID-19?  We don’t know anything about will play out yet or what that will look like, but it is back on network TV.

SUSAN:  It’s going to be a wonderful surprise.

So, if they have the shot of the nominees, do you think you’d be dressed in comfortable clothes or more formal?

SUSAN:  Well, I’d certainly wear my best earrings if I were at home, yeah.  If my grandson can arrange us to get on the internet (we have a grandson living on our property, and he’s our live-in techy), we will get dressed up, and sit there, if that’s the way to do it.

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DAYS did very well receiving 22 overall nominations and a lot of your co-stars got nomination as well.

SUSAN:  Yes, an excellent year for nominations for our show.

How many times have you been nominated now? 

SUSAN:  This makes six.

Photo: IMDB

Would it mean a lot to you to get the award?

SUSAN:  The Lifetime Achievement meant a lot.  It wouldn’t be bad to win this year.  I’ll say that.  It would be sweet for the show, since I am now the oldest living cast member of the original family – the original, original.  I’m not the original Julie, but close enough.  So, I think that would be some validation for the longevity of this original storytelling.  People look at the show and say, “Are you part of the DiMera family or the Brady family?”  I say, “I’m part of the Horton family!”

What did your husband Bill say when he found out you were nominated?

SUSAN:  (Yells) Billy, what did you say when you found out I was nominated?

BILL:  Yay!!!

SUSAN:  That’s about right. (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What a guy!

SUSAN:  I know!  What a guy, what a guy, what a guy!

I was really happy to see your name among the other well-deserving nominees.

SUSAN:  I know you are because I know you care.  Who knows what will happen? It isn’t going to ruin our lives you know, one way or another.  But it was very nice to receive this acknowledgment from my peers.

So, are you glad Susan received a nomination for her work in her emotional storyline? Do you think she should finally receive the Emmy for her performances? Comment below.

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