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

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gmbenet
Gmbenet

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

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

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

blake
blake

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

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

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

john
john

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

Mary SF
Mary SF

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

Newc11
Newc11

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

Joel
Joel

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

Sally
Sally

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

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

Rodd
Rodd

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

TMJ
TMJ

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

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

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

Jake from NJ
Jake from NJ

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

Sally
Sally

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

blake
blake

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

Me
Me

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

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

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

maddiehayes
maddiehayes

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

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

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

Allen saint james
Allen saint james

Action adventure romance please!!

Rj
Rj

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

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

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

liz
liz

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

Rj
Rj

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

Jaime
Jaime

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

Steph
Steph

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

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

CeeCee
CeeCee

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

Rose9
Rose9

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

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

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

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

Becky
Becky

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

Alice Reed
Alice Reed

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

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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Hollywood Studios, Producers & Guilds Send Plan To Gov. Newsom and Gov. Cuomo For COVID-19 Production Restart Guidelines

On Monday, the two states with the most television and film production in the United States (California and New York) received a plan from many Hollywood studios, producers and the entertainment and production guilds of a plan and outline to be able to rejigger and restart production of your favorite shows and films.  This includes the soaps: General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of our Lives.

Via Deadline: In an effort to get the industry moving-forward again where jobs were lost or put on hold, and production were completely stalled out-of-the-blue, the guidelines submitted by “The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force (the “Task Force”) is asking for consideration and adoption for the resumption of motion picture, television, and streaming productions in an environment that minimizes the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19,” says a report for Governors Gavin Newsom of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York.

Photo: AP

You can read the details of the report here.  While there has been no word from the Governors and their offices if they have seen the report, bets are that several more steps will be needed before anyone would head and report back to a set yet.

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As one would expect, limiting contact, social distancing, regular temperature checks, ways to handle props, and a COVID-19 compliance officer for all productions are part of the proposal.   As well as virtual writers room meetings, avoiding filming on-location as much as possible and filming in front of large audiences.

So, glad to know that this major step has been taken to try to get production back on track in Hollywood and New York? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey Chats On His Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination

He’s won three Daytime Emmys in the Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series three years in row in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and now Chandler Massey is going for gold for the second time in his career in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series which in a field where he is competing with two co-stars from Days of our Lives among others.

Massey has long been a stand out performer, giving nuanced and emotional portrayals in the angst-ridden life of Will Horton and the love of his life, Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith).

Back in February of this year, DAYS fans learned that Chandler and Freddie had taped their last episodes, and since the NBC soap tapes more than 6 months ahead of air, that the two will still be on the air into the fall.  That has made this moment of recognition for Massey all the more poignant.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Chandler to get his reaction to the news that he is once again a Daytime Emmy nominee, and here’s what he had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

 

I thought it was great that you received another Emmy nomination.  What do you think?

CHANDLER:  Yeah.  I thought it was pretty great too, actually.   I was surprised.  I wasn’t keeping up on when they were announcing the nominations.   I was thrilled that Wally (Kurth) and Paul (Telfer) also got nominated too in the same category.  So, hopefully, DAYS, has a decent shot to take it home.

What did you end up submitting that ultimately landed you the nomination?

CHANDLER:  I went with some scenes that aired on December 16th of last year (I just looked that up), where Will basically breaks up with Sonny when Sonny comes to visit him in prison.  I liked those because they were sort of subtle.  I just found myself drawn in when I watched it, and it wasn’t big or dramatic, but it felt like two real people sharing their pain.  So, that’s why I chose it.

Photo: JPI

I remember those.  Those were heartbreaking because he had to get Sonny to let him go.

CHANDLER:  Yes.  He said he has a new prison boyfriend, and that he’s doing really well in prison, so he doesn’t want to be tied down. (Laughs)

You’ve had Freddie Smith as your scene partner for so much of your run on DAYS.  What did he give you in those scenes that helped you, or even further enabled the performance that you gave?

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CHANDLER:  Freddie always gives everything.  He is a consummate professional, so he really commits every time.  I think it is more that we are just so comfortable with each other that we are not afraid, and that there is no hesitation between the two of us, so we just are able to do the work.  We usually know we are there to listen to, and support each other. in the scenes.

Photo: NATAS

Was your entire submission from the prison scenes or did you include something else?

CHANDLER:  It was just that.  I know I could have included something else, but I like to keep it sort of short because I feel like as a judge, I know within a few minutes.  It’s not that I get bored, but it really only takes a scene or two, and then, you’re like, “this is something special.”  You can recognize it pretty quickly.

So, you have won three Daytime Emmys. This is your first nomination in a few years, right?

CHANDLER:  Yeah, I didn’t get nominated the year before.  I had a gap year… to my family’s great shame. (Laughs)  They were not pleased with me.

Photo: JPI

This is your second nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series category.

CHANDLER:  Yes. I was nominated in ‘Supporting’ for the first time when I came back to DAYS, and then submitted for “Lead” the next year, didn’t get nominated, and then went back to ‘Supporting’.  I learned my place.  I went back to ‘Supporting’ for this year.  (Laughs)

It’s such a game though, right?  .

CHANDLER:  Yeah, you’ve got to be smart.  I just thought, “What the heck?”  Freddie and I were like, “Maybe there’s a shot that if we pick different categories, we can both get nominated,” but then, after that didn’t work, I said, “Screw that… going back to ‘Supporting”

Now, you’ve been through Emmy night before, and this is obviously going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Now, if they did a six-shot of all of the nominees, what would you wear?  Would you be dressed up?  Would you be casual?  What would you see yourself doing?

CHANDLER:  That’s a good question. I think maybe… I’ll do a little of both.  I’ll go the middle ground.  I’ll be in my finest bathrobe, a silk bathrobe so it’s casual but also still sort of fancy.

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There you go.  (Laughs)  Is this nomination all the more special for you in that you are no longer working at DAYS? 

CHANDLER:  Oh, totally.  Every year is special, but you know, I’m not on the show anymore, so it’s a nice reminder that the work that I did had an effect on people, and it won’t be forgotten for at least a few more hours.

Photo: JPI

I saw the fan outcry and show of support for you and Freddie, when viewers got wind that you were exiting the series.  It was sad and heartwarming at the same time.  The WilSon fans are so behind you guys.

CHANDLER:  Yeah, if only they knew what horrible people that we were in real life, then they wouldn’t be this way, but thankfully… (Laughs)  Yeah, it’s really nice, but it is sad.  I started in 2009, and that was over 10 years ago, and nothing lasts forever.  I had a really, really great run, and so did Freddie.  I am very satisfied and don’t feel jipped, or like, I was entitled to anything more than I got.

Courtesy/NBC

Obviously, your co-nominees, Wally and Paul you worked with many times.  What can you say about them?

CHANDLER:  I think that both men deserve definitely to get second and third place.  (Laughs)  I have known Wally for a while now.  I love him.  I think his work is phenomenal.  I think he is really, really underrated.  Paul, I don’t know as well, but I think obviously his work speaks for himself.  If only he were physically attractive, I think that would really, really help his career.

Photo: JPI

I know, it’s a shame.

CHANDLER:  Unfortunately, he is kind of schleppy, you know?  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Did Freddie reach out to you after you received the nomination?  

CHANDLER:  Oh yes, he sent a text congratulating me, and we talked about it.  It was nice.  I feel like our stories are so intertwined, the scenes we submit are mostly with each other.  So, it’s really kind of a shared accolade.

So, will you be rooting for Chandler to cap off his career on DAYS with an Emmy win on June 26th during the virtual ceremony on CBS? What did you think of the nominated scenes he submitted? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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