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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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viewer88The other LisShayJamesj75Joy Recent comment authors
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Lamont
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Lamont

No don’t like the change

Martha A Kretzer
Guest
Martha A Kretzer

Me either….

Ladonna Newton
Guest
Ladonna Newton

7 no I hate the time jump. Nothing makes any sense. Steve as Stephanie is ridiculous. I hated princess Gina the first time around. I’m about to give up on this show,and I’ve watched nearly since the beginning

view88
Guest
view88

There is nothing surprising about the time jump storylines at all, except that it’s got eight months to go and all of the actors are off contract, and the webisodes are for morons. The fans and new children are having none of it. The fans are the only ones who sorta kinda understand it, but for the few who like it there a multitudes who see the writing on the wall, and even Sami Brady can’t fix it.

Su000
Guest
Su000

Out of all the writers at this point in time
Ron Carlivati is king.
He is a Brave writer and he will push a limit.
He brings mystery and suspense.
I wish to hades he was the head writer for GH.
GH is drama Free –
it has become pathetically Bland it’s so stale it’s moldy.
RC will deliver the action..

viewer88
Guest
viewer88

LOL,
is it you Sue? you are usually so spot on that this post feels like its from Sue with a Re-Ron personality disorder.
Drama is stupid unless the audience connects emotionally to the story, most long time Days fans are mourning right now,
and you suggest Ron C ‘brings the action’?
????
by action, do you mean killing another legacy, I could agree with there….
viewer88

Su000
Guest
Su000

hi viewer ..
Do you watch GH, all so?
GH is stiflingly boring to say it’s pathetic would be a soft word..
At the least RC doesn’t `comma you lol
You might think his writing is UCK but you’re awake to notice. LOL ..

viewer88
Guest
viewer88

All I can really say, because I agree, GH is has lots of stupid too…
But there GH has it’s dramatic, emotional moments that keep me connected.
Oscars death, Sonnys Dad, Monica dealing with. Drews 1 & 2. there are more.
Days has become a farce, easy to laugh at sometimes, but it makes me feel nothing lately.
I did feel sad for Robin Stasser though, finally getting a job, so they could turn the character she was to play into a cartoon.

Su000
Guest
Su000

hi viewer..
every soap has something for someone.
They are all makebelieve, so its what’s fits your fantasy.
Some like lovey-dovey junk.
Others like hard-hitting drama (me..
A good gripping mystery is always #1.
Some like vets and family
Some like ‘campy ..
We need to find the best fit..
0oooh a great many would love to turn
the calendar back to the 80s-90s.
whichever we expect to have great writers’
but- good writers are an endangered species.
Seems we have to ‘take what we can get LOL

viewer88
Guest
viewer88

Now that Corday has another year with NBC, he should cancel ReRons contact,Bring back the stars, and get his show back, before the awsome soap killer does in DOOL. Gawd, how low do the ratings have to go these days??? (I know the ratings are in No way accurate!!!). It’s just like taking money making people stupid by making soaps…the re ron factor.

Phil
Guest
Phil

I love this storyline! The time jump has really intrigued me, but don’t like that Adrienne is dead!

Momo
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Momo

I’m enjoying it. I don’t like all the changes, Adrienne and Brady’s baby dead, but it’s okay. Looking forward to what happens next.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

RE-RON. The fake mask king. Ridiculous.

jim davis
Guest
jim davis

Not so much…kind of confusing when you suddenly jump into a story that happened off screen ect…This Is Days Of Dr.Who…Not Days Of Our Lives-miss when soaps were soaps and not scifi/fantasy ect!!

Helen L Dehner
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Helen L Dehner

Love the time jump! Makes for more drama and the unexpected!

matthew
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matthew

It has given me reason to finally stop watching the show. Too much violence, every character seems to carry and pull a gun, the stupidity of the storylines of chip implants into brains, Bringing Stepho back as Steve (the day I removed the record from my dvr), Two non-Catholics becoming nuns, It’s time to place this show to rest like OLTL and AMC – writers ruined those, now you have destroyed Days. And don’t a year from now pull a “dream” sequence that never happened!

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

In the picture of Billy Flynn and Kate Mansi, it appears as though Flynn is wearing a plant-like helmet. Oh, never mind…

davlestev1
Guest
davlestev1

I thought his hair was tinted green. Once I finally looked up from him sitting down. LOL.

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Hi davlestev1! Thanks for your reply — and for the laugh!

Shay
Guest
Shay

Gentleman James!!! I noticed your name in the “recent comments” column, and since you have been so scarce as of late, thought I would check out this thread to see about what you were referring! That purely unintended “optical illusion” looks like a green-dyed “Mohawk” to me…LOL! At any rate, it’s so nice to see you here again…you’ve been missed! And right in the nick of time for me to wish a most Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours! Welcome back, my friend!

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Shay, I cannot thank you enough for the warm greeting! It’s so nice to be welcomed and remembered… And you nailed it on the “green-dyed ‘Mohawk!'” I just had another thought: a live Chia pet! I also wish you a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! Please take care, Friend.

Shay
Guest
Shay

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!!!! Ding Ding Ding…We have a winner and it’s James! You called it to a “t”…that is EXACTLY what Flynn’s “festive hairdo” resembles! Now I will never be able to pass a ChiaPet store display without thinking of you! (If they still even make this perennial Christmas present that everybody wants…said no one ever!!! I’ll bet they do!) Regardless, it’s always a pleasure to touch base with you, my friend, and even nicer during this wonderful holiday season! As for being “welcomed and remembered,” that is a given where I’m concerned! You’re unforgettable, Gentleman James!” Take care, enjoy this beautiful… Read more »

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Ha! Thanks a million, Shay! Thanks so much for your kind words. You are indeed a day-brightener, a role you’ve played plenty of times before! I think quite highly of you! Your insightful, articulate commentary is a reliable source of enjoyment at this site. BTW, my soap viewing has actually spiked in recent weeks — I’m loving the time jump on DOOL! And your humorous allusion to GH Sonny, knowing my distaste for the character, is appreciated. I can’t see returning as a GH viewer, not as long as that character is front and center. I will check in here… Read more »

Shay
Guest
Shay

@James…I’m so glad you are enjoying DOOL again, although the “time jump” seems to be a controversial choice of plot device amongst regular viewers. (For example, CeeCee, aka, “Celia,” and her gran are not fans of it from what she had relayed to me…LOL!) However, any machination which brings back Stephen Nichols works for me, no matter how outre’!!! (Loved him both as “Patch” and “Stefan Cassadine!”) On the other hand, I do believe GH needs a similar jolt to escape its dreadful sense of ennui…personally, I would be in favor of a “Dallas move,” i.e., the notion that the… Read more »

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Hello Shay! So elated to read your praise of Karen Carpenter! My fandom has been a lifelong passion. I have been known to go on and on about her… Suffice it to say, her voice was amazing. I agree further with you about so much of what you wrote: Stephen Nichols’ roles, the dreary status of GH, Jason in shower, Duke, Anna, Monica, St. Elsewhere’s brilliant finale… I also agree with your take on the “privilege of ‘meeting’ such lovely people” here. We are certainly blessed with that. I do thank you for your kind words for me. I wish… Read more »

Shay
Guest
Shay

Oh, James!…..These threads are quite frankly far too tempting for going off-topic on a wide range of wonderful tangents with equally wonderful people—- like you!…It is clearly one of my worst indulgences, so “curbing my enthusiasm” for engaging in this practice will definitely be at the top of my list of new year’s resolutions…something I believe Mr. Fairman will greatly appreciate…LOL! However….until then: I will simply say that I can easily understand your devotion for the late Karen Carpenter and her treasure trove of now classic songs…she was a one-of-a-kind performer and her untimely departure still registers decades later…no female… Read more »

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Great to read your commentary, Shay! And, of course, I appreciate the kind words about the Carpenters, a life-long passion/enjoyment of mine. I totally agree with you on the status and your characterization of GH, once also a “passion/enjoyment of mine.” Thanks again for writing! Best to you, Friend!

Shay
Guest
Shay

Thank you for your gracious reply, “Gentleman James!” Hope you are having a wonderful holiday! “See” you in 2020!

FormerFan
Guest
FormerFan

I’m sorry, but no. There is no explanation that will justify Ben as a romantic lead, and it’s especially insulting that so many plans were tied to him being in prison. It’s not amazing in any way that Will is in the same cell as his attempted killer. Will would never be his cellmate, and for that matter Will likely wouldn’t have gone to prison for something that everyone has described as a genuine accident. You can say Ben & Ciara work well together, but I completely disagree because they’re the reason I can no longer watch. Beyond that, too… Read more »

The other Lis
Guest
The other Lis

Thats exactly why soaps die. The producers think this is a soap, the audience will accept anything. Ben and Ciara have great chemistry. You want to focus on them but Ben is a serial killer. Then kill Ben and bring the actor back as a new character, or an unknown twin, or a doppelgange or a ghostr. But dont try to make me like a serial killer or a rapist or a murderer. It alienates the audience.

Myrna E Cobart
Guest
Myrna E Cobart

Hate it! Ruining the show!

Sally Bradley
Guest
Sally Bradley

I like the change with the exception of Princess Gina. That’s just ridiculous, and there is no way Cierra wouldn’t know. Otherwise, I’m intrigued with the rest.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I like it so far minus then killing Adrienne and Jordan. I’m fine with killing Hailey, she didn’t work for me.

Joy
Guest
Joy

I know it’s a soap opera and you feel you can take liberties for storyline shock value…… however I don’t think there is much knowledge of the Catholic faith.. I found the nun story insulting. When they were cursing in the chapel took off part of their habit and threw it at the alter I was done. I won’t watch that storyline. I was disappointed in that writing the story could have been fulition better.
I have enjoyed your show but will pick and choose what I watch from now on only certain storylines.

Days Of Our Lives

Eileen Davidson Confirms She’s Part of DAYS Limited-Series: “I’m BEYOND Excited to be Joining BEYOND SALEM!”

On Monday, after more cast members were revealed who will appear in Peacock’s upcoming streaming series, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem, came a photo from limited-series star, Lisa Rinna (Billie) posted to her Instagram Story of Eileen Davidson from the hair and make-up room where it looks like Days of our Lives is taped and said, , “LOOK WHO I FOUND”.

As the rumors began circulating it became true when Davidson took to her own Instagram and revealed that she too is part of the limited-series event for Peacock, and now the question is, how many roles will Davidson be playing? Will she be playing Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks, or any other of the Banks siblings?  Time will tell.

Photo: LRinnaIGStory

The two-time Daytime Emmy-winning star shared a clip of her time on the NBC soap as Kristen and stated: “I’m BEYOND excited to be joining BEYOND SALEM! Streaming soon on @peacocktv”

So, what do you think of Eileen also being on the upcoming Days limited-series? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Christie Clark and Austin Peck Join Cast of ‘Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem’

Even more casting announcements were revealed on Monday, generating more buzz for the upcoming Peacock streamer’s limited-series, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem.

The five-episodes will now also feature the returns of fan favorites: Christie Clark as Carrie Brady and Austin Peck as Austin Reed.

In addition look for: Thaao Penghlis as Tony DiMera, Leann Hunley as Anna DiMera, and was Michael Fairman TV previously reported the returns of Greg Rikaart as Leo Stark, Chandler Massey as Will Horton, and Zach Tinker as Sonny in the hunt of stolen gems across the globe, which is at the epicenter of the storyline.

Previously the following actors were announced to be part of the cast, which included: Lis Rinna as Billie Reed, Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans, Drake Hogestyn as John Black, Jackée Harry as Paulina Price, James Reynolds as Abe Carver, Victoria Konefal as Ciara Brady, Robert Scott Wilson as Ben Weston, Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera, Lamon Archey as Eli Grant and Sal Stowers as Lani Price.

In story, over a long weekend, John & Marlena travel to Zurich, Ben & Ciara have a romantic getaway in New Orleans, Chad visits some old friends in Phoenix, and Abe, Paulina, Lani, and Eli vacation in Miami.  All find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving stolen jewels which, in the wrong hands, could cause dire consequences for Salem.  It’s a race against time for ISA agent Billie Reed as she crosses the globe in search of this missing treasure. Packed with all of the romance, action, drama, and surprises that only “Days of our Lives” can deliver, fans will spend a week with their favorite Salem supercouples and reconnect with many familiar faces along the way.

So, glad to see that Christie, Austin, Thaao, and Leann are joining Chandler, Greg, Zach and the rest of the stellar cast for this limited run? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Y&R’s Zach Tinker Cast as Sonny Kiriakis in ‘Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem’ Limited-Series on Peacock

More casting and characters was announced on Monday for the upcoming limited-series Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem.  The series will run on NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock.

The Young and the Restless Fenmore Baldwin, Zach Tinker, has replaced Freddie Smith for the series in the role of Sonny Kiriakis.

He will join Chandler Massey (Will Horton) and the return of Greg Rikaart as Leo Stark.

The casting change to Tinker came a week after the Daytime Emmy-winning Smith revealed that if asked, he wouldn’t return to DAYS as Sonny.

Beyond Salem is set to be a five-part episode streaming event.

So, what do you think of Zach replacing Freddie as Sonny for the upcoming limited series? Comment below.

 

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