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DAYS Matthew Ashford Interview: Jack's coming back to Salem & what comes next will be unpredictable!


Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack is back! Finally, one of the most beloved characters in the history of Days of our Lives is coming home to Salem! And that means, the fabulous Matthew Ashford will be back on screen full-time when the NBC soap opera does it’s highly anticipated reset of the show on the September 26th episode.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke to Matt this morning to get his thoughts on his return, what we can look forward to, how are they going to explain why Jack has been away from his loved ones for so long, and how is Jack going to deal with the fact that his beloved Jennifer (played by Melissa Reeves) has fallen head over heels for Dr. Daniel Jonas (played by Shawn Christian)?  Here’s our “quickie” chat with Matt!

What happened that finally brought you back to DAYS? Did someone say, “Now with the reboot…. let’s bring him back?”

MATT: I guess so. I am not a party to conversations of what is going on in the bigger picture. But, I got a call one day asking what would be my interest level in coming back to Days of our Lives and if I was available to come back. I figured if they asked there was something substantial for me there. And they told me, “Yes, we have some ideas and some story,” and that is obviously good news for an actor to hear that.  So that is what I heard and I then said I was interested.  We began this odyssey, and very soon the viewers will see the first results and fruits from it.

What we saw in the fall promo released by NBC was Jack falling into a cake and there was Jennifer and Dr. Daniel in an embrace of some sort!

MATT: Yeah, this guy and this girl! (Laughs) It just kind of starts from there and it does not stop. It was an intense and crazy first week of work for me, as it was for everybody.  The character of Jack is suddenly there and then things go nuts!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Well there is a big misunderstanding, right? Jennifer believes he left her, but he was kidnapped… or something?

MATT: I had been hearing things for quite some time – that he was in some ashram in India and then I heard he was running around the Outback. But I believe the Outback of Australia is where they send many soap opera characters! So I think they must all be running around together there! (Laughs) My character has been out there a number of times!

Whenever you left the show or they wrote Jack off the canvas, the writers had to construct some reason behind it.  Much of that upset the audience. Why else would this wonderful guy who loves Jennifer so much, disappear on her time and time again?

MATT: Yeah, I think in the last go round that was part of the Jim Reilly (DAYS ex- head writer) years. I never quite understood it. Now you get into conversations with people who will ask me, “Is your character dead or alive?” And I realize to even have this conversation is in itself a tremendous challenge. I had to go back and say, “No. The character of Jack has never been really dead, but he has been written right off the page a number of times! (Laughs) I think we are dealing now in story with the reality of him not being there in Salem for quite some time, and that is what he has to now overcome.

I would think he would have to deal with Jennifer’s and Abigail’s trust issues with him. That is what I would assume. He will have these big hurdles to overcome to get back in the good graces of his family. And on top of that, Jennifer has moved on with another man in Dr. Daniel! And… Oh. My. God. Jack! Now what is he going to do?

MATT: That is what I wonder! And that is the $64,000, or whatever your percentages are, question of, “What is he going to do now?”


Are you having fun being back at DAYS?

MATT: Oh yes. But it is a lot of work. The pace at which we work at now is that you have got to know your material and kind of just go with it. But it is also very challenging, because our new creative team is asking for more. They are asking, let’s just not just have a funny moment or strange or goofy moment, but they are asking, what is this all about? And they are asking a lot more of us as actors. That has not been asked of us for awhile. So now the creative team is asking things like: “What makes this person tick?” and, “Why are they doing that?” So we are getting a chance to dig into that, and that is exciting. And like I said, those first airdates are just the beginning of peeling back these layers of all these characters.

I think Jack is in for a real shock, because Dr. Daniel is a real threat to his relationship with Jennifer! I think Jenn really loves Daniel.

MATT: Yes very much. I think Daniel is a real guy.  I am not saying the other guys in Jennifer’s life were fly-by-night, but Daniel wants to be happy and happy with Jennifer! So it will be a real challenge for Jack.

Do you think Jack would resort to some of his infamous “Jack machinations” to try to win her back?

MATT: Um, he could. There is always the risk then of being set up as the “machinator”. It is tempting, but I think even that in itself is a story. When your first tendency is to try and figure away around this, that might get you something in the short term, but in the long term it is not so good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I am feeling Jack and Jennifer are going to have to get together and solve some mystery like they were doing back at the old newspaper days! I predict that they will end up in close proximity and maybe, just maybe, mend some fences.

MATT: I think there is a whole new generation of people watching. They can look at things and see who this character is and what he has done, and what Jack and Jennifer over the years have meant to each other. I am more than open to everyone’s interest on different levels.

What do you think fans should look forward to with Jack falling in to the cake (laughs) and then the aftermath, and the future of his story?

MATT: A lot of turnarounds and quick changes, because that is what I experienced. I thought it was going this one way, and then quickly it changes and turned into something else. I think it is to the credit of the creative team: the writers, producer and directors. They wanted to dig in. I thought, “Wow. I sort of came in her hoping for some good times,” and they wanted to dig in!”  But it’s been very challenging and exciting.

I am worried Jack may have been tortured or abused while on assignment, or something like that while he was away! Something had to have happened.  How else can he have any credibility in the storyline?

MATT: There could be some sadder moments, I really don’t know. You know some people like that stuff, you never know. (Laughs)  It is going to be different. Our new writers are very interested at looking at the story that has been created and looking back at what happened 10, 15, or 20 years ago, and they are looking at a very interesting situation. Greg Meng (DAYS co-executive producer) told me that they are really going to be listening to the audience, and being flexible and seeing how things go.


How is working with Kate Mansi as your daughter, Abigail?

MATT: She is wonderful. Kate is Italian, and actually Melissa’s family is Italian, too. She is from the Jersey shore.  I have these powerful woman and actresses with me. Kate brings a lot of focus and passion to her role and what we are doing. I am very excited to be working with her, and Missy and Shawn Christian, who is really fun to work with as well, and he is not giving an inch either!

It is so great that Jack is back! Now we will have to sit back and see where it all goes.

MATT: Absolutely! I ask that people come along for the ride, because it only gets better!

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So excited to have Jack back for Jennifer! Jennifer’s return has been a total bust because she hasn’t had her soulmate Jack by her side. Very happy that Days is rectifying this mistake.

Exactly, no amount whitewashing negates the fact Dan is sleazy, not this great guy. Glad that Darrell/Marlene/Greg are fixing Jack after the silly in absentia destruction. Though I want Jack to move on for a while, get his paper back, investigate hot stories, have his snark back, been cynical and more like 89-91 Jack, date — the poor guy has been loyal for years despite Jennifer always moving on. Then if things work out have Jennifer chase Jack.

It would be smart and savvy of Days to have Jack run an online version of the Spectator given the state of the newspaper/publishing industry.


yay i so cannot wait until i see jack i rally hope jen leaves daniel i cannot stand them togather….jack and jenn please get back please her story line has been so borning with daniel at least jack and jenn had a awsome story line BRING IT BACK DAYS JACK AND JENN 4 EVER

Go Matt Go! 🙂

I’m very excited to have Mathew Ashford back as Jack. I’m hoping the new writers will do right by Jack and Jennifer and get their essence.

I really want Jack to move on with someone else for awhile and if Jennifer is bedding the sleaze while Jack is there then I do not want Jack winning her back at all it should be her. I am tired of Jennifer playing the saint all the time. We all know she has issues of abandonment they need to be issues. she needs stop blaming everything on Jack.

One thing to remember even though Jennifer is Horton and she legacy character does not make her most interesting character without Jack she is not interesting. Jack is more than just about Jennifer he had life before her and I hope the writers give him storyline does not involve chasing Jennifer or winning her back if she continues to throw Daniel in his face then I want new love for Jack I seriously. I mean what about Jack’s happiness I want someone for him and if Jennifer is going stay with Daniel let Jack move on for awhile. There are plenty of women on the show he has chemistry with. Maybe Nicole or new girl Madison anyone but Jennifer she acting like school girl.

I wonder how Jennifer would feel if the shoe was on other foot and she was away and Jack assumed that she abandon the family and he met beautiful women and divorce Jennifer without consent and slept with that women so many times and did not bother to find her and she comes back finding her husband with another women I wonder how Jennifer would feel losing everyone that she love. Jennifer did not even bother to even find Jack and assume the worst in him and jump bed with next sleaze Dr that comes along. Jennifer is disgusting and I just want Jack to come back tell her to just stay with Daniel and he is moving on do not bother to even win her back if she going play these games with men then she deserves lose Jack to another women for sure.

I like Jenn with a real man,not saying Dan is that man,but come on Jack is so silly

I would like Jack with real women because the way Jennifer has been throwing herself at Daniel she acts like teenager instead of adult. She did not never bother to investigate those emails either whatif Jack was really hurt or kidnapped she did not care at all she just wanted to hit sack with this man who has history of sleeping with his patients. Jennifer has real mental problem she has abandon issues. What kind of role model is she setting for Abby? Why she was dull and boring when she is with Jack she never makes herself look sexy or hot with him I can see why Jack leaves her she is boring. I do not know Jennifer became so popular but she never be like her grandmother. I want see Jack move on and I do not think Jack is silly anymore I hope he does not fight too hard for her she is not worth it. I want see Jack with new love interest and let Jennifer stay with Daniel for awhile think about what mistakes she made.

Also I want mention I hope writers let Jack have new women for him I do not want him to waste his time begging for Jennifer to come back she is no prize at all. Jennifer is pathetic she calls herself reporter. I hope Jack gets his paper back and hires Nicole to be his assistant let see how green Jennifer becomes while dating Daniel test her love for him if she is really over Jack then she should not mind if Jack sleeps with Nicole I hope he does serves Jennifer right. I cannot stand her character anymore.

One thing for sure Jack has never love anyone but Jennifer and I feel Jennifer never love Jack or else she would have try to find him maybe he is hurt or kidnapped it has happen and she does not ever care what happen to her son either. I really hope that when Jack comes back he does not make things easy for her I am sick and tired Ms Goody Shoes getting free pass all the time. If I was Jack I would not even bother to let her choose and if she wants Daniel let her have him but she should not get upset if Jack decides to move on. I want Jack to be angry and hurt that she did not even bother to find him she just assume the worst and divorce him and moved on quickly with next loser that came along I do not care if she is happy with Daniel or in love with him I just want Jack to have new love interest why should he be alone. I want him to fall in love with that girl and sleep with her serves Jennifer right I want her to feel she has lost Jack to another women. Jennifer is ruined for me.

Its about time that we let Jack get his own storyline and not even worry about Jennifer anymore she did not care what happen to him or anything since she did the deed with Daniel she should stay with Daniel and let Jack get his new love for him even though he will always be devoted to that slut Jennifer I feel it is time Jack gets new love and Abby should not tell her father to fight for Jennifer she did not even bother to find her husband at all she does not deserve Jack at all for that matter. Jack is adult he has every right to move on without Jennifer like she did with Daniel. I want Jennifer to be one to fight for Jack this time.

IF Jennifer going keep leading men on and not admit her mistakes I do not want see Jack wait for her anymore I hope he just tells her to stay with daniel and moves on let her realize what mistake she making with him. Jennifer I really lost respect for her charater she not same sweet innocent fiesty girl that Jack fell in love with she is more acting like sex kitten from 1994 with Peter. I really think it is time that Jack finally moves on and find happiness with women who love him back because he takes love seriously and if lost Jennifer to that loser Daniel I want him go back this darkside again and maybe bring Greta back for him someone like Madison I just want see jack happy too. I am sick of Jennifer playing Ms Saint all the time.

I hope this time Jennifer is one who has to admit her mistakes I am sick tired of her blaming Jack for everything and she did not bother to find Jack or anything she wanted excuse to have sex with next loser that comes along. Well I hope that Jack is hurt and angry at Miss Slutty Horton when he returns because he was not aware what happen to her and he was held hostage. Jennifer needs to realize that if she keeps to doing this to Jack she is going end up lose everything. Jennifer has serious abandonment issue that need to be address and she is not good influence on Abby either. Jennifer is one who needs grow up not Jack. I want Jack to move on with his life with his children and the paper and get new love I really do not want see him win her back let her have Daniel they both shallow and boring together they deserve each other.

The writers should let Jack move on away from Jennifer for awhile and let her be one to win his heart back for once. I want see Jack have new love for him that would drive Jennifer crazy and involve with Abby and the paper and let Jennifer suffer with Daniel they both deserve each other.

I want Jack to discover she slept with Daniel as soon as she filed for divorce and did not bother to find him either I hope Jack decides to leave her with Daniel and move on with his life with someone else leaving Jennifer to think about her mistakes that she made seek therapy for her problem of abandonment. I want jack to file custody lawsuit against Jennifer because she did not care what happen to their son instead she was busy with Carly and hitting sack with that Dr Sleaze Daniel. Jennifer deserve to get what coming to her.

Why are they even having love triangle with Jack and Jennifer and Daniel I mean if she loves Daniel and Jack is returning I do not want him to fight for her again with this loser I say let her stay with him and have Daniel’s child and let Jack finally move on away from her and get his paper back and new love maybe Greta or Billie or new girl Madison. I think writers want to end Jack and Jennifer for good. I do not want see Jack leave the show just because Jennifer chose to be Daniel. I think Jack is more than about Jennifer he has potential and he can be devious and charming with any women and have his storyline. He does not need Jennifer to have story he can handle himself.

I am tired everyone bashing Jack whatabout Miss Perfect Jennifer thinks she has done nothing wrong just because she had heart removed does not mean anything I am tired of sympathizing with her. Jennifer knew what she was getting herself into when she marry Jack. She does not care about her son or Jack she only cares about jumping into the sack with Dr loser well new flash I hope that when Jack returns he does not even bother to win her back if she choses to be with Daniel then I hope he hooks with Nicole. I am sick tired of Jennifer and her men of the year she is sick bitch and she needs therapy. I want see Jack mature adult and move on away from her let her be one to win Jack back since she is one divorce him.

I just want to see the devious Jack back and I want him to be angry and hurt that Jennfier moved on and divorce him without consenting with him and without knowing the truth about his missing. I want Jack to really tell her off and if she wants Daniel then he will not chase her anymore and he moving on with his life. Jennifer is real nut case she deserves that loser Daniel.

I love the actor, but I am not excited about Jack returning. Sorry but this couple is BORING and the last 2 times he came back were epic fails. I am still hoping for the best tho!

I can care less about Jennifer and her loser boyfriend Jennifer I really want see devious Jack back and not go after Jennifer if she is with that Daniel guy then do not let Jack be goofy or silly anymore give him edge and let him move on with his life and paper. I love Jack I cannot stand Jennifer she never admits her faults and she has abandonment issues that she needs to resolve on her own instead of jumping into bed with next loser that comes along. The writing has not been good for Jack or Jennifer due to Jer and Higley they do not understand Jack’s character. Hopefully we will good storyline out of it but I hope that Jack gets to mix with other castmembers not just boring Jennifer and Daniel. I hope Jack and Nicole hook up maybe. I just do not want see Jack involve in another stupid triangle with Jennifer again just let her be with Daniel and suffer to till she realize what mistake she made with Daniel and try to win Jack back on her own.

Well I hope that Jack is mad and hurt that she moved on without him and did not bother to even find him either and she calls herself reporter. Also I hope he finds out she jumped into bed with that loser and divorce him same time. I really want see Jack move on without Jennifer meaning let her realize what mistake she made and let her stay with Daniel and let Jack move on with maybe Nicole or new girl Madison because he struggle enough with her loser of year

I hope Jack gets hair cut I do not like his long hair at all. Also if Jennifer is going sleep with Daniel after Jack comes back then I want see Jack move on away from her and let her suffer with Daniel.

I just pray that no more buffoon Jack or silly Jack I just want devious Jack back with edge I hope he does not let Jennifer off the hook I am sick and tired of her saint games and if she continues to sleep or have sex with Daniel while Jack is there then I do not want jack to bother to win her back let him free from that Horton slut and let him move on.

One more thing I hope they do not reunite jack and Jennifer right away I hope there is some sexual tension between the two but also I want Jack to be mad and hurt that she moved on quickly with Daniel and divorce I do not want Jennifer get away this time either, Also I hope they give Jack nice haircut and snarky and devious attitude no more goofy or buffoon Jack either and give new love maybe Nicole or new girl Madison and let Jennifer stay with Daniel realize her mistake she made.

I do not want Jack to be Jennifer’s lap dog anymore I want more for Jack than just being counterpart for Jennifer. I hope he gets interact with other characters. I do not want him to live with Jennifer either let her stay with Daniel while Jack explore other option. I do not want quick reunion either between Jack and Jennifer either.

I do not want see Jack look bad I rather Jennifer look bad I cannot stand anymore. I do not want see Jack grovel to her anymore.

Why should Jack have to fight for Jennifer if anyone it is her that to fight for Jack after she is one who file for divorce so she can hop into bed with next loser that comes along. Jennifer is not love with Daniel she is using him just like other men to cover her feelings for Jack that is her pattern. Jennifer is ruin for me and I wish the writers would give Jack new love interest maybe Greta or Nicole because I am tired of Jack having to win her back over and over she is not worth it anymore if she wants boring let her stay with Daniel but I hope Jack is one gets custody for the kids I do not want Jennifer to have the kids she is unfit to be mother to Abby and Jack Jr. They just need send Jennifer offsunset with loser Daniel and let Jack stay on the show and have his own love for him. Missy Reeves is a bitch and she ask to have new love herself I do not think she wants to be hook with jack all the time and I hope Matthew Ashford request new love interest for him because i find Missy to whore she cheated on her real-life husband with Peter Blake (Jason Brooks she probably doing again with Daniel. I donot believe in her religious crap. Jack deserves better now than that slut Jennifer.

First I want see Jack have nice hair cut. The best haircut he had was in during the cruise Deception or 1993 haircut after Abby was born without sideburns. I do not like Jack with long hair. I hope they give us devious and edgy Jack and I hope he does not grovel or win Jennifer back either I am tired of her getting her way all the time I want see her be one to grovel to Jack. I do not want him to forgive her either because she has lots nerve not even bother to find him then she does not deserve to know where he has been either. Jennifer has been real bitch lately.

I want see Jack really move on away from that slutty Jennifer and find happiness with someone else I am sick of Jennifer immature games I hope she will lose Jack and Daniel and learn from her mistakes. Most of the problems is Jennfier abandon issues and she needs to stop playing this Miss Perfect Act because she is not perfect at all but she does deserve that loser Dr sleaze they deserve each other. I want Jack with new love interest and get his paper back and get the children away from Jennifer she is not fit to be parent.

I’m Dannifer all the way, baby!

What is so wrong about Daniel??

I would take him over Jack any day..
Hit the road Jack

Team Jack: 20+ years of supercoupledom and 2 children trumps 3 dates & sex. Not only does Jack have the looks but he also has the bonus wit and the same career choice as Jennifer to blow Daniel out of the water.

I am getting real fed with Jennifer and boy toy of the year I thinks she deserves that loser Daniel after three dates and sex with him and not even bother to find out what really happen with Jack then she is one who does not deserve Jack anymore I am sick and tired of writers painting her as saint all the time I do not really care if she is Horton or not it does not excuse her behavior at all and she is not in love with Daniel either it is rebound relationship and Daniel is not saint either he is more of sleaze than Jack is. I really want see Jack and Nicole and let him have someone who he can relate too because unless Jennifer fixes herself and realize what mistake she is made with Daniel I do not want see Jack with Jennifer. I hope Jack really get angry and upset with her for moving quickly with Daniel and divorcing him without knowing all the facts. Jennifer deserves that loser and I want Jack free from Jennifer for awhile.

I am tired of the writers making Jennifer look like innocent victim all the time she never admits her mistakes and blames everything on Jack. She deserves that loser Daniel I want someone new for Jack maybe Madison to catch Jack’s eye I am sick tired of all the men going after pathetic bitch Jennifer she is not worth it. I want see Jack move on away from her he had enough of her men of the year she can have that loser and be miserable with him. She maybe Horton but she used to be fun and fiesty now she is boring slutty witch. This not same Jennifer we used love she is ruin. Jack deserves better than her. I just want Jack to fix his relationship with Abby and get Jack jr back and let that horny slut Jennifer stay with Daniel because I do not think Jack should trust her anymore.

I hope that when that snowstorm comes it is Jack and Nicole together in bed and Jennifer comes and sees them together serves her right for hopping into bed with that loser Daniel she needs taste of her own medicine. Matthew Ashford and Ariana Zucker have good chemistry I hope they get together since Jennifer is busy playing house with Dr sleazeball those two deserve each other. Jennifer is so pathetic and she deserves to lose Jack to some other women. I cannot stand Jennifer and her saint act she is acting like teeanger I do not think she is no sweetheart at all she is beyond pathetic. It is time for Jack to move on.

I am hoping that Matthew Ashford/Jack gets more airtime and away from Miss Saint Jennifer too. Jennifer belongs with Daniel now I cannot stand her with Jack anymore I really want Jack with someone new so that way Jack can stay in Salem

Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives wins WGA Award for Daytime Drama Series

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

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

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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


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

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