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DAYS Melissa Archer Interview: The Scoop On Serena, Past and Present With Eric & Thoughts On OLTL's Natalie!

Courtesy/NBC

One of the most dynamic characters over the course of the final years of ABC’s One Life to Live was that of Natalie Buchanan.  It was that portrayal that introduced daytime audiences to the talents of Melissa Archer.

Over the years that followed, Melissa would become a fan favorite.  She also continued playing the role of Natalie B. when Prospect Park brought the series online for one season of 40 episodes.  Then, after a series of independent film roles and a turn in Crystal Chappell’s web series, Beacon Hill, Archer landed a primo role on NBC’s Days of our Lives, where just a few short weeks ago she debut as Serena Mason, the complex ex girlfriend of Eric Brady (Greg Vaughan).

As DAYS fans have witnessed, Serena comes to Salem as a journalist.  She has ties with friend Melanie Jonas (Molly Burnett), and already has a definite “issue” over Eric… with that man’s recent ex, Nicole (Arianne Zucker).  On-Air On-Soaps sat down recently with Melissa to get her thoughts on a multitude of subjects including: what she thinks of her new character, what fans can expect, the relationship between Nicole and Serena, and Eric and Serena, plus some hot button topics such as: what she felt about not being asked to join General Hospital to reunite her with her OLTL on-screen love interest, Michael Easton (formerly John McBain, now Silas), what if Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL) were to get a job on DAYS as a recast Laura Horton, and where she thinks Llanview’s Natalie is at right now!  Here’s Salem’s newest gal (even though we all know she has been taping for months … wink-wink) the beautiful Melissa Archer!

So, how did Serena feel when Eric (Greg Vaughan) told her he was going to chose religion over her?

Courtesy/NBC

MELISSA:  It was off-camera obviously, she kind of knew that it was coming, and when Eric finally came to her it was sad, but she understood, because she loved him.

What can you say about the relationship between Melanie (Molly Burnett) and Serena, since what we know is that they met in Europe?

MELISSA:  It’s interesting the dynamic between them and that is what I loved coming into it. There is this really cool feeling of having this back-history even though I wasn’t a character that was here before, if you know what I mean.  It felt comfortable, not like when Natalie came into the canvas on OLTL … nobody liked her! (Laughs) Well, that’s not exactly true.  Nobody knew what to think of her.   In of herself, she kind of felt that she was not as good as other people, and I don’t feel like Serena is like that.  I feel like Serena is very confident. She is liked by people except perhaps by her frenemy Nicole! (Laughs)

Is Serena going to eventually attached to anyone else on the canvas? Do you know if she is related to someone from one of the core families?

MELISSA:  I have not heard anything like that … I have only seen people speculating on Twitter.  I guess there was a character Sarah Horton.  They wanted me to be Sarah Horton!  I think that would have been great, because I love Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) and I love Molly Burnett (Melanie), so I think being related to them on the show would be awesome – the three redheads!  Right now it’s fun, related or not related.  I will say, when you play a character that is not related to anyone though, you have more chances of your character being able to go all over the place with relationships.

Will Serena be spending Christmas Eve with the Horton’s hanging ornaments on the tree? (Laughs)

MELISSA: She ends up spending Christmas with Eric and the family, and it was really cool.  Every soap does things a bit differently for its holiday show.  I really loved how they did it here at DAYS.   It was interesting how it was done.  Everybody was in the scene, but the scenes weren’t really long.  So, it’s like you got the feeling of it, but you didn’t have to spend 12 hours to shoot the episode.

Do you see Eric and Serena’s revisiting of their romance being a slow burn … or do they hit the sheets … like tomorrow?

Courtesy/NBC

MELISSA:  I don’t think they hit the sheets tomorrow.  You’ve got to remember he just came from abstinence and then deal with the trauma of what happened to him at the hands of Kristen (Eileen Davidson).  Serena knows about it, and because of it, and the situation, there will be a lot of slow moments rather than jumping right into it, because it has to be something that Eric is comfortable with.  However, Serena is a bit of a man-eater sometimes! She is like, “C’mon let’s go!” (Laughs)

Did you know a lot of the DAYS cast here before you began taping episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. I knew Eric Martsolf (Brady), Kassie DePaiva (Eve) obviously, and Chrishell Stause (Ex-Jordan), and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben).  Kassie actually found out I was coming to DAYS even before I told her!

Was it nice being away from doing the day in and day out of being on a soap, or did you miss the daily grind of it?

MELISSA:  I love working.  The thing about daytime that is so awesome is that you do get a feel as an actor of having consistent work.  It’s fun to take something that you don’t get a lot of preparation work or rehearsal for, and still try and figure out how to make the scenes work to the best of your ability, and hope you are in the realm of what the writers are looking for, and what the show as a whole wants from you, and then what your fans want, and also what is good for you.

Courtesy/CBS

You had know DAYS head writers Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesell from your time at One Life to Live, so I assume that is how your name popped up to play Serena!

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MELISSA: Gary was the executive producer at One Life to Live when he brought me on there as Natalie, and then he was also a writer for a short period of time there.  I love Gary.  And, Chris Whitesell and Lorraine Broderick were both the co head-writers at OLTL and originated the character of Natalie.  I love them.  It’s a privilege to work with this trio again.

So many fans are saying that they want OLTL’s Erika Slezak (Viki) to come to Days of our Lives and play perhaps the role of Laura Horton!  They miss her so much.

MELISSA: Oh, my God!  How great would that be?  I miss Erika, too.  I love watching her work. She is amazing.

So, do you want Serena to be a bad girl?

MELISSA:  I want her to be more than just bad, and I want her to be more than just good.  I want her to be human, but I don’t want her to have to be sweet just to get along. I like that she is tough, and she will stand up for herself.  I like that she can be devious.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Is Serena devious because she needs get a story on the professional side of her life and in her career,  or is she devious in her personal life to go after whom or what she wants?

MELISSA:  I think there are multiple layers to that, and I don’t want to give away anything because we are so far ahead, but I think there is not just one part to it – so there is this reason, and this reason, and this reason, and now for today this reason is more powerful than this reason.  How’s that for an explanation? (Laughs)

Do you want the fans of Days of our Lives to be rooting for her?

MELISSA:  Personally, I would think so, but I don’t know.  There are things that happened in her past that she has to deal with currently that are questionable, and therefore some of her choices aren’t the most upfront choices.  The thing that is nice about her is her sincerity in the rest of things she is doing is real, and just because she has made bad decisions, doesn’t mean she is a bad person.  So, that is why I like her, and that if you want to sort of compare her to One Life’s Natalie, she did make a lot of poor choices also!

But eventually One Life’s Natalie was good at heart!

Courtesy/ABC

MELISSA: Yes!  I do feel that Serena is good at heart.  I don’t know what the audience will feel, but I personally feel she is good at heart, but that does not make her an angel by any means.

The journalist side of this … Serena came to University Hospital in Salem to work on something.  Do you know what it is?  Do we know what it is? (Laughs)

MELISSA:  No, and no. (Laughs)  All I know is I am supposed to be a medical journalist. I am doing some research on stuff at University Hospital and I am so smart! (Laughs)

What has been your favorite moment that you have taped thus far?

MELISSA: One of my favorite scenes was one with Arianne Zucker (Nicole) at the club, and all I can say there is it’s one day that everyone needs to tune-in, because it’s really good.  It’s emotional, but not the kind you think between Nicole and Serena!

Tell me about working with Arianne Zucker?

MELISSA:  She is so great, and so fun, and she is so funny, too!  It makes the day enjoyable when we work together.

Courtesy/NBC

You were always really good at learning lines if I remember correctly.  Well, Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki) knew everyone lines at OLTL too!  Why does that come so easy for you?

MELISSA:  I like to say I have a photographic memory, just because it sounds good! (Laughs)  I have my moments and struggled learning lines when something doesn’t sit well in my brain – and that could be that sometimes I just didn’t understand it … like sometimes I have read it, and sometimes it didn’t register in my brain.  Sometimes it’s like I read a word wrong, and I am questioning, “Why am I not remembering it?” Soaps believe it or not, are slightly easier to memorize lines in than other mediums, because you know your character, and a lot of it is just telling story.  Then sometimes, the other person in the scene with you is going to say something that calls for a response, and once in awhile you will have a response that has nothing to do with what they said! (Laughs)

If you were to tell me in your own words what makes up Serena, what would you say?  Serena is …

MELISSA: Serena is a fiery lady, a firecracker, she is passionate, and because she is so tough, at times you think she is not going to be that sentimental, and that at other times you see that she really is.  Serena can be very sweet.  Her feelings are so genuine when she cares for someone.  And as for her being tough, I think a lot of that comes from what she does. She is a journalist who has to go out there to get a story in a third world country, and therefore if she would have carried her heart on her sleeve, she wouldn’t have made it through there and survived.

Courtesy/NBC

You don’t think her passion for Eric (Greg Vaughan) will turn into an obsession for Serena down the line, do you?

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MELISSA: No, not at all.  Serena is not someone who just lets her heart out for any person.  So the fact that they did have that time together, and she did love Eric and he really did love her, I think she sincerely just wants to see if there is something there between them.  If not, she is OK with that too, but she would be an idiot not to try.

Does Serena know why Eric ultimately walked away from her in the first place?

MELISSA:  She knew why, and they do discuss it.  I hope the audience takes to her, because I think she has a lot of interesting things going on.   I think there are more colors to her, than just one.

Is it more scary than fun when you get to take on a new role and craft it?

MELISSA:  Fun, but of course it’s scary.  I mean, you don’t want to bomb, and you don’t know what people are going to think when they see you in a new role.  You have to hope that people like you.   But it’s always fun.  That’s why we are actors, and why we do this.

Has your family watched you on DAYS yet?

Courtesy/Twitter

MELISSA: Yes, and my family is awesome.  They are very supportive, and if my grandparents were alive they would be recording DAYS every single day.  They watched One Life to Live for the entire time I was on the show and they recorded it every single day. It was really sweet.  They recorded it on a VCR, and they finally got a DVD player, and then there were stacks of the show and such in the house.

Do you think you will ever to fully get away from the role you are so remembered for … that of Llanview’s Natalie Buchanan?

MELISSA:  Natalie is part of my history.  I never want to get rid of her.   I just want to be able to create other things, other people.

What do you think Natalie is doing right now?

MELISSA:  She is probably taking care of that little kid and trying to figure things out.  And, she is probably thinking about all the husbands she had, and all the husbands she wanted to have, and trying to figure out what happened to John McBain, who is now in Port Charles? (Laughs)

Did it honestly bother you that you were not asked to join the cast of General Hospital to play Natalie opposite Michael Easton (John, now Silas)?

Courtesy/ABC

MELISSA:  I don’t take much personally in life, and if I do, it wouldn’t be over something like that.  I am sure they had their reasons for that, but things have worked out well!

Is there someone in the DAYS cast you would like to work with, that you haven’t had a chance to have scenes with yet?

MELISSA: I would love to work with Kassie DePaiva (Eve) more, and I think we would have a blast together.  I think we have done like one scene together thus far.  I would love to work with John Aniston (Victor)! I love him, and I don’t even know him that well.  John reminds me of someone in my family.  I would love to work with Kristian Alfonso (Hope) too! She is iconic on this show.

Did you ever watch DAYS growing up?

MELISSA: When I was younger, I did a little bit.  My friend back in school … her mom watched DAYS.  So, when I was over at there house during the summer it would be on and I believe Marlena’s (Deidre Hall) possession storyline was going on then!  So I knew how some of the characters were. I am friends with Farah Fath (Ex-Mimi, DAYS and Ex-Gigi, OLTL), and she filled me in on stuff as well.

Courtesy/IMDB

What would you like to say to your fans for continuing to be interested in your career from One Life now on to Days of our Lives as we close out 2014?  Your fans have been so behind you every step of the way!

MELISSA: I would love to say to my fans, “Thank you for all the support and all the love.  It does not go unnoticed.”

For more with Melissa Archer, come back on Tuesday to On-Air On-Soaps for a brand new video interview of additional questions from our chat, where she discusses working with Greg Vaughan, some upcoming scenes, and more! Plus, our very special behind-the-scenes tour with Melissa in her new DAYS digs: her dressing room, the make-up and wardrobe departments at DAYS and an impromptu meeting with Ari Zucker!

In the meantime let us know, what do you think of Melissa comments on Serena? Are you intrigued by the character thus far?  Do you hope Serena becomes truly bad?  What did you think of Melissa’s thoughts on not being asked to join GH? Having Erika Slezak appear on DAYS? Where Natalie is now? Comment below!

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Stacey
Stacey

I wish Melissa well and continued success. Truth be told I was and continue to be upset at how GH ruined Jolie. For those of us who had followed Michael and Melissa’s portrayal of John and Natalie through the years it was a huge disappointment. There was so much more to their story to be told. The characters had finally shown growth and were moving forward. I would be thrilled to see Melissa and Michael Easton work together again. Here’s hoping….

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

Yes, Michael Easton can return to his role as Tanner Scolfield on DAYS!

CeeCee
CeeCee

One can always hope. Michael Easton’s talent is lost as GH’s Silas. There is nowhere for him to go. Give him a meaningful storyline.

Marianne
Marianne

Thank you for the interview Michael. Melissa is one of my favorites. In reference to GH , the Jolie fan base was screwed .Michael’s character of Silas is awful. I say bring Michael Easton back to Days and give Michael and Melissa a chance to recreate their magic. More OLTL fans will tune in and help Days ratings.

Sal
Sal

REUNITE ARCHER AND EASTON , THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN!

Anna
Anna

Seriously, would love to see this happen…

Melinda
Melinda

Me three…

Jay Keaveny
Jay Keaveny

I wish Melissa great success on Days. I will always miss OLTL but I’m happy that she has found a new home.

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

Ditto.

janice
janice

I think Serena is going to be a great addition to DOOL. She has a firery disposition and seems to be a bad girl coming in at first, I don’t know about the following Days but so far so good. She may turn out to be a good girl. Who knows right now.

Stephanie
Stephanie

I agree with the prior posts. Fans were robbed of a happy ending for John Natalie and Liam. Yes Days is a different soap but the writers should capitalize on the known chemistry between Archer and Easton and resurrect a pairing. These two would knock it out of the park! Miss them!

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Gray, complex, layered characters make for the BEST soap drama IMO. I can’t wait to see what she can do with Serena. So far, me likey! I know I will come to love Serena as much as I did Natalie.

I am a HUGE Melissa Archer fan so thank you, Mr. Fairman for the interview I’ve been waiting for! Merry Christmas to me!

Happy Holidays to my fellow daytime drama fans. Here’s to a soapy 2015!

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

I was the one of the first…if not the first…to suggest Erika S. as Laura and Jerry Ver Dorn as Bill and Melissa as Sarah…Days wouldve been so much better…but why cant Melissa’s Serena still be related to Maggie…a distant relative perhaps or better yet Serena could be Maggie’s daughter…unknown to Maggie she gave birth to faternal twins Serena/Sarah(like oltls Nat and Jess)…a nurse switched Serena with a friends stillborn…Maggie wasnt told about the second baby because they thought she gave birth to the stillborn and only Neil and Mickey knew…they thought it best not to tell Maggie and kept it a secret, unaware the faternal twin did live and was stolen by the nurse and given to her friend…id accept this storyline…DO IT DAYS…DO IT…lol

CeeCee
CeeCee

I like it, jimh…but only with ME in the picture. Eric is so boring…brings nothing to the table…not a good fit with Serena. She sparkles; he’s dull. I can’t shake off this priest thing. Plus, his saintly countenance gets on my nerves. Does he think he’s better than Nicole?
I hope Eric and Serena do not become a couple…very unnerving.

Sherry
Sherry

Great interview! Looks like Serena is going to be mighty interesting! Love her already!!

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

I’ll add that OLTL was my all time favorite soap. In the OLTL in my head, Natalie & John McBain married and got their Happily Ever After with their beautiful son Liam. They still reside in Llanview, PA. Oh, how I miss this show…

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

I love Melissa and am very impressed with Serena. I think she and Eric are very cute together. Can’t wait to see how their story unfolds.

But, Melissa will always be Natalie Buchanan to me. I miss OLTL so very much.

louisa
louisa

I still miss OLTL every single day, but watching Days is helping me with that. I love seeing Melissa and Kassie and if Days could bring on Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser I would be over the moon!

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Melissa seems to be a sweet and fine person…

That being said, this whole new relationship Serena has (and had) with Eric seems way too forced, too contrived. And to tie a bow on it (in time for Christmas), everyone (except my fave Nicole) just seems to love her. Barf!

DOOL, in the span of a couple of weeks, is shoving Serena and a returning Melanie, both bubbly redheads, down the viewers’ throats. For a show that shoots 4 months in advance, why they can’t slow down the storytelling just a little, particularly for new faces on screen?

Jeremy
Jeremy

Yeah, I totally agree, Serena and Eric and their past does feel a bit forced. Though, I am more into Serena as a love interest for Eric, than the tiresome Nicole. And, can I just say, I’m so not a fan of Melanie and the bubbly actress who plays Melanie is so not funny.
I do like Melissa Archer.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Jeremy, another thing about Melanie: I don’t remember her being so flaky…

Jeremy
Jeremy

Hey James, between Melanie and her father, doctor Daniel… they are both banal characters. She’s really a bore. Whatever, she’s back now.

Kenya
Kenya

Wasn’t familiar with Melissa Archer on One Life To Live but Serena is close to becoming a favorite of mine. She’s very appealing. Eric is lighter and less douche like thanks to her and they make a beautiful couple. I am curious as to what she could be hiding? Look forward to her stirring things up in Salem and with another of my favorite characters Nicole.

Max
Max

Loving Serena Mason. So happy to have Melissa back on my TV. I hope Serena stays sweet, Smart, and strong as she is now. Great addition to DOOL.

dani
dani

I am loving her on Days and am liking Eric and Serena…with that being said ME/Silas is being wasted on GH and he needs to come over to Days and be a detective again…

Anna
Anna

Dani from your mouth to God’s ear. Michael Easton certainly is being wasted. Would love to see him in a role better suited for him. Would LOVE to see him and Melissa again….One never knows…

lorraine
lorraine

bring the whole cast of oltl to days and we will all be happy again!

Phil
Phil

Love this girl! Serena is more interesting than Natalie IMO! Of course I prefer Days to OLTL and GH for that matter. The writing is less flashy and shallow! Just sayin!

Emily
Emily

Yes, I too agree w/the above posts that it would be GREAT if Michael Easton came back on DOOL. So far he’s not popping on GH as Silas, so I keep wondering and hoping….One day…..:)
Thank you Mr. Fairman for the interview and video interview as well. You always deliver when it comes to my favorite soap actors/actresses. Melissa Archer is a talented and lovely actress. I’ve been waiting for this interview. It’s a great pre-Xmas gift:)
Happy Holidays!!

Kelly
Kelly

Love the slow burn with Eric and Nicole and will never like this forced pairing.

Macy
Macy

Thanks for the interview, Michael! I love Melissa on DAYS so far, and can’t wait to learn Serena’s real reason for being in Salem.

As far as John/Nat and MA/ME…. they had their time on OLTL. I want to see Melissa playing other characters with different partners. So far, so good!

Blake
Blake

Man Melissa Archer is always so sweet and positive, we need more people like this in the world! I loved her on OLTL and I loved Natalie and John. I was hoping she would join John on GH but even if she did it would have gotten messed up because Natalie would have to leave too and she would have to play another character.

I always watched OLTL since the late 90’s, but when my favorite soap Guiding Light was cancelled I watched OLTL full time til it was cancelled a few years later.

Melissa fit in with Days right away and she looks like she’s been on the show for years that’s how comfortable she looks.

I wish Kassie D. was doing as good on Days but she really is mis-cast as Eve. I feel like she is over acting and is screaming too much. And when Eve and JJ had sex on the Christmas Eve and Christmas show I seriously was like WTF?

Melinda
Melinda

It seems as if Days needs some energizing. Love Melissa Archer. Even though she and Greg Vaughan are an attractive couple I see no real sparks between them. Watch Jolie’s first kiss. Sparks galore. It was game on after that. Would love to see that again. Please soap gods,,,,

Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives to Air in the UK Beginning In January

Salem is coming across the pond to the UK!  Look for the British to enjoy the long-running daytime soap airing  exclusively on the Sony Channel beginning on January 20th of 2020.

According to Metro: when DAYS does debut in the UK  viewers will see the story pick-up from the series 53rd season where in story; Vivian Alamain returns to Salem after Stefan O. DiMera arrives on the scene claiming to be her son, which all happens on New Years Eve along with three major kisses.

The season which will bow on Sony Channel marked the first full season run of episodes from current head writer, Ron Carlivati

This isn’t the first time DAYS has aired in England, previously it has runs on  CBS Drama, Zone Romantica, and Channel 5

Episodes picking up from season 53 will broadcast at 9;10am.

So, glad to hear DAYS is coming to the UK? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Stephen Nichols On His DAYS Return As Stefano: “I Knew I Didn’t Want To Be A Cheap Imitation.”

By now, Days of our Lives fans have witnessed that the heralded return of longtime favorite, Stephen Nichols came with a twist.  When Nichols re-emerged on the canvas, he was now playing Stefano DiMera, but in the face and body of what seems to be Steve “Patch” Johnson.

Nichols, who along with Mary Beth Evans, have been known as enduring supercouple Patch and Kayla, and now they find themselves in the Salem time jump in a different set of circumstances,  First of all, Kayla is romantically involved with Justin Kiriakis (Wally Kurth), and Nichols returned as Stefano and is in ca-hoots with Princess Gina (Kristian Alfonso).

Photo: JPI

In an interview in the current issue of Soap Opera Digest on newsstands now, Stephen opens up about taking on the classic soap villain role made famous by the late, great Joe Mascolo.

Nichols admitted there was some trepidation taking on and in approaching how to portray the role: “It was daunting and a major challenge to take on. I knew I didn’t want to be a cheap imitation. I wanted to get Stefano’s essence.”

In preparing for his new journey on DAYS, Nichols noted: “I watched the master, Joe Mascolo.  I got lots of videos of Stefano. Stefano in every mode: Manipulating, laughing, Stefano with the ladies, with his children, and, of course, Stefano raging.”

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So, what have you thought of Stephen as Stefano thus far?  What do you think of the plot twist? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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.

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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.

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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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Video du Jour

DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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