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Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives Upcoming Renewal: NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke Shares, "I'm Optimistic … We Would Like The Show Back."

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Days of our Lives fans have been on pins and needles of late wondering if the series that turned 50-years-old this past November will continue on past its golden anniversary.

DAYS current deal with NBC does not expire until September of this year.   However, since the show tapes six months in advance of airing, the sudser will fulfill its contract obligation of production of those episodes by early March. According to TV Line on Wednesday:  NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke indicates that the future for DAYS looks bright.  She cites that she is “optimistic” about the upcoming re-negotiation with all parties.

The NBC executive also noted that: “We’ve been really happy with the show. I’ve been over there seeing Ken and the team and the new writers. They’re an incredible group and we love the show. They got a (ratings) bump in the fall for their 50th anniversary. There’s a creative resurgence and exciting storytelling going on right now.”

Salke said one key component to their re-negotiation is with Sony relating:  “We need to negotiate with Sony (Pictures Television), but I’m optimistic. We would like the show back.”

So, do you think that DAYS will continue its resurgence and get its network renewal? What do you think of the status of the show and its performance of late?  The first week in January saw its hightest total viewer numbers in two years.  Share your thoughts below!

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sonniorsolita
Guest
sonniorsolita

I’ve stopped watching — too dark and depressing for me, and a lot of the stories seem designed just to give the actors Emmy reels — but I don’t want the soaps to die. And I’d be delighted for all the Days fans out there if the show got a solid, long-term renewal!

Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Why is this a question, NBC? Make the deal! DAYS is a legacy show for Peacock daytime, and the web has little else to crow about in the day part. Maybe the net can develop a new half-hour soap and take the lead in producing the genre, thus setting itself apart from the endless repetitive chatter and courtroom shows.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

“… for Peacock daytime, and the web has little else to crow about in the day part. ”

LOL…. majorly funny

it’s true tho…. NBC … as CBS has done… needs to beacon this show and build around it

some may crow it’s always in last place , but it’s #1 for me!

Come on Sony !

Bart
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Bart

I’m still wondering why DOOL tapes so far in advance….

Mel
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Mel

So am I.

blake
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blake

They do it for budget reasons, seems they film many episodes in one day and shut the studio down many weeks during the year.

Ray
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Ray

This is great news. I hope NBC gives DOOL a five-year renewal and a larger budget. The quality of a show is what brings viewership. I also would like to see the cast trimmed. There seems to be too many people on the show with not enough storyline. I would like to see more Kate, Nicole and Jennifer.

blake
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blake

It would be great if they gave Days a larger budget, but sadly even the #1 soap and it’s sister soap Y&R even looks tight on budget with few sets. Everyone is at the hotel, Newman, the hospital, etc.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

I agree, Ray. I love to see more of Kate, Nicole and Theresa working together. Some cast fight will ‘naturally’ ensue. About Jannifer: hmmmm….unless they make her a little more interesting, I cannot invest too much confidence in her. She’s as stiff as a nosed. I really looove the incorporation of design with Theresa as the main ingredient. And, I’m really loving Gabi and Paul as models. I really am hoping for more years of good stories to come….raise our glass for Days longevity. Also, please, PTB would you have these actors/characters wash their hands before they eat?. Ciera walked… Read more »

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Correction: Cat-fight, cast fight…lol

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Sorry, another correction: autocorrect is dumb: stiff as a board.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Sorry to re-reply, Ray…Lol. I think you are getting your wish of seeing Miss Jenny in a ‘mesmerizing’ storyline. Poor thing is in constant pain since the accident. Barbiturates to the rescue!! Another ‘hooked on pain-killers’ story.

Timmm
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Timmm

Meow!

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@Timmm.
You are a naughty boy! Lol.

Frank
Guest
Frank

why the wait? NBC need to renew Days right now. They better not cancel Days, or I will be really angry. I love Days, the ratings are up and storylines are getting better.

davlestev1
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davlestev1

Frank..NBC is not afraid of you lol

4ever DAYS
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4ever DAYS

Make a deal, NBC and Sony!

Mo
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Mo

I hope it renews and for several years.

Dee
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Dee

I hope so also. I have enjoyed it the last 5 months. Although, I was saddened to hear about Kate Mansi leaving because I really like the Abigail n Chad pairing. Also, I’m not really liking the Brady/Nicole story unfolding right now. But I hope Sony and the powers that be like it and the rest of the DOOL stories because I would like to see the show continue. I’m tired of talk shows and doctor shows replacing soaps.

Chrystie_Delancey
Guest
Chrystie_Delancey

I don’t understand how this is all up to Sony. Sony produces the show so they want it to continue … they always do. They never want to see their properties fail. I remember when I worked for them and they wanted their show DAMAGES to continue on FX, but FX didn’t want it anymore so SONY shopped it to Directv and secured a two-year deal.

These comments from NBC make me wonder.

sonniorsolita
Guest
sonniorsolita

Because Sony wants NBC to pay a certain amount to air the show. NBC likely wants to pay a lower amount. That’s why they have to negotiate. Sony won’t want the show to continue if its not making a tidy profit for the corporate bottom line. That’s the TV biz!

AJ
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AJ

If you work for Sony then you’d understand that Sony wants $X license fee from NBC for the show. NBC wants to pay $Z license fee to Sony for the show. They will need to meet somewhere in the middle, say $Y license fee for the show to continue. Obviously, Sony wants the show to continue. They want every show to continue. It’s up to Sony because NBC clearly doesn’t want to pay Sony’s price. Sony will have to lower its license fee to NBC.

Chrystie_Delancey
Guest
Chrystie_Delancey

I worked Rights and Title (Copyright), not specifically SPTV department, though I know from all the paperwork that I would see regarding IP that Sony always wanted their shows to continue. I worked at securing copyrights and reading contracts to see what rights Sony had and did not for the motion pictures (mostly streaming rights at the time for Krackle, etc.) and the TV departments overseas. I understand a little bit about the licensing fee from what you wrote, but I admit my naivete regarding the money making side. 🙂 It is that the article and some of the comments… Read more »

davlestev1
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davlestev1

There’s always a scapegoat in these situations. NBC will throw shade and blame when it’s really their fault. .if they haven’t already written the last episode the next contract and those after will be on a year to year basis into its cancellation

Chrystie_Delancey
Guest
Chrystie_Delancey

Yes I agree, davlestev1. I don’t see it being Sony to blame if it is not renewed. NBC is probably just waiting for Sony to come back with too high a number just so they can say they could not make a deal. They are no longer invested in the show or soaps for that matter. They want CHEAP cheap cheap TV as evidenced (at least NBC4 in Los Angeles) by every time there is a house fire or police chase the programming is interrupted, especially since they just had a whole hour of news.

davlestev1
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davlestev1

That is my station too and because they break into the show at the most inopportune moments with news that could wait. .a water main broke..a mountain lion in a back yard. .a bear up a tree. .I dvr on POP to avoid all that

davlestev1
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davlestev1

Oh and endless police pursuits that only serve to encourage other blockheads to get their fleeing moment of fame doing the same. .that’s the most annoying aside from watching grass burn because of some other bonehead..

Chrystie_Delancey
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Chrystie_Delancey

Doesn’t it make you want to cry, davlestev1? That they think so low of PAID, scheduled programming that they can just interrupt whenever they want and all for GARBAGE!! It is like there is no real news so they have to try and create mass hysteria with all these things they cut to. Just like with the LAUSD school closures. LA was desperate to get its name in the headlines while NY wisely decided it was a hoax. LA gives you the dirt bags from TMZ, et al for “entertainment.” Everyone of these “hosts” from these so-called “shows” sits there… Read more »

Sheila
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Sheila

I have the TV on……DOOL is on @ 10:00 pacific on a Detroit ch……..I have my coffee and my iPad close by. I begin to watch and soon I am bored to death and reach for my iPad to check out what my friends have been up to since yesterday. I realize 20minutes have passed and I have missed what was happening….or have I? I pay attention to DOOL for another few minutes and reach for my iPad again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. I am a lifetime watcher……I am ready after 50 years to say goodbye. I’m done

Mateo
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Mateo

The truth is that DAYS is sinking. This is the same spiel the networks give when they are going to cancel a show every time. They did it with Guiding Light. They did the same with One Life To Live and All My Children and they basically hammered As The World Turns down with glee. The networks don’t understand the value of daytime stories to the fans that watch them. DAYS has been going downhill since they decided to focus on characters from the past. They can call them “legacy characters” all they want but the actors and the stories… Read more »

Mel
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Mel

I think that the current story line concerning John is very good. He has lived for years with the unanswered question “Who were John’s biological parents”. Just go on line to the various sites dedicated to Adoptees searching for for their biological mothers/fathers/siblings. Victor was a mobster for years. He was no saint. Victor obviously has a hated younger brother who spent 30 years in prison for, I’m guessing, a crime that he did not commit. It was Victor who committed the crime and framed the brother. And you wonder why the brother is looking for revenge?

Mateo
Guest
Mateo

it isn’t the brother, it’s the son of the brother…seriously, he needs to let it go. And the whole idea of John, who in real life must be in his 70’s, is acting like a teenager. He ignores his family and his work all for the sake of finding out something that is not all that important. The comparison to the adoptees looking for their parents is not quite comparable. The storylines are sub par

Kathy
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Kathy

Oh my goodness! What you said about Philip rings true with me too! He DOES “hurt my eyes”! And wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the original Belle and Sean?

sonniorsolita
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sonniorsolita

the actor who plays John is 62, not in his 70s. But that doesn’t change your point.

damien
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damien

i actually enjoy the newer belle…however no one can replace the original shawn d. i have no words for the latest phillip. …
they revisited an old triangle with two newer faces… why bother?

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Hey Mateo, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT post, dude!!!!! N-o-w…my thoughts here…which kind of ties in as to why I don’t watch DOOL all that much anymore… 1. Y-e-s…Patch is WAY TOO OLD to be fathering children!!!!! I find that to be BOTH disturbing and creepy!!!!! 2. To me, John (who I think is BEYOND DULL AND BORING!!!!!) looking for his mommy (or whatever) is FAST-FORWARD material all the way!!!!! 3. Don’t EVEN REMOTELY get me started on Victor!!!!! Sorry, bro…but, at this point, I find Victor to be pompous, insufferable and EVEN MORE self-righteous!!!!! And, BTW, I think that Maggie can do… Read more »

davlestev1
Guest
davlestev1

You all take care. .your lack of support for a very watchable show and all your belly aching and tuning out is fast going to get you Geraldo Riveras latest attempt at tv. .or if you’re lucky they’ll trot Sally Jesse out one last time. .enjoy the wasted hour you tuned out DAYS to get. .PEACE

kathy
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kathy

Just for the record, it is Victor’s brother, not his nephew. When first talked about, they said it was his nephew coming to town but it was changed before he arrived. When Victor was explaining to Maggie, he said it was his brother. And Deimos (sp) even said Victor was his brother.

kathy
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kathy

As for Steve still fathering children, Ava has a picture of an infant. That doesn’t mean the child was just born. Could be an old picture and the child is now older,

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Hey, Jay….don’t pay dav any mind. He’s actually a nice guy, except when the moon is full. He likes to throw sarcastic, little jabs. Right, dav? You’re a teddy bear under all that gruffness. Lol.

Theresa
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Theresa

Please renew Days..Been watching it for decades…Can’t take another negative talks how to replace it.

Gina
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Gina

Replace Days with a Kardashian talk show. That would make my day. Kim Kardashian doing poses and talking to Rob Kardashian about issues. Days will be history, time to cancel the soap. love Gh and Y&R .

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

If DAYS is cancelled, Gina, I and many other fans will become bitter posters who will fight for all soaps to die.

I promise to spread my hatred for soaps across the internet and in my everyday life. How will that be good for the remaining soaps?

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

You are just trying to get people going and waste time arguing with you…but i like wasting my time arguing with people who just post here to get an arguiment going.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Funny you should say that, Gina….there is a Kloe K talk show in the making.
I don’t know if I necessarily agree with you about Days; just my opinion. Another Kardashian….remember Kris’ attempt at a talk show? Failed miserably. TV is really going to pot!!

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

Actually, Gina, I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer the loss of their soap(s). So, I would hold my head up high and say DAYS had a good run…If and when it comes to an end.

I hope your wish doesn’t backfire.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Oh Gina, dont do that to us! Khloe already has a new talk show out and I wont say where. I watched a clip and I was looking for the nearest bridge! They just wont go away!

Jim Preston
Guest
Jim Preston

I will say that right now, the show is just a little dull with Belle, whom I really don’t care about, and her “super talented daughter” Claire whom I also don’t give a hoot about. They switched gears too abruptly in my opinion, taking away Paige, Will, Sonny, Paul (well he’s on technically with nothing to do) and now the focus is on Belle and some other newbies and I just don’t care. I watch anyway, just for the heck of it, and I love Victor and am glad his long lost brother has showed up because I enjoy the… Read more »

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

I sincerely doubt NBC really wants to keep Days around. All three networks are itching to pull the plug on daytime drama, but none of them wants to be the first network that kills the genre. It will only take one of the three to stop airing a daytime drama and rest will soon follow. So NBC will say they want to keep Days, but only if they can get it for bottom basement prices and Sony will have to decide if is able to produce a decent show at that price point and how much is left over for… Read more »

Chrystie_Delancey
Guest
Chrystie_Delancey

Yeah, that is what I am thinking. Hollywood suits are nothing but followers. If one ends their last soap, the others will. I have suspected that for a long time.

That is why I stated that the NBC comments sounded suspect. These execs do not tell the truth to the fans, they just skirt around it and make it sound like they are doing everything possible. They are just not invested in soaps anymore.

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

I suspect you’re both right, but how I wish networks would learn from the past. The most recent cancellations on ABC soaps have been pretty much a disaster for that network; ABC’s grand plans for those shows’ replacements have, for the most part, tanked; they haven’t been able to be successful even though they cost much less, apparently, to produce. The soaps are not the money makers they once were, clearly, but in the absence of anything successful to replace them, why the rush to continue cancelling them? It’d be different if someone had solved the problem of what to… Read more »

Rj
Guest
Rj

The issue would be what would be the alternative if Days is not renewed. What would or could bring in better ratings, cost less, bring more advertisers and more money. Seeing that two talk shows that replaced soap operas were cancelled, I am not sure there are better alternatives at this time for this slot. Days has a lot of loyal fans who have watched for years. For nostalgic purposes, I hope they keep Days on. I still like to see the sand go through the hour glass, but I hope the show does not descend into too many dark,… Read more »

Chrystie_Delancey
Guest
Chrystie_Delancey

They would probably just do what ABC is doing and expand that god-awful entertainment “show” with Billy Bush that they have to hype during the noon news (at least here in LA).

Rj
Guest
Rj

That show is on at night in Boston. Ummm… I wonder how ratings would be for it during the day. At this time, I am not sure if they could put a show on that would get better ratings than Days, so they should stay with it, and just keep writing good storylines. My guess is that they keep the budget low for Days, so they could be renewed. Again, two talk shows were cancelled, so they should stay with Days for now any ways.

JANIS
Guest
JANIS

I do not really care, the writers don’t care what the fans want, for a while they had gays all over the place, and mostly women , watch so why would we want to watch gays making out, when we want a woman and man, romance stories,, we fast forward through these shows, they repeat the same old stories, over and over, WHY? do they really think we want to watch rehash stories. NO,,,,,,our favorites are Maggie, Nicole, Kate, Sami when she was on Ej, when he was on, Kayla, Steve, Brady, Hope,. Rafe, not teenagers,, please, get rid of… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

I’m sorry, I have to respond to this. If you don’t like seeing gay storylines, just say it – “I don’t like seeing any gay story”. But to suggest that Days was brimming with gays and gay storylines is a false assertion. At most, Days has had three lead gay characters, with one to three supporting characters depending on what time period you are referring to. While everyone else – about 20+ other characters were straight. When the gay storyline was a lead story, it was sharing space with at least two or three other stories – so again, at… Read more »

Jim Preston
Guest
Jim Preston

Your comment is worthless and extremely homophobic. At what time exactly was the show “brimming with gays”? They had Sonny with Will and a little bit later on Paul was introduced as a baseball player with a past – that’s only three characters and I would think someone like YOU would be thrilled that: 1.) Will was strangled to death 2.) Sonny went out of the country 3.) Paul is left in Salem doing some idiotic modeling job So, it seems to me, that gays are not even on the Canvas. You also claim that only women watch the show.… Read more »

blake
Guest
blake

It looks like Days will stay on, and I hope at least for the actors and crew that it does for many years to come.

Belle
Guest
Belle

NBC; don’t be as stupid as ABC! Take heed to the trouble it’s having with replacements for One Life o Live!

Pat Paquette
Guest
Pat Paquette

Please continue airing Days of Our Lives. It was great last year and now. I am a longtime viewer and the currant writers are right on point. Plus answering long held questions for instance John’s past. It will be a big disappointment not to continue a show that is doing well and has so much potential.

nancy
Guest
nancy

Days of our Lives is my 1 hour of time that I take just 4 me; instead of everybody else . Have been w as thing 49 years! Please keep this show !

Krisann
Guest
Krisann

Keep Days going, I’ve been watching since the beginning with my mother. Its the only one we ever watched. Love Days Of Our Lives

Doris Dearing
Guest
Doris Dearing

Love it, love it, love it!!!!! Never miss a show. PLEASE….keep it going!

janis ryan
Guest
janis ryan

I love this show. I’ve watched for over 50 years. And I’ll continue to watch. It has been really exciting the past few months.

Linda Y.
Guest
Linda Y.

I have watched DOOL since Day 1… It is my favorite television show, and I’ll be watching for as long as it is on… PLEASE RENEW!!!!

marla f
Guest
marla f

I have been watching DOOL for thirty years and while I find that some of the story lines to be a bit far fetched it doesn’t take away from the actual enjoyment of getting lost in these characters for an hour each day!

I’m not a fan of this new Phillip either. He looks too old to be courting Belle and yes, good points about John still trying to locate his mom. Rafe’s dad needs to shave off that hideous goatee!!!

joanne
Guest
joanne

Bryan dattilo/ lucas horton needs more air time love him as lucas

lumi
Guest
lumi

Love luml”

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@Michael (not Fairman).
I like the way you THINK!!

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alison Sweeney on Working with Bryan Dattilo: “28 Years Later, Some Things Never Change. Still Laughing Between Takes and Grateful to Have Such a Talented Supportive Co-Star”

This week, Days of our Lives viewers have witnessed that Sami Brady DiMera (Alison Sweeney) and Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) hit the sheets, and Lumi fans everywhere rejoiced!

On and off, for almost three decades. Alison Sweeney and Bryan Dattilo have played the relationship between these two exes who share children together to the hilt, because Sami and Lucas’ history is well … complicated.

But, what will happen if and when EJ finds out that Sami had sex with her ex? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Alison took to her Instagram and shared her thoughts alongside photos of her and Bryan, then and now.

Over the years, Bryan had remained one of Alison’s good friends.

Sweeney expressed: “I have always had such fun working with @bryan.dattilo !! 28 years later, some things never change. Still laughing between takes and grateful to have such a talented, supportive costar. Thanks @nbc for this great archive photo! And so grateful to @nbcdays for the incredible opportunity to play Sami.”

What did you think of the scenes where Sami and Lucas slept together and its aftermath thus far? Comment below.

 

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A post shared by Ali Sweeney (@alisweeney)

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Breaking News

REPORT: Dan Feuerriegel is DAYS New EJ DiMera

Could Days of our Lives finally found their new EJ? Rumors have been circulating on the internet for weeks that the character of EJ DiMera may finally have a new face and a new actor portraying and heading back to Salem, especially since Sami (Alison Sweeney) is back on the canvas.

The role was previously played by longtime fan favorite James Scott, who had made it very clear he would never return to Days of our Lives.

Photo: DFeuerriegelIG

Now according to Daytime Confidential and their report from setside sources, the new EJ will actually be played by former Spartacus actor Dan Feuerriegel.

The Australian-born actor has been seen in Starz’ Spartacus franchise in the role of Agron.

According to the report, look for the new EJ to make his debut sometime this summer.

DAYS fans know that in story, EJ was brought back form the dead, from the serum from Dr. Rolf, but then was injured in an explosion and had reunited with Sami and had been recovery in Europe.

So, if this reports turns out to be true, what do you think of the new EJ? Comment below.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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