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Executive Producer Michael Levitt & NATAS Daytime Senior VP David Michaels Talk Plans For 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Telecast!

MLevitt - Courtesy/IMDB

Courtesy/NATAS

This morning, daytime fans and the daytime community learned the official plans for the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

The ceremonies which honor the best in daytime programming are back on television following a year that saw the show not only not on TV, but an online version that was met with extremely unfavorable reviews and red carpet debacles. Now with renewed vigor and a vengeance, NATAS is turning the page in a presentation they hope will make the event a “must-attend” and a “must-see” with their goal to respect, honor, celebrate, and return the glamour to the red carpet arrivals and the broadcast, and to have some fun along the way doing it.

Pop has emerged as the perfect television partner, who will air the telecast live on Sunday night, April 26th starting at 8PMET direct from the famed Stage 16 on the Warner Brothers Studios lot!  According to NATAS, the final nomination announcements have been shifted now to Tuesday, March 31st, when we learn the names of the actors and the series vying for gold who will be a major part of the drama and excitement of the telecast.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy telecast executive producer, Michael Levitt, and NATAS Daytime Senior Vice-President, David Michaels in their first joint interview to get some insight into their plans, their hopes, and the direction they see this year’s ceremonies heading.   Plus, we learn that there are major talks in the works for an hour Red Carpet Pre-Show, and much more.   Here’s what Michael and David shared!

David, there was so much backlash after last year’s Daytime Emmys.  As someone who cares about the soaps and the daytime community, and being concerned about how the Emmys are perceived and presented, tell me your thoughts on the ceremonies coming back to television this year, and having Michael Levitt on board as the executive producer?

DMichaels Courtesy/NATAS

DAVID:  I would like to look totally forward, except to say that none of the things that we had to apologize for last year are going to happen again, and part of the reason for that is Michael Levitt.  I have actually wanted Michael to produce this show for a couple of years now, and so to finally be able to bring him in is really exciting to me and really relaxing for me.

Michael, you have done many notable award shows.  Was producing the Daytime Emmys something that was even was on your radar?

MICHAEL:  Quite honestly, I reached out to David and NATAS.  I believe it was almost two years ago, because I was watching the telecast each year and feeling I could bring so much to it, and when I say I am a fan, I really mean that.  When I produce any show, I don’t take on something that I am not excited, or passionate about.  I would rather not do it.  I felt like I could really make a difference with the Daytime Emmys, and really do justice to the community, and the great work that they do.  I am so grateful that David and NATAS heard me out, and that we are where we are today.

Michael, have you been a fan of the soaps?

MICHAEL:  I grew up as a latch-key kid watching TV on the couch almost every day, and it’s funny because my parents gave me a hard time about that.  They felt that wasn’t being productive, and they would say, “Stop watching TV, and get out there and do other stuff!”  So, you can imagine how much fun it was when I became a television producer, so I can then turn around and say, “Hey … that was all research!” (Laughs)

DAVID:  Aside from all the other things that Michael is doing, he is the one that connected us to Pop originally.  Michael got Pop all excited about us, and they told us they were excited about him.

What soaps did you watch then growing up?

MLevitt - Courtesy/IMDB

MICHAEL:  When I was a little kid and my friends were talking about the World Series and the Super Bowl, I was talking about Tad, Jenny, and Opal on All My Children!

DAVID:  And I was talking about Jessie Brewer, the nurse on General Hospital.  I loved her!

Michael, many of your award shows, such as the TV Land Awards, feature fun elements to it.  How far do you see yourself taking the fun with the daytime community and audience during the upcoming telecast?

MICHAEL:  I think there are so many awards show out there that I think that every award show that I produce has had memorable moments.  And for me, that’s really a blend of reverence and irreverence.  I think that first and foremost, the goal is to produce a beautiful show that is respectful to the community, and does justice to the great work that they do each year, but I don’t think that means that we can’t have a lot of fun.  The fun I hope we can create is laughing with the community, not at the community.  Listen, daytime has a lot of personality, and I think we would be remiss not to showcase that.

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Category-wise, are we looking at all the soap categories being given out on-air, in addition to talk show, culinary, children’s programming etc?

DAVID:  We have done a first pass, and we had long discussions with Pop.  Everyone decided that two phenomenal hours would be better than a three-hour telecast. Although that is going to make a compact thrill-a-minute show, two hours is not a long time.  I can tell you, you are not going to be missing any of the soap categories you are used to seeing.

MICHAEL:  Truly, our goal is to fit as many awards into the broadcast, and create a nice balance for all the genres that comprise daytime.

Courtesy Warner Brothers Studio

DAVID:  This show is about daytime and although everyone knows that the soap fans will drive the ratings and the excitement, we are really here to honor the entire daytime community.

Do you have a host wish list?

MICHAEL:  That is on the agenda for this coming week, and my wheels are turning, and my list is very diverse.   I will tell you, in having someone host the show, you want someone who is going to be a great traffic cop that is going to compliment the proceedings, and not work against it.  That would be the goal in terms of who we pick to host the show.

It is very apparent from the choice of the venue this year (for the first time it is on the Warner Brothers Studio lot)  that there is a big push to try to restore the glamour to the Daytime Emmys.

DAVID:  I will tell you Chuck Dages, our chairman, and Bob Mauro, our president, both said from the beginning we need to bring back Hollywood glamour to the Daytime Emmys.  I have never been so excited about a venue in my life. The red carpet will go down New York Street.  Next, there will be a huge marquis on the Steven J. Ross Theatre that will say “42nd Annual Daytime Emmys”.  It will give the feel of a Hollywood premiere, and then all the way down Brownstone Street is where the pre-party is going to be, and if you continue down Brownstone Street that is where Stage 16 is, which is the biggest soundstage in the country!  That is where Casablanca was filmed and 50 other things.  I don’t know how much more glamorous you can get!

Stage 16 on the Warner Brothers lot where the telecast and the ceremonies will be held is a very large space.  Would you say that’s a good thing, or a challenging thing, when it comes to the production of the show and its overall look and feel?

MICHAEL:  It really doesn’t pose a problem, and being on soundstage is great and my preference when producing award shows, because it achieves both.  It feels big and yet intimate.  People will be sitting at tables.  The great thing about having this on a soundstage is; it is like a blank canvas. You are not committed to a specific look, and so you can go in any direction.  We are really excited to transform this room into a beautiful environment to celebrate Daytime’s biggest night of the year.

Courtesy/NATAS

DAVID:  It will be this gorgeous ballroom, basically.  We were in the soundstage when it was empty and it’s just a little bit smaller than Rhode Island!  We are working very closely with the special events department at Warner Brothers, in addition to all of their technical departments. Hilary Harris, who is the Director of Special Events, creates magic at least two times a week there.  They don’t usually do award shows on the stage, but they do major parties and events in there all the time. We have seen pictures of the street, and the soundstage, and what they have done at Warner Brothers is unbelievable.

Will there be an hour Red Carpet Pre-Show?

DAVID:  I am very encouraged that we will get a televised pre-show. We are in very strong negotiations that happened just the other day with a major outlet, and plus we are discussing having a live-stream of the red carpet as well. We would like to have as many things going at once as possible.  I said the other day, when we were pitching this televised pre-show, “It’s going to be the most gorgeous red carpet that has ever existed for the Daytime Emmys.  We need the fans, and America to see this.” There will be bleachers for fan to sit on for the first time in years!

Last year, the Daytime Emmys worked social media very heavily for the first time in its history.  Will social media be worked in as an important component in the telecast?

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MICHAEL: Absolutely!  In 2015, it’s impossible to do an award show and not have a social media presence. That will be our challenge of how to integrate that into the show, in what I hope will be a creative and unique way.

David, what can you share about this year’s competition?

Courtesy/CauseforPAWSTVSpecial

DAVID:  A big part of my job is to run the Daytime Emmy competition, and the blue-ribbon voting is going to kick-off this week.  So, I have been doing watching the entries.  I can tell you there is amazing stuff in there, and every year I am just an awe of the soap actors, because of what they do, and how much of it they do, and how talented they all are.  After the nominations come out, we will again post the reels of the performances for everyone to see.  The talk show reels are also amazing, too. One of the largest categories this year are the culinary shows and culinary hosts, and those are amazing reels, as well.  The key there is to not watch them hungry!  (Laughs)

Soap fans have been outraged when former telecast executive producers have moved, or tried to move the Outstanding Daytime Drama Series as the final award of the night.  Could you see that category being the grand finale of the festivities?

MICHAEL:  I think it’s premature to commit to that, but what I will say is that I definitely acknowledge how the soaps drive daytime, and the excitement of those categories and who wins, and so naturally it would be something I would be inclined to do, because I think it’s such a great build-up to the end of the show.  However, we also have to look at pacing and balance.  We all think that the end of the show is the climax, but when you do these kind of shows, you want to open big, and you want to have something strong when you are bridging the hour.  Of course, you want the entire show to be compelling, but there are certain points in the show where you know something is going to be riveting and exciting for the viewer, and so it’s all about balance.

Michael, with everything that has happened over the last several years to the Daytime Emmys, do you feel a huge weight on your shoulders taking this gig on … and that this show really has to be more than good?

MICHAEL:  I do, but I also feel really confident that I, along with everyone at the Academy, and the Pop Network, are going to nail it, and hit it out of the ballpark, and deliver a show that makes the daytime community really proud.

Courtesy/Pop

DAVID:  I will admit that we all feel pretty pressured; it’s a very important year.  I think it’s a rebirth for the Daytime Emmys, and for Michael and the people at Pop, the Emmys will be on the night of their first May Sweeps, so everyone has a lot on the line here.

Will Pop heavily promote the Daytime Emmy telecast leading up to the big night?  In the past several years, on-air promotion lacked from other networks carrying the telecast to the point where some fans were confused up until the night of for where to catch the ceremonies!

DAVID:  Yes, and it’s a great thing working with Pop.  Brad Schwartz (President, Pop) and his team have had some really creative ideas, and we are collaborating with them. By working with Pop, we are working with Lionsgate, and we are working with CBS.  So, that opens up a lot of opportunities for promotion.

MICHAEL:  Pop is such a great fit because they already run soaps, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on their network, and their branding is all about the fans.  The entire network is about being fan-centric.  I am happy to say having worked with many networks that the people at Pop really get it.  They want this to be as successful as we do.  They are entrusting us to deliver a show that is going to be really well-received by the fans of the daytime community, and so they put a lot of faith in us and have given us the leeway to make a great show.  There is a lot on the line for them, too.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to be great partners to make a show that will be appreciated for many years to come, and send this franchise on the right trajectory.  It’s so important we get this right.

So, what do you think about the potential of this year’s Daytime Emmy telecast after reading our chat with Michael Levitt and David Michaels?  Do you feel the Emmys are good hands as production gets underway? Share your thoughts below!

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Michael (not Fairman)Sandy J.jaybird369Jamesj75daring sally Recent comment authors
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jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Sounds good to me so far…i will watch the whole telecast as long as its in good taste and they bring back the glamour…British awards shows are like that and thats why i love watching them…Coronation Street is the King…wish POP could air the British soaps on their channel so more people could see how great the Brits really are!!!

Derrick
Derrick

I DO NOT have Pop network! Gonna have to make temporary changes so I can see the award show!

Ella
Ella

If Sharon Case isn’t given a full apology them I will not watch. How can the best actress on daytime tv be dissed ? BOO

Nikki
Nikki

Ella great point but this is why they put it on a different channel because people don’t take it seriously. Last year’s was so fixed I turned it off.The one’s that won awards did nothing but I think the producers promote them so it has very little if anything to do with the fans.

daring sally
daring sally

Something is sooooooo wrong. I totally agree that she is the best of the best. The girl can work any storyline no matter how rotten and meaningless it may be. She deserves lead actress. To not mention her is outrageous!!!!! Something in the milk is definitely not drinkable.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

I’m with you, Ella! Sharon Case is wonderful!

Charday
Charday

I loved the former TV Land Awards, so it sounds encouraging.

Lani Hana
Lani Hana

This show is DEFINITELY in good hands with Michael Levitt! So excited for him to put his special touch on this show.

Dominique
Dominique

What’s Pop??? Will the Daytime Emmys only feature SOAP categories or all daytime TV?

louisa
louisa

They need to simulcast on line for people who don’t have POP. But this is great news!!

Stephanie
Stephanie

I am really encouraged by what they had to say……..After last year there is no way to go but up! So glad that PopTV stepped up.

jonboy
jonboy

What the frig is Pop?

abby
abby

sounds great so far, but what about those of us who are major fans of the soaps and have cable companies that don’t carry POP…will it be simulcasted on like Hulu or Netflix or something like that where we can watch it? hopefully we will all know the answer to these questions before the show goes on the air lol.

su0000
su0000

I do not bother to watch daytime tv.. To me that would be horrible to suffer through daytime programing..
I watch 2 soaps.. and they are the only daytime I watch..
and- I do not even watch them during the day time lol..

When it comes to the awards the only awards I would be interested to watch would be the soap awards and they will be shown someone after..
I just would want to know who won the soap awards an that is it.. and honestly, I really don’t even care that much about them.. the phony factor lol ..

So, I not having POP to watch is no big deal to me ..

hope you all enjoy!!

patty
patty

The way in which the writers write stolrylines on GH is a joke. This is why so many viewers are walking away. The latest storyline in which the Judge (boyfriend of the plantiff’s grandmother) is allowed to preside over the case is an insult to the viewers intelligence. This wwould never be allowed !!! What they should do is invest in a REAL attorney to oversee the true ethics !! Also, , Nicholas has absolutely no reason not to tell Sam the truth ( ridiculous) With this chessy writing, why would I ever waste time watching the award show.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

We can only keep our fingers crossed that all will go as planned.

Yet history shows us that the Daytime Emmy Awards have always been relegated to the child’s table, the not ready for prime time awards show. Good lord, I am old enough to remember the first one, live from a boat circling Manhattan! At least it didn’t sink…

So what usually happens is this:
1) The telecast is filled with celebrities who have no connection whatsoever to daytime TV (paging Julia Roberts and Aretha Franklin). — Side note: I guess if, as rumored, a soap actor gets to score with Julia Roberts after the telecast, some good may have come from it…
2) The focus will attempt an all-inclusive look at the genre, including the insipid game shows, omnipresent reality shows, divisive talk shows, and inane children’s shows, alongside what most daytime fans wish to see: the soaps.
3) Politics and popularity will rule the day with regard to soap presenters and soap winners.
4) There will be ludicrous snubs in the acting categories, ludicrous designations of “lead” actors in “supporting” categories, “older” actors somehow fitting in to the “young” categories. By the way, so many of these “young” nominees are laughable.
5) The whole daytime soap genre, in and of itself, is ludicrous, what with only four soaps on the air (thus diluting the excellence in broadcasting pool), SOAPNET off the air, Soap Opera Digest having to scrape for crumbs to stay relevant, and audiences dwindling (to the point that, just a couple of decades ago to a few short years ago, current ratings would translate to certain cancellation).
6) Acceptance speeches that are self-promotional, self-important, and overly emotional. Let’s face it: we aren’t curing cancer here.
7) As with other award shows, too much filler and not enough substance.
8) As with other award shows, repeat (nondeserving) winners.

I’d try to round out my list to 10 entries, but then I would be giving filler of my own! I just wish that, for once, the soap viewer were not insulted by the telecast that is supposed to honor the genre and its fans.

jaybird369
jaybird369

James…EXCELLENT POST, dude…and so PERFECTLY SPOT ON!!!!! As far as I’m concerned, over the years, The Daytime Emmy Awards have gotten ridiculously W-A-Y OFF TRACK here!!!!! Dude, to me, The Daytime Emmy Awards SHOULD BE about soaps and other things pertaining to soaps…PERIOD!!!!! Most of all: A-L-L of the soap actors and soap actresses of A-L-L ages deserve a fair shake and all…in terms of being nominated and/or otherwise. Anything less…then what’s the point????? Sigh.

James…have a good one, Brother!!!!! Peace.

Sandy J.
Sandy J.

As usual in the past couple of years, Canadian soap fans are totally forgotten by those planning on which kind of media the awards are broadcast. Canadians are not allowed access to Hulu and many other online forums and, yes, there are likely some fans, both American and Canadian, who do not use a computer.
I really think that whoever is in charge of making the Daytime Emmies available for broadcast need to work harder at encouraging one of the regular television networks, i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, to step up as they’re the media which broadcast the soaps and some of the other daytime genres in the first place.
I have never even heard of POP and am sure it will not be available for me and other Canadian soap fans to view the awards show that I look forward to every year.
Canadian soap fans are every bit as invested in the 4 soaps left to watch as American soap fans; it’s just than nobody who produces these awards shows gives a damn whether those of us north of the 49th parallel are able to watch the Daytime Emmies. Thanks a lot! Sandy J. in the Greater Toronto Area (province of Ontario)

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

I applaud having people who have at least some connection to the soaps produce the awards show; that’s just smart if they want anybody at all to watch.

The problem, which others have alluded to, is that with the genre being down to four soaps, this starts to feel like a nonevent, regardless. That’s not to take away from the nominees or ultimate winners, because I think working in soaps is every bit as hard as it ever was, and giving solid, Emmy-worth performances is still something that should be recognized. And at least if you’re nominated for, say, Best Supporting Actress, you still, even with only four soaps, came out ahead in a field of at least several dozen other actresses who potentially could have been nominated. But seriously, what does Outstanding Show mean when there are only four shows? At a minimum, to promote some upping of the game, there should be a fifth nominee in Outstanding Show and Outstanding Writing: None of the Above. That way maybe the embarrassment of losing out to None of the Above would prompt some better work. If it were up to me, I still might have voted a real winner in Outstanding Show in some recent years (though not all of them, by any means), but it’s been a good two decades since any show really deserved to win a writing award, and None of the Above would have a nice collection of Outstanding Writing statuettes by now if I were making the decision. I think the writers often do the best they can, and I don’t mean to take away from that, but it’s hard to call it “outstanding” when there’s so much wrong with it.

Days Of Our Lives

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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Days Of Our Lives

Noted Soap Opera Producer Lisa de Cazotte Has Died; Daytime Community Mourns Her Passing

Sad news to report on Sunday as the soap opera community and its fans learn of the passing of Daytime Emmy-winning and noted soap opera producer, Lisa de Cazotte,

Lisa passed away yesterday on Saturday December 7th after a long illness at the age of 58,   From early in her career her love of the soaps and passion for it were evident.  She began right out of college as an intern on ABC’s One Life to Live, where she worked her way up to Coordinating Producer.

Photo: JPI

Next, Lisa eventually became the Supervising Producer of NBC’s one and only Santa Barbara.  She spent time also on All My Children, before heading back to NBC and Sunset Beach where she assumed the role of Supervising Producer there.

However, it was in 1999 where de Cazotte became the  Executive Producer of Passions, which she helmed and remained till the end of its run in 2008.  It was a show that she loved so much.  She continued her career in the soaps in 2012 stepping into Salem and Days of our Lives where Lisa was named Co-Executive Producer of the series winning two Daytime Emmy Awards. for her efforts.

Sadly, now her final gig began in 2017, when she became Supervising Producer of The Young and the Restless and won her third Emmy in the process this past year.  De Cazotte was said to still be producing Y&R at the time of her passing. She is survived by her husband, Antoine de Cazotte, and her beloved brothers: Michael Patrick Smith, Robert Terence Smith, and Brian Charles Smith.

Photo: JPI

On social media over the last several hours, many actors, and colleagues have shared their sorrow and remembrances of Lisa.  Here are just a sampling:

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Jason Thompson (Billy,, Y&R): We lost a member of the family last night, one of our producers, Lisa De Cazotte. I first worked with Lisa when she produced the 2nd season of “Night Shift”. Years later and currently on @YandR_CBS  She was kind and smart. Our thoughts are with her family.”

Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS): The kindness and opportunity this woman furnished me was immeasurable. We have lost one of the hardest working and graceful producers in our genre. I will miss you terribly, Lisa. #RIP”

Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) “Sometimes you recognize those women who are part of “the tribe”. Whether you know them for 20 years or 20 minutes… they are still part of your tribe. Lucky for me. Godspeed beautiful Lisa”

Angelica Rosas McDaniel (Ex-CBS Daytime Exec) “Last night we lost a light in this world with the passing of Lisa De Cazotte. Lisa was smart, strong, kind, vibrant, an incredible friend and an Emmy winning producer on many beloved shows. I was blessed to know her. Sending love to her family and friends.”

Michael Logan (Former TV Guide Columnist): “RIP Lisa de Cazotte, one of the truly great soap producers. A real nose-to-the-grindstone talent, she never wanted personal glory choosing instead to do the work, quietly and fabulously. Her partnership with James E. Reilly on #Passions was epic.”

McKenzie Westmore (Ex-Sheridan Crane, Passions):  “Heart broken at the passing of my Passions EP Lisa!!”

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Sara Bibel (Writer, Y&R): “Lisa was a wonderful producer, a joy to work with, and knew everything about daytime. She will be missed by everyone at Y&R. RIP”

Michael Fairman TV will continue to update this section of the post as more remembrances are posted over the next 24 hours.

Share your condolences and thoughts on the passing of Lisa de Cazotte in 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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