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Freddie Smith Returns To Days of our Lives!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Tis true! Daytime Emmy winner Freddie Smith is on his way back to Salem as Sonny Kiriakis!  The actor who began filming new episodes several months ago is slated to make his on-screen return to the canvas sometime in July!

This week’s Soap Opera Digest which will hit newsstands tomorrow and Friday has the exclusive first intel.  Smith admits he is very excited to return to DAYS, and now the big question on everyone’s mind is … will Sonny reconnect with his ex, Paul Narita (Christopher Sean) and therefore reignite DAYS having a same-sex couple on the long-running series?

Freddie’s last appearances on DAYS were returning to Salem for the funeral of his husband, Will Horton (Guy Wilson) who was brutally killed by necktie serial killer, Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson).   Smith was widely praised for his gut-wrenching performances in the aftermath.

Now with a reset button, and a new DAYS co-head writing team, will Sonny’s story captivate viewers once again?

Share your thoughts on the return of Freddie Smith in the comment section below!

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

But Will isnt dead…he survived the brutal murder, revived off camera and his death staged for his protection-he was in a coma all this time and will eventually return played by Chandler Massey!!!…Dont ya all wish!!!!

CeeCee
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CeeCee

I agree with you, Jimmmy. Sami whisked Will away to Switzerland to recover and to keep him safe, until such time as Ben is altogether gone. My hunch tells me Marlena is the only one in Salem who knows ……and, Sonny has been with Will all along in Switzerland. Sounds wild, right? Lol.

TearyTam
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TearyTam

Please let’s leave Will in the deep freeze❄️❄️❄️

Mark
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Mark

Here’s what I choose to believe: Stefano DiMera went shopping again at “Body-Doubles-R-Us,” just like he did previously when he kidnapped Rafe and substituted him with a fake body-double who fooled most people for awhile. Stefano did this merely for the sport of messing with the jocular folk of Salem, since one does need a hobby beyond counting one’s money all day long. William’s recast was the rented body-double all along. The William-double was far more convincing than earlier Rafe-double, so no one spotted him, right up to and including the double getting murdered, rather than the real William. Meanwhile,… Read more »

francis
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francis

I watch days of our lives and enjoyed seeing sonny and will on there.hope they return they made the show will be watching for them to return

Phil
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Phil

So, is it long-term??? Would love it if they found a way to bring Will back…in the form of Chandler Massey! Wishful thinking though… Paul and Sonny would be cool.

Mo
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Mo

I too am wondering how long he will be on. It is just a drive by or a long contract.

Ricardo
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Ricardo

Wow that’s wonderful news, Freddie is a wonderful actor. Hopefully he signed a long term contract.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

That’s my hope, too, Ricardo.

Sonny is definitely missed in Salem. Welcome back, Freddie!!!

Mo
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Mo

And maybe it will give story to Justin and Adrienne. I do miss them!

Ricardo
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Ricardo

Yes Jeremy, Freddie is missed in Salem. Also I always love your comments on this site. Let’s pray and hope, that Freddie signed a long term contract.

Rj
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Rj

Oh, great! Glad to have him back. Good actor. A Sonny and Paul romance would be a good storyline. I liked Will, and was sad and sorry when they killed him off, so if he can be resurrected that would be good, but if TPTB have made their decision then glad to at least have Sonny back.

ScoobyDum72
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ScoobyDum72

Wouldn’t it be interested if they pulled a Shelter Island/Secret of NIMH/Pam Ewing’s Dream where this all occurred in Abby Devereaux’s mind…then Will could be alive…

mike
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mike

Freddie Smith without Chandler Massey does not excite me.

CeeCee
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CeeCee

THEY WILL RE-UNITE…..I just know it. I am fervently praying, mike. Love the actors and their characters.

Matthew Place
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Matthew Place

I’m hoping this will be what happens: Freddie and Chandler both back!!! With the recent rumor about CM returning to Days, there’s a def possibility!

Eddie
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Eddie

I’m taking a wait and see attitude. I’ve seen in the past where SOD makes a big deal about an actor returning only to find out it was just for a 2 or 3 episode arc. I hope that Sonny comes back for a longer story arc than that. Since this rumor turned out to be true, then the Chandler Massey as Will rumor must be as well. I guess if Matthew Ashford can come back as Jack Deveraux’s ‘ghost’ then Chandler can come back as Will’s. i’m predicting it will be some sort of ‘it’s okay to get on… Read more »

CeeCee
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CeeCee

Yeah, so true, Eddie. A lot of honey is offered, and we’re the flies.

RayJ
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RayJ

I’ve heard that it’s only for month. July through August.

Jim Preston
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Jim Preston

I was thinking the same thing, maybe Chandler Massey is only returning as Will’s “ghost” to tell Sonny it’s all right to move on with your life. Would be nice though if there were some kind of reunion.

Brian
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Brian

YASSS!!! I wouldn’t mind seeing him with Paul again and then pray really hard that Will isn’t really dead and that Chandler Massey comes back!

CMD
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CMD

*Rubs hands together in glee* Bring on Paul/Sonny! I’ve been waiting since Paul’s first appearance for them.

Richard
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Richard

Have you guys not seen the article and heard the rumors?? Chandler Massey is on his way back to DAYS!!!!! WATCH!!!!! And yes as Will Horton!!!!

TearyTam
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TearyTam

Hoping only dream sequence

Eddie
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Eddie

I also think that it’s going to be some sort of dream, vision, or flashback type of scene(s).

Matthew Place
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Matthew Place

I expect the rumor about CM will turn out to be… TRUE!!!

Art
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Art

Bringing Sonny back won’t bring back all the Wilson fans and the other viewers they lost when they brutally, gleefully and hatefully murdered Will and then ruined Sonny’s character by having him abandoning his daughter and make a date with ex on his husband’s grave.

Eddie
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Eddie

I agree with you, perhaps not as strongly as you feel it, bringing back Sonny is not going to erase what happened last year. There is so much wrong with what the show did to the characters. Many fans blame the writers, but it seems to me the story line would not have been written if Corday hadn’t approved it.

RayJ
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RayJ

I agree. Then again daytime fans are notoriously forgiving (I mean read some of the plot speculations here. The wild plot lines fans even here would be willing to swallow just to accommodate a CM/WilSon return).

Personally, I would find such ridiculousness insulting and just salt to the wound, but that’s just my opinion.

I’m sure CM will return, but prob’ly as a ghost/vision/dream. Especially considering how fond DAYS has become with that particular gimmick lately.

Stephen
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Stephen

[This is my previous submission EDITED to – I hope – comply with MF’s guidelines – and it’s also improved a bit. Thank you!] Days utterly DESTROYED Sonny’s character! Here’s what Sonny said when he returned to Salem after they killed Will. This is in conversation with his mom and Kayla : ‘You know I was planning on coming back here before this happened. Will left me this message, and I listened to it over and over again, and I started thinking “what the hell am I doing?”. I realized I still loved him and I needed to be here… Read more »

CeeCee
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CeeCee

I do agree, Stephen. Abandoning his child and not seeking any closure for his husband’s death does make Sonny look like the lowest of the low. But, what if what I predicted above, albeit jokingly, is fact? What if Will is alive and Sonny is with him? Too far fetched? Not in soapland. LOL.

RayJ
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RayJ

This would not make amends for me. Insulting my intelligence with a ridiculous plot hardly makes up for what they did (not that that will stop them)

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

Excellent post, Stephen! And I totally agree.

Matthew Place
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Matthew Place

I agree as well. I wish everything that happened on Days since fall 2015 could be just a BIG, BAD dream, but there was so much “mess” that I’m afraid even using a dream excuse ala Dallas would still leave Days in a wrecked state! Too bad the show is so messed up now, not even a hot mess, just a mess. Period. It’ll be interesting to see what these writers can do to fix the show in the fall!

Stephen
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Stephen

Thank you James!

4ever DAYS
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4ever DAYS

Apologize for what…turning you into a big crybaby?! Get over it! If DAYS apologizes, I my have to quit watching!

Don’t watch!

Stephen
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Stephen

Thank you ! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for :

a) the blatant personal attack and insult! Hah!
b) the commands!
c) the revelatory question!

I love it when folks reveal their incivility and bad attitudes so succinctly and clearly!

jaybird369
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jaybird369

Stephen…you are so RIGHT ON, dude!!!!! As far as I’m concerned, TIIC at DOOL did a major character assassination (or whatever) on Sonny!!!!! NOT COOL AT ALL!!!!!!

Have a good one, Stephen.

Stephen
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Stephen

Thank you jay!

Leeannlovingthebooks
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Leeannlovingthebooks

I agree and have only one add on. When Sonny , more or less told Paul to wait for him, standing over his husbands grave, that just made me cringe. People in Salem were more broken up over Paige and for longer than Will, who had a huge part in everyones lives. It was poorly written and didnt do justice to an amazing character.
When the writers destroyed the amazing couple that was Will and Sonny, I mourned for them.

4ever DAYS
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4ever DAYS

To be clear, Stephen, I was a fan of Will and Sonny, but I’m against fans trying to pressure DAYS into apologizing for ANY storyline or character actions. No soap should apologize. That would open a huge can of worms! Should all soap viewers expect apologies for a long list of perceived wrongdoing? I can make a sizable list after viewing 32 years. I could also include storylines from other soaps I never watched. You also wrote “rewind” as in change the story as if it never happened…AS IF IT’S THE ONLY STORY THAT MATTERS! The characters and storylines are… Read more »

RayJ
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RayJ

A bit OT but: In reference to the links about the brutality of Willl’s murder scene, that was certainly bad enough…but then they repeated it with 12 (yes, 12…I counted) flashbacks! Personally, I founded it appalling.

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

Great reply to me, 4ever DAYS! Thank you for your comments! The only jerk here in this thread is me for having a quick trigger on the “Reply” button, needlessly becoming involved in a disagreement that was none of my business, and violating the personal attack rules. My apologies…

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

Stephen, good for you! Some people will remain 4ever jerks…

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

I’m a jerk for wanting the same treatment for ALL characters and storylines, James?

There’s been several fathers in recent years on DAYS who abandoned their children. It happens. Those other fathers were thought to be too good to leave, but they did and it was accepted without demands of apologies and rewinds of storylines.

There shall be no preferential treatment or I will not support it!

Paul N.
Guest
Paul N.

I don’t want Sonny to return under the poison pens of either Josh Griffith or Dena Higley. Their unapologetic anti-gay messaging was sick and should have resulted in Days being ripped from the airways. In particular, Sonny walking out on his daughter was part of the message that there would be no more gay families on the show, and that betrayed fans such as myself. I have no doubt that Will will be revived and Sonny’s time will be short lived. I don’t care which actor, Guy Wilson or Chandler Massey, as I respect them both and Will is too… Read more »

RayJ
Guest
RayJ

Thank you for this comment. I totally agree. I can only add that in the past 6 mos they have also reduced their one remaining gay character to a mere token (if you put all of Paul’s scenes since Thanksgiving together in one reel he’s had a little over 35 minutes of screen time in almost 6 months). And yes, they introduced a new gay teen (Henry), but then spoiled it by having him harassed with a vulgar gay slur (MEMO TO DAYS: That “F” word is no longer acceptable under any terms!). I do disagree that the remedy is… Read more »

kay
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kay

Great post, Stephen. I totally agree with what you have said.

Stephen
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Stephen

Thank you, Kay!

Mark
Guest
Mark

I agree that the damage may be unfixable. It could be easier, and far more interesting, if they simply started with a tabula rasa blank slate. Perhaps Freddie could come back instead portraying one of Sonny’s many brothers, let’s say Alex — or new brother who happens to be gay, let’s call him Shmalex. Likewise, Chandler could reappear as one of William’s long-lost cousins from the Old Country, let’s call him Shmilliam. I’m thinking as in Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha and Serena, or even the Patty Duke twins. It could be very interesting to see how Shmalex and Shmilliam adjust… Read more »

Kim
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Kim

Glad to hear. Love Freddie Smith’s Sonny

Mo
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Mo

I think it is too soon for Sonny to move on. I do hope Chandler as Will returns.

joan walters
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joan walters

welcome back Sonny. Qnd hope u resume

joan walters
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joan walters

resume relationship with Paul

mike
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mike

Chandler has not been on Twitter for the last 2 months, maybe so he won’t have to lie about being back on DOL

Patrick
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Patrick

I love all the bits of info… one can reap on this FAN’tastic “blog”

I don’t do twitter …

giddy with anticipation

just PLEASE do not be a dream

let’s AMP this : Sonny – Chandler Massey’ Will – Paul and BRING BACK T – and Brian

Ta-Da

Jim Preston
Guest
Jim Preston

I think it’s great that Sonny will return to Salem – I didn’t think it would be this soon so contract negotiations must have been worked out ~ maybe he will hook up with Paul, who has absolutely nothing to do on this show except that dumb modeling job. It would be nice also if a new character could be thrown into the mix – weren’t there rumors of Will coming back in the original version played by Chandler? Maybe that was just for a brief “dream sequence”?

Matthew Place
Guest
Matthew Place

If Will is only coming back as a ghost, then Days should do itself a favor and not bring him back at all. This “ghost sequence” will only reinforce the hurt some viewers feel and make it impossible to ever believably revive the character. Days needs to fix the mess caused by recent writers – not add to it – and get those ratings up pronto!

Stephen
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Stephen

I’m sure Chandler would only come back to resurrect the character.

Tom Jenkins
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Tom Jenkins

I’m confused thought, he (the character of Will) was CLEARLY strangled to death in front of our eyes by crazy Ben – how can they “bring him back”? I could understand it they say “his plane went down” or if they say “his car went off a cliff” (but he’s been stranded on an Island with amnesia) but since the character was choked to death while pleading for his life (which by the way was a horrible demise of a gay character or ANY character for that matter, and really shouldn’t be depicted on daytime TV) I don’t understand how… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

We had a long, long, long gay storyline on Days. I for one was very very bored with it–this is a show with all types of love interest and family matters. I LOVE the way the show is going now.

The writers focused wayyyyyyyyyy too much on the gay story line last time–sure hope it’s not going to be so focused on this time. Freddie is a good actor, though and would rather to see him back with Justin/Adrienne/Victor–maybe even a new job locally with Titan.

Tom Jenkins
Guest
Tom Jenkins

Well, I’m sorry if you felt the writers focused too much on Will and Sonny, but when they switched gears and focused on John and his putrid father, or had Brady fishing out what’s her name out of the Ocean, that was a total and complete snooze. The show was better when it involved Sonny, plus the once baseball star Paul, and the neurotic Will interfering – and I do love Abigail and her crazy way of dealing with Ben, that’s very compelling. I find the storyline of Kayla and Steve to be a bore, two more than middle aged… Read more »

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Hey, Tom,
I was actually thinking along the same lines as yourself, at some point.
That is; Will appears in Sonny’s dreams, so that Sonny would be at peace within himself and continue his life without guilt.
Perhaps, find a meaningful, new relationship?
I, among many, always found this storyline’s ending too abrupt.
Nonetheless, it’s a soap….dying is not always the end for a character. Those swinging doors are omnipresent. Lol.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

You are right about John’s father and Summer/ocean but I think the new storyline with Summer/Maggie/Victor is all interesting and love Brady/Theresa, Chad/Abby-and Abigail’s recent-burning Ben episode was EPIC–awesome acting! Kayla/Steve-you would’ve had to have watched DAYS back in the day to appreciate them-they should make up and have sweet wedding-grandchildren from Joey, etc. And again-yes, they focused WAY WAY WAY too much on the Sonny/Paul storyline-Will, too but at least Will was a Horton-to me they should bring him back-But, would like the original Will. they’ve brought others back from the dead-and was surprised they would kill off him… Read more »

Tim Welles
Guest
Tim Welles

Just as a side note I do feel that Rafe’s mom does “overact” and I’m not quite sure what the significance is having the mom around Salem – I like Gabby but for some reason I don’t sense a real chemistry between Gabby and JJ and it’s a little difficult for me to accept JJ as suddenly being a full-fledged police officer – but, these are all just minor observations.
Overall I enjoy the show and it will be interesting to see if Will emerges in some miraculous way.

Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Will is dead. Please let it be that way. I loved the character but not much toward the end. The recast did not help. Look, if it is so important to have consistency then the powers that be need to ride heard on writers and say, “No!” I prefer stories that take characters in new directions rather than repeating same plots and patterns over and over and over (Victor and Nikki Newman!). Sonny K’s return allows some course correction in that botched it-happened-to-Will-and now-we-forgot-murder story line. And it can be very interesting to follow a young person deal with grief… Read more »

Art
Guest
Art

I happened to enjoyed the recast as did others. The ratings are abysmal since the new writers took over and ruined characters and killed off characters such as Will which in turn drove away a lot of viewers that the show may never ever get back which is the show’s own fault. The show needs to get over it and bring Will back.

RayJ
Guest
RayJ

I loved both CM and GW about equally. They both had strengths and qualities they brought that I loved (CM’s sensitivity, GW’s toughness) and weaknesses that I often found irritating (CM often came off as whiny to the point that it bordered on stereotype, like gay men just burst into tears over nothing, GW was often flat when he SHOULD have been more emotional, like in the Chapel scene). Both were good & neither were perfect, IMO. As I said above, I think the best course for DAYS is just to move forward, but if the are trying to satisfy… Read more »

blake
Guest
blake

It’s been known for months so why is this now being reported here? How about news about how long he’s back for. I won’t get excited until it’s long term.

And it’s been known that Chandler Massey has been back as Will. Where is that story?

Rick
Guest
Rick

Not known, just rumored.

blake
Guest
blake

Not rumored when there were pics months ago of Freddie back at work at Days.

RayJ
Guest
RayJ

As I said above, I’ve heard that he’s only back for a month from July-Aug (And FS always said he was open to guest appearances on DAYS while he pursued other things so there you go). I agree, I don’t find a guest appearance anything to get excited about (though they’re nice sometimes) especially since they’re so often disappointing.

Rick
Guest
Rick

Rumored that CHANDLER is coming back, not confirmed.

blake
Guest
blake

There you go, you cleared it up now.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

I really hope this means that Chandler Massey is back as Will, and they can undo the damage done to these two last year. WilSon was one of DAYS best couples and deserve a good story. Especially with these two fantastic actors playing the roles.

Leeannlovingthebooks
Guest
Leeannlovingthebooks

I am thinking this will be of a short duration.
Last time Freddie said an amazing story line was coming, they destroyed Will and Sonny. So forgive me if I am skeptical. I think Freddie is a great actor. Sonny’s barely there time after Wills death, didnt even go see him at morgue after stating he needed to tell Will how much he loved him, his inability to stay due to “seeing Will everywhere”, duh! What did he think would hapoen? They changed Sonnt too much. Will have to see what they do with him.

Leeannlovingthebooks
Guest
Leeannlovingthebooks

*Sonny

RayJ
Guest
RayJ

I agree. I’m not expecting much. The past year we’ve been promise great stories time & again (and from the actor’s perspective they might be great to play) but this is what we got. We’ve also had A LOT of hype built up around very brief appearances that turned out to be duds. That’s what I fully expect to happen again.

Hopeful, but note excited.

Rick
Guest
Rick

I just hope they aren’t bringing Sonny back so that he and Paul can ride off into the sunset and the show can “de-gay”.

Sue
Guest
Sue

This is what I fear will happen. Does anyone know when Christopher Sean’s contract is up?

Sue
Guest
Sue

Although, Freddie did add NBC Studios — Days of Our Lives back to his Facebook Intro. Hmmm…

RayJ
Guest
RayJ

I dunno, but read somewhere that CS’s contract expires in June? so this might be exactly what happens.

kay
Guest
kay

I am afraid that is exactly what these incompetent writers have planned.

Chrystie_Delancey
Guest
Chrystie_Delancey

I am happy about this! There is something about Freddie Smith that has this boy-next-door kind of quality and is good at portraying emotions. I enjoy watching his scenes.

Mark
Guest
Mark

It would add color and realism to the show if Sonny occasionally slipped-up, and absent-mindedly said something in French, to show how acclimated he had become to living in Paris.

It might also be nice if Sonny introduced William to some of the other personal social graces that Sonny learned while living in the City of Love.

Martha
Guest
Martha

I am so happy that Sonny is returning to Days. He is such a great guy and a great performer. Can’t wait for July! It is about time someone stepped up and brings back some of the best actors they had. Great Job!

Felicia
Guest
Felicia

I am excited that Sonny aka Freddie Smith is returning to Days, but i think that the writers needed to come up with something to bring Will Horton back ,either like they did Aiden or some other way. I DO NOT WANT SONNY AND PAUL TO GET BACK TOGETHER! The way they got rid of Will was a disgrace for all of his fans, whether it is Guy Wilson or Chandler Massey, i do not care (prefer Chandler though) both are wonderful actors. When they killed Will, that blew the chance for Sonny and Will to reunite and that was… Read more »

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.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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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