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Jay Johnson and Shelley Hennig leaving Days of our Lives!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We heard the rumblings of this late last week, but we can now confirm, and as Soap Opera Digest printed today, Days of our Lives younger set is about to be minus two more major players.  Both Jay Kenneth Johnson (Phillip) and Shelley Hennig (Stephanie) have decided to leave the NBC soap series.  This comes on the heels of the news of the firing of Mark Hapka (Nathan).

Both Hennig and Johnson spoke with SOD and offered their thoughs on why it was time to take the leap from daytime to pursue primetime and film careers: “It just feels right,” says Hennig.  “I have been preparing for this for awhile, so I have said my mental good-byes. I will miss the faces I see here every day, but everybody has been really encouraging and has embraced my decision…. I feel like I’m going out with a bang after last week’s air shows and I feel great about it creatively and I am thankful to the writers for giving me that. I am thankful for this role that DAYS has given me and will miss playing this character. I am forever thankful for the fans and this wonderful gift that was given to me. It’s been a lot of fun to play and I wouldn’t change anything.” Hennig’s last tape date is February 2.

Johnson stated,”It feels perfect. The story ended and there’s a lot of stuff going on out there. I thought about it a lot; it just felt like the right time. I want to thank the fans for continuing to watch and following me from my first stint to the other shows I’ve done and back to here. I hope they keep an eye on me in the future.”

We at On-Air On-Soaps wish two of our dear professional friends the best of luck in their new endeavors!

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Paul8148
Paul8148

They have to be recasting Phillip right? Brent Claywell?

royd
royd

JKJ leaving just SUCKS! Sacrificed at the altar of Melanie. Dena Higley has scant regard for legacy families and characters. Every actor in close contact with the character of Melanie has been turned into a prop for her. Who wants to sign up for that endless monotony. JKJ has been treated like a man bag for too long!!

lovingit
lovingit

3 actors deciding to leave at the same time speaks volumes. These are great actors who’s characters have been badly neglected for some time and I don’t blame them one bit for moving on but I will miss them especially JKJ in the role of Phillip. People have been posting for months on all the boards how things need to change at DOOL. Since they seem to ignore their viewers hopefully this will be wake up call for them to make the needed changes in the writing dept. They need to get rid of the dead weight both in the writing dept and one actor and focus on better utilizing the amazing talents on the show. We have barely even seen Justin and Adrienne and the Bope and Chad sl have been way to spread out.

chelsea
chelsea

I am sick of Dena Higley’s total disregard of the history of Days of Our Lives and it’s characters. I have watched this show since 1983 and the direction this show has taken makes me sick. She takes great characters like Philp, Chloe, Stephanie etc and uses them as props for the characters she wants on screen and it shows. It’s time for Dena Higley to go.

Ruthie
Ruthie

Wow. It seems as though the show is falling apart. I’m a long-time viewer who rarely tunes in anymore because the show is not enjoyable to me. If they lose James Scott I will never watch the show again. He is the only actor I still enjoy.

Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

I agree with you, once James leaves, I will no longer watch Days.

Bettyrj
Bettyrj

I am in total agreement with you. James goes, I go! I can do better with my time than watch Days go down the toilet!

sara
sara

Me too James goes, I go! The one reason I keep watching is James Scott!!!!

SoapStud79
SoapStud79

I never put my ‘eggs in one basket’ when it comes to soap operas, meaning I never watch any soap for just one actor or character. I will miss JKJ as Phillip, but I am glad to see SH’s Stephanie depart. I wonder if these roles will be recast or if the show will just focus on the other characters coming to the canvas, including Dario, Abby, and Taylor.

Brian T
Brian T

The show is losing a lot because three of it’s best actors are leaving. First Mark and now Jay and Shelley. Although I don’t care for Stephanie any longer (ever since she and Phillip broke up), I do think Shelley is an amazing young actress. Jay and Mark are also both very good actors and were given terrible material to work with. I wish them all the best and I pray that the show will wake up and give the other characters some real s/l besides Sami/EJ/Rafe/Nicole and Chloe/Daniel/Melanie

Skyla
Skyla

OH NO!!! I can’t believe JKJ is leaving!!! and right on the heels of his chracter having two babies, though I really think Chloe’s baby will end up being Daniel’s in the long run. I don’t mean to sound harsh but I didn’t care one way or the other about Mark Hapka except to hope he has succes in the future and quite honestly I haven’t been a fan of Stephanie for years, the last time I really liked her was back when she was with Max but Shelley is a great actress and I’m sure she’ll be sccessful in all her future endeavors. My brother will be sad though… when he’s sort of forced into watching Days all he can talk about is Stephanie.. and then Chloe. I’m fairlycertain JKJwill go far but I am completely bumbed about this!!!

CONNIE
CONNIE

Once James Scott is out of Days. I who have been watching DOOL for the past twenty years will STOP BIG TIME>!!

Breaking News

Melissa Reeves Talks Jack’s Return; Paul Telfer & Greg Rikaart Dish On Xander and Leo’s Rendezvous On ‘Inside Salem: Days of our Lives Podcast’

On the latest episode of NBC’s Inside Salem: Days of our Lives Podcast, long-running star, Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) sits down to chat with host Michael Fairman about the shocking return of Jack Deveraux (Matt Ashford) to Salem, and how Jennifer is trying to cope with the believed-to-be-dead love-of-her-life who has come to town with no memory of her … or his past!

Reeves chats on: how she found out Matt Ashford was coming back to DAYS, how important those New Year’s Eve scenes were, her on-screen and off-screen relationship with Salem arch-rival, Kassie DePaiva (Eve), and a look back at Jack and Jenn’s memorable wedding and their vows decades ago.  Missy also talks about the love of her life, Scott Reeves (Ex-Ryan, Y&R, Ex-Steve, GH Ex-Jake, DAYS), and their new coffee business in Nashville. Missy also takes tie to remember the late Frances Reid and MacDonald Carey as her on-screen grandparents, Tom and Alice Horton, and the importance of carrying on the tradition of the Horton family to this day on-air.

Later, Paul Telfer (Xander) and Greg Rikaart (Leo) talk with Fairman all about last Friday’s cliffhanger, where Leo jumps on Xander for sex in exchange for providing information to Xander on Sonny and Will, so Xander can become CEO of Titan.  But will Xander go through with it?  The two talk about playing these opportunistic, bad boy characters.

Photo:NBC

Then, in a fun game, Paul and Greg are presented with some of the hilarious dialog from head writer, Ron Carlivati and his team from recent airshows, where the podcast tests their muscle memory to see ig they recall which was the correct line of dialog said by Leo, Xander, or Victor!

The podcast is currently streaming live on NBC.com here, and is available starting today for download via iTunes and all major pod platforms, so you can listen anytime, anywhere.

Photo: Jen Strauss/NBC

Now, what do you hope happens between Xander and Leo next?  Are you rooting for Jennifer to get through to Jack so his memory comes back?  Share your thoughts on the storyline, and the interviews contained in the podcast via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Judith Chapman Confirms She Is Back On DAYS And As Leo’s Mom

Exciting news DAYS fans, those rumblings were true! Judith Chapman will be playing the trouble-making Leo Stark’s (Greg Rikaart) mother on Days of our Lives.  And that reunites Chapman with Rikaart as mother and son.

As soap fans know, they played Gloria and Kevin Fisher on The Young and the Restless for many years together.  Now they will be playing a new mother/son dynamic duo in Salem. But, just what kind of twisted relationship might they have, since Leo has given clues that she was a bad mom?

Soap Opera Digest revealed that Judith will play Diana.   Her first airdate will be on January 29th.  DAYS fans know Judith from her time as Angelica Deveraux from 1989-1991, and most recently when she returned to the show for the 2018 Halloween episode doing a guest-turn as Angelica AKA Satan in Hattie’s (Deidre Hall) nightmare.

Chapman confirmed her arrival on the Salem scene in a tweet today, stating “And I don’t have to keep the secret either Mitch Sandusky! What a GREAT way to start 2019… More articles to come in TV Guide Magazine and Soap Opera Digest… and to be reunited with my TV son.

Diana will have a past with John Black (Drake Hogestyn), which could cause trouble for John and Marlena’s wedded bliss.

So, excited to know Judith will once again tear up the soap-screen, but this time back on DAYS? Comment below.

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Breaking News

RATINGS: DAYS On The Move – #2 In Key Demos 18-49, 25-54, and #3 in Total Viewers

Christmas in Salem came bearing gifts to Days of our Lives, as the audience was tuning-in to see what happened to Julie, Gabi, Abigail and a host of other Salemites.  In the latest ratings for the week of December 24-28th, which was the last full week of 2018 for television, DAYS moved on up in several key ratings categories.

First, DAYS overtook GH to gain the number three position in total viewers gaining (+196,000) from the previous week.  In addition, DAYS moved into the number two slot in the key 18-49 female demo, ahead of both The Bold and the Beautiful and GH.

The long-running NBC soap opera also landed at number three in the 18-34 demo, while ending up in the number two slot in the 25-54 female demo, as well.

The Young and the Restless also bounced back from an abyssal week, prior.  Y&R gained the most total viewers for the week netting +344,000, and did pick up viewers in all key demos.  The Bold and the Beautiful also fared well for the week in total viewers; adding +196,000, the same amount as DAYS.

General Hospital garnered +2,000 additional viewers for the week, and also added viewers for the week in demos 18-49 and 25-54, but found itself in fourth in total overall viewers.

Of note: repeats and episodes that did not count in the ratings system did weigh-in to final figures for the week from Nielsen.  To see the entire ratings picture via SON click here.

(Compared to Last Week/Compared to Last Year)

Total Viewers
1. Y&R 4,314,000 (+344,000/-487,000)
2. B&B 3,379,000 (+196,000/-414,000)
3. DAYS 2,412,000 (+196,000/-85,000)
4. GH 2,318,000 (+2,000/-436,000)

Women 18-49 Viewers
1. Y&R 442,000 (+42,000/-67,000)
2. DAYS 404,000 (+76,000/+40,000)
3. GH 364,000 (+33,000/-52,000)
4. B&B 347,000 (+18,000/-51,000)

So, what did you think of the ratings performance of DAYS? Which soap opera is delivering the best drama for you right now? Which is not? Let us know your thoughts via the comment section below.

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