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Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves Talk Return to DAYS for Doug’s Funeral, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Their Enduring Friendship

Photo: JPI

Last week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode which is tentatively scheduled to air on December 3rd. The story will feature emotional and heart-tugging scenes of Doug Williams funeral and honor his portrayer, the beloved Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th at the age of 98.

While the actors, producers, and crew took a lunch time break to pose for some pictures and speak with the press, they knew they would have to get back to taping the funeral, which was going to make it a tough day, but also cathartic for all who loved Bill Hayes.

Several returns have thus far been announced including; Melissa Reeves reprising her signature role of Jennifer Horton (a part she first played in 1985), and Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux. Reeves had last appeared on the show back in 2021, and she was replaced by Emmy-winner Cady McClain in her absence when Jennifer was in storylines. In real-life, Melissa had moved full-time to Tennessee along with her husband, Scott Reeves (ex-DAYS, GH, Y&R). Now, and as previously reported, Reeves will first appear back on DAYS for the Thanksgiving episodes with the Hortons.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Matt and Melissa during the 15,000th episode celebration to get their take on: being back for these special episodes, how it has been working with and watching Susan Seaforth Hayes portray Julie’s grief over losing Doug, and how they have supported each other through the years. Check out what they shared below.

Melissa, you are back on the set of Days of our Lives for this very emotional and special moment in the series history. How does it feel?

MELISSA: Oh, my goodness. I am honored. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but to be here for Bill. He was like my real-life dance partner. He taught me how to ballroom dance. And to be here for Susan, of course, who’s just been our sweet hero this whole week. We’re just following her lead. She’s just been this incredibly strong example for us in the midst of this trial and season of her life. She is like just lifting us all up with her. It’s been incredible.

I was at Bill Hayes memorial service which was truly incredible and I know at the time you were in Tennessee. It was moving and celebratory of his life, all at the same time.

MELISSA: That’s all I have heard. I have to watch it on You Tube. They said it was just a real celebration of his life and I love that.

Photo: JPI

This must be difficult for Susan Seaforth Hayes depicting the death of Doug, when she is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband. (Susan pictured above with the returning Stephen Schnetzer who plays her on-screen brother, Steve Olson).

MELISSA: I’m sure Susan has those moments at home by herself, but she’s so good at being a leader and leading all of us. We’re following her, you know, and she’s like, “This is how I want to feel today.” And we’re just going along with her, you know? It’s so sweet.

Photo: JPI

How is it to see Matt Ashford again live and in-person?

MELISSA: You know, Matt and I can go years without talking, or seeing each other, and then the minute we see each other we’re chatting away.

MATT: Melissa was out on set doing a scene yesterday on the phone talking to a stage manager; as she was telling some really tough news on the phone. I’m like crying in the background, literally, I’m off-stage crying.

MELISSA: And then we get like back into normal life, and we’re like, okay, “What’s happening? What’s happening with this … or what’s happening with that?”

I had read, Melissa, that you were in touch with Matt about if there night be a possibility for you to reprise your role as Jennifer for these special episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. Well, Matt was like, “Hey! Would you want to come back? “And I was like, “Matt, you know, I would always come back. ”

MATT:  Every time I come here to Days of our Lives, they ask, “Where’s Missy? How’s Missy?” Everybody backstage says, “I miss her.” All of the crew is asking about her and saying, “It would be nice to see Missy. Nothing wrong with you Matt, but …”  They said, “Where is she?” I said, “She wants to come!”

Photo: JPI

There are some beautiful photos of Missy and Bill and Susan thorough the years that I found. It just reminded me of just the deep and entrenched history we all have had with the show, personally and professionally.

MATT: Missy is roughly the age where Francis Reid (ex-Alice Horton) was when she started the show, which is just crazy.

Photo: JPI

I’ve always said Missy was going to be the next generation Alice. Do you feel that Jennifer is the heir apparent matriarch of the Horton family?

MELISSA: Yes. I mean, this has been greatest blessing of my life, and that would be great. I told Ken Corday (executive producer, Days of our Lives) when I was 17 that this show would be my life. Ken always told me, “This is your home,” and I’ve always felt like that.

How have gotten through the scenes watching Susan Seaforth Hayes as Julie go through the loss of Doug?

MATT: Susan is bringing her best performance life for her and Bill. I mean, she’s a showbiz baby. She always has been one hundred percent, and she’s doing it for him, and this is who they’ve always been. So, you’re seeing this amazing performance colored by her life. She has her private life as Susan, but she has enough plugged into Julie that she’s done amazing work. The director, producers and writers are giving her room to live in these moments and it’s quite wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

MELISSA: Yesterday, but today’s taping of the actual funeral I think they want us to try and be just more celebratory.

MATT: I mean, it is a beautiful long life for Bill Hayes and his character of Doug Williams, and so it will be about that. Then, you get a bunch of us together in the church pews, and there’s going to be hijinks.

MELISSA: We all have been through the waves of grief. You have that awful cry and then all of a sudden you feel okay.  There are those family situations we are portraying where you’re like, “What do we do? What do we do now? You know, no one knows what to do. But, it’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the scenes all turn out.

So, are you glad that Matt and Melissa are back for the 15K episode and Doug’s funeral? From what we can tell, it’s going to be quite an emotional journey for Days of our Lives fans, and especially the performance of Susan Seaforth Hayes, 

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I am happy to see Missy Reeves back as Jennifer. She is Jennifer to me. Seeing Matt Ashford back is wonderful too. I am still hoping that Kristan Alfonso comes back as Hope. As much as Hope loved her father, it would be jarring not to see her. I know Peter Reckell said he was sorry he wasn’t at the taping. Will be a tear jerking episode. If anyone hasn’t seen the Memorial Service of Bill Hayes on YouTube, I recommend. I laughed and cried. He was definitely loved by his family and collegues

So glad to have them back. They are a huge part of the show’s history and need to be back full time

Love them so much

Just here to find out if Matt’s back for good but… love Missy with Matt, but just her wouldn’t be a reason to start watching again. No Matt no Days is my motto.

I started watching in earnest in 2011 so I really don’t know Jack, but I absolutely loved Missy Reeves as Jennifer. I believe the character was dating Daniel Jonas back then.

Oh how I would love for her to come back. The replacement lady was good, but wasn’t Jennifer.

Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Reveals When Days of our Lives Episodes From His Head Writing Regime Resume Streaming

Days of our Lives viewers have not been watching material from head writer Ron Carlivati and his writing team for many months. Well, things are about to change.

Circle this Friday, May 31st when the first new script from Carlivati and company will stream on the Peacock soap opera. If you recall, Carlivati had to step away from the writing gig at DAYS due to the writer’s strike, but because the soap tapes at least seven months ahead of air, it is only now that fans will see how the stories shift or finish out that were started by Carlivati.

According to Ron’s conversation with TV Insider, when Carlivati and his team resumed writing the show in late October of 2023, the stories were already written well into 2024. Carlivati explained, “For me, as of us talking right now, the (replacement writers’ material) is still airing, so that has been very tough. I’m just very anxious and eager for our stuff to start airing again.”

Photo: JPI

Ron explained before the writer’s strike, he and his scribes had written up through the 2023 Thanksgiving episodes. Speaking on how the replacement writers tried to handle stepping in for the regular team, Ron expressed, “I think what they tried to do was move things slowly in the hopes that the strike would end and respect where my storylines were so that I could play them off when we came back. Unfortunately, the strike dragged on, so I understand that the show needed to make story decisions.”

The award-winning writer made clear that, “from January to May (2024), those were not my stories. I had nothing to do with those.”

Having lived through a writer’s strike before (when he was at One Life to Live in 2008), Carlivati explained how he dealt with coming back and adjusting the stories including that the plan was to, “blow things up, jettison anything that I did not like, and get back to a show that I understand and can enjoy and tell. ”

Photo: JPI

Look for a Carlivati-style ‘wink-wink’ on Friday’s episode. As he puts it, “I did want to make it clear that this was the line of demarcation, that the writers were back and there was a change happening. We have a little nod or two to what was going on in the first day and I think it will be very obvious and clear to the savvy viewer. Luckily, story-wise, certain things were coming to a head already.”

Photo: JPI

Stay tuned for how Ron resolves a Sloan and Nicole showdown, how Eric will find out he is Jude’s true baby daddy, what happens when the new Gabi returns from Salem from out of the slammer, the Maggie/Konstantin wedding, payback time for Theresa and more.

In addition, and as previously reported, when Carlivati returned, he crafted the series 15,000th episode which is set to air in early December, and will also pay tribute to the late Bill Hayes with the passing of his on-screen beloved character, Doug Williams.

So, glad to know Ron and his team’s material will start to reveal itself this Friday and moving forward on DAYS? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS OF OUR LIVES: Eric Says Goodbye to Baby Jude

The Monday, May 27th of Peacock’s Days of our Lives, picked right back up for the emotional payoff of Nicole (Arianne Zucker) finally getting her biological son, Jude, back in her arms and learning it from Eric (Greg Vaughan).

As the episode began, Eric (with Jude in tow) is at the front door of the DiMera mansion. Eric recounts Sloan’s (Jessica Serfaty) confession. Nicole (Arianne Zucker) says she knew from the first time she held Jude that this was her child. She says a parent knows deep in their soul. Eric looks at her with tears in his eyes, as he thinks Jude is now EJ’s (Dan Feuerriegel) biological son. That’s a lie into itself and EJ is covering the truth of that along with Sloan.

Eric goes on to explain that Sloan even rigged the DNA results, telling the couple that they can check for themselves with a new DNA test, but this is their baby. Once inside the living room, Eric apologizes to Nicole for what Sloan put her though. Nicole says EJ was a victim too.  She turns to EJ and insists that Sloan be arrested. He tells her there is plenty of time for that. She reiterates, “That bitch stole my baby!” But, EJ is not about to do anything about it.

Courtesy/Peacock

Eric vows he will make Sloan pay for all of her lies and deceit. Nicole asks Eric if he would like to hold Jude one more time before he leaves. Eric tells Jude he will love him more than he will ever know.

As tears stream down his face, he returns Jude to Nicole. She tells he can come over anytime to see the baby. Eric thinks it’s best for Jude to bond with his new family. Holly (Ashley Puzemis) comes in on all this and is filled-in on Jude’s “parentage.” Outside, Eric continues to falls apart.

Courtesy/Peacock

However, after getting a call from Rafe (Galen Gering), they meet outside Eric’s apartment door. When they enter, the place is a torn up and there is no sign of Sloan. All that they find is a necklace, Eric gave her for Mother’s Day.Eric realized she took off, knowing she could be caught for her crimes. Meanwhile, back the DiMeras, an overcome Nicole is in tears that she actually has her baby back.

Now, what? Will EJ try to bond with Jude or not bond with Jude since he is knows Eric is the biological father? Will Sloan eventually get arrested? What did you think of the performance of Greg Vaughan and Arianne Zucker? Let us know via the comment section below. 

But first, in case you missed it, check out the Michael Fairman Channel’s conversation with the Ari and Greg  from five months back where they talk about the baby switch storyline and more.

 

 

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS OF OUR LIVES Preview: Nicole Gets Her Baby Back; Then Hauls Off and Decks Sloan

This week on Days of our Lives starts, what looks to be the next and final leg of the baby Jude, baby switch saga, and all of its deceptions. As viewers saw on last Friday’s episode of the Peacock streaming soap opera, Sloan (Jessica Serfaty) told Eric (Greg Vaughan) that Jude is actually Nicole (Arianne Zucker) and EJ’s (Dan Feuerriegel) baby. Of course, that’s a half-truth as the bio-dad is Eric.

Trapped and in cahoots now with EJ, Sloan had to confess what she did to Eric. At the cliffhanger, Eric show up at EJ’s door with Jude in tow. In tears, he tells Nicole this is her baby, and hands it to her. What will go down when the show picks back up on Memorial Day with an all-new episode?

Eric doesn’t know he is the father, but EJ does. EJ also saw Nicole kiss Eric. He is going to do everything he can to keep the truth from coming out in an effort to keep his marriage in tact.

Photo: JPI

However, how long can EJ and Sloan keep this major secret? Leo (Greg Rikaart) and Dimitri (Peter Porte) are very much alive. Will one of them blow the final whistle on them? Right, Lady Whistleblower? Will Nicole and Eric learning they are the true parents of Jude, be the impetus for Nicole leaving town perhaps with Eric, since we know Arianne Zucker’s last episode of DAYS is set to air July 29th? Stay tuned.

Photo: JPI

Meanwhile in the latest promo for this week’s DAYS, Nicole and EJ introduce “their” baby to Holly (Ashley Puzemis), while Rafe (Galen Gering) confronts Melinda Trask (Tina Huang) who is playing dumb in all of this. Rafe asks her, “Are you saying you know nothing about the baby switch?” Melinda pretends she is completely shocked, saying, “Did you say baby switch?”

In the moment you’ve been waiting for, harkening back to when Nicole stole Sami’s (Alison Sweeneybaby for months, and the two finally had a showdown which saw Sami delivering bitch-slaps to Nicole, Sloan comes to the DiMera mansion to see Nicole.  Then, Nicole screams that she lost she lost six months with her son because of all of her lies. Next, Nicole hauls off and punches Sloan.  Elsewhere, Eric grabs Leo by his shirt collar, which will be interesting to see how much Leo fesses up on what he knows about the baby switch.

Watch the DAYS preview below.

Now let us know, are you happy to see Nicole get her baby back? Are you frustrated that the story is still going on and now its Eric who is the one in the dark, along with Nicole that he is Jude’s baby daddy? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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