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RATINGS: DAYS On The Rise, Y&R Delivers Strong Week!

The ratings are out for the week of October 26-30th, and all four network daytime dramas showed gains in total viewers.  But it was The Young and the Restless, who was averaging almost 5 million viewers for their week of story that was a hot viewing ticket.

The number one soap actually hit over 5 million plus viewers for Tuesday’s episode.  In story, the strong week began with Adam (Justin Hartley) being the victim of a hit and run after his trial.  The week ended with the beginning of “Danger in Disguise” storyline as November Sweeps began.  Y&R gained +130,000 total viewers with it’s average audience tally at 4,927,00o.  The CBS soap also showed gains in all key women demographics.

Elsewhere, Days of our Lives is going into their golden anniversary on a very positive note!  The show has now stayed on top of General Hospital in third place for the past few ratings period.  According to NBC for this ratings period, the folks in Salem delivered its most-watched week in 19 months.  It is the best weekly performance for the series since the week of March 3-7, 2014, where it averaged 2.717 million.

Courtesy/NBC

For this ratings reportL:  DAYS adds +77, 0oo total viewers for the week.  DAYS was also up in all the female demos, and in particular added the most viewers of all soaps in the 25-54 womens category.  With Chad (Billy Flynn) coming out of his coma, and the Aiden/Hope/Bo story picking up steam, the show also had a continued strong week of compelling story.

CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful also had a solid week adding +51, 0oo in the total viewer category and being up in all demos.  In particular BOLD scored well in the 18-34 demographic adding the most viewers in that category of the soaps.

ABC’s General Hospital also added +44,000 for the ratings week, but continued to remain in the fourth slot overall.  It also was the only drama series of the four to lose viewers for the week in women: 18-49, 18-34, and 25-64.  Check out the entire ratings picture via SON here.

Numbers are based on Live+Same Day ratings

(Compared to Last Week/Compared to Last Year)

Total Viewers
1. Y&R 4,927,000 (+130,000/+218,000)
2. B&B 3,634,000 (+51,000/+2,000)
3. DAYS 2,658,000 (+77,000/+193,000)
4. GH 2,623,000 (+44,000/-150,000)

So which soap has grabbed you during the beginning of the November Sweeps stories?  Which soap is performing above or below your expectations?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Loves GH
Guest
Loves GH

GH and Liason fan for life.

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

GH, fan forever!!!!

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

Great news for all soap fans. Congrats to all the shows for stepping up their games. I know the heyday of soaps are long gone and budget constraints are a factor. But, good storytelling and great performances are imperative in keeping the genre alive.

My list:
1. Days
2. Y&R
3. GH
4. B&B

Loving my soaps!

Guest
Guest
Guest

GH is in 4th place!

Thirdbase21
Guest
Thirdbase21

Y@R all the way. But Days..the storying is great!!

Bonnie burcaw
Guest
Bonnie burcaw

Y & R best

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

You bet your sexy thigh-high boots, Bonnie. Love my Y&R.
(Aside): methinks Patty and Ian are partnering up. Everyone will assume they are dead. Oh, but they’ll show up again, when the time is ripe for the pickings.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

You read my mind, I was just thinking for this day and age it was good that ALL four soaps numbers were up regardless who is one and who lands at four.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@joanmceach.
Lol. Timmm and I are way ahead of you. We have already surmised about Nick’s boarding school ‘escapades’ and the injury to that girl, who is now a shrink with a vendetta and agenda.
The only conclusion one can make is that she will pass Christian as Sharon’s, who is experiencing a psychological pregnancy, aided by whatever pills Sharon is taking.
I absolutely detest this dumb, overused ploy.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

i watched this past Friday ep’ of Y&R cliffHANGer’ ME the two standouts ! and it has all the more to do with their acting… aside from sizzling good look 1. Justin Hartley 2. Eileen Davidson that was pretty much the only two actors that fronted OK… I am in love with Stitch… if he’s dying… then it’s another nail in my tune in for a friday ep and cliffhanger…. ??? why did they spend so much time with Lilly? wow! further proof… her character dulls faster than… well close to … Summer! are Victor and Jack… being propped… as… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Devon sucks. Him and Lilly would put an insomniac to sleep! Nick phoned it in. Same with Billy, they lose their kids and cannot muster up a tear! Sorry Patrick, looks like Stitch’s future has been sewn!

Joanmceach
Guest
Joanmceach

Well here is my theory. The kidnapping of Christian has to do with a backlash at Nic for previous transgressions i.e. girl he injured at a party early on. Who has set up Sharon for the transfer. More baby switching. NB This is old.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@Timmm.
That is so funny. I am an insomniac, Timmm…..I could use Devon and Lily, some nights, albeit
I would rather see them on my screen than squared-head Luca. Did you notice that, Timmm? Luca’s head has four right-angles. HaHa.
And, Patrick? Stitch’s head is a complete circle…complete with the circumference of a cantaloupe. I am such a bad, bad girl. Lol.

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

All of you have great points.

I will add that the new sets and music have really helped IMO, especially at Days. You don’t really notice those things until you lose them. Now that they are back it is a huge improvement. Actually all 4 shows have recently improved in this area.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

I agree, MB. Day’s music is killing it. And, today, I actually commented about GH’s music at the end of the episode. It really drove a point of haunting despair….with Sam looking so lost, sadly sitting on that bed, as she absentmindedly removed her earrings. Very touching.

Sheila
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Sheila

Definitely Y&R…….the excitement CP has brought to the screen has turned a good show into a great show. I could care less about the negative nancys out there who toss his and JFP’s name around as if they know them intimately. The reality is in the numbers not what happened to former soaps. CP is delivering exactly what he promised….pretty much a Friday episode every day. I laugh at statements in groups and on discussion boards about……….where is Jill……why didn’t Traci come to the hospital….where are the diapers when mom drops children off at the Halloween party. One hour per… Read more »

DR
Guest
DR

I totally agree. If I want reality, I’ll watch a documentary, or the Big Brother. The CP and JFP era is fast paced and action packed. We haven’t talked daily about Y&R during lunchtime in years. And now it’s a daily occurrence. And last week’s “towering inferno” episodes were phenomenal.

heather
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heather

Some people will eat up the garbage served up by Pratt & Phelps. No surprise.

Timmm
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Timmm

Or you could get up and leave and go to another restaurant!

Nikki
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Nikki

You do or you wouldn’t have watched it.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Yeah, heather. Right? What bothers me the most is the disrespect TPTB show us by distorting truths and assuming we forget certain facts. Case in point: what happened to Marissa’s Mexican/Cuban/Peruvian/Hispanic, whatever-accent? I am quite sure she had an accent while on the high seas. I guess it went down with the ship.
Nonetheless, I will always love Y&R….that will never falter.

Timmm
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Timmm

Jill is semi-retired. Tracy should come back to Y&R permanently. Give her the head of the house role since John is long gone. I like Tracy.

Nikki
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Nikki

Oh Timmm I so agree with you. She’s the common sense one of the family. Always nice to everyone. They never finished the story on what happened to her & Steve. I love when her & Abby have their day at the spa or she tries to reason with Jack. I never understood why they never brought Lauren’s kids back either (Scotty or Fen) there would be a story to tell. How Scotty feels about his younger brother having Mom & Dad around all his life & Scotty being sent off. Sure most of it was protection from Shelia but… Read more »

Timmm
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Timmm

Sheila, I would like to know what all these critics do for a living? And in doing so, I would hope that their bosses and co-workers would be as critical as they are!

Sheila
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Sheila

I know!!!! I think for some it is just easier to continually criticize than to reach for the flicker and change the channel. You have to be watching to criticize so that says a lot to me.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

C’mon, Timmm. Lol. Do you accept everything you watch, or hear, as gospel? Even these soaps should offer a facsimile of reality. I hope that’s not a barb directed at me? Lol. I love my Y&R. But, tell me truly, Timmm. Can you resist speaking your mind about Devon, Morgan etc? Some questions need to be asked, and some comments need to be made. We all make them. Later, Timmm. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Now, Sheila. Why would I change the channel, when I specifically turn it on Y&R? You call it criticizing, I call it analyzing. But, perhaps you are more intelligent… Read more »

James R. Poissant
Guest
James R. Poissant

I wish DAYS and GH could share the number 1 spot—those shows really are on fire with me right now. I get a lot of very strong story telling from both those shows.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

You bet, James R.

Madam R.
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Madam R.

Such a build up for November sweeps for Y & R and such a tremendous let down. Unbelievable writing and scenes the entire week. Chucky Pratt and Jill Firing Phelps needs to go and fast. Still no word on if Y & R extended JHP’s contract. Have you heard anything? I am an administrator for a Y & R group and a member of a few more. They ALL are talking about the horrible writing and how could anyone stay alive in all that smoke. Everyone I talk to feels let down for sweeps and I would be surprised if… Read more »

Mary SF
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Mary SF

The show has been on 40 plus years, GH and Days for 50 and B&B heading for what 30?— give me a story line you think would be original and I bet you some soap has done it at some time- There are only so many stories to be told, so the trick for any show daytime or prime time is to find a creative way to tell the same story. Basically every love story is the same but no one complains a soap isn’t being original if a couple falls in love because the soap had other couples who… Read more »

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Hi, Mary; I don’t know, Mary. Should we consider this baby-switching? With whom was Christian switched? I think it’s more like stealing/kidnapping. I hope you’re right….maybe this will pan out differently. But how? It always ends up the same way. Christian, whose name will obviously change, will grow up for a few years until he is aged; Faith will be aged, as well, and then, by some miracle or other, Sage discovers it’s her son. As long as this baby is not harmed, I am open to whatever, but nothing will shock me, at this point. You are more charitable… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Who do you suggest run Y&R? They are number one. There are a lot of far fetched scenarios on soaps every day! Y&R has been ten times better since Mr. Pratt arrived. Your entitled to your opinion but others like yourself complain but I dont know what you expect? I thought the fire was done well. Again, its my opinion. I hear “Snooze Fest” and “Run it into the Ground” all the time and I just dont see the proof?

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

There is no proof Tim because it is number #1. The ratings continue to skyrocket and the story is great. The acting is fantastic but there will always be negative comments from mean spirited people with nothing else to do or say. I never understood why some people find it so much fun putting others down weather it’s the actors, writing or directing. It is so much easier to be nice but they will waste their time and energy on here putting everything down but you can be sure they will be the same ones on here day after day… Read more »

Sheila
Guest
Sheila

Obviously the stats speak for themselves. The group I am in is about 80% positive and 20% negative as to the writing. The naysayers are pretty negative about anything and were negative pre CP and JFP. My solution is change the channel, walk away, have a nap but stop with the negativity. Why anyone would permit themselves to constantly complain when they are free to watch something else is beyond me. Why would CBS/Sony fire the best team in years with ratings the way they are.

val
Guest
val

It is possible for a show to be entertaining as well as realistic and moving. I defy anyone who watched Days last month and saw Paige and Will’s deaths not to be moved by the stunning writing and a0cting. Days hasn’t h been able to keep up the writing but its still pretty good. Its possible for a soap to be well written and entertaining. Y&R is certainly entertaining and CP and JFP deserve kudos for the high ratings but call me crazy I wish CP would tone down the pace of one or two of his stories and let… Read more »

Beth
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Beth

IMO, three out of four soaps have stepped up their games for Sweeps. B&B is the one which has not. Two pregnancy stories–yawn. I’m loving DOOL right now. GH has finally brought the Jake story to a turning point. Y&R had action and drama with the fire. B&B is alot of repetitive talk, very little action, and several characters featured on the front burner who are not as popular with fans as B&B think, like Thomas, Maya and Rick. But I’m interested in GH and DOOL most of all right now and I’m glad to see that those shows have… Read more »

Alan
Guest
Alan

No matter the show or the performers, it all comes down to the writing for me and none of the four are doing anything to draw me in. GH is awful with its “All Sonny, All The Time” approach; DOOL is just blah with its tired Salem Strangler retread; Y&R is Charles Pratt so enough said; and B&B just always feels superficial and rushed to me (although I do enjoy the Maya story). None of them are telling epic love stories or having storylines interconnect and send ripples across the canvas which used to be the genre’s trademark. I’ve been… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Yes Alan, writing is #1 BUT you need good actors. Its not easy to just read good lines if you cannot show emotions. Watch the scenes with Laura Wright and Billy Miller as his identity played out. They were phenomenal! There is a good example of acting what is on the page and coming across the TV like a scene from a big hit movie!

Alan
Guest
Alan

I’m not saying the actors aren’t talented, I’m saying the material isn’t interesting to me. I would be much more invested if Jason were to remember his life as Jason Quartermaine and lose all memory of his life as Sonny’s bestie. Jason having no memory of his past with Liz or Sam (or Sonny) would level the romantic playing field and possibly create a story that wasn’t tied to Sonny and the mob (yeah, I know — I can dream).

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Thank you, Alan. But, we are supposed to be deaf, dumb and blind, according to some. We are not allowed to voice an opinion. Some people on this board have crowned themselves as experts and the voices of all that’s beautiful in soapland. Just as Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of France. Spoke so much but had nothing to say. God forbid you or I give an opinion. Y&R is my favorite soap….I will sing both its positives and negatives, and no one will tell me not to watch, or take a nap, or whatever. How rude!! I said just about… Read more »

carole
Guest
carole

while gh will regain many fans who were frustrated with rc’s destructive storytelling by altering our beloved gh into a slow moving, walking dead, boring plotlines
that also made characters act in dark, unbecoming & uncharacteristic shells, we will lose fans who were never gh fans to begin with but wagon jumpers with hopes that gh would turn into oltl. i for one say good riddance to those fans because if oltl was all that it would have never been cancelled.

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

GH needs to find a graceful way to get rid of Franco, Nina and Kiki. They also need to ease up on the mob criminals. They used to be characters who were shady but fit into society. Now they’re just one dimensional villains and it gets old. And, what is with the rotating DA’s position, with each new DA even more evil than the last. Those are the kinds of plot nonsense that lose viewers who have just given up on the quality of the storytelling. Sad to me honestly.

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

Days is my favorite but im happy they are all still doing well…

Belle
Guest
Belle

I’m loving Days and liking -Young.

I agree with MBmomof3. My listing is the same.

I’m loving my Soaps; however, I’m still waiting for Adam to be cleared.

su0000
Guest
su0000

Perhaps the primetime viewing of the 3 soaps helps their ratings?

B&B, Y&R, Days are shown during the evening/primetime on POP.
The three soaps being a Sony product get a spot on CBS/POP.
I doubt GH will ever get a nighttime viewing.

Y&R and Days have been very dramatic, intriguing, stories.
Y&R has been at its’ best since J&S were fired, Pratt is doing very well.
GH has been as expected, a snore and needs new writers. lol

Long Live The 4 Soaps!!!!

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

su0000, the new writers at GH are okay for now. Give them a chance. NOW, they did write one of the worst stories EVER on Y&R about a music box that went NOWHERE BUT Lulu’s scenes with Dante and Carly and Jason’s scenes at her car accident were really good.

Derrick
Guest
Derrick

Congrats CBS and DAYS especially Y&R and DAYS!!!! These two soaps are bringing in their A-game! 🙂

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Congrat. to all the soaps but especially my favorite Y & R. This is because of great writing, directing and acting especially by Melissa C.Egan and Justin Hartly.

Char
Guest
Char

B & B is a total snooze fest. Hate the so called “storylines “. Give us back Brooke, comedy like Stephanie & Sally back. Pam and goffie boyfriend don’t make it. Nothing can redeem this soap,

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Nooooooo please no more Brooke sticking her nose in everything that is none of her business and from what I understand Stephanie is retired and Sally passed away. I say more of Ridge & Caroline less of Rick/Myia story.

Ollie
Guest
Ollie

I agree Char! Brooke is so beautiful and such a talented actress. Please give her a good story line!

Also, Again we have Ridge who has used so many women, yet the double standard allows him to move on with a younger women without the same baggage he created with so many other women!

Also, I’m so sick of Maya! I fast forward whenever I see her! Her fake voice is so annoying!

Finally, What happened to crazy Quinn and Deacon? Bill? At least they made things interesting.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Hip, hip, Nikki….you can say that again!! Creme de la creme.

Laura
Guest
Laura

My list:
1) Days (have been watching it for over 20 years).
2) GH (have been watching it off and on since Lucky met Elizabeth.

Loving the storylines (despite the odd use of SORAS on Days this past week – it’s a bit awkward, but it’s done, so we just have to go with it).

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

Endless excitement for DAYS!!!!!

Happy 50th anniversary, DAYS!!!!!

#Days50

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

Well if you are a soap fan and you can’t find anything to enjoy on any show during sweeps then you might as well stop watching altogether because a show is as good as it can get during sweeps. I had nothing against using a fire as a backdrop for drama on Y&R, but it would have been a whole lot better if the dialogue was less lame and they had fill in some of the potholes in the plot to make it less silly. So overall, I’m giving this story a B minus. Over on Days I loved Theresa’s… Read more »

blake
Guest
blake

Week three of Days being in 3rd place. Congrats Days and happy 50th anniversary!

COCO Harrell
Guest
COCO Harrell

I have been watching soaps for so many years, my favorite soap is young and the restless,bold and the beautiful
I hope Adam is given a second chance to start over as a brand new man. I certainly hope they figure out that Sharon doctor is a crook. Noah please don’t kill him also paul sister. She’s tryed to help warn Dylan.

COCO
Guest
COCO

I love watching young and the restless. I would love to see Chelsea and Adam back as husband and wife. Devon and hiliary too. Don’t know about Nick. I don’t think he ready for another baby. Want to see Victor and Nikki spend more time together

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

The Newman Tower fire ratings have yet to arrive but it should be through the roof! There were 1001 head scratching moments about this or that BUT for 2015 where soaps dont spend a lot of money on effects, this was pretty darn good! The interior disaster with the cave ins were good, the exterior shots were decent and I give A pluses to the characters Adam, Ian and Sage for their acting. Same with the Jason reveal ratings. This is not the numbers for that story. They will be good. I think they will knock Days into fourth place.… Read more »

Harry
Guest
Harry

Timm writes, “THe Newman Tower fire ratings have yet to arrive but they should be through the roof!”
I love the word play.
I agree about the acting–even Kelly Sullivan was actually really good but Josh Morrow was awful. He acted like his carnival goldfish just died.
Ian Ward was devilishly good as he erupted from the flames and ruin and said,”Please allow me to introduce myself.”
Of course we all hear The Rolling Stones following through with,”I’m a man of wealth and taste” ricocheting in our minds.
He’s a fabulous villain and I am glad he’s not dead.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Harry. Kelly Sullivan was so good on GH! I was so upset when they killed her off! I thought she could have been a good recast of Phyllis. Well, that didnt happen. I am not a fan of the character of Sage but I waited for Kelly to find a way to make her interesting. Well, with Christian temporarily “Deceased” she is running acting circles around Morrow. I loved it when she flipped out at Nick because of the memorial service and when he walked out of the room she called his name. [She is a future roommate of Sharon’s]… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

You guys– I am right with you on these key points! What a great moment to introduce Satan than with a Stones tune! Those lyrics are priceless. As for Sage– yes, the writers are quickly getting her to go bonkers and become roommates with Sharon. Fairview, or whatever, will be a nice nuthouse. But who in hell is this doctor? What’s her motive? Is she the one who Nick jilted years ago and got injured at his high school pool party? Either way, Sage’s acting was so great. As a parent, I could feel her anguish, that one moment of… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

“…all four network daytime dramas showed gains ”

applause

“…total viewers ”

I laud my stuff

word of mouth these 4 featured

I soapbox one more than the other

DAYS wins; hands down

being in Salem; captures

hearts feel real

Nanci
Guest
Nanci

I hadn’t looked forward to another Y and R disaster storyline, but other than a few
things that didnt make much sense, I thought it was pretty good and kept
me on the edge of my seat.
Congrats to all the soaps!

mark
Guest
mark

RIGHT ON DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

Tani Sterling
Guest
Tani Sterling

As a once-in-a-while critic, it would be greatly remiss not to praise the raging inferno story line. It truly captured something that has been amiss for a very long time. The visuals were wonderful, the music moving, and some outstanding acting. The writing tended to bring together everyone. I think viewers needed that. Great praise is sent to: Abbey, Ashley, Ion (spell?), Patty, Sage, Stitch, and Victor. I know their roles superseded other scripts, but what wonderful acting. Adam is another thing. He has become a hero; forget the deviousness of the old Adam. Writers had better play carefully with… Read more »

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

I really wish DOOL (and GH at the time) had done a 1 hour primetime special on the 50th Anniversary of their iconic show(s). I think it would have generated a lot of interest to bring back lapsed viewers and maybe even new viewers. I don’t think that’s too much to expect for such a milestone. It would have served the interests of both the networks and their shows and been a real treat for the fans.

Ollie
Guest
Ollie

Please don’t tell me that Y & R is repeating the baby stealing story with Sage and Nick’s Christian being stolen for Sharon by her crazy doctor? NOT AGAIN!

Why can’t Sharon be happy and have a normal life again? She was so mistreated by Nick, Adam, Victor, and even Jack in the past.

She is beautiful and such a talented actress I wish she had a better storyline. Ditto for Brooke on B & B!

Susan
Guest
Susan

I just said the same thing.

Susan
Guest
Susan

on Y and R I think the baby Christian is not dead he was stolen and will be given to sharon and dylan as their own.

Tani Sterling
Guest
Tani Sterling

Wow! I only know Young and the Restless. The sweeps inferno series was so much improved from the Valentine Day’ disaster. It was just more enjoyable to watch; some great acting. After Valentine’s Day the programs were so discouraging. I searched to see if anyone wrote about soaps. I felt so stupid. Well here you all are. Soaps take a place in our lives; but for such different reasons. I record. My reason is to watch before turning off the light. It is intriguing to think about what might be the continuation of a presented possible plot. When the writers… Read more »

Ollie
Guest
Ollie

So glad to see Vintage Victor again!

Patty
Guest
Patty

Enough of the parent, lover, child triangles !!!! Find new storylines…please !!!!!!

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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