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Days Of Our Lives

REPORT: WGA Takes Issue With Soap Producers For Creating "Particularly Insidious" Problem Making Writers Request Waivers For Less Pay and Work!

Courtesy/CBS

Courtesy/CBS

In a report today via Deadline, the entertainment industry news outlet, it has come to light at the WGA (Writers Guild of America) that soap producers, most notably from CBS Daytime’s: The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless appear to be in some form “bullying” their soap scribes, according to the allegations in the item.

The “particularly insidious” problem that’s “cropping up regularly on daytime TV”, according to Deadline’s sources has that the producers of the soaps are asking their writers to request waivers from the WGA to take pay cuts and to take less work.

According to Deadline: “The guild contract requires a soap to give writers one assignment a week. But writers can ask for a waiver to cut back on the workload if they have a legitimate reason, such as illness or a family emergency. Some crafty producers, however, allegedly have been gaming the system by bullying less-favored writers into requesting waivers to reduce their assignments by one or more a month, even though they actually want to continue working full time. Sources say that some writers have been forced to give up a script or two a month so that an actor or a line producer can write a show or so a new writer can be brought in at no extra cost. ”

Courtesy/CBS

They add: “The contract language governing these waivers was meant to protect writers by mandating that the request come from the writer. If it does, the contract requires the guild to grant the waiver, but if the guild determines that it originated from the company, it can refuse. The guild, however, has yet to deny such a waiver requested by a soap writer.”  Dan Wilcox,who raised the issue in his campaign for election to the WGA board of directors, called it an “unfair labor practice.  It’s a way to hire people at below the contracted minimum.”  In his campaign statement, Wilcox noted: “Over the last few years, a couple of the companies have begun using the reduced-load waivers to punish some writers and reward others. The companies tell the writers in disfavor to apply for a ‘half-deal’ waiver or be fired. Given a choice between some income and none, the writers request the waiver.”

As far the actual number of waivers requested by the writers from the different network soaps, they report:  From June 2014 through June 2015, the guild granted 23 such waivers to soap writers – 16 on CBS’ The Bold And The Beautiful, six to writers on the network’s The Young And The Restless, and one to a writer on NBC’s Days Of Our Lives.

What do you think of this situation which allegedly has writers feeling “forced” to get a waiver to continue to work or potentially lose their job?  In the contracted scene of the daytime drama, where only four remain, is it just a sign of the times with budgets so tight an effort to cut corners, the show’s are asking their writers to do so?  Is it complete and unfair business practices to have writers, who have the hardest job in the soaps,  being completely taking advantage of?  Share your thoughts below!

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chuck
Guest
chuck

It’s more Y&R I think CBS knows Phelps and Pratt are very unpopular with the Fans, I’ll be interested if we don’t see big changes coming soon…

davlestev1
Guest
davlestev1

You got it Chuck..nobody but JFP and CP while they ride the ratings waves off the backs of established scribes they’re firing or threatening with lesser knowns…Y&R WILL implode.

chuck
Guest
chuck

Exactly!! But CBS knows The fans are disliking Pratt’s Stories, even when he first came on last year he was ruffling the feathers the fans knew him from All my children and Santa Barbara. He has made Y&R for most people Unwatchable, The ratings Have gone down slightly in the past two weeks so I do see changes on the horizon !!

Lellingw
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Lellingw

Really serious and really concerning. Needs to stop and producers who have Ben doing this severely reprimanded.

CeeCee
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CeeCee

I can only speak for myself….I find Pratt’s writing stale and unimaginative. Stories get recycled to the point of exasperation…pulling my hair out. So, it is very possible that the “writers are forced to get waivers to continue to work”….. The writing always suffers and falls short of delivering sharp, concise story lines.
Who, among us, did not suspect Neil in Hilary’s disappearance? C’mon …..really? It would have been so much more compelling to have all clues point to Neil and then the baddie be someone else. The cards were displayed too soon.

chuck
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chuck

Exactly!! The same thing happened with the killer reveal everyone knew way ahead who it was even before it was brought to light, Pratt is writing himself into a huge hole and he can’t get out of it.

Harry
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Harry

CeeCee, do you also find the writing misogynistic under Pratt? I do. The whole situation with Marco and Phyllis was insidious and since she had sex with this man thinking he was someone else, that falls under the legal terminology of what constitutes rape. Then we are supposed to believe that feisty Phyllis is just going to let it all go for the sake of peace? And what Neil, who has always been the pillar of the community and the very personification of integrity, is holding Hillary hostage after doing God only knows what (there was blood found on the… Read more »

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@Harry. Yes, Harry…we do agree. It has been, not only my contention , but also Timmm’s, if you remember, that there is no way a woman does not know her man’s body, inside-out, and vice versa. We had this very discussion for days….back and forth. Of course, it’s a soap….but, we are intelligent beings….Homo Sapiens….Sapiens, being the key word here. As far as Phyllis not sticking out her chin and giving it the old one-two ( feisty, as you so aptly describe the real Phyllis) , is because Gina Tognoni is not Phyllis. I have said this since her first… Read more »

clh
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clh

Soooo not surprised at this from CBS and Y&R in particular. Lots of bullies in that soap, in front of and behind the camera.

diane
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diane

All I know is it is getting to be unwatchable. I ff through 90% of the show.

4ever DAYS
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4ever DAYS

I’m very happy with DAYS!

4ever DAYS
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4ever DAYS

It shows how crooked the CBS soaps are!

su0000
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su0000

hi 4ever DAYS-
How do you think CBS/Y&R has had the highest rating for two decades/25? years and never once having another soap above them, not once (there used to be many great soaps)
the odds of that happening would be 0 .. lol
In big business there is always a way 😉

4ever DAYS
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4ever DAYS

You’re on to something, su0000!

Didn’t CBS/Y&R/Nielsen Ratings Co. team up, create and release a survey/questionnaire regarding Y&R?

Shouldn’t such things be considered a conflict of interest? Who is in who’s pocket?

CeeCee
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CeeCee

Yeah, and it’s all Victor’s fault. LOL.

Timmm
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Timmm

“The Newman Ratings!”

Mo
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Mo

How many did Brad Bell ask himself to get? 😉

Not nice if this is true.

su0000
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su0000

ok- ( who are the ”crafty producers” ? /names also; ”WGA board of directors, called it an “unfair labor practice. It’s a way to hire people at below the contracted minimum.”” —- that ^^^ is big business at work. It is all about the money. Soap are a financial burden on daytime tv. All can bitch about it/the contract but nothing will change until new contracts are negotiated. A contract as written is the way it is. Perhaps there will be another writer strike. I doubt saying= we don’t like the contract will change anything. ””’ “The contract language governing… Read more »

Chrystie Delancey
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Chrystie Delancey

Writers’ strike or not, it will never change.

I used to work in the legal department for one of these large movie studios (who also did television, hint, hint). Their contracts are all written to get as many rights from the artists yet THEY never share their intellectual property rights. It is pretty one-sided.

Chrystie Delancey
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Chrystie Delancey

Oh and they would rather presume they have the rights and risk settling out of court than confirm they have the rights.

jeremy
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jeremy

“Bias and racial discrimination.” Just like what Victoria Rowell said about CBS soaps

Lellingw
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Lellingw

Interesting. This might have raised her case a little bit more. Racial discrimination is difficult to prove but if the network is involved in other nefarious activity, their believability goes way down.

CeeCee
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CeeCee

Interesting, indeed…opens a can of worms; such as the Michael Muhney ‘story’.
There were so many versions circling around…how he made some kind of remark about Hunter King’s physical endowments? Hmmmm. In the midst of it all, Eric Braeden’s name slithered in there. Double Hmmmm.

Rapids
Guest
Rapids

I’ve never been in a union but where I live it is employment at will. No one is guaranteed a job or a certain number of hours.
There are just a handful of soaps left. It appears TPTB is telling writers to take it or leave it. The writers will probably take whatever work is left. The soap industry is in sad shape.

Lellingw
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Lellingw

People don’t work well when they are afraid for their jobs and what a way to play people off of each other. And then have actors or others write the scripts. Hmm. GH execs and the producer are claiming they are tweaking the writers’ scripts. I wonder to what extent they are allowed to write?

Nikki
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Nikki

Why the picture of Ridge from B & B instead of the cast? Bullies in Y & R I can’t help but wonder if the actor who plays Victor Newman had a hand in this somehow?

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Hey, Nikki. You beat me to it, if you read my post above. I posted before I read yours. Well, I know neither of us is a fan of Eric/Victor. I said it jokingly, but if you say it (and I trust your opinion), it must be true, yes?

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Ahhhhhhh CeeCee I just read yours. He is a bully. I love Adam/Chelsea and Kevin/Mariah along with a few others but I cut myself down now to watching it Wednesday’s & Friday’s because I honestly can’t stand or stomach that Victor Newman or Summer. That man should have been put in jail a long time ago and I know they try to keep the soap’s with the latest trends but he’s just too much to deal with. I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t renew his contract and have it end where he finally goes to jail for life but… Read more »

Harry
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Harry

Do you think that the Abbot who is behind that Pyramid Project (or whatever it’s called) which was orchestrated to bring Victor to his knees is really John Abbott?

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

@Harry. I think no one is really keen on the Paragon Project. I certainly am not sure of what it is, really. But, John Abbot would never orchestrate something so devious. John did not work that way. Unless, his apparition tells Jack what to do. So, the, it would all be in Jack’s head. A figment of his crazy imagination. Perhaps, Jack has been off his rocker all along? LOL. It is such a stupid terminology. If not Jack, then, logically, aside from Victor, the only schemer who comes to mind is Colin working with Marco. Let’s stretch it even… Read more »

Rose
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Rose

With the positive ratings and awards CBS has had with B&B and Y&R seems short sighted to mess with the writing. I realize it’s a business and you have to watch overhead, but they should renegotiate financial and scheduling issues with the union. Not look for small print/loopholes in the contract, and nickel/dime the writers. And thank you CBS for keeping your soaps on the air.

Lellingw
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Lellingw

The execs must be under severe pressure to keep costs down and writers are often invisible to most. Until the quality of the writing finally tanks.

su0000
Guest
su0000

hi Nikki,
EB probably holds stock in Y&R,,, LOL
He is very powerful as to what he wants.
ALL know there is no Y&R without Victor, without Victor the Newman family would fall.
Most all the stories revolve around Victor.

Yes, actors/characters are replaceable but not EB/Victor and CBS knows that fact.

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Unfortunately so does he. At his age you would think he would step down & let the younger one’s have a chance. Where I come from they retire at 65. I loved Kay Chancellor & their was a time everything revolved around her, unfortunately she passed away and the show went on. Victor needs to go to jail for all the crimes he’s committed and the soap would save a ton of money by letting the bully go.

Harry
Guest
Harry

Nikki, I totally understand what you’re saying and agree with your sentiment.
However, I love Victor’s ominous forceful presence on the show.
Moreover, when he gets mad and starts railing against someone, I just have to laugh.
Can you imagine him ordering coffee at Starbucks?
‘NOW LISTEN, AND LISTEN GOOD PUNK, CAUSE I DO NOT WANT TO SAY THIS AGAIN. I WILL TAKE A CAPPUCCINO, HALF CAF, HALF DECAF WITH ENOUGH FROTH TO MAKE IT AESTHETICALLY PLEASING BUT NOT TOO MUCH AS TO GIVE ME ANOTHER MUSTACHE? GOT THAT?

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Harry OMG You made me laugh out loud. Yes I’m sure his presents is known wherever he goes. I think he figures he is Victor Newman. As I said I only watch Wed.& Fri. now but wouldn’t you know it yesterday Wed. he was on. When he walked over to Gab/Adam and called him a name I wanted so badly to be Adam for just one minute. Long enough to push him against his desk and knock a few teeth out. I have a whole new respect for Adam (who just walked away). In real life he’s no better. Someone… Read more »

Fran
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Fran

The actors have / and have to take pay cuts why not the writers ect

Lellingw
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Lellingw

This isn’t negotiated in their contracts, this is wage theft. Actors got a pretty good raise on SBC this year. Not sure about CBS.

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

Why are you assuming that they have not, already? I have not seen much about it, one way or the other, but it stands to reason that as the big stars were asked to take pay cuts, the writing staff (and the production staff) probably were too.

Donna Miller
Guest
Donna Miller

be glad they got a job. If they are really good , someone else will hire them. Most actors on all soaps have been pushed to recurring, taken a pay cut or like RM just quit. This is true for all shows, not sure why writers shoud be different. True in all industries. everyone I know unless working for government or own businees got pushed aside or told to cut back for cheaper people at age 55. BTW supreme court has been asked to consider these actions, but neve do. guess that is what happens when you have a job… Read more »

Barbara from Atlanta
Guest
Barbara from Atlanta

I don’t know the inner workings of a soap or the financial demands. However, as a viewer, I know the plots are UNWATCHABLE. Particularly with Y&R, it doesn’t look like the writers put much time and thought into the plots they create. Everything seems just thrown together. Often, there are glaring problems with the plots that make no sense (even by a more liberal standard that I typically apply to soaps). As for Y&R, this is not a recent development under the current writers. It has been this way for over 5 years. The recent writers are guilty of giving… Read more »

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

The pay must be high for DAYS’ writers because the show is ON FIRE!!!!!

Mary SF
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Mary SF

So basically what they are doing would be like an employer strong arming a full time employee who is making 20 dollars an hour to take an unpaid vacation for a month, and while they are gone they hire a temp worker at 10 dollars an hour to fill in for them. Well isn’t that charming. Unions have their bad points, but if producers are doing this kind of stuff with a loophole in the contract, imagine what BS they would pull without a union in place.

Rapids
Guest
Rapids

Soap actors have taken huge cuts in salary. Otherwise they would be out of a job.

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

I have not seen much about it, but my bet is that the writers have too (in addition to this latest shenanigan).

april
Guest
april

I’d rather y & r die gracefully then continue with this schlock. I just watched a bunch of old y and r episodes on youtube. Now that was writing – Bell and Alden!

Barbara from Atlanta
Guest
Barbara from Atlanta

After 35 years plus of watching Y&R faithfully, I can’t believe that I’d ever say this but………………………………… I totally agree with you!!! The show is terrible and, sadly, has been this way for a decade. I have continued to watch through this past decade, always having a momentary hope that things would improve with the constant shifts of writers and producers. “Maybe the new ones will get it??” Alas, each time, I’ve been disappointed. The problems may have been different with each new group of writers but the end result is always the same: a disappointment. It has been NINE… Read more »

Gmbenet
Guest
Gmbenet

I stumbled across the article on Deadline the other day. It caught my eye so I read the full article. Sounds like Y&R and B&B both have problems that no one (fans) knew about. I think this is a cause for concern by fans. It reminds me of a house or building that looks beautiful on the outside but has internal structural damage that could cause the house or building to collapse unexpectedly at any moment. Imagine what it would be like if all of a sudden Y&R and B&B were off the air with no warning! That would be… 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.

 

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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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