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Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

Photo: JPI

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian (Louise Sorel). We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows. So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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When are episodes written by Ron back on our screen And where is hope this all looks amazing but where is Kristian Alfonso

I just tried to find that out! Seems the other writers’ material is airing until the end of this month. Ron’s stories are back in June – can’t wait!

Looking forward to this. Really want Kristian Alfonso (Hope) and Peter Reckell (Bo) back for this.

If Kristian isn’t part of this then I’ll begin to wonder who has the problem. Is it her or the powers that be?
I am happy that we get Missy back.

I totally think that it is a Kristian thing and not Days of our lives. If I recall correctly when she said she was leaving she said she wasn’t planning on never coming back to Days of Our Lives and technically she hasn’t. She came back to the online version before there was always an online version like there is now and the other version isn’t in salem. I’m guessing she had a different deal for that and they’re not wanting to give her whatever she’s asking for and I think that’s bad on her. Especially for this show. I don’t watch online so I don’t know if both still in a coma so I can see why he’s not there. And she’s been with him in his coma for whatever so that’s no excuse. If everyone else can come back and even Allison Sweeney comes back once in awhile then this girl can do it too especially for this for an actor she worked with for years and I assume cared about.

I hope and pray you are all going to surprise the fans and still have Bo (Peter) and Hope (Kristian) back. To me it won’t be that great with out them. Hope is his daughter and she was always about family. Glad all the others are back now please bring Bope.

Ron is the only writer on daytime who loves soaps

Even though he screwed over a couple with his weird writing. (One life to Live , General Hospital)

Huh? Say what you may about Josh Griffin but GHs Mulcahey and Korte have been in the industry for decades – fairly certain they don’t hate the industry.

You may prefer Ron’s style, but that doesn’t mean the others don’t love the genre.

Jill Farren-Phelps did worked on soaps for decades too. And we know she hates them, based on what she did to every single show she ever helmed.

DAYS is the best! But currently too much Baby Mama Trauma. We need more LBQT positive stories! This is also The GAYS of Our Lives! Strong and PROUD! ️‍ from RICK DEMERIAKIS.

Strange that Ron C. is gay but wrote out all of the gay characters we cared about most (Sonny, Will, Paul) and left us with Leo.

While Ron does have a somewhat questionable past with gay characters (why was Dorian pretending to be a lesbian?). He did try with Kish but the network got uncomfortable. On GH, he brought back Lucas, but he (and writers that came after him) never mastered the character.

The Days Gays that are off canvas are likely more due to Corday/Allar than Ron.

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Days of our Lives Longtime Lovebirds, Arianne Zucker and Shawn Christian, Set Wedding Date

In the words of Shawn Christian (ex-Daniel, DAYS) himself, “Just remember ya’ll….there is great value in long courtships,” it appears that he and his longtime love. Arianne Zucker (Nicole, DAYS), have finally picked their wedding date, and the destination for their nuptials.

Back in August of 2023, the couple shared that they plan to tie the knot in 2024, and with their latest IG post it looks like the wedding day is becoming closer and closer.

As Days of our Lives fans know, Zucker is suing the soap opera’s producers and production entity, and her last episode should air on July 29th, since the show tapes so far in advance. One can assume, her character, Nicole Walker may get a happy ending and get her baby back before exiting Salem? However, that’s yet to be seen.

Photo: JPI

In the meantime, the couple who live in Nevada, continue to make plans for their big day. In their newest update, Zucker shared, “We discovered a wedding DESTINATION and DATE DATE! So grateful to everyone who has helped us make this exploration an eye-opening awe-inspiring adventure!”

While Christian chimed in, “I already hear many of you saying ‘finally Shawn!’ Just remember ya’ll….there is great value in long courtships.” #justsaying #loveispatient #loveiscrazy”

Shawn’s journey as Daniel Jonas on DAYS lasted from 2008 to 2017, while Zucker has portrayed Nicole Walker since 1998. The couple have been engaged since 2021.

The duo made no clear mention of the exact wedding date or location in their post, only that they have got things locked in and all systems are a-go!

So, happy to hear that Ari and Shawn are finally about to become husband and wife? Comment below.

 

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NATAS Reveals 2024 Gold and Silver Circle Honorees Recognizing Admired Individuals and Their Enduring Contributions to Daytime Television

Ahead of the upcoming 51st annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 7th, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced on Thursday, the recipients of the 2024 Gold and Silver Circle honors.

Those chosen as honorees were chosen for this recognition, as NATAS explained, “As admired individuals who have made enduring contributions to daytime television. Inductees are exceptional professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry, setting standards for achievement, mentoring, leadership and professional accolades for 50 or 25 years, respectively. They represent the best and brightest in the industry.”

Some daytime favorites in front of the camera and behind the scenes made this year’s honor roll.

The 2024 Gold Circle Inductees are:

Jerome Dobson, Writer: Guiding Light, As the World Turns, General Hospital, Santa Barbara 

A Martinez, Actor: Santa Barbara, General Hospital, Days of our Lives and The Bay.

Suzanne Rogers, Actress: Days of Our Lives

The 2024 Silver Circle Inductees are:

Patricia Denney, Former Hair and Makeup Department Head: The Young and The Restless

Kathleen Finch, Chairman and CEO, US Networks, Warner Brothers Discovery

Linda Grand, Set Master Props: The Bold & The Beautiful

Janet Spellman-Drucker, Co-Executive Producer: Days of Our Lives

Mark Teschner, Casting Director: General Hospital

Rolonda Watts, Talk Show Host, Actress & Voiceover Talent: Sherri, Curious George, Divorce Court

What do you think of the selections for this year’s Gold and Silver Circle Honorees? Comment below.

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TODAY: Days of our Lives Icon Deidre Hall Guest Stars on ‘Hacks’

As we previously reported, Days of our Lives star Deidre Hall (Marlena) is playing a version of herself on the hit Max comedy series, Hacks. The episode dropped today on May 23rd and is already available for streaming.

In it, Deidre plays Jimmy’s mother (Paul W. Downs). For those in the know, Downs is not only one of co-creators and stars of Hacks, but as it turns out is a fan of Days of our Lives.

Speaking on her guest star appearance, Hall told TV Insider, “I was told by Paul and Lucia Aniello (co-creator) that Paul’s mom was a longtime fan of DAYS and of Marlena, and then she introduced him to the show when he was a toddler.“

Photo: JPI

Deidre added, “So when they were looking for a person to play Paul’s mother, they said, ‘Wait a minute, are we crazy? Why don’t we see if we can get Deidre.’”

As to her guest star turn, Hall previewed,“The script was written that the part is ‘legendary Deidre Hall,’ so I didn’t have to reach too far for what she looks like, what she sounds like, how she moved.”

In story, Deidre got the opportunity to work with Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd, whom she shared, “Working with Christopher Lloyd was probably the most daunting thing that’s happened to me for a while.” Hall added, “He was just the loveliest.”

Courtesy/Max

According to Hall, her Days of our Lives co-stars will be tuning-in at some point today or this evening to catch her appearance, which she is very excited about.

Hacks stars Jean Smart as everyone’s favorite comedian Deborah Vance. In season 3, the critically acclaimed and Emmy-wining comedy series explores the dark mentorship between a legendary stand-up comedian and young, entitled comedy writer.

Will you be checking out Deidre Hall, playing soap legend “Deidre Hall” on Hacks? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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