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THE ARIANNE ZUKER INTERVIEW – DAYS OF OUR LIVES

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She is in a front burner storyline that is getting rave reviews from soap fans and critics alike, as Nicole on “DAYS”. This week her storyline heats up as Nicole finally comes across a very pregnant Sami, which sets a whole chain of events in motion. Actress, Arianne Zuker, sat down with me to discuss Nicole’s machinations, and the final goodbyes to Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn. She also spoke about her winning performance in the online soap, “Life in General”, in which she has been recently nominated for a TV Guide Canada, “Soap Opera Spirit Award”.

However, this Saturday January 24th, Arianne is taking on yet another challenge. She is performing for the first time live on stage with the famed ACME Comedy Theatre Group. Sitting backstage with Ari on her first day of rehearsal, we chatted about working in “Sketch comedy” and all the latest developments in Nicole’s
baby drama.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, and would like to see Arianne live, go to http://www.acmecomedy.com for ticket and show information. It should be a hilarious and fun show.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

This Saturday, you have decided to perform in the live sketch comedy show at the very famous ACME theatre here in Los Angeles. Why the decision?

ARIANNE:

By force, and my arm being twisted behind my back! Pain made me do it. Just kidding! I saw Bryan Dattilo (Lucas) do the show and it’s the equivalent of Saturday Night Live, which is hysterical. I was asked if I would consider doing it and I said, “Absolutely,” because I don’t get to do enough comedy on “DAYS”, and certainly not lately. Prior to me leaving the show the first time, I got a chance to do it.

MICHAEL:

So I am doing this interview with you backstage before you find out what the sketches will be for the performance. Can you veto anything and do a soap “Diva” trip on the cast?

ACME.jpgARIANNE:

I have to tell you, I have never been to a sketch meeting before, but I am looking forward to what they throw in front of me.

MICHAEL:

So, you will play many roles in the show that evening?

ARIANNE:

Yes, it could be anything. It will all be one big surprise.

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MICHAEL:

Are you a nervous wreck about the improv aspect of this kind of live comedy?

ARIANNE:

Not when it comes to humiliating myself. I don’t wear contacts, so I can’t read the Teleprompters. Of course, it will all come from memorization unless I wear my glasses. It should be really exciting, because I won’t be able to see that. Oh, well, whatever! It will be fun. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Who would you like to be in the audience to witness this?

ARIANNE:

I made sure that our “DAYS” PR office invited everyone from the show. I would love everyone to come out and see me and the theatre itself. It’s so much fun to see it live. I had done a workshop improv class for two years, the two years I was off “DAYS.” I did that, which may be why I feel comfortable doing this. Here at least, I get scripts as opposed to pure improv.

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MICHAEL:

Who would you want to be with in a sketch comedy show, if it was an all-star “DAYS” cast?

eric.jpgARIANNE:

I would have Eric Martsolf (Brady), because we have a great relationship outside the show. He is very funny and hysterical. I tell you; whenever we run our lines I have to get all the laughter out before we do our scenes. He’s got this quirky, dry sense of humor with this smirk on his face, all the time.

MICHAEL:

You are so heavy in story on “DAYS” right now, and currently the most compelling actress and, in the most compelling story on the show. Are you enjoying carrying the main storyline?

ARIANNE:

Yeah. I love my job and love the storyline right now. It’s definitely meaty. I am always usually the sidekick, but now I have hearty storyline, and I appreciate it very much.

MICHAEL:

So much has been written about you from all of us covering the soap genre, that you have really been amazing and risen to the top of the soap actors on TV.

ARIANNE:

It’s a team effort. When I came back to the show, I came back a bit of a different actress. I would like to give the writers credit, that they allowed me to take the storyline to a different place, as well. I could not do it by myself.

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MICHAEL:

This week in major desperation and determination, Nicole comes face-to-face with Sami!

sami.jpgARIANNE:

Chloe tells me where Sami is. You know, it’s funny knowing that Sami is involved in anything to do with her. First, she is going to lose it and get pissed off, and then come up with something or some plan. Interestingly enough, the whole story is not about finding out Sami’s pregnant. It’s an idea that Nicole gets concerning Sami’s baby. Maybe when we are in the storyline together, you will see that old relationship
come back.

MICHAEL:

We all see a ‘baby switch’ coming. Do you like the idea?

ARIANNE:

It’s written differently than your typical ‘baby switches’ that have happened in the past, at least on our show. I like how they are writing the character; very carefully.

MICHAEL:

You almost feel bad for Nicole, in a way. She is so desperate to hold on to EJ. Why?

ARIANNE:

He represents the child that she had. He represents that she fell in love again. I think Eric Brady was her first love, and she messed that up, again. The baby is half the reason EJ and Nicole fell in love in the first place. In Nicole’s eyes, she probably feels she could not have had EJ unless she was pregnant. I feel that is the whole reason she is doing this; to have a real family, and trying to escape her past that she can’t get out of. Even though everything she is doing is somehow related to her past, she is not trying to hurt anyone this time.

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MICHAEL:

Coming up in February, what can we say to “DAYS” fans about the on-going baby saga?

ari-james.jpgARIANNE:

Let’s just say, Nicole is not in the clear. I think with all the baby stuff happening, and the baby being born, let’s just say, I will get one. I think you will see more twists and surprises that I am happy about. There will be a little Melanie action, because she is working with EJ.

MICHAEL:

Now let’s discuss the pregnancy ‘padding’ you have been wearing. Ah, how dumb is EJ?

ARIANNE:

The great thing was, they kept EJ busy so he could never really touch me. There’s dedication for a guy. For someone so smart, he sure was stupid. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Couples and pairings have been changing on “DAYS” in recent months so quickly at times, it is jolting the fans. Do you think that is a good thing for the show, or a bad thing?

ARIANNE:

You know, I think that soaps the way they use to be, and the way they need to be now, are different. They need to move a little faster with the age of the Internet; even the promos are so fast now. People who watch the soaps are used to it one way. I think you have to test things, and if you don’t test, you don’t know what’s going to work. I love working with a variety of people, and our ratings have gone up. It is a good story with the constant cattiness between Sami and Nicole. Now with Alison coming back, it will get really interesting!

MICHAEL:

Alison Sweeney, (Sami) just gave birth last week to a baby girl. When can we expect her back on the canvas to ‘duke it out’ with Nicole?

Sweeny.jpgARIANNE:

Alison had her baby last Monday, and she will soon be coming back to the grind. I think she only took two weeks off, so it will be exciting.

MICHAEL:

What do you hope to feel when you come off the stage on Saturday night?

ARIANNE:

Laughter! Making people laugh, and coming on the heels of Tuesday’s presidential inauguration, there is a lot of positivity right now. I think laughter is the best medicine for everything. If I get my lines out right, it will be a success!

MICHAEL:

Speaking of lines, you have so much to memorize on “DAYS”. Do you ever check
out and say, “Enough,
I can’t anymore?”

ARIANNE:

By the end of the week, your brain gets a little mushy. I find that I have to work and prepare either right after I get off work, or stay at work and learn my lines, or at least the majority of them, or I have to get up at five in the morning. After dinner time, I am useless when it comes to memorization. It works out well, and boy are we working fast! Between getting my hair and make-up done at 6:15AM, and getting ready before we get on stage, I barely run my lines with my co-stars. That’s why I feel doing stuff like the ACME theatre will be really fun. I have a week or at least four days to rehearse my lines!

MICHAEL:

How is working with devious Dr. Baker, played by soap vet, John Callahan? Don’t you guys break up in laughter sometimes?

john.jpgARIANNE:

He cracks me up. We try to get the laughter out beforehand. Some of the lines coming up with the whole Sami situation are so funny coming from him. We get a kick out of the story. He is enjoying himself.

MICHAEL:

This is the week of the final performances of Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn. (Marlena and John) Were you on the set for their
goodbyes?

ARIANNE:

I was at the studio, and they did not want a big final ‘ta-do’. I watched them on the show as a ‘tween’ in summers with my cousin, and its nuts, but they have their reasons. I am sad to see them go. I don’t know if they are gone for good or who knows, but stranger things have happened on the soaps.

MICHAEL:

Did you set any New Year’s resolutions for 2009?

ARIANNE:

I set goals, like my grocery list, and they happen when they happen. I try to manifest everything I want in my life. New Year’s resolutions to me are like Valentine’s Day, and Valentines Day should be all the time.

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MICHAEL:

Now, I have to talk to you about my other favorite performance of the year. That is of you as the head writer on the online soap, “Life in General”. What if you win the Soap Opera Spirit Award on Wednesday? How do you feel about the project?

Ariane11.jpgARIANNE:

That would be so exciting to win! I really hope “Life in General” goes. I love Karen Harris. She is wonderful! Basically, I played Karen Harris, I think. I came across this role through my old producer on “DAYS”, Roy Steinberg, who was working on it. The heart behind the show is: no one is making any money and it’s a really great project, and a great idea. I am sure many people thought of the idea, but Karen pushed it through. It’s two shows in one. It’s clever and obviously has great actors (She laughs referring to herself) I mean, Jobeth Williams from “Poltergeist”, which was my favorite movie, was in it. I had to hold my self back and not say, “I am your biggest fan!”

MICHAEL:

During my “Life in General” interviews, I spoke with Brynn Thayer, and she also told me how much she loved working with you.

ARIANNE:

I tried to get Brynn as my mother on “DAYS”, so we will see if that happens. I would love to see the show move. It’s gotten great reviews. It’s just a matter of time before this whole internet thing is huge. I would love to see it go, and I would play that and do Nicole.

Ari-outside.jpgMICHAEL:

Then you must be a workaholic, right?

ARIANNE:

I love working, and when you are an actor you just eat it up. I would rather be exhausted from doing what I love to do, than anything else.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Jackée Harry Joins Freeform Comedy Pilot ‘Everything’s Trash’ in Recurring Role

Jackée Harry is one busy actress in Hollywood!  On the heels of learning that Harry has signed on more full-time on Days of our Lives in her role as Paulina, comes this bit of casting news.

Harry will join the cast of the Freeform comedy pilot, Everything’s Trash along with another notable actor, George Wallace.  Both will have recurring roles in the show should it go to series.

In story, Everything’s Trash follows Phoebe (Phoebe Robinson), a 30-something podcast star navigating her messy life. When her younger brother Jayden emerges as a leading politician, she’s forced to grow up, so she relies on her friends and close-knit family to help her figure out adulthood, since she doesn’t seem to have a clue. The series is inspired by Robinson’s book, “Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay.”

According to Variety, “Harry will star as Zora, Phoebe and Jayden’s mother. She and her husband are mid-Western transplants, but they have made a home in NY . They love and support their children equally, but truth be known, Zora acts (and dresses) younger than she is and straddles the line between “I’m my daughter’s mother” and “I’m my daughter’s best friend.”  Meanwhile, Wallace will play the role of Abraham, Phoebe and Jayden’s father and husband to Zora.

So, looking forward to hopefully seeing Jackée on a half-comedy sitcom at night, and doing her role on Days of our Lives? Comment below.

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Breaking News

Days of our Lives Receives 2-Year Renewal from NBC

For the first time since 2014, Days of our Lives has received not just a one-year, but a two-year renewal, from NBC ending the suspense of another renewal negotiations between the series, the network, and Sony.

According to Deadline that broke the good news this will take the long-running and beloved daytime drama series through its 57th and 58th seasons on the air.  In anticipation of the pick-up, the producers had been making if-come deals with key cast members, including signing a new contract with Days favorite Robert Scott Wilson (Ben Weston) and bringing in Jackée Harry  Paulina) who was recurring at first to be more full-time on the show.

In statements on the DAYS pick-up, Michael Sluchan, EVP, Scripted Series & Kids Programming, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming shared: “We couldn’t be happier to bring our loyal fans two more seasons of Days of our Lives and continue what has been an absolutely remarkable achievement in television. A big thank you to Ken Corday and the cast and crew for their incredible passion for storytelling that continues to reach new generations of viewers.”

DAYS EP, Ken Corday shared: “After more than 55 years of bringing drama, adventure and romance to screens around the world, we are thrilled and honored to carry on the Days of our Lives legacy for another two years. We are thankful to NBC for their enduring commitment to the show and grateful to continue this wonderful journey with our fans for years to come.”

Sony EVP, Programming Steve Kent added: “We are incredibly proud of the work being done by Ken Corday, the cast and crew. They continue to tell bold stories through these iconic characters captivating audiences around the world.  We are thrilled to continue the legacy of Days of our Lives and for viewers to enjoy two more seasons.”

So, thrilled to hear about the two-year pick-up for DAYS? Share your congrats to the show via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Victoria Konefal Will Be Back On Days of our Lives

This week Days of our Lives viewers saw the exit of both Theo (Cameron Johnson) and Ciara (Victoria Konefal), much to the chagrin of Cin fans everywhere! But hold on! Days head writer, Ron Carlivati revealed that Victoria Konefal will be back on-screen this summer on the NBC soap opera.

In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Carlivati revealed: “From the moment we were coming to that point and we knew Ciara was going to exit town with Theo, we were immediately pursuing the next chapter with Victoria: When would she be available or willing to come back, and when could we tell the next chapter because I knew that would feel unfinished and be unsatisfying to a lot of people. So that’s why I’m happy to announce here that Ciara is coming back and we are going to tell that next chapter of the story and hopefully, this time, the audience will get the payoff that they’re looking for and hoping for.”

And as to just how long will Konefal who chose to go on recurring status with the show be back for her summer run, Carlivati shared: “At this point, and I can’t speak for Victoria and I can’t speak for the show, and this is not an official announcement in any capacity, but I will say at this point, there is not an end date. We are working with Victoria to keep the story going and keep Ben (Rob Scott Wilson) and Ciara’s love story alive.”

Cin fans should note that Carlivati added, “I would encourage the audience to remember that they (Cin) have an important anniversary coming up this summer that may figure into their story, so she will be back sooner than you know.”

So, happy to know there will be more of Ben and Ciara? Where you upset to see Ciara exit the canvas with Theo? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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