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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.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey Chats On His Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination

He’s won three Daytime Emmys in the Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series three years in row in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and now Chandler Massey is going for gold for the second time in his career in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series which in a field where he is competing with two co-stars from Days of our Lives among others.

Massey has long been a stand out performer, giving nuanced and emotional portrayals in the angst-ridden life of Will Horton and the love of his life, Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith).

Back in February of this year, DAYS fans learned that Chandler and Freddie had taped their last episodes, and since the NBC soap tapes more than 6 months ahead of air, that the two will still be on the air into the fall.  That has made this moment of recognition for Massey all the more poignant.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Chandler to get his reaction to the news that he is once again a Daytime Emmy nominee, and here’s what he had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

 

I thought it was great that you received another Emmy nomination.  What do you think?

CHANDLER:  Yeah.  I thought it was pretty great too, actually.   I was surprised.  I wasn’t keeping up on when they were announcing the nominations.   I was thrilled that Wally (Kurth) and Paul (Telfer) also got nominated too in the same category.  So, hopefully, DAYS, has a decent shot to take it home.

What did you end up submitting that ultimately landed you the nomination?

CHANDLER:  I went with some scenes that aired on December 16th of last year (I just looked that up), where Will basically breaks up with Sonny when Sonny comes to visit him in prison.  I liked those because they were sort of subtle.  I just found myself drawn in when I watched it, and it wasn’t big or dramatic, but it felt like two real people sharing their pain.  So, that’s why I chose it.

Photo: JPI

I remember those.  Those were heartbreaking because he had to get Sonny to let him go.

CHANDLER:  Yes.  He said he has a new prison boyfriend, and that he’s doing really well in prison, so he doesn’t want to be tied down. (Laughs)

You’ve had Freddie Smith as your scene partner for so much of your run on DAYS.  What did he give you in those scenes that helped you, or even further enabled the performance that you gave?

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CHANDLER:  Freddie always gives everything.  He is a consummate professional, so he really commits every time.  I think it is more that we are just so comfortable with each other that we are not afraid, and that there is no hesitation between the two of us, so we just are able to do the work.  We usually know we are there to listen to, and support each other. in the scenes.

Photo: NATAS

Was your entire submission from the prison scenes or did you include something else?

CHANDLER:  It was just that.  I know I could have included something else, but I like to keep it sort of short because I feel like as a judge, I know within a few minutes.  It’s not that I get bored, but it really only takes a scene or two, and then, you’re like, “this is something special.”  You can recognize it pretty quickly.

So, you have won three Daytime Emmys. This is your first nomination in a few years, right?

CHANDLER:  Yeah, I didn’t get nominated the year before.  I had a gap year… to my family’s great shame. (Laughs)  They were not pleased with me.

Photo: JPI

This is your second nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series category.

CHANDLER:  Yes. I was nominated in ‘Supporting’ for the first time when I came back to DAYS, and then submitted for “Lead” the next year, didn’t get nominated, and then went back to ‘Supporting’.  I learned my place.  I went back to ‘Supporting’ for this year.  (Laughs)

It’s such a game though, right?  .

CHANDLER:  Yeah, you’ve got to be smart.  I just thought, “What the heck?”  Freddie and I were like, “Maybe there’s a shot that if we pick different categories, we can both get nominated,” but then, after that didn’t work, I said, “Screw that… going back to ‘Supporting”

Now, you’ve been through Emmy night before, and this is obviously going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Now, if they did a six-shot of all of the nominees, what would you wear?  Would you be dressed up?  Would you be casual?  What would you see yourself doing?

CHANDLER:  That’s a good question. I think maybe… I’ll do a little of both.  I’ll go the middle ground.  I’ll be in my finest bathrobe, a silk bathrobe so it’s casual but also still sort of fancy.

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There you go.  (Laughs)  Is this nomination all the more special for you in that you are no longer working at DAYS? 

CHANDLER:  Oh, totally.  Every year is special, but you know, I’m not on the show anymore, so it’s a nice reminder that the work that I did had an effect on people, and it won’t be forgotten for at least a few more hours.

Photo: JPI

I saw the fan outcry and show of support for you and Freddie, when viewers got wind that you were exiting the series.  It was sad and heartwarming at the same time.  The WilSon fans are so behind you guys.

CHANDLER:  Yeah, if only they knew what horrible people that we were in real life, then they wouldn’t be this way, but thankfully… (Laughs)  Yeah, it’s really nice, but it is sad.  I started in 2009, and that was over 10 years ago, and nothing lasts forever.  I had a really, really great run, and so did Freddie.  I am very satisfied and don’t feel jipped, or like, I was entitled to anything more than I got.

Courtesy/NBC

Obviously, your co-nominees, Wally and Paul you worked with many times.  What can you say about them?

CHANDLER:  I think that both men deserve definitely to get second and third place.  (Laughs)  I have known Wally for a while now.  I love him.  I think his work is phenomenal.  I think he is really, really underrated.  Paul, I don’t know as well, but I think obviously his work speaks for himself.  If only he were physically attractive, I think that would really, really help his career.

Photo: JPI

I know, it’s a shame.

CHANDLER:  Unfortunately, he is kind of schleppy, you know?  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Did Freddie reach out to you after you received the nomination?  

CHANDLER:  Oh yes, he sent a text congratulating me, and we talked about it.  It was nice.  I feel like our stories are so intertwined, the scenes we submit are mostly with each other.  So, it’s really kind of a shared accolade.

So, will you be rooting for Chandler to cap off his career on DAYS with an Emmy win on June 26th during the virtual ceremony on CBS? What did you think of the nominated scenes he submitted? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS New Summer Promo Reveals The Returns of Jay Kenneth Johnson and Louise Sorel

Exciting new storylines, weddings and some bombshell returns will liven up Salem during the summer months according to the new promo for Days of our Lives released over the weekend.

Look for the return of Claire (Olivia Rose Keegan), the debut of Gwen (Emily O’Brien), and the SORAS’d Allie Horton, plus some more familiar faces that people have missed in town.

Back in action will be Jay Kenneth Johnson as Phillip Kiriakis, Louise Sorel resuming her signature role of Vivian Alamain, Bryan Dattilo as Lucas Horton and the one and only Alison Sweeney as Sami.

Then look out for four weddings from Ben and Ciara,  Eric and Nicole, Kayla and Justin, Eli and Lani, but who will actually say their “I-do’s”?

It’s a jam-packed summer of original episodes from DAYS; the only soap still delivering new installments to its fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out the preview below.  Then let us  know, who are you most excited about seeing back on the canvas via the comment section!

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Breaking News

Former Y&R Star, Emily O’Brien Set to Debut On Days of our Lives

You loved her as Jana Hawkes on The Young and the Restless, and now daytime soap fans will get to see actress Emily O’Brien again, when she premieres in her new role as Gwen on the NBC daytime drama, Days of our Lives.

According to Soap Opera Digest, O’Brien is set to hit our screens on the upcoming June 5th episode.

As fans of Y&R know, Emily played crazy Jana, who was involved with Kevin Fisher (Greg Rikaart) from 2006-2011, and there were many twists and turns in their dark romantic storyline.

In the current issue of SOD on newsstands now, DAYS head writer, Ron Carlivati had previewed that Gwen is introduced as Jake’s (Brandon Barash) ex-girlfriend.

So, excited to see Emily on DAYS? Comment below.

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It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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