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THE THAAO PENGHLIS INTERVIEW- DAYS OF OUR LIVES

thaao_black.jpgIn this exclusive On-Air On-Soaps interview, Days of our Lives actor Thaao Penghlis, who has played Tony Dimera on and off for over several decades, talks openly and honestly about being one of the actors and characters let-go by executive producer, Ken Corday, as part of the show’s final budget cuts and cast trimming.

As many “DAYS” and soap fans know, a few weeks ago came word that Thaao was being written off the show in an upcoming murder mystery whodunit. Thaao explains that he feels ageism was part of the decision making process, including what happened with other soap veterans, Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans. Next, we learn what’s going to precipitate Tony’s exit and storyline, and Thaao talks about his feelings on departing the show and embarking on a new career path. We do touch on his thoughts on head writer,
Dena Higley, former head writer, James
Reilly, and former co-executive producer,
Ed Scott.

In this revealing interview, Thaao says goodbye to his fans and talks about his new projects. Always the world traveler, he talks about his upcoming travel plans and gives an in-depth look, and his sentiments, into the daytime soap machine.

MICHAEL:

How did you find out you were being let-go from “DAYS”?

THAAO:

I was overseas in Cuba doing some mission work. I don’t think that Ken Corday knew, but he left me a message to call him. I kind of knew, or had a sense, because you did not get many calls from Ken unless they are ominous in some way. They used to call you once when you did good work, but those things don’t happen anymore.

MICHAEL:

Every actor I spoke with in recent months has told me when you get called in to the office it’s usually not a good sign.

THAAO:

Yes, it never used to be that way. I do not know why it happens this way, and I don’t know what’s happened to the heart of things.

MICHAEL:

How did you feel hearing, once again, that the show was going to “kill” off Tony Dimera? You have been “killed” off “DAYS” numerous times in the past!

thaao_sunglasses.jpgTHAAO:

It stayed with me for about half a day. You think to yourself, “How many times can you kill me? And how many times do they always have the same feel about it?” And then you go, “Wait a minute? Do I take this personally? Why does this character have to be killed?” I don’t know what that is.

MICHAEL:

So, what did Ken say to you?

THAAO:

Ken told me the character is going to be “killed” in a “whodunit.” He said, “You’ve been killed before and you’ve always come back,” but not this time. I think this is it for me. I am looking elsewhere, and it wasn’t that I did not anticipate this.

MICHAEL:

We had talked previously that they were not even using you and Leann Hunley (Anna) on-screen.

THAAO:

Yeah, and this head writer looked me right in the eye and said at the Emmys, “There is nothing she couldn’t write for me,” and the fact of the matter is she was going to bring me into an autism story. Then all these stories were developing with the Dimeras and John, and EJ and Tony, and the estate, and Stefano was dying. Then a new producer came in.

MICHAEL:

Yes, Gary Tomlin replaced Ed Scott as the new co-executive producer at “DAYS”. How did you feel about seeing Ed go?

THAAO:

I was sorry to see Ed Scott go. He was more hands-on and appreciative of actors. He would come out and really let you know how he felt, but he is a different kind of human being, I think.

MICHAEL:

What did Leann say when you told her the news of your upcoming departure from Salem?

THAAO:

She was sad, because we did not have anything really to play. Even the writer thaao_leann.jpgsaid to us, “You two have chemistry you can’t buy.” So, I am not taking it personally. It’s their choices. They are entitled to the expression they want to play. I can’t turn around and say to them, “You’re not being fair, it’s terrible.” They’re not really, it’s just someone coming in and creating a different recipe with the ingredients they need for the recipe. I have been around and survived as an actor my entire lifetime, so it’s not like Gary Tomlin is an ogre or the head writer is terrible, its not. They are just who they are, and they want to tell other stories. You just have to know when its time to move. It’s just not pleasant, finishing the character and dying again. I don’t like those kinds of things… death and coffins. James Reilly, ex head writer “DAYS”, put me in a coffin for three days, and Gary was a friend of James Reilly, and they are the two people that have killed me.

MICHAEL:

When you look at “DAYS” now, with the departure of so many long time veterans and icons of the genre, what do you think?

THAAO:

“DAYS” is not “DAYS” anymore. It’s an extension of what it was; it’s not the body or the heart of what it was. We were all part of that, especially those that just left and I think we were the best of daytime. I think, hands down, the James Reilly’s of the world have destroyed daytime. They took the thing that people watched, which was great reality and passions, and made it into somewhat of a joke and cartoons. However, I must say, the fact that “DAYS” has remained on so long is a credit to the show. It has such a wonderful history and I will miss it.

MICHAEL:

Will Leann be leaving or spending time in the murder mystery?

THAAO:

I am sure she will be visiting my grave.

MICHAEL:

Do you think she might be a suspect then, to facilitate her exiting the canvas?

THAAO:

She needs to have some kind of mourning period, and then Anna will probably decide she needs to go to a nunnery. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Will Tony be stirring up a lot of trouble in his last month and half in Salem?

thaao_joe.jpgTHAAO:

Yes, and I am enjoying that! I like to disturb! It’s all coming out that it’s not Nicole’s child and Tony finds out. I am having hassles with everybody. Suddenly, I am having arguments with everybody, so it’s one of those, “Who do I disturb the most?” I know how I go, but it will be something that will set up the battle between the Kiriakis and the Dimeras families.

MICHAEL:

Will it be a bloody death? You know, bullets through you kind of thing?

THAAO:

Are you asking me if am I dying with dignity? It’s not going to be as bad as that, I don’t think.

MICHAEL:

So, who will you be mixing it up with to precipitate this murder?

THAAO:

I have got some interesting stuff with some of the females on the show. I know Joe Mascolo (Stefano), is very upset that I will soon be exiting the show.

MICHAEL:

So, for “DAYS” and Tony fans when can we say you will be on-air till?

THAAO:

I will be shooting about 16 shows, and those will all be airing through the end of March.

marybeth_stephen.jpgMICHAEL:

Have you spoken to Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) and Stephen Nichols (Patch) since they have also been given the pink slip from the series? In a recent issue of Soap Opera Digest, Ken Corday was quoted as saying, “We are done.” (with the cast cutting) I’m going to let the cast know that this is the week we start our new contract with NBC and the difficult, onerous, painful bloodletting of this transition is over.”

THAAO:

I have not spoken to them, but they knew. Mary Beth had come to me after they had spoken to the producer and were told, “There were too many actors on the show over 40, and they had to let some go.” The interesting thing is Ken said, “It had nothing to do with ageism.” And yet, every one of us who was let go was over 40. To me, it is about ageism,
because these are all wonderful characters
on the show.

MICHAEL:

Did you feel at some point that “DAYS” head writer, Dena Higley, was not going to write for you?

THAAO:

She did give me a clue one day. She said when she first came to the show, “I noticed you were playing two characters and I thought to myself, who wants to go there”? And I thought, “Well, that does not sound encouraging.” It only got me an Emmy nomination. I do not have complaints about it. They gave me many wonderful years of employment. I used that employment to have my own education to travel the world. In the big picture, “Am I upset about it?” No. I just wish they did not dangle me around for the last year.

MICHAEL:

How is Deidre Hall (Ex- Marlena) doing?

deidre_hall.jpgTHAAO:

She is doing great, and it’s the first time in years she felt she didn’t have to run anywhere. She was really upset when she called me and found out I was “let-go”. We had a good laugh, and we are going to meet and have lunch together. She is not bitter.

MICHAEL:

There are some rumblings that you have a new show on the Sci-fi Channel?

THAAO:

This thing, “Emissary”, I was excited about because I was getting to work again with Phil Morris, who I worked with on “Mission Impossible”. It’s a series being developed for an Internet series on the Sci-Fi Channel website, and beyond that, they are trying to get it sold to television. So, it could be very intriguing.

MICHAEL:

What would you like to say to your fans?

THAAO:

I must say fans can be fleeting, but I have had a core of fans. I know the actors that have gone before me have, too. You can’t have lasted this long and be able to come back this many times without having a base to support you, and the fans are terrific. It’s something you do that makes them feel that you have changed the way they have looked at things, or you have amused them in some way, or scared them, and they have stayed around to support you. They have been amazing, and so supportive. And it’s almost like you become an extension of them. Their responses have been interesting. I have had great stories and gotten the chance to play challenging things. I have no animosity. I go to work and I see wonderful faces and people who I appreciate, and through their reflection, you see how much you have grown. In the 80’s people would day, “Thaao’s on set!” thaao_outdoors.jpgThis was back in the 80’s. I could be a bit difficult in the way I would approach getting to things, but as I have matured, I have been able to be very quiet in my approach to work, so I do not upset those around me. In other words, when I come into the room, I like when people get excited. I don’t want to waste time, and I know my lines and I am going to surprise them. In many ways you support the fans that way. For them to keep guessing, you have to be able to keep that mystery going. I have certainly hooked enough people through the years to feel embraced ,and I have really appreciated it. Also, I really appreciate Ken Corday. It does not matter what people will say about him. My whole thing is when I step away from Ken, I just say, “Thank you for letting me be the best of it!” He and I have always clicked well.

MICHAEL:

So, will there be no on-set ceremony commonly known around “DAYS”, as “The Cake of Death?”

THAAO:

The way I am going to do it is do my work, give my embraces to a few, and go home and go on to the next thing.

MICHAEL:

As you are set to exit, and “DAYS” fans prepare for the next month of storytelling, what can we do to tease to the fans?

THAAO:

I would say, there is going to be a tinge of Andre in the work, and this mischievous side of Tony that likes disturbing happy people.

MICHAEL:

What gets Tony so riled up?

thaao_james.jpgTHAAO:

I think, in many ways, he talked about not being appreciated, because EJ is the “Golden Boy”. Even though Tony knows Stefano loves him more than anyone, suddenly the storyline went from EJ and me being friendly against daddy, to where he goes with daddy and I am left alone. It’s hard because the through line has not been clear. What I am left with are all the ingredients of what is going to be passionate, disturbing and volatile. The trouble is that there won’t be romance or any love. I don’t know where my poor wife is! It’s strange. The fans will get some of the old Tony and Andre. I have not seen the death script yet, but I think I am just being used as a ploy to bring up the war between the Dimera’s and Kiriakis’s

MICHAEL:

Since the soap industry has fallen on some very hard times recently, due in part to our nations economic struggles, do you think “DAYS” will survive and be on the air for sometime to come?

THAAO:

I will put it this way: My astrologist last November said, (and he is really terrific), I will be finished by May of 2009 and that the show will not be on past January 2010.

thaao_in_syria.jpgMICHAEL:

Where will your travels take you next?

THAAO:

I am going to Iran next. I have not worked that out yet. I would like to see Iran and Lebanon. I also want to go to Sicily and China.

MICHAEL:

Really, you want to go to Iran? Don’t you worry about safety when traveling with so much conflict in the world
territories?

THAAO:

I am not stupid when I travel, and you learn what to trust and what not to trust. As I said to a Turkish Rug dealer in Istanbul, “I have been through the crooks in Hollywood!” (He laughs)

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Wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness: The wise man’s eyes are in his head; yet he goe’s the way of the fool in the dark. Brave Thaao of the Penghlis, may your many journeys be filled with joy and excitement, hope you find many golden fleeces along the way. Watch out for Apate’ she can be tricky, but I’m sure Athena will give you all the protection you need. Bye

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The darkest part of the night is just before dawn.

J.C.Scott
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May GOD be with you in all you do.

Days Of Our Lives

Jensen Ackles Becomes Series Regular on ABC’s ‘Big Sky’

Days of our Lives and Supernatural star, Jensen Ackles, has signed a reportedly one-year deal to join the cast of ABC’s drama, Big Sky.

Ackles who will guest-star in the season two finale on May 19th has also signed on to continue his role of Beau Arlen, the confident and charming good ol’ boy from Texas who steps in as temporary Sheriff in the murderous town, for the show’s upcoming third season.

The David E. Kelly series stars Kylie Bunbury and Katheryn Winnick.  Deadline broke the casting news of Ackles.

As for Ackles, DAYS fan remember him as Eric Brady (1997-2000), and Supernatural fans loved him as Dean Winchester (2005-2020).  The actor/producer has been one busy man with his show the The Winchesters set for series at the CW and another one in development a DC project with Greg Berlanti.

You can check out the promo below for next week’s exciting conclusion to season two of Big Sky featuring the debut of Ackles.

Now, let us know, will you be checking out Jensen on Big Sky for its upcoming third season? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS OF OUR LIVES PREVIEW: Peter Reckell Returns as Bo Helps Ciara and Steve in Their Time of Need

In a surprise promo for next week’s action on NBC’s Days of our Lives, none other than Peter Reckell makes a previously unannounced return to the mothership series as the iconic Bo Brady.

Reckell, who had been tapped to reprise his soap-famous role for the upcoming summer limited-series, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem (Chapter Two), on Peacock, and taped his scenes a few weeks ago, must have gotten a little extra from the writers, to get to return to the network series in which he was one of the mainstays for over four decades.

As viewers know, Bo died several years ago, and now in 2022, it looks like Bo is making a heavenly visit to his daughter Ciara (Victoria Konefal) and her husband Ben (Rob Scott Wilson) in their time of need with their newborn baby, as well as best friend, Steve (Stephen Nichols), who needs a miracle to help save his son, Tripp (Lucas Adams) … all part of the AllDevil’s (Lindsay Arnold) heinous plots that has several major moments play out the week of May 16th.  This is May Sweeps after all!

Watch the promo below, featuring the return of Peter Reckell.

Now. let us know, are you excited to watch how Bo’s ‘visit’ plays out? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Daytime Emmy Nominees: Arianne Zucker, James Reynolds, Stacy Haiduk & Lindsay Arnold Chat On Their Reels, Reactions, and Co-Stars

Days of our Lives nominated performers, Arianne Zucker (Nicole), James Reynolds (Abe), Stacy Haiduk (Kristen) and Lindsay Arnold (Allie) chatted with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel’s continuing coverage of the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Nominations.

Each actor revealed which scenes they submitted that put them into position to potentially win the gold statuette when the Daytime Emmys are announced during ceremonies on June 24th on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Outstanding Lead Actress nominee, Arianne Zucker, shared that her scenes contained moments between Nicole and Eric (Greg Vaughan), while Outstanding Lead Actor nominee, James Reynolds (Abe), went with Abe being shot and the standalone episode which followed in honor of Reynolds 40th anniversary with the show. Outstanding Supporting Actress nominee Stacy Haiduk (Kristen) went full Kristen (with no Susan Banks), in key scenes opposite Eric Martsolf (Brady) where Kristen and Brady have an emotional break-up, while Outstanding Younger Performer nominee, Lindsay Arnold (Allie), mentioned scenes where Allie recalls and deals with being the victim of sexual assault, and more.

In addition to their reels, the actors share their reaction to learning they were in the running for an Emmy, plus working with many of their co-stars at DAYS ,and the collaboration it takes to often get the performances viewers see on-air.

Photo: JPI

Later, as DAYS heats up during May Sweeps, the actors preview their current storyline and characters’s state of mind.  Lindsay teases what could be next for the possessed AllDevil in Salem who looks to become more unhinged.  James weighs-in on Abe’s plight after being clubbed over the head by TR,  Arianne gives us a glimpse of what could be on the horizon for Nicole, and Stacy tells us what she thinks Kristen is up to, and how Susan Banks, is always on point when the devil is in Salem perpetrating dirty deeds unsuspecting Salemites.

Photo: JPI

You can watch the full conversation below.

Keep checking back to The Michael Fairman Channel for more interviews and conversations with this year’s Daytime Emmy nominees, and make sure to ‘subscribe’.

Let us know in the comment section if you are happy to see Arianne, James, Stacy and Lindsay going for gold and being recognized by their peers.  

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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