DC #327: Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn Fired

Mouths around the soap world collectively dropped this weekend as the unthinkable happened. The recently-renewed Days of Our Lives, fired its biggest supercouple Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans) and Drake Hogestyn (John Black). In this special episode of the DC podcast Luke, Mike and Jamey invite veteran soap journalist Nelson Branco (TV Guide Canada’s The Suds Report) and former Days writer Tom Casiello to weigh in from the perspective of industry insiders.

Reactions to the shocking news are gauged from the panel, including: Branco, who reveals Days of Our Lives was the first soap he ever watched and how he first fell in love with the ravishing Hall even before discovering Andrea Evans and One Life to Live; and Casiello, who during his last few months on the soap before the Writers’ Strike, was part of a team under Hogan Sheffer that was forced to script out the soap’s "Big Four" (Hall, Hogestyn, Kristian Alfonso and Peter Reckell) due to their reported astronomical salaries and ultimately made the decision to kill of the wildly-popular character of John Black— since they were prohibited from using Hogestyn— only to see executive producer Ken Corday panic about fan response and order them to bring the character and actor back.

The DC gang also give their perspective based on their varying histories with the show. Jamey, who has been watching the show for the better part of three decades, reveals his dismay that lower level stars like Molly Burnett, Shelley Hennig, Josh Taylor, Thaao Penghlis, Leann Hunley and Shawn Christian weren’t cut first before the show even considered touching the Big Four. Mike, who watched in the early 80’s and only recently tuned back in, conveys he still can’t believe the show hired Josh Taylor, who once played Roman and Marlena’s pal Chris Kositchek as a recast for Wayne Northrop‘s Roman, with Branco adding that move was a "Jump The Shark" moment for him, adding that Taylor is good friends with Corday. Luke, who has watched Days since the 90’s, speculates the brass could be moving to strategically weed out most of the show’s veteran performers to repackage Days for an eventual sale to ABC or SOAPnet.

The discussion then moves to what this means for the future of Days of Our Lives and the genre as a whole. If an international superstar like Hall isn’t safe, who could be next? Reckell? Alfonso? Sweeney? Taking it a step further, will other soaps start to think their top stars are expendable? Could we see a day when the headline is "Susan Lucci Out", or "Eric Braeden Axed"? This is an episode of Daytime Confidential you don’t want to miss.

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50 Responses

  1. Profile photo of naughtyeskimo

    I love you all so much, and listening to the podcast, and I’m basically crying from the awesomeness of it.

    I love you all for, whether you’re a Deidre fan/Marlena fan or not, seeing it for the travesty it is. I mean, she’s Deidre fucking Hall! She’s given 32 years of her life to loving this show and giving it what she could. And this isen’t like when they let her go in 1986/87, this is… Nelson used “shameful” and “unforgivable” and those words just really, really fit.

    I’m shocked. I knew Corday was an asshole, but I didn’t realize he was a stupid asshole. I’m sorry, but I don’t care how much money she makes (and she’s willingly taken paycuts before). There are some actors, a rare one or two, that deserve and have earned what they’re paid.

    I’d love to see her do primetime (Pushing Daisies? Ugly Betty? Brothers & Sisters?), daytime (Y&R sounds good, however, Melody Thomas Scott will never let that happen), early shows… All of it. She’s got such a fabulous personality, she’d be great with a talk show. But I’d really kill to watch her go to an amazing (even short’d be awesome) stint on like Y&R or something, win an Emmy and just say “Frak you” when Corday begs her to come back.

    Ken Corday fired Deidre Hall… the world seriously makes no sense right now.

  2. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Thanks so much Naughtyeskimo, just one clarification though. In 86/87 Hall left on her own accord. I totally agree, Nelson hit it on the head, this was shameful. It’s akin to NBC putting Jay Leno out to pasture for Conan before Leno was ready to retire. There is no honor among thieves.

  3. Profile photo of naughtyeskimo

    I have to give praise for my boys, you know that. Esp when they speak so “truthily”.

    That is what’s presumed, but it was a “mutual decision”. Deidre wanted to stay and do both Our House and DAYS, which she did for quite some time. They wouldn’t let her do that, they wanted all or nothing and so they “let her go”.

    – Linn

  4. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Oh wow, I had never heard that! So they were even idiots back then! LOL They have really done these two dirty. Drake used to sign record four year contracts when other soap stars would only commit to two years. He had a couple of sitcoms in development over the years, but nothing ever came through, back in the early 90’s, after Dee’s return and their popularity skyrocketed, they both could have easily ditched daytime and become primetime stars, but they stayed with Days and look where it got them. Corday is a tremendous joke.

  5. Profile photo of naughtyeskimo

    Yeah, I know! I think less than 6 months after, they were asking her to come back. They kept hinting several times that she was during the 4+ years she was gone.

    Bill and Susan Hayes described it as “emptiness” when she was gone. She makes a lot of difference on that set. Ken Corday should be ashamed of himself.

    Deidre did some movies of the week and stuff, but other than that, she was only on DAYS. And you know she had her chances to do other things.

  6. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I think this is an end of an era for DAYS and I feel that should just cancelled the thing and go out of a bang instead of destroying it and putting on crap and acting like it is great soap. I feel bad for Deirdre and Drake and hope that someone brings them on another soap.


  7. Profile photo of Jorpa

    I would like to see both or either one on GH or Y&R since those are the ones I watch the most. Ken Corday needs to be taken behind the woodshed.

    I’m not sure if it was Nelson or Tom who said what he did about Hogan Sheffer, but I choked on my drink! Poor Luke. I have some brain bleach to spare. LOL

  8. Profile photo of snowi

    “At least we still have the autistic kid”…ROFLMAO!!!

    In all seriousness, I’m not ready to ring the death toll for Days just yet. I am however agreeing that Corday should be ashamed of himself. And Dena Higley is the kiss of death for any soap.

  9. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    I’m listening to the show now…just wanted to drop by and say thanks for doing this emergency show! I couldn’t wait to hear what all of you had to say about the news.

    I’m hoping there will be a follow up show that includes reactions of others on the DC crew: Aussie Correspondents Brooke & Aussie Brian, Nikki and everyone else I’m forgetting, lol (Jillian watches DAYS right?)

  10. Profile photo of Dr.EvansBlack

    *sigh* I am listening…. it is great guys! I am trying to sound happy, but its kinda hard… I am in the sad and depressed stage right now…. heading towards Denial…. my fav place… I hope B has my beach chair set up on the island…. :)

  11. Profile photo of THEBEST

    I am really depressed…
    I have been the positive thinker when it comes to the soaps, but it’s starting to look grim. NBC is really underestimating the fans of this show. If they think we showed our asses last year, they ain’t seen nothing yet.

    ***///I’m whistling Dixie until my prayers are answered…\\\***

  12. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    if there is a God in heaven, Jamey and Nelson will cohost a show on soaps!!! LOL I listened to the last 15 minutes of the podcast about 5 times!!! LOL Bravissimo!!!!!!!!!

    I’m not sure how I feel about this lol

  13. Profile photo of zyona

    if there is a God in heaven, Jamey and Nelson will cohost a show on soaps!!! LOL I listened to the last 15 minutes of the podcast about 5 times!!! LOL Bravissimo!!!!!!!!!

    I agree with you 100%.Is it even possible or even ok with you Luke if I can burn this episode on a CD and mail it to Corday, NBC and the soap magazines? So they know there are a lot of great writer better than Dena Higley. Also how the fan feel about these couple being fired.
    Wubit Ethiopia!!! 13 Month Of Sunshine.

  14. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I am sad and mad at Corday for bringing pain and destruction to the cast of “DAYS” and he is going to pay for it when the ratings in a freefall when Deidre and Drake leaves. I am now agreeing with the caller who say that someone behind-the-scenes are doing everything in their powers to disrupts the industry by ruined it so that it would be any fans left. Any, do you agree that they want to do away with soaps forever?


  15. Profile photo of

    That was the first DC podcast I’ve listened to, and it was fantastic! Everyone pretty much said what I was thinking. The only thing I’d add is…

    This has been brewing for years. If you remember Higley’s first stint, she backburned John and Marlena, apparently at Corday’s request, and it wasn’t until Reilly returned later that year that their screen-time upped.

    Then, when Reilly was unceremoniously fired, the interim headwriter Beth Milstein sent them out to pasture for a few months, likely at Corday’s request.

    When Sheffer arrived, he claimed to have all these stories for John and Marlena, but obviously Corday curtailed that. And we’ve been promised a John/Marlena love story with Higley but haven’t gotten it. Add to this the fact that Days never contacted Eileen Davidson when she was free from Y&R and then B&B, and it becomes crystal clear.

    So you can actually trace the John/Marlena development back about five and a half years.

  16. Profile photo of JohnMarlenaHotness

    i would have cut all day long…

    LMAO preach it brotha!

    Most popular couple in daytime

    there hasn’t been a “longterm” plan for this show since about….the Princess Gina storyline :S
    SSK storyline doesn’t count coz that ending was not how it was supposed to end.

    i’m 26 … a core demo individual
    and i don’t give a flying fuck about the “next gen” of supercouples
    John and Marlena // Tony and Anna…hell, i’d rather see Doug and Julie over Max and Stephanie GROSS!

    “fuck off you piece of shit”
    OMG i would die to hear the soundbite of Deidre telling Ken that LOL LOL LOL
    that would be awesome

    this podcast was wicked
    i will tune in again for sure.

  17. Profile photo of gush900

    Jamey you hit the nail right on the head in regards of jim e reilly.Deidre had such an admiration for reilly he was her favorite head writer.He wrote so wonderfully for them

  18. Profile photo of ssjohn

    I will try and break things down a tiny bit so here we go.

    #1. The ratings:

    I agree that the ratings will spike a tiny bit when they leave, but it will plummet.

    Why were the ratings the same all year? because we the fans have had hope, Melanie wasn’t completely taking over the show until very recently, she has really taken over and she will be one of the things that helps kill this show.

    #2. John and Marlena’s sunset exit:

    We knew this is coming, the only other option is if they are killing them off which they obviously are not dumb enough to do (…..) so they let the fans know they will get a little bit of a pay off between now and the ‘end’.

    #3. Dee and Drake ‘moving on’.

    I really haven’t thought about this much, maybe i am in denial, (considering Denial Island is like my second home sure fits) DH is DAYS, loosing her will be like loosing the show’s soul, even if she wasn’t in a good storyline (which i will get to in a moment) she was still around and people still tuned in because MARLENA was on the show.

    The show shouldn’t rest on their shoulders, they should be ‘able’ to leave without everything going down hill, Marlena and John have both left the show before and it survived, but the difference was the show was in a better state.

    #4. Current (/past) storylines for John and Marlena (From Hogan to Dena)

    I have heard the excuse from Tom C, and the industry that their hands were tied and that is why they can’t write for John and Marlena (, Bo , Hope), but That is just that, a excuse, I am sorry you can still have a front burner storyline that we give a crap about at one day a week.

    If John was just lurking around trying to find where Stefano had hidden hid ‘Doc’ all summer at two – three episodes a week instead of smacking lips with a mobster then we (the fans) would have had a much better, more enjoyable summer.

    #5. DAYS of our lives “The next generation”.

    As much as i love ‘teen’ soaps like Hollyoaks (uk) and Home and Away (Aus) the teen model isn’t DAYS, at least it isn’t with the current cast and writing team. I am not going to tune in to see who in his family Max is sleeping with today and what character that red headed mess is destroying this time.

    #6. JER = Genius .

    Holy crap, i totally agree, and while i still think what he did to Passions was crap, there was some behind the scenes situations that probably effected his writing to some point.

    I didn’t want JER back, but at the same time looking back at it, he is the ONLY person i know of that could have saved DAYS.

    #7. Tom C for headwriter!

    He is the Ron C for DAYS, come on lets get him that nice HW job, i am sure he will work for less then Dena if need be and he will give a crap about the fans.

    Final thoughts:

    I can’t say i am ‘threw’ with DAYS, i am a newer viewer but i have suffered this long so why not suffer along a little bit more and see the end of a era?

    Jamey mentioned that watching these shows destroy themselves makes you literary sick, i just want to tell Jamey that is exactly how i felt whatching what JER did to Passions, i know you guys mock it like it was the ‘red headed’ step-soap of the industry but that was because JER went crazy and didn’t have anyone there to ground him.

    “Yes you can do the Zombies, no to the hermaphrodite son sleeping with his father and uncle.”

    The US soap industry is dying, we know this but I am still shocked that Nelson doesn’t bring up Corrie and other soaps that he watches that are still doing AMAZING in the ratings overseas.

    I know the US soaps are gone, but I will still be tuning into soaps once all of these are dead and gone (hopefully).

    Keep up the great work, and thank you to all of the panelist for doing this show.

  19. Profile photo of Jon

    Loved the podcast yet was saddened at the same time knowing this is the end of Days! Nelson, it was great to finally hear your voice! YOU are HYSTERICAL, man! Jamey & Tom, good job, too!


  20. Profile photo of sueboo54321

    I am not a regular viewer of Days. I tuned out a really long time ago but I do love your podcasts. You kept referring to Diedre as the face of the show and mentioned Eric Braeden and Erica Slesak as being other examples of stars that are identified with their shows. I just feel I have to mention Anthony Geary. Has any other actor brought as much attention to daytime? I know people who don’t watch soaps who know about Luke and Laura. Long live GH!!! Great podcast.

    *****Never fear spellcheck. It is your friend.******

  21. Profile photo of ssjohn

    While i will agree that ‘everyone knows’ Luke (& Laura) on GH, but if Anthony Geary was to get fired or leave GH, we would barely even notice him missing, i am not saying he should be fired and treated like DH/DDH, but when I think about GH i think “Sonny, Carly , Jason ,Scrubs.” When i think DAYS I think “Marlena, John, Sami, EJ, Melanie” ((I have to say i do think Melanie when i think of days, but its not with a loving kinda way but in a I can’t believe this trash is on my screen kind of way).

    AG has made a big impact on the show, but i really don’t think GH would see as big of a impact with the loss of Luke as DAYS will feel with the loss of Marlena/John.

    Now this is coming from a ‘newer’ GH viewer but considering GH doesn’t care about its longtime viewers I am the ‘target’ audience (okay well new viewers my age lol)

  22. Profile photo of Jennifer

    Loved this podcast.

    How the heck is Hackley still writing the show and Drake and Deidre are gone? Hackley can’t write a postcard, lol. So true!

    How can someone NOT be able to write a story for J&M? This year’s storyline should have written itself. There is so much history for this couple. Higley just has no talent whatsoever.

    She doesn’t know how to tell real ensemble stories where everyone cares and gets involved and tries to make a difference. Instead we get these spoiled brats we don’t care about. Bring up young people that we can care about using these incredibly talented veteran actors they have to introduce the young people and make us care.

    I couldn’t wait to see Brady getting involved with stories with J&M, now they fire them.

    Why the heck IS Roman still on the show? What the heck does he ever do? There is so much dead weight that could be removed.

    I watched Days for J&M and the characters that I care about. Without J&M, there is no reason to watch.

    Even if there is a budget issue, why not at least discuss cutbacks with them. They’ve taken them before. If the pay on other soaps is so low in comparison, then they might’ve been agreeable. Just can’t believe there weren’t better choices to make. This makes no sense.

    Great podcast. Thanks!

  23. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    I agree ssjohn. In terms of Soap History, Luke/AG is most definitely an icon, and if GH ever chose to fire him there would be a huge uproar. However for several years AG has been a supporting actor. That’s not to demean him in any way…he’s terrific. But that said, Luke is no longer a lead character and his long vacations have meant that he’s just simply not on the show as often. Whether we like it or not, as ssjohn pointed out, Sonny/Jason/Carly are the faces of GH now.

    While Deidre and Drake have been kept on the backburner recently, they are no doubt Leads and have been so for decades (with exception for brief periods when they weren’t on the show: Deidre from 87-91 and Drake in 2007.)

    For many DAYS viewers, even ones that aren’t necessarily big fans of the couple, John and Marlena were integral to the show – so for the actors to be fired is Huge. Especially since there is so little left on the show that’s worth watching…

  24. Profile photo of gush900

    I would like to reeterate erika slezaks quote “dena doesn’t care about the rich history of the show, which is evident in what she writes” and that Higley “wants to write stories that she thinks are interesting but nobody else does and she writes storys that she thinks our intresting and nobody else does”

  25. Profile photo of ssjohn

    In reality what is there to actually watch FOR? i mean if i am ‘crazy’ then sure i will watch for Melanie because we all iknow that Molly B is emmy worthy….

    No sorry not going to happen so that leaves me with WHAT?

    Brady and his pointless return?

    Sami and her many tears????????????????????

    Nichole and her womb ?????

    There is not a single storyline i am looking forward to on days and that is sad.

    I PRAY that AS will be there for the goodbye, if she isn’t i will be furious

  26. Profile photo of johnandmarlena

    OMG you guys are hilarious! This is all so spot on. You have basically taken all my frustrations with this show and you have unleashed them. I have this huge weight off my shoulders because I have had it with Drake and especially Deidre’s firing. John and Marlena and Deidre are the only reason I watched this show and I have just quit. I will tune in to watch these two weave their magic for the last time and I am done with it. I can’t say enough how much I love your comments. I wish Corday wasn’t such a dumb shit and that like you he understood the gold mine he had in John and Marlena and Deidre Hall.

  27. Profile photo of Laurie

    Great podcast with pretty interesting information regarding the insider scoop that your average every-day-soap-fan like me doesn’t know about.

    I have watched DAYS since about 1982. When this show inevitably gets canceled, I suspect I am in for a lot of grief and withdrawal, especially now that I am so concerned for its future.

    While I enjoy Drake and Deidre, I consider myself more a fan of the show overall than just a fan of these two characters. DAYS has and could survive without these two actors. But smart decisions would have to be made from the inside. I don’t think any more vets should be cut at all. If DAYS continues to fire the core characters only to invest in newer or less popular characters, then it is doomed. Bo, Hope, Steve, Kayla and the Dimeras could keep DAYS afloat if they have the stories and writing to back them up. Whenever popular actors left in the past (particularly in the 80s), there was always some new direction the story went in that kept the viewers tuned in. That’s what we need now.

    Unfortunately back then, DAYS was in the hands of producers and writers who cared about the show and its future, not just the bottom line. As crazy as it sounds, I think there was some artistic integrity with DAYS in the 80s, even while they were still concerned with bottom line ratings and money. I think if the entire soap genre continues to lose this integrity as they have in the last decade, then the genre deserves to die out.

  28. Profile photo of gush900

    Jamey it boggles my mind why corday just didnt cut from the bottom id cut all the youngsters.But in retrospect i think this was planned out for a while.It was rumored that nbc was bringing back jim reilly.If you look at it passions had great numbers in the young demo.And bringing Eric and Galen on.In my opinion i think if jim was still alive and this was happening he would fight for deidre he wrote a lot of her best story lines to date.

  29. Profile photo of Avelina

    Guys, I loved the show!! Toward the end you guys were saying what my friends and I are feeling.

    I really hate what is going on with Days right now. You have so many talented actors on that show it’s ashamed that they all can’t have good storylines.

    Soaps are a dying breed because of poor decisions such as this. Corday, I don’t know you but seriously you don’t have respect for yourself or for the fans. There are so many fans that love this show and all you do is basically stick your middle finger up at us. Dena can’t write for the show, some of us are mad at our beloved characters, the storylines drags out AND there is no payoff. I hope someone fixes this crap soon!

  30. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I would write Marlena married to Stefano so that Marlena would be a real bitch and try to get back at Stefano, but I think that DH would be a good bitch on DAys and with JM and I believe that the show will be not be on any more for Corday dumb decision making skills and the bad writing of the soap.


  31. Profile photo of CtFireWitch

    Thanks for a great podcast guys! Luke, ITA with your theory. I’ve been thinking they want to do away with the Sandwich Generation, perhaps keep some of the old geezers (Victor/Caroline/Stefano) and make this a teenage soap. They only have a year and a half to get their shit together and they’re panicking. And thanks Jamie for the Y&R tip. I’ve only been watching the NBC soaps since early 2005 and now that Passions is gone I’m afraid Days is headed down that same road. So, I was wondering which soap I should bother trying to get into. It’s an investment and I’d hate to choose the wrong story.

  32. Profile photo of Laurie

    I disagree with Jamie that Thaao Penghlis is a “lower-tier” star. Was it Drake Hogestyn who was nominated for Best Actor at the Daytime Emmys this year? Ummm, no. I think it was that lower level star, wasn’t it?

  33. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Laurie I love Thaao, I grew up watching him. I remember when he was the Maurice Benard of the, the badass, complicated antihero that had Anna and Renee fighting over him, that being said, there is no way to argue that he or Leanne or even Steve and Mary Beth are still top tier stars on this show. Patsy Pease was once its biggest star, so were the actors who play Doug and Julie and Suzanne Rogers won one of Days’ few Emmys as Maggie, but times have changed and yes, I definitely believe Thaao, Leanne, Suzanne, Josh, Lauren and even Steve and Mary Beth should have been ousted in order to keep the show’s top couple. Thaao and Leanne and Steve and Mary Beth were wildly popular twenty years ago, Drake and Dee are still wildly popular right now today and have been consistently since Deidre returned in 91. That’s my point. Days basically wasted I am sure a good grip to bring back all these name stars from the 80’s a few years back instead of focusing on writing good stories for John and Marlena, Bo and Hope, Jack and Jennifer, Sami and Lucas, Belle and Shawn, had they just done that, this show would still be on the top. They had all they needed there, but instead, they backburnered John and Marlena, Bo and Hope (who were the money couples, during Days’ obscenly successful run from the early 90s to the top of 2000),frustrated Missy Reeves to the point where she finally got fed up and quit, made signature, unique characters like Matt Ashford’s Jack (once the smart, witty, wiseass) and Alli’s Sami (the best bitch of the 90′) unrecognizable and arrogantly tried to transform her into a heroine to suit their own agenda of “growing the character up”, and failed to capitalize on the next generation popularity of Belle, Shawn, Philip and Chloe. And as for Emmys, for more than the past two decades, the Emmys have been snobs about Days. They resented their popularity and status as basially soap opera pop corn, so basially Emmys don’t matter. Every Y&R hair model was nominated too, but that doesn’t mean they are top tier stars.

  34. Profile photo of ssjohn

    Oh lord you know DAYS would have it in the bag this year, “And the winner for female leading actress goes to…. Miss Molly Burnet!”

    Oy -.-

    And I am so going to have to Youtube old Jack and Jennifer because i loved them when they were on before and that was the only time i saw them, so if that was a ‘bad’ run i am really looking forward to seeing the good stuff.

    *adds J&J vids on the long list below Stone and Robin storyline, BJ’s heart storyline and some Marlena and Don videos C is probably watching and wanting me to watch lol&

  35. Profile photo of DCMF86

    The one thing I hope for is for the DH’s to still work together after this. I hope they both get picked up by another soap. I can’t picture them apart after watching them for 20 years.

  36. Profile photo of leighleighatc

    I completely agree with everything you said. This whole thing with Drake and Deidre being fired is completely ridiculous and I’m heartbroken about it and can’t say enough awful things to express my distaste for Ken Corday.

    The only thing I don’t agree with really are the comments made about Leann and Thaao. While they may not be as popular as Drake and Deidre, I hardly think of them as low level stars on the show. Their fan base is immense and their line at fan fest was easily 4 hours long. Leann was gone for 21 years and came back with the blessing of countless numbers of fans and they still got it. That’s staying power right there. Not quite the example of a low level star I’d have to say.

    No one even comes close to the popularity of Drake and Deidre but I think any number of the teens could have been knocked out before you start talking about ANY and I do mean ANY of the vets. Their fans are deeply dug into these characters and to let any of them go before letting the teenagers go is an absolute atrocity and a fatal mistake for the show. I’m just trying to figure out what Ken Corday was thinking.

    Drake and Deidre? FIRED? Surely you jest.

  37. Profile photo of MH

    **there is no way to argue that he or Leanne or even Steve and Mary Beth are still top tier stars on this show**

    I was in Burlington this last summer along with Laurie at the Days event where there were a dozen actors from the show and the only actor whose autograph line matched that of James Scott’s for the entire 2-3 hours the signing went on was Thaao’s.

    **but times have changed and yes, I definitely believe Thaao, Leanne, Suzanne, Josh, Lauren and even Steve and Mary Beth should have been ousted in order to keep the show’s top couple. Thaao and Leanne and Steve and Mary Beth were wildly popular twenty years ago, Drake and Dee are still wildly popular right now today and have been consistently since Deidre returned in 91. That’s my point.**

    I have to completely disagree with the logic of this post. The main reason to watch and stick to a continuing drama like this as opposed to other kinds of drama is the family history involved, something that has been sadly lacking in the last decade (though Hogan made an effort) and only continues to deteriorate when TPTB focus a very limited pool of characters who provide that history. I have no interest in Stephanie without her parents around, or Philip or EJ without the other members of their families who make their stories richer. This show has lost sight of how family can create interest and character motivation so that we’re not stuck watching our favorite characters doing the same thing over and over again in a way that doesn’t even matter because there is no one else around them to care and that was the show I saw with the characters you named when I would turn on DOOL back in 2000 before they brought back all of these characters you feel were such a waste of money.

    One more thing…I’ve loved watching Deidre since 1980 on this show but I believe to some degree her character has became untouchable and that this move is not just a matter of the money…she was so popular as John’s other half, the writers and producers didn’t have the nerve to be daring, or if they did, they never got to follow through in a way that sent the show off in a new direction…this last fall and winter being only the latest example of that. If that is what being a top-tier star on this show means, I have to say I feel sorry for her and Drake because I believe that may be part of the reason they are gone and stars who are not “top-tier” in your opinion are still around. They’re not untouchable and their characters can even be written to do things that will still surprise us, not that I believe Dena capable of that really but I’ll happily admit I’m wrong if she pulls it off. I’ve read plenty of letters in SOD from people who didn’t believe the writers in the 80s or 90s could reinvent the show successfully either.

  38. Profile photo of marianne

    Great post Laurie and what can I add but to say that Thaao Penghlis and Leann Hunley are not lower level actors and should never have been compared to Josh Taylor and Molly Burnett. I think most fans would certainly agree. I also feel they are still very popular and in fact have a big fan base that keeps growing and includes many younger viewers who have grown to love them ever since their return. Even without alot of screen time they are always fan favorites at all the events. Seem TPTB have no problem *using* them for their events!

    As far as Drake and Dee still being so popular, sure they are, but I have to say EJAM is bigger right now. They are not the whole show and it has survived without one or the other before. It is terrible how Drake and Deidre have been treated, but Thaao and his fans know all too well what it feels like to be suddenly fired and jerked around by TPTB. I am fan of J/M and will miss them, but I have a feeling they will be back. I just want to see the show I have loved for over 40 years survive and come through this mess.

  39. Profile photo of Gracie09

    The podcast was good, I’m glad to have more of an insider’s view and you all have good information. The only thing I didn’t like is this talk about Drake not being at the top as far as acting ability. I have a couple of points to make about that as follows:

    1. Deidre Hall publicly praised Drake at SoapNet’s SoapTalk show, where they were celebrating Days 40th Anniversary, regarding his acting, saying that she was so impressed about the work he was doing. Deidre personifies excellence and professionalism and she would have not worked with Drake for 15+ years if he couldn’t deliver the goods.

    2. It was mentioned in the podcast that some of his best work was done at the beginning of his career at Days and I agree. I think being the quick study that he is, looked around and said, if this what they want, this is what I’m going to give them, including Ken Corday who Drake probably understood full well that he wasn’t going to get anything extra from him. An actor who did everything in it’s context, the same way it was written. A very wise business decision, if you think about it. Besides, I know that it was his heart to please the fans more than trying to promote himself or line the pockets of crazy, “can’t hit the broad side of a barn (never mind an hourglass), if he wanted to” Ken Corday.

    3. The man has more chivalry and charisma in his little finger than most men have in their whole body. He has the “it” factor on screen with romance. The show was made for women and I’m sorry if you man don’t understand that, but we get it. It was Marlena’s line that said he is the best kisser in the world (Paris storyline) and his kisses and love scenes probably did more for the ratings than anything else did. Isn’t that what Soaps are about?

    I eagerly await Drake’s next project and will be there to support him and I know there will be a lot of others with me. The move to let Drake go had nothing to do with his acting ability, it is completely Days’ loss that they just can’t get it together. The devotion and dedication this man has, has not been lost on me and I hope phase 2 of his career affords him the ability to successfully fill the gaps left opened by behind the scenes antics at Days.

  40. Profile photo of stevenkaylarock

    I completely agree with gush900 – Goodbye Ratings!

    “Ken Corday doesn’t give a shit!” from Jamie I think is such a true statement. This is such a joke and slap in the face to anyone who has watched this show over the last 25 years. I grew up on this show, and I am actually a huge Steve and Kayla fan.

    The reason they haven’t come back with a bang is that there is no writing to support them in a storyline that interconnects them with what made them famous in the day. I want the writing for the couples in the 80s back – this isn’t going to happen. I hate to see this wounded industry go down this way. It would at least be more heroic to write for the mainstays and go down with the dignity that these supercouples deserve.

    I am only 34 and don’t give a hooha about the NEW crowd. I want my Steve and Kayla, Bo and Hope, Tony and Anna, and John and Marlena… Thanks for your takes…

  41. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones


    No disrespect was intended. You are one of the best moderators around, the Tim Russert (Meet the Press) or Gwen Ifill (Washington Week in Review) of daytime. You definitely need your own round table program, “This Week in Soaps with Luke Kerr.”

    I was thinking that Nelson & Jamey need some freewheeling, no holds barred, snarky “Talk Soup” type set up.

    If only I could program SoapNet……LOL

  42. Profile photo of gush900

    Laurie days wont survive without these two,because long time fans have invested in this couple through there ups and downs.This show will consist of younger cheaper actors

  43. Profile photo of Laurie

    If DAYS backburns or cuts all of the vets it still has, then yes, you’re right. It won’t survive. But I remember the days when Bo and Hope and Steve and Kayla had very strong storylines; and in my opinion were every bit as entertaining as John and Marlena. It’s just that John and Marlena got the bulk of front burner storylines in the 90s, so they lucked out in that respect. Add Reilly’s penchant for having Marlena possessed and brainwashed into all sorts of compromising positions, and that added to the popularity. But I don’t underestimate the vets that DAYS still has. I do think that they could keep the show afloat if DAYS would write for them. The problem is this daytime obsession with the young demographics. What is one of the most popular and highest-rated shows in primetime right now? DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, starring 30-to-40-something women. Why does daytime put itself into a box and ignore the rest of the world?

  44. Profile photo of Laurie


    The fact of the matter is that the damage has been done. Drake and Deidre have been fired; and it’s unlikely that they’re coming back unless this is another bone-headed publicity stunt. My concern (as a DAYS fan since 1982) is that the soap I have grown up with manages to survive all of the suicidal decisions that NBC, Corday and Higley are making. While I hate to see John and Marlena gone, I’d hate even more to see the whole show get axed with them…because I love more than just two characters on this show.

    If being nominated for Best Actor at the Daytime Emmys Awards doesn’t make Thaao Penghlis a top-tier star, then I don’t know what does. He did a standout job playing Tony and Andre, and was recognized for it, being the first nominated Best Actor for DAYS since Stephen Nichols in like 1988 (I think). And how did DAYS reward him for this achievement? By backburning him ever since. I don’t see any of the other higher-rated soaps treating their nominated Best Actors so badly. More brilliant decision making! Do the Emmys truly not count because of their snobbishness towards DAYS? Or did Hogan Sheffer’s writing, along with some great actors, give DAYS some credibility in the industry that it hasn’t seen in a long time?

    Also, if I were Corday, I wouldn’t cut any of the Dimera characters. What good is a soap without its villains, none greater on DAYS than Stefano and Andre (who I still don’t really think is dead)? The Dimeras are just as much a staple of DAYS as the Hortons or the Bradys. Before the economy went into this meltdown, there was supposed to be a great Dimera rivalry storyline that was going to pit John vs. EJ vs. Tony vs. Stefano. How exciting would that have been to watch? It won’t be as much fun without John, but I’d still love to see that kind of story happen. As for Leann Hunley, she doesn’t even have a contract. I’m sure keeping her would not blow the budget. I can see your logic in cutting some of the other characters you mentioned who are not as crucial to the show, but not the Dimeras.

    I refuse to believe that DAYS’ existence can only be contingent on the characters of John and Marlena. When DAYS was at its strongest, it was an ensemble show. When Roman was killed (in other words, when Wayne Northrop skipped out) and left Marlena in the lurch, Bo and Hope were there to keep things going. When Marlena was “killed” in 1987, Steve and Kayla were there to keep things going. I believe the show could still survive without these characters, provided that Corday ever learns from his mistakes, provided that a good headwriter sticks around for over a few months, provided that the talented vet actors are used, and provided that NBC executives quit dreaming that they have a clue about how to write a soap opera. I know that’s asking a lot. I wish I were a multi-millionaire and I would buy the damned show away from NBC and try to save it since I truly think NBC is trying to kill DAYS so it can pimp some reality show.

    Let’s face it. The downfall of DAYS post-2000 was due to the musical chairs games of headwriters behind the scenes. Langan to Brash/Cwickley to Higley to Reilly. And with each new writer, good storylines were thrown out with the bathwater. Probably, the 80s stars were brought back to keep interest among the fans because there was no way that the inconsistent plots were going to keep anyone’s attention. Then you add Reilly’s Serial Killer insanity to the mix; and that was truly when DAYS sank and has yet to recover. Sure, the ratings spiked to #2 with the killer reveal, but Melaswen and all of the aftermath was so poorly written that I truly believe that we would have all been better off had Reilly never come back (may he rest in peace).

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