As if this whole situation with Deidre Halland Drake Hogestynbeing ousted from the soap opera they helped make iconic wasn't disgusting enough, Days of Our Lives executive producer Ken Corday basically used this week's Soap Opera Digest cover story to lay his soap's budgetary problems at the feet of his actors, as opposed to coping to his shoddy mismanagement and the show's pisspoor storytelling.
"It's a matter of cooperation now on the cast's part. We have to downsize economically first, then physically. If they don't cooperate econimically, then it will be a physical downsizing or a recast."
What is this the Soap Opera Mafia? Is that why Jay Kenneth Johnson's contract negotiation talks and alleged cleaning out of his dressing room was "leaked" the the soap media? Are we seeing the beginnings of a campaign to paint the actors in a negative light, so that if they decide to leave, it makes them look bad as opposed to the show?
Johnsonreturned from a relatively successful sojourn into primetime for this? Why aren't the soap magazines seeking out comments from the actors as opposed to simply buying the company line? That's what they taught at my J-school.
"No one is above recasting. No one is the center of the wheel. They're all spokes. If we blow a spoke, the wheel will keep turning and we replace it."
Okay...so the daytime superstars who kept this show atop the Nielsens ratings for Women 18-49 for the better part of a decade and helped Corday, Sony and NBC make obscene amounts of money—which is why they were then paid obscene amounts of money, see how that works?— are basically akin to spokes on a wheel? Wow, I wonder if he will even spring for a cake?
Since we're talking spokes on wheels, what if said spokes are friends of the producer? Does that mean they will be granted a reprieve? Or what if said spokes helped get the soap into trouble with the Writers Guild of America by allegedly re-writing scripts, will those spokes be shown the door as quickly?
I only wish Hall would have done what actresses like Kim Zimmerand Erika Slezakhave done in the past and spoke out when it was clear their shows were in turmoil, for one reason and one reason only, the writing. But Hall has always been this show's biggest cheerleader and international advocate, even when Stevie Wonder could see there were enormous problems.
Corday didn't have any issue paying his A-List stars gobs of money when the show was making gobs of money because of a combination of the late James Reilly's whacktastic storylines (even the clunkers raised ratings, look it up) and the star wattage of Hall, Hogestyn, Alfonso and Reckell.
So what's changed? The "Big Four" still have enormous fanbases, two-thirds of the wildly popular Chloe vs. Broe triangle are back on the show when they could be kicking butt and taking names in primetime (the replacement Gwen on Passions is on Dirty Sexy Money for crying out loud) and Alison Sweeney's Sami —once the best soap bitch since Erica Kane, before mistakenly being turned into a heroine in a misguided, contemptuous effort to "grow her up"—is still very much front and center. Even relative newcomers such as James Scottand Rachel Melvinhave amassed notable popularity in recent years. So with all of these pieces on the board, what is the real reason Days isn't winning at soap opera chess? Again, it's the writing.
Yeah, yeah, yeah Days' November Sweeps numbers were stable, but that has nothing to do with Dena "I Put More Thought Into My Web Blog Than Storytelling" Higley. It has to do with how loyal this fanbase has been through thick and thin. The reason Days has remained a ratings contender (it's numbers are generally the same as GH and B&B give or take a point or two and those soaps aren't in danger of being cancelled anytime soon) even without benefit of a soap block on its network lineup, is that the fans of Days of Our Lives are like no other in this genre's history.
Days fans many not have taken the show to the astronomical heights of General Hospital in the 80's, but they did storm the NBC studios when Hall was fired the first time, they did treat Alfonso and Reckell like rock stars when they were in New Orleans in the 80s for the Oak Alley storyline and they did return to the show in droves when those couples were brought back in the 90's. Sorry, no other soap has managed to bring back its 80's characters to such a degree of popularity and ratings success.
Fans of John and Marlena, Bo and Hope and the real Sami, have been ever-faithful to this show, in hopes that their devotion to their favorites will one day pay off. By writing off Hall and Hogestyn, you can bet that devotion will effectively cease. You can only kick a puppy in the face so long before it bites back and these puppies are ready to show their teeth.
In the article, Corday goes on to talk about the "dark days" he's experienced and how hard this is for him. Must not be two hard, or he would have gone into his own, no doubt, deep pockets and paid Hall and Hogestyn himself. My soap opera hero, the late Aaron Spelling notoriously did this for several cast members of the original Beverly Hills, 90210, because he believed in them when the network didn't. Now that's what a producer who owns his show and has a vested interest in its success does. Spelling did that for untested newbies, yet Corday couldn't do it for two proven superstars?
It is a new day in terms of the media. Executives are going to have to come up with better PR strategies than expecting to use print publications to successfuly cloak their sins. The web has made soap fans much tooo saavy for that now. All year long long the brass at Days has used the press to play spin games. Denying, denying, denying the issues concerning alleged scabbing, Ed Scott, the WGA, etc. only for it all to come out in the wash online.
I am not slamming the mags, because they are struggling to survive just like the soaps and need to stay in good with the execs. We don't. My grandmother alway said if you told the truth it shamed the devil and that is what we are here to do. Not to sit back and collect a check while we watch this 70-year-old genre we all claim to love so much go quietly into the night.