Days of Our Lives' Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng Speaks Out About Writing Shake Up!




Fans still reeling from the news Days of Our Lives sacked head writers Darrell Ray Thomas and Marlene McPherson all have the same question: Why? The duo seemed to be going towards traditional storytelling, while writing one of the show's most riveting storylines in decades, Will (Chandler Massey) coming out. TV Guide Magazine's  Michael Logan spoke with co-executive producer Greg Meng to find out about DAYS latest attempt to "reset" things. 

TV Guide Magazine: Word is, NBC instigated this writer change. Is that the case?

Meng: We spoke with the network and collectively felt we needed to take a pause, make a change with the writing and the style of the show for a while and see if that will redirect things. The ratings situation is very complex and difficult, and we have a tremendous challenge with that right now. Everybody on the Days team, and that includes NBC and Sony, our distributor, wants this show to succeed and we're doing everything we can to make it work. We all have different visions as to how to achieve that success but the good news is that we're all in synch on the future. No one wants cancellation. Even though we brought in Darrell and Marlene to reset Days last September, it was always our feeling that the show needed to constantly be nurtured with smaller resets. This isn't the end of the world. We're just resetting it again in an effort to get it right.

TV Guide Magazine: After the firing, Marlene tweeted that NBC "never let us tell our stories. They kept stopping us and changing our direction." You got a comment?

Meng: I can't really address where she's coming from. She and Darrell loved the show so much and it became a part of their lives. We definitely want to retain a relationship with them.
 


Hmm, if DAYS wants to retain a relationship with McPherson and Thomas, why not demote them and keep them on the writing staff? Meng also revealed to Logan more pink slips may be coming down the pike.
 

TV Guide Magazine: Is that "next step" going to involve some major actors going away?

Meng: Yes. We're looking at weaving people in and out, and bringing them back later if we can.

Ruh roh... To find out about NBC's research and if more romance is on the horizon click here!

 

 

 

 


Comments

Member since:
2 April 2009
Last activity:
6 days 15 hours

FIRED: Christie Clark, Patrick Muldoon, Sarah Brown, and Matt Ashford.

Source: Welovesoaps and daytimeroyalty.

its a bigger bloodbath than Crystal, Louise and Nadia.

Member since:
16 October 2008
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I've never been a big Ashford/Jack fan but it's a shame that Days keeps treating him like a freakin' yoyo!

Carrie & Austin are played out, though I like both Clark & Muldoon.

I've never liked Sarah Brown on anything but GH.

soapjunkie88's picture
Member since:
3 July 2008
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8 hours 13 min

Oh DAYS what are you doing???

Do we really have to go through this again? Last year they want to bring viewers back and now they've want to do epic firings??? How about telling good stories with these old favorites???

Well I guess I can live with Carrie and Austin being gone. This time around I really didn't care for them at all. It's just a shame because there is so much good history and I don't want to see them go out with the material that was given to them over the past few months.

The firing of Matt Ashford is what feels really, really wrong!!!! Sad

I have to say that I've liked Sarah Brown as Madison. I enjoyed her and Brady together. In the end it maybe was a little bit much with the appearance of that awful Ian character.

Anyway this interview tells me that DAYS still hasn't found it's way. They don't know what storylines they want to tell. Last year they wanted to show us stories about family, generations and love ... then this spring they come up with this Princess Gina/The Pawn crap and now they want to show us romance in order to please the women, which in my mind means that Will and Sonny won't be front burner and may even be on their way out!?

With DAYS we are back to "you never know what shit this show will throw in our face". At least Greg Meng made this horrible impression with this epic fail of an interview...!!!!!!

david46208's picture
Member since:
15 January 2009
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@Katiebug9624: While I wish they'd fire some of the younger set. I wasn't really feeling like the returns of Austin and Carrie were worth it. It has always been the same storyline for them over and over again. Also neither is a strong enough actor to make whatever they do "must-see TV." Christie is just satisfactory as an actress, but a bit of Stella Adler would do volumes for her acting.

Patrick Muldoon... He was like the Thom Bierdz of Days. He seemed to try to force things with his acting or else he always appeared too arrogant even when the scene didn't call for it.

For you fans who think both actors were good and remember the past, let me inform that those were the days when actors could do 4 to 5 plus takes to get a scene right. Today you only have one shot to get it done. And in rehearsal's you have 2 run-threw's:

1. For the blocking.
2. For for the camera people, so that they can get shots and camera angles right. So there are frequent stops as they run through a scene.

So today the best actors have to be able to bring the "heat to the street" in one take.

Yet, remember back in the day before they taped episodes, soaps were done live. So many actors in this genre have never lived through that and got adjusted to the fact that if they messed up that they could do it again. We'll now due to budget cuts we're seeing who the true performers are and who the Memorex actors are.

Okay so now that we got that done...Let's say I knew Sarah Brown and Matt Ashford were not going to last for long. At least not this round.

When it comes to Jack, they just seem to not be able write anything for him outside of Jennifer. And I would have loved for them to have explored a brand new relationship for him with another woman. But oh well...

Sarah Brown on the other hand is best played as a bitch. I wanted to see her come on the show and be tied to the Dimera's or have married EJ. So while Sarah is a good actress and an excellent performer (Miser techniques work wonders for her), whenever she is a bitch she is best.

Now could we get rid of Rafe's sister or recast her with a more dynamic actress.

Finally maybe the can cast either Victoria Rowell (ex-Dru, Y&R), Amelia Marshall (ex-Liz, Passions; ex-Blenda, All My Children; ex-Gilly, Guiding Light) Tamara Tunie (ex-Jessica, Guiding Light) or Shari Headley (ex-Mimi, AMC) as a new love interest for Abe. Hey i'm tryna get some sistah's some work!

SoapArmageddon's picture
Member since:
22 January 2011
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3 days 12 hours

Does NBC even count as a network anymore?

The way this show treats Matt Ashford is criminal. I guess they're going to go back to being the Days of Sami Brady's life. As long as you're firing people, how about the actors who play John Black, Brady Black, Gabi, and Melanie?

It would be a huge mistake for them to pull back on Will and Sonny. Judging from Twitter and all the boards, women are really into that story.

As of now, I am preparing myself for the end of this show.

Member since:
16 October 2008
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I am now scared, really scared for Will & Sonny. TPTB seem to be going to "pull back" on them, so I guess they'll be seen around holidays. I doubt their "romance" will get much play.

GatesBear's picture
Member since:
19 November 2011
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40 weeks 3 days

I've been watching this show for the last 30 years, it's sad that this show can find its proper footing or its identity.

I will miss Carrie and Austin, I like them for purely nostalgia reasons. Really sad about Jack, they should just kill the character, instead of coming up a cockamamie story about how Jack had to leave Jennifer again.

Madison was interesting in the beginning but her romance with Brady, ZzzZzzz, wake me when its over. Not tying her to a core family, not making her interesting or a bitch were the character downfalls. Lets get rid of Ian too while we are at it.

Gabi does not make a good villainess.

dkp's picture
Member since:
9 June 2009
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I know he says their committed to the gay story, but I don't know. As a Kish fan, this all seems very deja-vu. I can't handle another KISH-GATE.

Member since:
16 October 2008
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1 day 14 hours

I think the gay SL on Days is DEAD in the WATER!
Meng says straight women want romance.

Member since:
13 January 2009
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1 year 30 weeks

I love me some DAYS but I'm not going to act a fool until I know all the details of who was actually fired...

I hope its not true about Sarah Brown and the way she found out (if true) I've been a fan of her since VR TROOPERS!

This show always has its ups and downs and crazy behind the stage mess. But I still watch no matter what.

At least they are trying everything to help keep the show on the air and now waiting until the last minute like other past soaps AND Y&R.

AND i THINK NOW IS THE TIME FOR SOMEONE TO GREEN LIGHT THE MOVIE 'SOAP DISH' AND TURN IT INTO A PRIMETIME SERIES... paging Sally Fields.

angrierblackerman's picture
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TV Guide Magazine: Or just straight romance? Could it be possible that the mainstream Days audience does not want to watch the gay storyline and where it might be going? ABC claimed that was the case when One Life to Live suddenly dropped the Kish romance.
Meng: I don't know. I think it's a beautiful story and we are committed to it. But probably it's not the story that most women are going to tune in for every day, the one they don't want to miss. I think it's a story everybody likes, but the women want to see romance. Our goal is to get back lapsed viewers — our family of viewers who stopped watching altogether or aren't watching us every day.

So, I guess this means Adios Will and Sonny storylines. Hell, they may even fire Chandler Massey. I'm so mad about losing all those vets, when characters like Rafe, Melanie, Chad, DANIEL, and Gabi are still going to be in Salem. I JUST started watching the show good, and now this garbage happens. I have nowhere else to go now, I am gonna be Soap Homeless again!

Miry's picture
Member since:
30 October 2008
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Um, I am a female and some of my FAVORITE storylines involve GAY ROMANCE! I DO want to see Will's story (just like I wante to see Luke's on ATWT) & they are sick in the head if they do not know that they ONLY story line that is keeping Days afloat right now is the one involving Will & Marlena!

And if they want to give me romance, then give me JACK & JEN working on stories & trying to take down EJ & Stefano... and b/c of their close proximity they fall back in love with each other and Jack wins her back. I mean, this is freakin' JACK! The ultimate in grand gestures!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW34gZNwFFs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSkzPzP2keY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxK7KdPvvOw&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AEy8yiKQyk&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JDFS1c3mlg&feature=relmfu

Member since:
26 February 2009
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1 year 34 weeks

I don't see anything in there which says they're dropping the story. I don't care about romance with Will and Sonny at the moment when Sonny is undeveloped and Will is supposed to be having all these mental/emotional problems. Just focus on building the characters. Besides, this show's idea of romance is dead baby sex.

SoapArmageddon's picture
Member since:
22 January 2011
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3 days 12 hours

TV execs are always so slick! He doesn't come right out and say it; but those are some asshat, homophobic sentiments this Meng guy is attributing to straight women. They must have selected their focus group from the board of the National Organization for Marriage.

I've watched Days since I was 12 years old so I don't say the following lightly: If they get rid of the Will storyline or start using the actor as furniture, I'm done with the show. DONE.

Member since:
28 December 2010
Last activity:
7 weeks 2 days

Wow, how out of touch can you be? Women don't want to see gay romance? LOL Tell that to the female fans of Kyle/Fish, Luke/Reid, Luke/Noah, etc... Queer as Folk, Brothers & Sisters, Game of Thrones, any show that ever had a gay couple had a large female following, I guarantee you. Someone should link him to the videos on YouTube, the fanfics, the Tumblrs dedicated to gay couples and see how many of them have women behind them.

Member since:
26 February 2009
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1 year 34 weeks

The problem is most of the female viewers who would likely write in or call about this story are women who object to it. Daytime has driven away many viewers who may have accepted this storyline.

pjc722's picture
Member since:
6 February 2012
Last activity:
2 hours 18 min

As exciting as it was to bring back Ashford, Muldoon and Clark as well as the enormously talented Brown, none of these characters this time around hit a cord with the show.

With Muldoon and Clark they were the "it" couple of their day. They had many hours entertaining us along side the Lucas and Sami characters but this time around they were brought in and nothing happened with them. The affairs with Abigail and Rafe were duds and the energy they would bring to the screen each time definitely showed that. In hindsight, it might have been better to bring back Christie and told the story of a woman starting over and then turned the tables by having her have the affair with her sister's husband. That would have truly ignited the SAMI/CARRIE feud. By bringing both back at the same time, albeit ALMOST happy, that made the audience yawn at the prospect of seeing them every day.

With Matthew Ashford, I just didn't understand why they brought him back EXACTLY as he was before. That's the one problem with returning characters who after years of being away return as if they havent left the canvas. They are the same quirky individual (in Jack's case) as they were before but the show and environment is different. It would have been nice to see Jack come back as more established and act as a counterweight to the Dimera's professionally or something along that line. Bringing him back as the same aloof jack was just not the right move and Jennifer's face that said "really, still havent changed, Jack" when he was first seen by everyone set us up for a dull return.

Sarah Brown was a waste of an actress and of a character. It's sad that writers bring in these top notch actors only to bring them in without a full story developed. She came in hard so we disliked her. She fell in love but we didn't care because we didnt know the woman. Then her evil husband came and she was a whiny crying mentally abused bbut HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL executive but we didn't care because we didn't know her.

I will predict that the next to go will be Billy. The actress is just delivering lines as it is so keeping her will be a waste. And since Weng said one of the exits will be HUGE (on the level of Marlena and Drake firing) I will put my bets on it being Stefano or even Anniston's character. The show is too top heavy. Maybe even some of the younger set.

One big glaring thing that the show needs to figure out is the size of their sets! Seriously Kate offices and boardroom are soooooo small that you can't have more than one actor on either side of the table. I know it's all about money but there has to be a way to make mutliple sets look larger and have more than 4 or 5 of them. It's boring seeing 2 characters go out on a date to the pub or now the coffee shop.

Good luck days but I have a feeling that this is the death knoll just like AMC and OLTL.

pjc722's picture
Member since:
6 February 2012
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2 hours 18 min

I predict that Days will be cancelled and we will hear of it at the end of the year. I am going out on a limb here and stating that they brought Lorraine Broderick on to help that happen.

DAYS will be cancelled by September 13th in time for another talk show.

Who do I blame for all of this? Soap producers, writers and executives at networks. The audience was there. The audience love their stories. But they are writing crap on TV and we are all tired of it. People jump to PBS to watch an English period piece called Downton Abby because it tells a good well written story. Yes the numbers if on NETWORK TV are low but this is public TV so the numbers are telling.

People watch HBO for TRUE BLOOD, GAME OF THRONES and others like them because the writing is great. AMCs the KILLING, WHY? the writing. Revenge on ABC? WHy the writing is interested and very soapy but it tells a good story in a great way.

Member since:
6 September 2011
Last activity:
14 weeks 5 days

Has a gay romance ever worked in the past?
If not, how is this one different?
Are we going to see them in bed together?

All of that is relatively unimportant because there is no story beyond
"Look at me, I'm gay!"
"Isn't that lovely?" Smiling warmly.
"I was worried before," (we didn't really see that play until a couple weeks ago) "But now I'm thrilled to be honest with the town and can't wait to tell everyone!"
"Yes, tell everyone!"
Endless procession of scenes where each member of town including the dog catcher is told Will's great news.
Everyone groaning--Geez, we don't want to hear about it. How about keeping your private life private, pal?

Thousands of television sets change channels to Alex Guarneschelli's Day Off.

Member since:
28 December 2010
Last activity:
7 weeks 2 days

If Will should "keep his private life private" then so should Sami, EJ, Nicole, Rafe, Bo, Hope and EVERY OTHER character on the show. Will's story deserves to be told because of reactions like this one. Funny how people have a problem with the idea of Will being with another man, yet have no problem with things the show depicts that are actually problematic. Personally I'd much rather see Will in a loving relationship with another man over another rape, murder or dead baby!

Will's storyline has only been on a few months and isn't what caused millions of old viewers to tune out years ago, but has the potential to bring in a new audience who wants to see representation and/or ROMANCE... Some people aren't so narrow-minded that they think romance only applies to a man and a woman.

If Days wants more viewers and higher ratings then they need to try to broaden their horizons and appeal to new viewers, not just try to win back the old ones. Instead they repeat the same mistakes over and over... No wonder soaps are dying out.

SoapArmageddon's picture
Member since:
22 January 2011
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3 days 12 hours

Dew Chanin, that's some good "low-effort thinkin'".

Member since:
9 May 2012
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1 year 48 weeks

Dear Days of Our Lives Producers/Writers:

Since Carrie Brady's role (actress Christie Clark) added great impacts to the show of Days of Our Lives, the writers/producers should not let her go off the show after being casted AGAIN since September 2011! I hope many other fans of Days of Our Lives have similar observations as mine! Then, perhaps, the producers/writers of Days of Our Live could and would change their minds in getting rid of certain actors (Jack, Austin, Carrie, etc.)!

With regards to Lexie Carver, the dying mother, wife, and doctor, Days of Our Live could create a unique miracle for her recovery from her brain tumor. If the actress for Lexie Carver does not desired to act anymore in the show, then, the producer of Days of Our Lives could recruit another appropriate actress for Lexie Carver during and after her recovery from a brain tumor instead making her die in the show because it would be extremely sad, unjust, and unreal Abe and Theo and their loved ones have to suffer in seeing her dying her so young while Lexie, the dying doctor had not looked into other methods of healings as what her brother urged her to do!

Perhaps, Gabi, etc. should be written off the show as opposed to Carrie Brady, Austin, Jack, Lexie, etc.) because Gabi's roles turned out to be quite destructive compared to the girl she used to be!

Sincerely,

NewLifestar

Member since:
11 May 2012
Last activity:
1 year 43 weeks

Muldoon is terrible. He looks like he had some bad plastic surgery. Also what is this writer's shake up? I always assumed the "actors" showed up drunk and high after huffing paint fumes and just said whatever came to mind