Salem U.S.A.'s 20-something and 30-something crowds will start to look a bit scarce in a few months, due to a slew of recent exits at Days of Our Lives.
Chrishell Stause (ex-Jordan) and Melissa Archer (soon-to-be ex-Serena) were let go. Both actresses were huge stars on other soaps, All My Children and One Life to Live respectively, yet had trouble getting decent storylines on DAYS.
Molly Burnett reportedly only reprised the role of Melanie Jonas, R.N. for a six-month stint. It seems as if her character was meant to bridge the gap between Eileen Davidson's guest appearances as villainous Kristen DiMera. Melanie temporarily took Kristen's place as a foil to Theresa Donovan (Jen Lilley) for Brady Black's (Eric Martsolf) affections.
Burnett's odd return storyline found Melanie back in Salem on the run from casino agents. She then quickly squared off against Theresa and began hooking up with former best friend Brady.
Currently in story, Melanie is the one putting together that Kristen stole Theresa and Brady's baby. With Davidson back on screen as of April 14, it's assumed this story is about to reach its climax.
The biggest blow to DAYS' younger set, is the loss of Freddie Smith as Sonny. Unlike most daytime soaps that tell big coming out stories, then sideline their gay characters, the romance of Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton (first Chandler Massey, now Guy Wilson) has been one of DAYS' biggest frontburner storylines for several years.
Fans are still trying to adjust to Wilson as a Will recast. I can't imagine a NuSonny would be easily accepted.
Luckily for DAYS, newcomer Christopher Sean has been a big hit as home-wrecking, former pro baseball player Paul Narita. (SPOILER ALERT) This week, the newly out gay man is revealed to be the son of iconic Salem superhero John Black (Drake Hogestyn), smartly tying the character to a core family.
Billy Flynn has been a great addition to the soap as a recast Chad DiMera. Unfortunately, the triangle Chad currently finds himself in with Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi) and Ben Rogers (Robert Scott Wilson) isn't exactly compelling.
With Stause gone, I don't see the need to keep her TV brother around. It would be more intriguing to watch Eve (Kassie DePaiva) and Theresa Donovan's brother Andrew, a legacy character in the right age range, warring with Chad for Abigail's affections.
Like Flynn, Casey Moss is a stellar young adult male on the DAYS canvas. The only problem is, we're supposed to be rooting for JJ Deveraux to end up with coma-inducing Paige Larson (True O'Brien), when we'd much rather see him continue to pork her mother.
DAYS is smart to focus on securing the returns of their biggest stars from the 80's and 90's first. News of Peter Reckell and Stephen Nichols returning as Bo and Patch respectively earned the new creative team kudos. Putting Wally Kurth on contract as Justin was also a sharp play. Now it's time to start working on generating some buzz among the demographically-friendly younger crowd.
Shawn Douglas Brady and Belle Black are definitely needed. Whatever story brings Bo back to Salem, it's going to cause major drama for his family with Hope (Kristian Alfonso). The couple's "Sailor Man" son has long been an anchor for their angst-filled love affair. Hopefully someone is on the horn with Jason Cook or Brandon Beemer.
Belle Black 1.0, Kirsten Storms, is happily ensconced in fictional Port Charles, New York as General Hospital's Maxie Jones. Belle 3.0, Martha Madison, however, is available and would be a welcome return to the canvas.
It would be great to see Brady and Belle face off with new sibling Paul at the family's luxury goods corporation, Basic Black. John could serve as mogul and patriarch, with a fretting Marlena (Deidre Hall) as matriarch and mediator.
I'm not feeling the whole "John returns to being a cop" madness currently playing out on the show. Why would a billionaire ever decide to go back to walking a beat? Paul's desire to stake his claim of the Black empire, opposite his siblings, could help scrap that ridiculous plot point and lead to juicy, multigenerational drama.
It would be a good idea for DAYS to call up Jay Kenneth Johnson and Farah Fath. Belle and Shawn are always more fun with Philip Kiriakis and Mimi Lockart along for the ride.
While the Blacks are battling it out for control of their family dynasty, Philip could square off with rival nephew Shawn at Titan. Besides, I still want to know what happened to Philip and Mimi's baby!
As DAYS approaches its 50th anniversary, it is crucial to pay homage to as many legendary characters and storylines as possible. Let's just hope the soap remembers to include some sexy, popular faces under 35.