Tue, 18 November 2008
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, Shelly Hennig, Josh Taylor, Thaao Penghlis, Leanne 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 as well before noting that Taylor is good friends with Corday; Luke, who has watched Days sine 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.