Friday, November 21, 2008
One week after the eleventh-hour renewal of the American soap opera Days of our Lives, NBC, the network airing the series in the United States, has let it known that the renewal has come at a price, namely a lower one. As a result of further cost-cutting measures to keep the show afloat through September 2010, two of the longest-running actors on the serial have had their contracts severed.
Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn, who have played the characters of Marlena Evans and John Black for decades, have taped their final episodes and have been officially released from their obligations at Days of our Lives. When contacted by Wikinews, Days publicist Daniela Mancinelli commented "Days of our Lives has decided to rest the characters of 'John Black' and 'Marlena Evans.' After a year of separation, 'John' and 'Marlena' will finally reunite before exiting the canvas in early 2009."
The surprise renewal of the serial and the high-profile terminations come at an awkward time for the show, because, despite improving on ratings numbers this year and being the only soap opera not to lose viewers, it was highly expected that the series would simply end its run once its contract ran out in March of next year. In early 2007, at a fall preview unveiling for reporters, NBC president Jeff Zucker made a statement indicating that the show would not be renewed past 2009.
The renewal was apparently contingent on lowering overall budget numbers, which includes either lowering salaries for actors or terminating them completely. One actor, Jay Kenneth Johnson, who plays the character Philip Kiriakis, left of his own accord earlier this week after being asked to take a voluntary pay cut in exchange for a contract renewal.
Longtime fans of the series are upset at the cast upheaval, with The Tampa Tribune noting loud fan protest on message boards devoted to the drama series. The New York Daily News told readers that next week there will be more news about the current budget situation facing the series, and more potential cast layoffs to be announced. Days publicist Daniela Mancinelli, after being contacted by Wikinews, said that she does not comment on the status of actors' contracts.
== Sources ==
"As the revolving door turns, they're back on daytime soaps" — New York Daily News, November 21, 2008
Rebecca Detken. "Are Daytime Soaps Doomed?" — Yahoo! TV, November 20, 2008
Walt Belcher. ""Days of our Lives" Cutback Bursts Soap Stars' Bubble" — The Tampa Tribune, November 20, 2008
Chandra Bill. "Days of Our Lives fires its biggest stars" — WPTV-TV, November 20, 2008
Don Kaplan. "END OF 'DAYS' FOR HALL AND HOGESTYN" — New York Post, November 18, 2008