It has been three weeks since Ken Corday, Executive Producer and owner of NBC’s “Days of our Lives,” made his first move to save the soap from near oblivion with the firing of Head Writer Dena Higley and replacing her with former “Passions” scribes Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas. In the weeks that followed, soap stars Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker), and Francisco San Martin (Dario Hernandez) were all out of jobs. If those changes weren’t enough to signal a revolution heading toward Salem, it was definitely made clear with the firing of Co-Executive Producer Gary Tomlin along with the expected returns of Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans), Drake Hogestyn (John Black), and Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux) and the rumored returns of several former cast members including Mark Hapka (Nathan Horton) and Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Horton).
Since receiving word from Jeff Gaspin, the now former Chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment (now NBCUniversal Media), late last year that the network had decided it would renew “Days of our Lives” for two additional years, on top of its previous contract that was set to expire in September 2011, the daytime drama series has been trending downward in the Nielsen ratings. This is in direct contrast to the upward trend the soap had received prior to its renewal. In our interview with Corday back in May of 2010, he laughed when he said that “the show grew 10% in ratings from the previous year, which NBC can’t say about any of their other shows between 2008 and 2009.” Unfortunately, between 2010 and 2011, the drama series is experiencing a downward spiral and it’s no laughing matter.
In the latest ratings released covering the week of May 30, 2011 through June 3, 2011, it was revealed that “DAYS” is down a whopping 17% in Women 18-49 and another 15% in Households season to date (September 20, 2010 through June 3, 2011). Only ABC’s canceled “All My Children” had a bigger loss in Women 18-49 (down 22% season to date) with a much smaller loss in Households (down just 5%). So what can “DAYS” do to turn things around before seasons end? Not much of anything.
Unlike in primetime where scripted television airs mostly in originals from September through May, daytime scripted television airs in originals from September to September, therefore “season to date” would cover from September 20, 2010 through September 16, 2011. Why is this piece of information so important? “Days of our Lives,” now celebrating its 45th anniversary year on television, is currently filming at such a rapid speed that there is literally no way that Higley’s material will stop airing before the official close of this season, or is there?
Days after news broke that Higley was fired, it was announced via Twitter by Judie Henninger, an NBC employee who handles the networks promos for “DAYS,” that 17 episodes scheduled to tape before Higley’s ouster were being rewritten by the shows new writing team. While the tweets have since been deleted, Corday confirmed that Co-Head Writers McPherson and Ray Thomas were rewriting a number of episodes. “We didn’t have to reshoot anything, but we had to rewrite three weeks of shows yet to air and chart a new course,” said Corday in the June 14 issue of Soap Opera Digest when asked if any storylines were being changed. Interestingly enough, in the same response he confirmed that Chandler Massey‘s Will Horton would indeed be portraying the rumored gay character on “DAYS” despite the show itself still not confirming the news to the press directly. “We are telling a story dealing with the first gay character on the show and that had to have another look and the take on that had to be changed. It will be written much more slowly and carefully. It’s a story about one of our characters coming to grips with who he is,” Corday stated.
For her part, McPherson has joined Twitter to bring a voice from the new writing team straight to disgruntled fans who were thrilled to learn that changes were finally happening at their favorite daytime soap. In her first tweet on Saturday, June 4, McPherson said “Writing the first week of “our” shows! So exciting! Don’t miss 9/23!” This was our first indication as to when we could expect the teams material to begin airing, although it doesn’t make it clear if said material was part of the rewritten scripts or if they would be credited for a time prior to this episode as co-heads with Higley (when material is re-written…it remains based on the outline of the original writer leaving credit with said original writer and those that made any changes). While minor details still need to be sorted out, fans should at least expect a big party to kick off a new era for “DAYS.” On Saturday, June 11, McPherson tweeted “The excitement is building! Huge party with many surprises the week of 9/26! You are all invited! We promise you won’t be disappointed!” What are those surprises? You’ll have to tune in to find out of course. Until then, Soap Opera Network has learned exclusively that “Days of our Lives” will outline numerous changes in a press release going out tomorrow that includes the announcement of its new co-executive producer (rumored to be Noel Maxam), the ouster of Gary Tomlin, and the likely announcements of who is returning to the drama series beginning this fall.
Are you ready for better “DAYS?” We sure are!
“Days of our Lives” is a production of Corday Productions Inc., in association with Sony Pictures Television.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With the news that “Days of our Lives” has let Gary Tomlin go as co-executive producer and Soap Opera Network unable to confirm who is replacing him at this time, rumors began swirling that actor Mark Hapka would be returning to the daytime drama series just days after reportedly stating that someone in particular (possibly Tomlin) was in the way of his employment with the show.
According to a report on Soaps.com, the website stated that his character, Nathan Horton, will ” return from Baltimore a stronger person, persistent to get Melanie (Molly Burnett) away from Dario Hernandez (Francisco San Martin).” Hapka originally joined the “DAYS” cast in June 2009 until he was let go in January of this year.
While looking to confirm Hapka’s return, a “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment.
After a week of unconfirmed (by the show) firings of numerous actors, NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has now fired its co-executive producer, Gary Tomlin. The news was first reported by TV Guide Canada‘s Nelson Branco on Twitter. News of Tomlin’s firing comes on the heels of last months firing of head writer Dena Higley and the recent firings of actors Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), and Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker).
It was in August 2008 when Executive Producer Ken Corday announced the hiring of Tomlin after confirming the ouster of Ed Scott.
“I have decided that it’s in the best interest of the show’s future to make this change in order to improve ‘Days’ both visually and emotionally,” said Corday at the time. “We at ‘Days’ are grateful to Ed Scott for all of his contributions and amazing energy over the past year. Gary Tomlin brings a long successful history of being an actor’s producer and a writer’s producer to our cast and crew and I know the viewers will see the immediate results of this change for the better.” Unfortunately for Tomlin his services were deemed no longer necessary.
At this time no replacement had been named nor was it clear whether or not Corday would take on all executive producer responsibilities himself.
Prior to joining “DAYS,” Tomlin began his career in daytime in 1973, when he was cast in the contract role of Bruce Carson on “Search for Tomorrow.” He later appeared as Morgan Simpson on NBC’s “Another World” in 1979. From 1980-1981, he was co-head writer of “DAYS” with Michelle Poteet-Lisanti. Later, he went on to co-head write at his old stomping ground, “Another World” for two years starting in 1984. In the late 1980′s/early 1990′s, Tomlin began writing scripts for “Santa Barbara” and directing episodes for both “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” In 1995 he joined “All My Children” as a producer. Upon the debut of NBC’s “Sunset Beach” in 1997 through its last airing in 1999, Tomlin was credited as the shows Executive Producer. He served as a director at NBC’s “Passions” from 2000-2001 and again from April 25, 2003 – April 2, 2008. He joined “One Life to Live” as its Executive Producer in November 2000, but his first credited episodes did not air until January 2001. He left the ABC soap in August 2003. He was immediately replaced by current “One Life” Executive Producer, Frank Valentini. Tomlin won the soap its one and only Outstanding Drama Series Daytime Emmy Award in 2003.
Due to its advanced filming schedule, Tomlin will be credited as EP until episodes scheduled to air in late August/early September.
A “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment at press time.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — ABC renews its commitment to keep “One Life to Live” on the air and a part of their daytime schedule through at least 2014.
Last Saturday, a story by the Denver Post left fans of the show feeling a sense of hope and confusion, stating that “ABC owns its soaps, unlike the CBS relationship with P&G. ABC’s ‘One Life to Live’ is soon to announce a deal to live two more years.”
Since the network does maintain ownership of all three of its daytime serials, an announcement that they they were planning to “renew” “One Life” for at least two more years does not and would not apply.
However, TVGuide‘s Michael Logan attempted to clarify the story Wednesday by reporting that he has learned from sources at the network that ABC’s commitment to “One Life to Live” has more to do with behind-the-scenes actions involving the show’s staff.
According to Logan, “OLTL” Executive Producer Frank Valentini, who celebrated his 25th anniversary with the show just yesterday (September 28th) has signed a new two-year contract to remain with the soap, while Head Writer Ron Carlivati, who has been with the show for 14 years (including the last three in his current position – with the exception of roughly three months in 2008 due to a writer’s strike) has penned a new three-deal to remain with the show.
Before replacing Gary Tomlin as Executive Producer in 2003, Valentini had worked in several positions on the show including stage manager, producer, and music composer. During his tenure with the show, “OLTL” has been either won or been nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards, including nods for Directing, Outstanding Drama (which it won in 2002), and Best Original Song. The show has also been earned GLAAD Awards in 2005 and 2010.
Carlivati held the positions of writer’s assistant, script writer, breakdown writer, and co-Head Writer before assuming sole head writing duties in 2007. Carlivati and the rest of the “OLTL” scribes won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Daytime Drama in 2008. They were nominated in the same category in 2002 and 2006. In addition, the writing staff was also nominated for WGA (Writer’s Guild of America) Awards in 2003 and 2006.
Look for a post-deal interview with both Carlivati and Valentini to be posted on TVGuide‘s website sometime next week.
“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on ABC.com.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Gary Tomlin officially takes over “Days of our Lives” from Ed Scott.
In the most unusual press release ever issued by a television studio or network, Sony Pictures Television and Corday Productions, Inc., producers of “Days of our Lives,” put rumors to rest and officially announced that former “One Life to Live” Executive Producer, Gary Tomlin, would be taking over Co-Executive Producer reins at the NBC soap opera. He replaces Ed Scott.
“I have decided that it’s in the best interest of the show’s future to make this change in order to improve ‘Days’ both visually and emotionally,” said Ken Corday, Executive Producer. “We at ‘Days’ are grateful to Ed Scott for all of his contributions and amazing energy over the past year. Gary Tomlin brings a long successful history of being an actor’s producer and a writer’s producer to our cast and crew and I know the viewers will see the immediate results of this change for the better.”
Scott was reportedly fired on Friday, August 15, after rumored battles with Corday and the soaps head writer, Dena Higley.
“I’m very happy to be back at ‘Days’ where I began behind the scenes in the early 80’s,” said Gary Tomlin, new Co-Executive Producer. “It’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to work with Ken Corday.”
Tomlin began his career in daytime in 1973, when he was cast in the contract role of Bruce Carson on “Search for Tomorrow.” He later appeared as Morgan Simpson on NBC’s “Another World” in 1979. His work behind-the-scenes began in 1980, when he joined “DAYS” as its co-head writer. He held the position until 1981. Later, he went on to co-head write at his old stomping ground, “Another World” for two years starting in 1984. In the late 1980′s/early 1990′s, Tomlin began writing scripts for “Santa Barbara” and directing episodes for both “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” In 1995 he joined “All My Children” as a producer. Upon the debut of NBC’s “Sunset Beach” in 1997 through its last airing in 1999, Tomlin was credited as the shows Executive Producer. He joined “One Life to Live” as its Executive Producer in November 2000, but his first credited episodes did not air until January 2001. He left the ABC soap in August 2003. He was replaced by current “One Life” Executive Producer, Frank Valentini.
For his work on “One Life to Live,” Tomlin won the soap its one and only Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award in 2003. The series turned 40 years-old on July 15, 2008.
“Days of our Lives” airs Weekdays on NBC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Anytime on iTunes. Check local listings.
EXCLUSIVE: Soap Opera Network has learned the names of soap opera writers who declared “Financial Core” status to keep on working during the strike. By going “Fi-Core,” these writers can never be members of the WGA again but they continue to pay reduced union dues and the Guild is obligated to continue providing services such health insurance, pension and residuals. Though they can still work on Guild projects, Guild members will not be keen to hire them.
Here is the list of “Fi-Core” writers:
- “All My Children”: James Harmon Brown & Barbara Esensten (returned to work in late December)
- “The Bold and The Beautiful”: Kay Alden
- “Days Of Our Lives”: Hogan Sheffer (went “Fi-Core” in early January), Meg Kelly (went “Fi-Core” in late November), Victor Gialanella, Mark Christopher Higley
- “General Hospital”: Garin Wolf (went “Fi-Core” immediately), Michael Conforti
- “One Life To Live”: Gary Tomlin, Fran Myers, Jeanne Marie Ford, Michelle Poteet Lisanti (all went “Fi-Core” immediately)
- “Passions”: James E. Reilly, Shawn Morrison, Pete T. Rich (went “Fi-Core” immediately)
- “The Young and The Restless”: Josh Griffith, Maria Arena Bell, Paula Cwikly (all went “Fi-Core” immediately)
There are no “Fi-Core” writers at “As The World Turns” and “Guiding Light.”
At “DAYS” the show decided not to use the services of Hogan Sheffer and Meg Kelly; instead they were paid to stay at home. This signifies that “DAYS” will name a new Head Writer.
Still at “DAYS,” it is unclear as to whether or not that the fired writers (Tom Casiello, Frederick Johnson, Gordon Rayfield, Judy Tate, Judith Donato, Renee Godelia, Richard Backus) will be returning to the show. More on this story in the upcoming days or weeks.
Over at “Y&R” there have been rumors and speculation about the departure of Executive Producer and Head Writer Lynn Marie Latham. However, there has been no word if these rumors are true or not.
UPDATE: April 18, 2008
The WGA released a letter today naming more writers that I didn’t originally have.
The list of writers are:
- “The Bold and The Beautiful”: John F. Smith
- “Days Of Our Lives”: Dena Higley (went “Fi-Core” just before the strike ended in February)
- “Passions”: Marlene Clark Poulter, Clem Egan, Darrell Ray Thomas Jr.