NBC’s sole remaining scripted daytime drama series has wrapped production on its current 56th season and now awaits word on whether it’ll be back for a 57th season this fall, reports “DAYS” enthusiast JASON47.
On his Facebook page, it’s being reported that production for the soap wrapped on Friday, April 16 after the show taped 112 episodes over the last 14 weeks without any breaks even with delays caused by the pandemic. This means the show has filmed all episodes ordered for its current 56th season which takes it through the end of the September 2021 contract NBC gave the series back in January 2020.
Cast and crew now stand in wait on a renewal announcement from NBC and Sony Pictures Television, which distributes the show for producer Corday Productions, Inc. If the show is canceled, the actors will be released from their contracts and will be allowed to secure jobs elsewhere, albeit if there is no other network or service that picks up the show should NBC decide against it.
The last time something similar happened was in November 2019 when the entire cast was released from their contracts as a preemptive move by Corday Productions, which produces the soap for NBC, as Sony was negotiating with the network on airing the show beyond its then September 2020 contract. At the time, the show had been filming eight months ahead of airdate, therefore, taking it through the summer of 2020 and giving it little room to prepare for a proper series finale should NBC decided not to move ahead with another season. While the network formally announced the show’s pick up nearly three months afterward, in January 2020, had it decided to cancel the show writers and producers would have been left with mere weeks of preparation time for a proper series finale, and, with the cast released from their contracts, the possibility of actors not being available for an acceptable ending for fans of their characters.
Prior to its most recent renewal, Corday Productions reportedly let the cast go as a negotiating tactic with NBC and Sony. An insider told TVLine, “If ‘DAYS’ gets picked up, [Corday] can offer the actors new contacts at a reduced rate and with a ‘take-it-or-leave’ it attitude. Worst case scenario, they lose half their cast. Best case scenario [for Corday], everyone agrees to return at a lower salary.” Most cast members returned after the show was picked up, including actors who were later let go by the show for storyline purposes — notably Freddie Smith (ex-Sonny Kiriakis) and Chandler Massey (ex-Will Horton).
Preceding the official announcement of the show’s last renewal, former NBC Entertainment Chairman, Paul Telegdy, said, “Of course ‘Days of our Lives’ is going to carry on. We love it…I know that will be good news for the fans.” He also noted that “You can’t say that legally or whatever,” when asked at the time if the show had been picked up. His comments came more than two weeks before NBC made it official.
In the current situation, there has been no word on the status of the cast after the show’s final taping of season 56 or whether NBC has plans to put a stop to the sand in the hourglass from producing more “Days of our Lives.”
The current waiting game also makes it the longest the soap has gone without a word on a pickup since former NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker, now head of CNN, famously stated “DAYS” would unlikely continue beyond 2009. He later left the company after it was acquired by Comcast.