On Friday, April 16, production on season 56 of “Days of our Lives” wrapped without a deal in place for the soap to return for a 57th season which would begin airing later this fall on NBC. Reportedly, the network is actively negotiating with Sony Pictures Television on a renewal order for the show and there’s an expectation by producers that the series will return, albeit with possible cast changes.
According to TVLine, the soap’s writing team is actively plotting storylines for next season. “Everyone is proceeding under the assumption that the show will be back,” an insider tells the publication.
Similarly, Corday Productions, which produces the soap in association with Sony Pictures Television, has been issuing “if-come deals with key cast members,” reports Deadline. This means that some actors are committing to return to the soap should it be renewed but will not be paid until a deal is in place.
The process can take several months, however, since the series has filmed all episodes off of its most recent contractual agreement, which gives NBC original episodes to air through September 2021. When “DAYS” shut down production last March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the series had enough episodes in the can that would take it through early October 2020. Production resumed on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, with the first post-pandemic episode airing on Monday, October 5.
In November 2019, without a deal in place for season 56 and the show filming eight months ahead at the time, the entire cast was let go as a cost-saving move. While the network formally announced the show’s pick up nearly three months later, in January 2020, had it decided to cancel the show’s 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 that renewal, Corday Productions reportedly let the cast go as a negotiating tactic with NBC and Sony. An insider told TVLine at the time, “If ‘DAYS’ gets picked up, [Corday] can offer the actors new contracts 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). Other notable departures include Melissa Reeves (ex-Jennifer Horton) and Kristian Alfonso (ex-Hope Brady).
With the show’s status currently in flux, fans have taken to social media to show their interest in its continuation. One of the most viral was a recent video by the Twitter user @_joshpray which was liked by many “DAYS” cast members, including Paul Telfer (Xander Kiriakis), Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera) and Martha Madison (Belle Black). In the video, the “most positive-inclusive-insightful-plus size comedian/male model on Twitter” expresses his displeasure that negotiations for “DAYS” are again a topic of discussion, as has been the case nearly every year for the last several years.
Just some of the zingers include: “We need ‘Days of our Lives’ like people need air. We need ‘Days of our Lives’ like vegetarians need leaves. We need ‘Days of our Lives’ like meat-eaters need the Impossible Whopper to compensate for Burger King running out of meat.”
The video concluded with Pray addressing NBC, saying, “Not only should ya’ll renew ‘Days of our Lives,’ ya’ll should give them an extended contract so we don’t have to have this conversation every two years.”