In March, the streaming service Peacock renewed “Days of Our Lives” for two more years, which means the show will make it to its 60th Anniversary. The question is, will it last beyond that? There are many factors that put the show in jeopardy. Mind you, we hope the show is around a good long time. We’re not optimistic, however.
The show has been on a small budget for a very long time. NBC canceled it a few years back, but they moved it to their streaming site. This was a calculated move to bring its aging audience into the world of streaming (and hopefully introduce it to younger fans). Peacock invested some money in it, I believe, at first, but I think it’s back to being low-budget now. One of the ways they save money is by rotating their huge cast. Certain characters come and go all the time (such as Will and Sonny) or are hardly seen (Tony and Anna). Fans are used to this by now, even though it can be frustrating when our favorites are not given much story.
The large cast has quite a number of senior actors (see above), from a relatively-young Judi Evans (Bonnie) at age 59, to Bill Hayes (Dough) at age 98, as well as a few in their 50’s (Eric Martsolf, Stacy Haiduk, Steve Burton, Galen Gering, Greg Vaughan, Tamara Braun, and the sometimes-seen Bryan Dattilo).This isn’t even to mention the myriad over-50 actors that occasionally come and go, such as Eileen Davidson (Susan/Kristen), Kassie DePaiva (Eve), Lisa Rinna (Billie), Kristen Alfonso (Hope), Alison Sweeney (Sami), Cady McClain (Jenn), Kyle Lowder (Rex) and others…
John Aniston (Victor), who was 89, passed away at the end of last year. We hope no one else leaves us any time soon, but it’s sort of inevitable that will probably happen in the next 5 years or so. If the actors on the show, and their fans, die out, then what will happen to the show? Sure, there are younger actors, but what is “Days of Our Lives” without Marlena (Deidre Hall, age 75) or Maggie (Suzanne Rogers, age 80)? Can actors like Robert Sean Wilson (Alex) and Abigail Klein (Stephanie) be the next John and Marlena or Steve and Kayla? We may find out.
The other age-related problem is that the show doesn’t seem to offer contracts to many of their younger cast members, which is probably why they lose so many of them, such as Kate Mansi, Marci Miller, Victoria Konefal, Freddie Smith, Lamon Archey, and Camila Banus. There are other reasons young people leave as well, such as wanting to try their hand in movies or primetime.
The show was originally a more serious soap, but in the 80’s (like many other daytime soaps), they had a lot of wild stories. Then they became a more serious soap for a while, and they’ve been up and down ever since. Since their move to Peacock, the stories have been pretty out there. I think this is part of the reason that it had lower ratings than the other soaps. It’s hard to take a show seriously when they have stories about demonic possession, people constantly coming back from the dead, psychic powers and more. I don’t think anyone would want the show to go back to when it was boring, but it would be nice if there were a little more realism. On the other hand, they have had some great groundbreaking stories dealing with mental illness and gay romance. Also, the show has added more three-dimensional characters of color with the addition of Li and Wendy, as well as Paulina’s family. And most importantly, they’ve given Abe a lot more to do.
Another thing they’ve improved over time is having more “love in the afternoon,” even if some people don’t approve of the more suggestive love-making scenes, as they had with the threesome between Allie, Alex and Chanel. They have many great kissing scenes (and suggestive bedroom scenes) among all of the cast, which is nice to see because it adds some realism and gives us a nice break from the outrageous or dramatic stories. There is also a lot of humor in the show, and that credit goes to head writer Ron Carlivati.
This week they brought on 97-year-old Dick Van Dyke as a character with amnesia, which is an interesting mystery storyline. He also did a little song-and-dance with Doug and Julie, which was very fun. I don’t think Van Dyke will be on the show for very long, which is too bad. I think he’s brought new life into the show, and it would be nice to see more. I don’t mind “stunt casting,” which soaps do a lot of, as long as they are fun to watch.
There are definitely positives to the show being on streaming, including the fact that they never have to show a re-run or be impacted by daytime news interruptions. However, they may have lost many fans who refuse to pay for Peacock Plus or Premium, or who don’t want to watch the show on their computer or phone.
One thing that’s disturbing is that the show recently got rid of its publicist and her publicity department. This was probably a cost-cutting measure, but it seems pretty extreme to me. None of the other soaps have done this. It makes me wonder what else they’re going to cut.
If you read about the show, you’ve no doubt heard about its recent scandal involving one of the producers. They fired him, but it sounds like they should have done that quite some time ago. Let’s hope it doesn’t have any further negative impact on the show.
Unfortunately, all TV networks are having problems financially now because there are just too many of them, and they not only have to compete with each other, but with video games, movies and other internet fun. There is a strike going on right now between the actors, writers and the big corporations that run the networks. What effect this will have on the daytime soaps and their future, we don’t know.
All we can do is keep watching and hope the show sticks around for many more years!
The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.