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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Days of Our Lives: Why it will be Cancelled

Days of Our Lives: The Numbers Don't Lie
Theresa Chaze

Even though the ink isn’t even dry the new agreement, which renews Days of Our Lives until September 2010, there are already rumors that the soap is living on borrowed time. The non-traditional 18-month contract along with executive producer, Ken Corday, agreeing to make onscreen changes, including adjustments to the cast list, could herald the end of Days as the long-time fans’ wishes continue to be ignored.

Days was the top ranking soap for years, placing first or second in the overall standings until March 2007. With the disappearance of John Black (Drake Hogestyn), the attempted forced pairing of a rapist and victim, who's the daddy and the Colleen/Santo storylines offended many of the viewers. Their dissatisfaction was dramatically reflected in the ratings. While Days came into 2008 with a high of 2.7 and a low of 2.5, by April, the highest ranking was 2.1 with a low of 1.9.

Dena Higley officially joining the Days staff as the head writer in March 2008; however, it was reported that she was one of the scab writers who ghost wrote Days during the strike. Although she inherited rankings that ranged from 2.0 to 2.4, her writing style has only served hasten the drop in the rankings. Even though she was able to bring back both John Black and Stefano, her propensity to focus on romantic triangles and to only write for the characters or couples she likes gained her no favor with the viewers.

August 6, 2007 Corday Productions announced the Emmy award winning producer, Ed Scott, would be joining the Day of Our Lives team as co-executive producer. Ken Corday was quoted as saying, "Ed comes with more than 20 years experience with The Young and the Restless and brings a new, vibrant, creative energy and strength to this all-important position of leadership,"

Instead of working together to improve Days, Higley and Scott chose to ignore both the shows history and the fans favorite characters.. The Colleen/Santo story, although it had the potential of being a wonderfully romantic and suspenseful tale in its own right, was instead turned into a way of forcing the pairing of EJ and Sami down the viewers' throats. The DiMera Vendetta was not only another ploy to support Ejamie as the couple had been nicknamed, but it was also used to kill off Shawn Sr. and John Black. It also totally disregarded the show's history and characters' family backgrounds. The viewers expressed their displeasure as the ratings continued to drop.

In addition the veteran actors were pushed aside in favor of the younger generation; the campus rapist and the Sorority house was intended to attract younger viewers. Intention and reality were never on the same page. Instead of attracting younger viewers, the storyline drove away the loyal long-time fans. September, October and November registered the worse ratings of 2008 with September and October bottoming out at 1.8 while November did little better with 1.9. With the return of the vets, John Black as well as Tony and Anna DiMera, the ratings once again began to climb. January through April of 2008, Days gained .4, bringing it to a high of 2.4 and returning it to third place.

With the backstage conflicts between Scott and Higley spilling out not only on the set but out into rumor mill, the personality and professional conflicts between them came to a head when Higley reportedly quit, accusing Scott of rewriting her scripts and encouraging the actors to do the same. Corday convinced Higley to remain; Scott was fired. .

Gary Tomlin was chosen as Scott’s replacement. A soap opera veteran, Tomlin has worked as an actor, director, writer and producer. Again, Corday expressed his utmost confidence and faith in his new choice, promising that Tomlin‘s "...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." However, months later that promise has yet to be fulfilled.

Except for a brief bump in the ratings that herald the return of Stefano, portrayed by Joseph Mascolo, the ratings remain flat and near the bottom of the list. Instead, leading the genre in ratings and awards, Days suddenly finds itself at the bottom with their highest rankings in 2008 equaling that of it’s lows in 2006. In the three months Tomlin has acted as the co-executive producer, Days’ ratings haven’t risen above a 2.0 and fourth place. From the two murder whodunits where no one cares who did or who died to the once again back burning vets in favor of new characters, the fans have had few kind words for either Higley or Tomlin.

Corday Productions seem to have difficulty learning from their past mistakes. With the soap on life support, Corday has chosen once again to shake up the cast by releasing popular actors, while adding younger talent. It has been recently rumored that Drake Hogestyn will be once again leaving the show along with Jay Kenneth Johnson. At the beginning of 2007 when Corday disregarded the fans wishes, Days fell from first to fourth (2.7 to 1.9) within four months; at this point, there is no place left to fall except off the air.

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