DAYS exec speaks out on writing changes, low ratings

Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:15:24 PM
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DAYS exec speaks out on writing changes, low ratings

There are a lot of changes taking place at Days of our Lives. Just a week after the show's head writing team was dismissed, the show has cut loose several of its contract players. Now, a show exec is explaining why the soap needed to make the changes.

Last week's decision by Days of our Lives to dismiss its head writing team left many fans feeling a little uneasy about the show's future -- and this week's news of several key characters being written out hasn't done much to allay those fears.

In a new interview, Days of our Lives' co-executive producer, Greg Meng, explained to TVGuide's Michael Logan that the show needed to make some changes in order to get back on track and, ultimately, boost the show's stagnant ratings.

"We spoke with the network and collectively felt we needed to take a pause, make a change with the writing and the style of the show for a while and see if that will redirect things," Meng explained. "The ratings situation is very complex and difficult, and we have a tremendous challenge with that right now. Everybody on the Days team, and that includes NBC and Sony, our distributor, wants this show to succeed and we're doing everything we can to make it work."

The ratings situation may be far more "complex" than Meng or anyone can combat. Citing internal research, Meng suggested that as few as one in four Days of our Lives viewers are part of the Nielsen ratings system that measures how many viewers are actually watching a program. The Nielsen system selects television viewers that are said to representative samplings of the larger television audience.

Another problem facing Days of our Lives, according to Meng, is that the three entities involved in getting the show on the airwaves -- NBC, Sony, and Corday Productions -- don't always agree on the proper course of action. In the end, however, all three are said to want DAYS to continue airing.

"We all have different visions as to how to achieve that success but the good news is that we're all in synch on the future. No one wants cancellation," Meng stated.

Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr., were ousted as head writers of Days of our Lives last week. The pair was hired in 2011 to help "reboot" the show. They will be replaced by former DAYS co-executive producer Gary Tomlin, and former DAYS co-head writer Christopher Whitesell. Former All My Children head writer Lorraine Broderick has also been brought aboard to help with story outlines.

Meng remarked that the show may need to undergo a series of smaller "resets" to get the show back in line with what viewers want to see.

"We are excited and look forward to the stories of romance, suspense and intrigue this new dream team plans to tell," enthuses Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng.

Those stories will begin airing in mid-August -- but when the show does reboot for the second time, it will be without several key players. For more information on the dismissal of four contract players, click here.

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