Just a day after Days of our Lives viewers came to realize that the show has skipped ahead an entire year in storyline comes something even more jaw-dropping: fans are worried that the NBC soap might not be on the air in another year.
A firestorm of panic and rumors began after TV Line reported that the entire cast of Days of our Lives had been released from their contracts, and the long-running daytime drama would be going on an indefinite hiatus beginning at the end of this month. While the move is unprecedented, several sources tell Soap Central that the cast had already been informed that the show would be taking an extended break.
While Days of our Lives has not been canceled, the NBC soap is in the midst of learning its fate as Sony Pictures Television and NBC negotiate renewal possibilities.
NBC, Sony, and DAYS' production company, Corday Productions, have declined comment on this developing story, but a Sony source tells TV Line that the studio is not involved in the contract negotiations with the cast.
"The actor deals are through Corday Productions," says the insider.
Because DAYS shoots about eight months in advance, when it stops production at the end of November, it will have enough episodes to air through the summer of 2020. Having so many episodes in the can is part of the reason for the hiatus. Due to the length of the break -- potentially longer than 13 weeks, the term in most contract cycles -- the most fiscally responsible decision for the show was to release the actors from their contracts during the hiatus. A behind-the-scenes source says that if NBC does renew DAYS -- and there is every indication that the network does want the show to continue -- production is expected to resume sometime in March. The problem is that by releasing the contracted cast members from their commitment to the show, producers have no guarantee that those actors will be available if and when the show does resume production.
A similar situation happened when All My Children and One Life to Live were canceled by ABC and picked up by Prospect Park back in 2011. Several of the shows' actors were keen to continue in their roles after Prospect Park took control of the long-running soap operas, but due to a holdup on production while legal, financial, and union issues were being ironed out, Prospect Part wasn't able to immediately contract the actors, and many found work elsewhere.
"It's actually a shrewd -- if cynical -- business move," another insider tells TV Line. "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."
It has been a turbulent year for Days of our Lives. In February, Corday filed a lawsuit against Sony, claiming that Sony has purposefully been trying to "destroy" Days of our Lives. Most of that lawsuit was tossed, but a judge did allow DAYS' producers to continue with claims that Sony breached its obligation to adequately market DAYS and share marketing costs.
While Days of our Lives has routinely been in last place in the ratings, Corday has, on more than one occasion, noted that DAYS is the most-watched program on NBC's digital platform. Just last month, Corday noted, "We are now at the table renegotiating for a better deal because the production company gains no revenue" from revenue generated by streaming.
On social media, some fans have expressed that there seemed to be no reason to continue watching the NBC soap now that its future is up in the air. A source reminds Soap Central that Days of our Lives "has not been canceled" at this time. "Nearly eight months of episodes have already been taped. Eight months. And those episodes will still air," an insider tells Soap Central. "This is one case where the production schedule works in [DAYS'] favor. They have plenty of time to work everything out and get the show back into production."
Shortly after the shocking DAYS news began circulating on the Internet, Chandler Massey (Will Horton) took to Twitter to clarify the soap's status: "We're not being cancelled. We are pausing production because we are so far ahead of schedule (and it saves us $)," he wrote. "Days will still air during the entire hiatus, so you won't miss anything!"
We're not being cancelled. We are pausing production because we are so far ahead of schedule (and it saves us $). Days will still air during the entire hiatus, so you won't miss anything!— Chandler Massey (@ChandlerMassey) November 12, 2019
Massey wasn't the only one talking to social media. Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady) streamed live from the DAYS makeup room to combat rumors that the actors were no longer working.
Camila Banus (Gabi Hernandez) also did a live broadcast on social media to refute claims that the show had been axed, calling the reports "total [B.S.]." You can check out Banus' uncensored message below.
What do you think about the news that DAYS has released all of its cast members from their contracts? Do you think the show is on the verge of cancellation? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.