While soap fans were thrilled by NBC’s recent decision to renew DAYS OF OUR LIVES, their excitement was tempered by reports that the soap’s extension would come with a major caveat in the form of massive budget cuts. Now, it appears that the first — and perhaps fatal — cuts will be the deepest, as the show’s most popular couple, Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall (who play supercouple John and Marlena) have been let go.
In some corners, this news has been met with the skepticism one might expect given that both actors have been “fired” from the show before in highly touted publicity moves. No DAYS fan needs — or particularly wants — to be reminded of the 2003 storyline in which Marlena was “killed off” after being revealed as the serial killer doing away with her friends and neighbors. Or last year’s tale in which John was “killed off” only to rise from his premature grave a few months later.
The problem is that for fans, this is a lose/lose scenario. If the show — already struggling in the ratings thanks to an endless series of lackluster plots — has really gotten rid of Hogestyn and Hall, it may prove to be a crippling blow. And if this is yet another publicity stunt, fed-up fans may not stick around to see how it unfolds. Given the sad state of daytime affairs, this may not be the best time for so drastic a move.