Generally speaking, there’s more bad news than good being reported about the state of daytime’s soap scene, so a lot of fans were thrilled when last week, NBC announced that DAYS OF OUR LIVES had been renewed for another year. But given last year’s axing of GUIDING LIGHT and the fact that AS THE WORLD TURNS will end it’s 50-plus-year run this September, what is it, exactly, that DAYS is doing right?
When the show fired longtime stars Drake Hogestyn (John) and Diedre Hall (Marlena), critics and fans alike predicted the show would go down in flames. Like it rose like the proverbial Phoenix (or should we say Stefano?) with tighter storylines, better scripts and improved ratings.
Letting Everyone Play
While some soaps (and primetime dramas) seem to think characters over the age of 40 aren’t of any interest to viewers, DAYS has been putting its veterans — including Victor (played by John Aniston… and yes, he’s the father of that other Aniston), Maggie and everybody’s favorite lunatic, Vivian.
Shaking Things Up
DAYS practically invented the idea of “supercouples”, including the uber-popular pairing of Bo and Hope. But the show took a huge risk in breaking the pair up and having them drawn to others (Carly for him, Justin for her). It’s a ploy that has paid off in spades. While Bo and Hope are still the rooting interest, the spin-off pairings are pretty darn likeable too.
Many soaps try and lure fans back with big, splashy — but short-term — cameos by actors whose alter egos were megapopular. DAYS, on the other hand, has brought back some former fan favorites as Justin, Vivian and — perhaps most successfully of all — Carly not for short visits (ala Kelly Ripa’s recent ALL MY CHILDREN return) but in long-term storylines.
Raising The Show’s Visibility
When’s the last time you saw an ad for one of ABC or CBS’s daytime dramas during primetime? Well, NBC regularly runs DAYS ads at night. Plus, in a downright brilliant example of synergy, Alison Sweeney — who has played bitch-turned-heroine Sami since 1992 — is the host of the network’s reality hit THE BIGGEST LOSER. Yeah, any way you slice it, NBC’s DAYS is a definite winner.