Today is first of the last three episodes of the 57 year old NBC soap opera “Days of our Lives.” It’s end of an era. On Monday. “Days of our Lives” leaves broadcast TV for Peacock and streaming.
Executive producer Ken Corday, who inherited the program from his parents, said in a recent interview the move to streaming “was baked into” the last two year contract he signed. The Peacock move signals the last part of that contract and likely a a year to wrap up the show completely.
“Days of our Lives” became a midday institution in the mid-60s thanks to that hourglass logo and the haunting theme music. The late MacDonald Carey, who had a big career in prime time (it’s fun to see him now in old black and white shows on MeTV) was the star. Even now there are about a dozen or veteran cast members including Deidre Hall (started in 1976) and Susan Seaforth Hayes (1968). They’ve got two in the cast who’ve really hung in there, too. Bill Hayes is 96 years old, John Aniston is 88. They seem to be on all the time. All of them will be missed.
When “Days” is done there will be three soaps left on TV, none on NBC. NBC always wanted to get rid of the soaps, they used to have a bunch of them. But little by little executives came in with cost-cutting ideas, like more inane talk shows and news updates, cooking segments, and so on. No one could have guessed that all of that would dovetail with the arrival of emergency TV, true life stories so violent or weird that they made soap operas look like kid stuff.
Will the fans go to Peacock? Corday has his actors shilling on social media, pitching $1.99 subscriptions. So far Peacock doesn’t have much of an audience although there’s little original material there, just reruns of old NBC shows. Soon “Days of our Lives” will just be one of those, too, I’m afraid.