Monday, June 17, 2024

Soap Opera for Real: “Days of our Lives” Actors Sign Petition to Remove EP, Most Want Previous Producer Back, Where is Deidre Hall?


It’s really turned into a soap opera at “Days of our Lives.”

The show is on hiatus this week as Ken Corday, who owns the show with Sony TV, decides what to do about EP Albert Alarr. The cast want him out. According to Deadline, 25 actors have signed a petition saying just that.

Some actors are speaking out on social media, others are hiding. Both Arianne Zuker and Peter Reckell have Tweeted about the situation. Alarr has been investigated internally within the company for years of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Fans have reacted also, taking to social media to demand Alarr’s removal and the reinstatement of previous EP Greg Meng. Never have backstage politics at a soap spilled out into the public like this before.

And there’s been nary a peep from the nominal star of the show, Diedre Hall, who’s played Dr. Marlena Evans since 1976. You’d think by now she’d say something, but remaining mum is probably what’s kept her there all these years.

A lot of the trouble at Days can be attributed to Corday, who inherited the show from his parents, Ted and Betty Corday. I’m told he’s the absolute example of the second generation mismanaging the first generation’s creation. He produces the show on the cheap, and seems to be loyal to himself only. According to Deadline, Corday’s office is removed from the set, and there’s no HR rep for the show except for Alarr.

Soap actors are famous for not speaking out about anything lest they be blackballed. As the number of shows has fallen from around 13 to just 4, actors vie for spots as if the shows were rescue rowboats from the Titanic. If anyone complains about poor treatment, low pay, long hours, getting written out, etc, it’s unlikely they’ll work again in this town.

So now everyone waits to see what happens with Alarr, who cannot possibly remain with the show with so much public enmity. Or can he? Or will he be killed off only to be replaced by a lookalike, a “good” twin brother who shows up unexpectedly?

Stay tuned!

PS There’s also a subplot on “Days.” I broke the story last week that the character played by late great actor John Aniston would finally have a funeral this month. Aniston died last November. I mentioned in a second column that his character, Victor Kiriakis, would die in a plane crash. That news has traveled fast, with reports of Jennifer Aniston “objecting” to this because she doesn’t like to fly. That part of it seems preposterous. But what doesn’t at that show right now?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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