Friday, April 12, 2024

Will This Be the End of “Days of our Lives”? Stunning Lawsuit from Arianne Zucker Threatens Long Running Show’s Existence


Actress Arianne Zucker’s lawsuit against her now former employer, “Days of our Lives,” went public big time today at a press conference. Zucker says she was fired last fall when NBC, the show, and producer Ken Corday retaliated against her for exposing EP Albert Alarr as an alleged sexual harasser.

Zucker has been a featured player on NBC’s 59 year old show, “Days of our Lives,” since 1998. The show is produced and owned by Ken Corday, whose parents — Ted and Betty — created it in 1965. Ted Corday died from cancer just a few months after the show debuted. For decades, his widow was in charge and the show was so hot it made the cover of Time magazine.

But in recent years, Ken Corday has turned “Days of our Lives” into a “Soap” style self-parody, with lots of science fiction stories, and two runs at having Satan take over characters’ lives. A couple of seasons back, NBC moved “Days” over to streaming on Peacock, where possibly about 1 million watch it. (That’s an estimate, since streamers don’t report numbers.)

At the press conference today, Zucker alleged constant harassment from former executive producer Albert Alarr over the last few years. Last spring, the show’s filming was paused for an investigation into Alarr’s treatment of actresses. He was fired in August.

That was around the time Zucker’s latest headaches began. She was briefly written out in 2018 but then returned to play Nicole Walker, a popular character. But now she was offered less pay for a new contract, and then dismissed. Because “Days” is taped well ahead, she’ll be in episodes for a couple more months. But it’s clear “Days” and Corday retaliated against her for being part of the group that pushed Alarr out.

Today, just before the press conference, Alarr and Corday denied all allegations and attacked Zucker. The show’s remaining, dwindling fans do not believe them. They are siding with Zucker. During the press conference, an actor who shares scenes with Zucker, Greg Vaughn, was tuned in to see what she had to say. Among the revelations in her suit and in person today: Corday Productions has no human resources department. And Zucker was ignored by Sony TV, which distributes the show.

Alarr’s attorney said: “As Albert said when Ms. Zucker first leveled these outrageous claims through the press last year, her baseless allegations were examined in a detailed and entirely independent investigation that lasted for two months. Dozens of individuals cooperated and every claim was thoroughly looked into. At the end of that process, the decision was made that Albert should continue in his role as Co-Executive Producer of Days of Our Lives.

He continued: “As Ms. Zucker’s own lawsuit all but admits, at a time of industry-wide cutbacks, she was aggressively seeking a significant personal pay increase and additional influence on the show. Having failed in those attempts, she is now – again – trying to exploit vile stereotypes to denigrate and demean a Black man who was in a position of power. Well, enough is enough. Every day for decades, Albert worked with hundreds of people who can – and will – testify about the falsity of Ms. Zucker’s mischaracterizations of him. We relish having a chance to share the truth and putting an end to her offensive claims once and for all.”

But Kola Boof, a former “Days” writer, said on X:

ALBERT ALARR was the “BOSS” & SHOW RUNNER of “Days of Our Lives”–he is married to a White woman that he appointed to the show as a Writer—-we have video clips of Mr. Alarr being inappropriate with female actresses on the show. We have set people whispering that Mr. Alarr behaves with the mindset of a male from the 1960’s and 1970’s (his humor, his viewpoints, his way of directing love scenes–he’s an Old School Good Ol Boys imitator). We have dozens of WOMEN who are telling the same exact story about this one man.

“I believe the accusations that ARI ZUCKER has brought against him are true and factual based on the overwhelming “word of mouth” and testimony of countless women behind the scenes at DAYS. They can’t all be “out to get a Black man.

“He’s using that argument because frankly –he has little else to stand on. KEN CORDAY allowed him to get away with this behavior for DECADES–and now times have changed & women don’t tolerate this behavior anymore & his actions are memorable and deplorable and have caught up with him.

“This is not about RACE. This man thinks his behavior is “Cute” & now it’s game over.”

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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