Days of our Lives Casting Bloodbath

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It’s been a difficult week for Days of our Lives fans. It was first announced that head writers Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. were fired and replaced with former team Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesell. McPherson and Thomas were brought in last fall for the soap’s highly publicized “reboot,” where they brought back fan favourites Deidre Hall (Marlena), Drake Hogestyn (John), Christie Clark (Carrie), Patrick Muldoon (Austin) and Matthew Ashford (Jack) while also bringing on daytime powerhouse Sarah Joy Brown (Madison).

It was then announced that Lorraine Broderick would be joining the team as a breakdown writer – Broderick helped give All My Children a proper sendoff last year.

While fans knew cast changes were imminent, they had no idea they’d be happen so soon as Soap Opera Digest reported yesterday evening that Christie Clark (Carrie), Patrick Muldoon (Austin), Matthew Ashford (Jack) and Sarah Joy Brown (Madison) were all fired and that there would be even more “epic” exits ahead.

Really? The “new” team has been in place for all about five seconds and they’re already pulling the trigger by firing some of the show’s top performers.

Online DAYS fans are pissed, as they should be. Fans have already compiled lists of characters they’d rather see leave Salem instead (ahem, Daniel, Rafe, Gabby…). Prayer circles have already formed for Bryan Dattilo (Lucas), another fan favourite that was recently brought back. Last week, veteran actress Renee Jones (Lexie) announced she was retiring, with fans suspecting that Lexie’s husband Abe (James Reynolds) will also probably be out.

How many times has Ken Corday given Ashford the boot? Jack’s barely settled back into Salem and now he’s already on his way out again. Fans were thrilled to see Carrie and the original Austin back in town – sure the Austin/Abby faux hook-up was less than stellar, but there was great potential in a Sami vs. Carrie rivalry because of Carrie’s feelings for Sami’s husband Rafe. The scenes between Carrie and Marlena were also touching – that’ll soon be over.

Then there’s the Sarah Brown factor. She’s been burned by the last three soaps she’s starred on. Her return to General Hospital was a complete bust (they had her playing Claudia, a brand new character that was horribly written (hired a guy to shoot a kid, later tried to kidnap a newborn) instead of the role she originated, Carly. She then joined The Bold and the Beautiful but the show had no idea what to do with her (especially since her last name wasn’t Logan and her first name wasn’t Brooke) and now she’s leaving DAYS – a fact she found out about online. Stay classy, NBC.

It’s not like Brown could even return to GH at this point unless Laura Wright decides to vacate the role of Carly. Garin Wolf had the “genius” idea of making Claudia Johnny’s MOTHER instead of sister in a retcon earlier this year before soap heroes Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini joined the show. There’s no way a 37-year-old Brown can play mother to a 32-year-old Brandon Barash (Johnny).

That leaves Brown with one final daytime option: The Young and the Restless. But be careful what you wish for soap fans…the current regime at the number one soap hasn’t had a great track record with creating proper characters for high profile soap stars (see Genie Francis, Debbie Morgan). So yeah, we live in a world where Sarah Brown barely has a soap to fall back on while Y&R’s tortures fans with “talent” like Yvonne Zima (Daisy).

Sarah Brown deserves so much more – hopefully she’ll secure a high profile primetime gig – unless of course, VR Troopers makes a return to television, which would be totally awesome.

We could understand NBC’s reasoning behind the writing changes. The ratings weren’t up. But getting rid of fan favourites so quickly? A bit extreme. Perhaps they could have given it some time and really scoped out the situation before undoing a few casting additions that were done. Madison/Brady could have a lot of potential. As would a Carrie/Rafe pairing. The show needs a proper balance with Carrie (the good sister) and Sami (the bad sister). Why not have Jack actually stick around long enough to reunite with his wife and daughter?

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the behind-the-scenes shakeups.
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Related posts:
Interview: Days of our Lives’ Kristian Alfonso
Interview: Days of our Lives’ Bryan Dattilo
Interview: Days of our Lives’ Molly Burnett

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About Author

Jeevan Brar is a digital content producer and freelance entertainment writer based in Toronto. Jeevan has managed The TV Watercooler since 2008, the Canadian blog has focused on daytime soaps, primetime hits and reality TV guilty pleasures. The blog has also connected Canadian soap fans with exclusive interviews with the cast of enduring daytime dramas The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful. 'Like' The TV Watercooler on Facebook. You can also follow Jeevan on Twitter and Google+.

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