The sand appears to be leaking out of the hourglass.
TVLine has learned exclusively that the producers of Days of Our Lives have released the entire cast from their contracts, with the venerable soap set to go on an indefinite hiatus at month’s end. While the NBC sudser has not been cancelled, the unprecedented — and decidedly ominous — move comes at a precarious time for ratings-challenged Days and the vanishing soap genre as a whole. It also comes as Sony Pictures Television and NBC are in negotiations to renew series.
Reps for NBC and Sony declined to comment for this story. A Sony source, meanwhile, tells TVLine that the studio is not involved in the contract negotiations with the cast. “The actor deals are through Corday Productions,” explains the insider, referring to Days‘ production company. A spokesperson for Corday Productions, meanwhile, did not reply to TVLine’s request for a comment.
An insider cautions that because Days shoots eight months in advance, the show will have enough episodes in the can when it stops production at the end of November to last through Summer 2020. If NBC does renew Days, production is expected to resume in March. But by releasing the contracted cast members from from their commitment to the show, producers have no guarantee who — if anyone — will return.
“It’s actually a shrewd — if cynical — business move,” sniffs one insider. “If Days gets picked up, [Corday] can offer the actors new contacts at a reduced rate and with a ‘take-it-or-leave’ it attitude. Worst case scenario, they lose half their cast. Best case scenario [for Corday], everyone agrees to return at a lower salary.”
Despite the gloomy turn of events, a source tells TVLine, “All indications are that NBC would like to keep the show going.”
The news comes as Days is shaking things up on-screen. This week, the soap is fast-forwarding the narrative by one year. “This is a great way to reset things in Salem,” executive producer Ken Corday told TVInsider.com of the time jump. “It will be a catalyst for many more [changes] to follow.”