It’s as if the residents of Salem have been preparing for a global pandemic all along.
As the coronavirus crisis brings television production to a halt, Days of Our Lives, which just months ago was dodging cancellation buzz, is in perhaps the best position of any TV series to weather the not-so-secret storm. The venerable NBC sudser — which has suspended production indefinitely — shoots a staggering eight months in advance. As a result, the soap has enough original episodes banked to last well until fall.
Daytime’s other three soaps, CBS’ The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful and ABC’s General Hospital have considerably less of a cushion. According to sources, Y&R and B&B were four to six weeks ahead when production was suspended this week, which means their respective wells will run dry in early May. GH, meanwhile, had roughly two months worth of episodes banked when production was shut down, which takes the soap through the end of May.*
The four daytime serials have not set a specific timetable for a resumption of production, although CBS will reportedly reevaluate Y&R and B&B‘s taping status in two weeks.
Can soaps that are consumed on the daily sustain a prolonged outage? That question was first put to the test in 1995, when the months-long, live, daytime coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial pushed sudsers — back then, ABC, CBS and NBC each were home to multiple — off the air and eventually out of many viewers’ mindsets.
For a comprehensive rundown of how your favorite primetime shows are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, check out the gallery above (or click here for direct access).
* An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that GH had one month of episodes banked. It has since been corrected to read two months.