It isn’t easy being a soap opera cast member these days. For four stars of the NBC daytime drama, Days of Our Lives, it’s the end of their contracts.
The sudden departures of Martha Madison, Brandon Beemer, Marie Wilson and Sal Stowers sent shock waves through the soap community after Daytime Confidential dropped the bomb about the “bloodbath” earlier this week. It’s not often so many actors are let go at the same time.
Here are four reasons why this axing might have occurred.
The contract deal for Days of Our Lives took a long time to happen. There were questions about budget and the unorthodox way the soap shoots its story lines six months ahead of time. Even though we will see DOOL on the air for another year, it isn’t that unusual to see budget cuts after a long negotiation.
After the new agreement was announced, there was a shake-up in the writing staff. Cohead writer Josh Griffith left his position after only a year. Staff writer Ryan Quan was promoted to Griffith’s position alongside Dena Higley. With a new team in place, restructuring the cast is bound to occur.
While the four remaining soaps are holding their spots and are still generating an audience, the heyday of the genre is long gone. Veteran soap fans know that the days of the super couple, large casts and unlimited budgets are ancient history.
This epidemic is happening across the board in both daytime and primetime TV. With hundreds of channels to choose from and the younger generation turning to digital entertainment, smaller budgets became necessary for the shows to continue to operate. Less advertising revenue means less money for producers to play with.
Madison’s exit leaves Deidre Hall’s character, Dr. Marlena Evans, without any children on the show. Stowers' departure glaringly highlights DOOL's lack of diversity since she was the only female black character under contract. It raises a few eyebrows since this is a hot topic in Hollywood right now.
Madison, Wilson and Stowers have confirmed the news, but it will be fascinating to watch how the rest of the story unfolds.
To the entire #Days family and fans it was pleasure and an honor! I am forever grateful. ❤️— Sal Stowers (@SalStowers) March 22, 2016
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