- Days of our Lives
Days of our lives
Main title card
Genre Soap opera Created by Ted Corday
Directed by Herb Stein, Phil Sogard, Albert Alarr, Grant Johnson Starring Suzanne Rogers
Country of origin United States Language(s) English No. of seasons 45 No. of episodes 11714 (as of November 11 2011) Production Executive producer(s) Ken Corday Greg Meng and Noel Maxam Running time 30 minutes (1965-1975)
60 minutes (1975-Present)
Distributor Corday Productions, Inc.
In Association With Sony Pictures Television (Columbia TriStar Television 2001 until 2002, Columbia Pictures Television 1974 to 2001, and Screen Gems until name change in 1974)
Broadcast Original channel NBC Picture format 480i (SDTV) (1965-2010)
1080i (HDTV) (2010-present)
Audio format Stereo Original run November 8, 1965 – present Chronology Related shows Another World External links Website
Days of our Lives is a long running daytime soap opera broadcast on the NBC television network. It is one of the longest running scripted television programs in the world, airing nearly every weekday in the United States since November 8, 1965. It has since been syndicated to many countries around the world. It also rebroadcasts on SOAPnet with the earlier same day's broadcast airing weekdays at 7 a.m. and the most recent episode airing weeknights at 8 and 12 a.m. (ET/PT). The series was created by husband-and-wife team Ted Corday and Betty Corday. Irna Phillips was a story editor for Days of Our Lives and many of the first stories were also written by William J. Bell. The show along with The Young and the Restless was renewed through 2013 with option 2014.
Due the series' success, it was expanded from 30 minutes to a full hour on April 21, 1975. On that date, the currently aired mid-show bumper voiced by the late McDonald Carey says "We will return for the second half of Days of our Lives in just a moment" and still airs in its original fifteen second form to date.
Days of our Lives is the second longest-running scripted television program in the United States after General Hospital. It is the fourth longest running in the world and has the largest amount of surviving episodes among episodic programs worldwide.
The series focuses on its core families, the Hortons and the Bradys. Several other families have been added to the cast, and many of them still appear on the show. Frances Reid the matriarch of the series' Horton family remained with the show from its inception to her death on February 3, 2010. Suzanne Rogers celebrated 38 years on Days of our Lives this year, appearing on the show more or less since her first appearance in 1973. Susan Seaforth Hayes is the only cast member to appear on Days of our Lives in all six decades it has been on air.
Days of our Lives aired its 10,000th episode on February 21, 2005. The show was given the title of most daring drama in the seventies covering topics other soaps would not dare to do. The show's executive producer is Ken Corday, and co-executive producer is Gary Tomlin. Days of our Lives is the most widely-distributed soap opera in the United States. The original title sequence voiced by MacDonald Carey is still used to this day. The show has also been parodied by the television sitcom Friends, some cast members made crossovers on the show. Such would include Kristian Alfonso, Roark Critchlow, Matthew Ashford, Kyle Lowder, and Alison Sweeney. The show has high profile fans such as actress Julia Roberts, and the now deceased Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall.
The Cordays and Bell combined the "hospital soap" idea with the tradition of centering a series on a family, by making the show about a family of doctors, including one who worked in a mental hospital. Storylines in the show follow the lives of middle and upper-class professionals in Salem, a middle-America town, with the usual threads of love, marriage, divorce, and family life, plus the medical storylines and character studies of individuals with psychological problems. Former executive producer Al Rabin took pride in the characters' passion, saying that the characters were not shy about "sharing what's in their gut."
Critics originally praised the show for its non-reliance on nostalgia (in contrast to shows such as As the World Turns) and its portrayal of "real American contemporary families." By the 1970s, critics deemed Days to be the most daring daytime drama, leading the way in using themes other shows of the period would not dare touch, such as artificial insemination and interracial romance. The January 12, 1976 cover of Time magazine featured Days of our Lives' Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes, the first and only daytime actors to ever appear on its cover. The Hayeses themselves were a couple whose onscreen and real-life romance (they met on the series in 1970 and married in 1974) was widely covered by both the soap opera magazines and the mainstream press.
In the 1990s, the show branched out into supernatural storylines, which critics immediately panned, as it was seen as a departure from more realistic storylines for which the show had originally become known. However, these storylines did have the desired effect, making Days the most-watched daytime soap among young and middle-aged women, also becoming one of NBC's five most profitable shows in any time slot. In 2006, when asked about his character, Jack Deveraux, "coming back from the dead"—for the third time—actor Matthew Ashford responded, "It is hard to play that because at a certain point it becomes too unreal...actors look at that and think, 'What is this — the Cartoon Network'?"
Days, in addition to receiving critical acclaim in print journalism, has won a number of awards, including a Daytime Emmy for Best Drama in 1978 and a Writers Guild of America, East Award for Best Drama in 2000. Days actors have also won awards: Macdonald Carey (Dr. Tom Horton) won Best Actor in 1974 and 1975, Susan Flannery (Laura Horton) won Best Actress in 1975, Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton), Leann Hunley (Anna DiMera), and Tamara Braun (Ava Vitali) won Best Supporting Actress for respectively 1979, 1986, and 2009 and Billy Warlock (Frankie Brady) won Best Younger Actor for 1988. In 2009, Darin Brooks (Max Brady) took home the Emmy for Best Younger Actor," and Tamara Braun (Ava Vitali) won for Best Supporting Actress, the show's first acting victories in over 21 and 23 years, respectively
As with all other network programming, Days' ratings have declined somewhat since the 1990s. In January 2007 it was suggested by NBC that the show "is unlikely to continue [on NBC] past 2009." In November 2008, in an eleventh-hour decision, it was announced the show had been renewed through September 2010. The 18-month renewal was down from its previous renewal, which was for five years. The show made somewhat of a comeback in 2009, with ratings increasing as the year progressed. In March 2010, the show was renewed once again through September 2011; then again on November 8, 2010, its 45th anniversary, the show was renewed for two more years through September 2013, with an option for an additional year which would keep the soap on through 2014, its 49th year on the air. Beginning on November 8, 2010, which marked Days of our Lives' 45th anniversary, the show began airing in high-definition.
When Days of our Lives premiered in 1965, the show revolved around the tragedies and triumphs of the suburban Horton family. Over time, additional families were brought to the show to interact with the Hortons and serve as springboards for more dramatic storylines. Originally led by patriarch Dr. Tom Horton and his wife, homemaker Alice, the Hortons remain a prominent fixture in current continuity. One of the longest-running storylines involved the rape of Mickey Horton's wife Laura by Mickey's brother Bill. Laura confides in her father-in-law Dr. Tom, and the two agree that her husband Mickey should never know. The secret, involving the true parentage of Michael Horton (a product of the rape) and Mickey's subsequent health issues as a result of the revelation, spanned episodes from 1968 to 1975. The storyline was the first to bring the show to prominence, and put it near the top of the Nielsen daytime ratings. Another love triangle, between lounge singer Doug Williams, Tom and Alice's daughter Addie, and Addie's own daughter, Julie, proved to be very popular around the same time. The storyline culminated in the death of Addie in 1974 and the marriage of Doug and Julie in 1976.
In the early 1980s, the Brady and DiMera families were introduced, and their rivalry quickly cemented their places as core families in Salem beside the Hortons. Around the same time, with the help of head writers Sheri Anderson, Thom Racina, and Leah Laiman, action/adventure storylines and supercouples such as Bo and Hope, Shane and Kimberly, and Patch and Kayla reinvigorated the show, previously focused primarily on the domestic troubles of the Hortons. Since the 1990s, with the introduction of writer James E. Reilly, Days of our Lives has moved from traditional plots to some supernatural and science-fiction-themed stories, in conjunction with the rivalry of good vs. evil, in a Hatfield/McCoy feud style the Bradys versus the DiMeras. Under the tenure of Reilly, ratings rose to #2, and stayed there until he left in 1999 to start his own creation of Passions. Despite the introduction of new head writer Hogan Sheffer in 2006, ratings failed to revive, which led the show's producers to hire a few past fan favorites to stop the ratings hemorrhage.
In addition to the love triangles of Bill/Laura/Mickey and Addie/Doug/Julie, other memorable storylines include the 1968 story of amnesiac Tom Horton, Jr., who returns from Korea believing he is someone else and then proceeds to romance his younger sister Marie; the twenty-year tragic love triangle when John Black steals Marlena Brady from her husband Roman; the 1982 "Salem Strangler" (Jake Kositchek, who was nicknamed "Jake the Ripper") who stalks and murders women; the 1984 Gone with the Wind storyline in which Hope Williams Brady and Bo Brady hide out on a Southern plantation and dress up as Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler (devised to keep viewers tuned in while rival network ABC's soaps were preempted due to the 1984 Summer Olympics); "The Cruise of Deception" in 1990, when madman Ernesto Toscano invites all his enemies aboard a ship, the S.S. Loretta, and holds them captive;  the shocking and ratings-grabbing 1993 plot when Vivian Alamain buried Dr. Carly Manning alive (the first controversial storyline from head writer Reilly);  the 1994–1995 storyline in which the town's Christmas tree burns down and Marlena becomes possessed in Exorcist fashion; the 2003–2004 "Melaswen", when several characters purportedly die at the hands of a masked psychopath, but are later revealed to have been kidnapped to the secret island of Melaswen (New Salem spelled backwards); and the 2007 "Bradys and DiMeras: The Reveal," which told the story regarding how the Brady/DiMera feud started. Past characters returned in June 2010 to honor the passing of matriarch Alice Horton, whose character died on June 23, 2010. On June 23, 2011, Days of Our Lives introduced Sonny Kiriakis, the show's first contract homosexual character onto the canvas to be featured in the show's first gay storyline. Freddie Smith (Sonny) said in an interview, "He’s very confident and mature, he’s traveled the world and is very open-minded. I’m very excited to portray him."
When Days of our Lives debuted the cast consisted of seven main characters (Tom Horton, Alice Horton, Mickey Horton, Marie Horton, Julie Olson, Tony Merritt, and Craig Merritt). When the show expanded to one-hour in April 1975, the cast increased to 27 actors. By the 25th anniversary in 1990, 40 actors appeared on the show in contract or recurring roles, which is the approximate number of actors the show has used since then. Original cast member Frances Reid, who played Alice Horton, remained on contract with Days of our Lives through her death on February 3, 2010 though she last appeared on the show in December 2007. Original cast member John Clarke, who played Mickey Horton, left the series in 2004. Suzanne Rogers, who plays Maggie Horton has been on the show since 1973, and Susan Seaforth Hayes has played Julie Olson Williams since 1968 with a few breaks in between and also her husband Bill Hayes, who has played Doug Williams since 1970, though neither Seaforth Hayes or Hayes is employed with the serial on contract.
In recent years, Days has hired back many former cast members. Twenty of the current contract cast members have been with the show, off-and-on, since at least 1999. Since 2005, cast members from the 1980s and 1990s, such as Christie Clark (Carrie Brady), Stephen Nichols (Steve Johnson), Austin Peck (Austin Reed), Mary Beth Evans (Kayla Brady), Joseph Mascolo (Stefano DiMera), and Thaao Penghlis (Tony DiMera) have been brought back to Days. More additions to the show include the returns of Crystal Chappell (Dr. Carly Manning), and Louise Sorel as Vivian Alamain. In June 2010, characters such as Jennifer Horton, Bill Horton, Shane Donovan, and Kimberly Brady returned for a short time and were featured heavily in a tribute to Alice Horton.
Executive producing and head writing team
The co-creator and original executive producer, Ted Corday, was only at the helm for eight months before dying of cancer in 1966. His widow, Betty, was named executive producer upon his death. She continued in that role, with the help of H. Wesley Kenney and Al Rabin as supervising producers, before she semi-retired in 1985. When Mrs. Corday semi-retired in 1985, and later died in 1987, her son, Ken, became executive producer and took over the full-time, day-to-day running of the show, a title he still holds today. The series' current co-executive producer is Gary Tomlin, who joined the series on September 17, 2008.
The first long-term head writer, William J. Bell, started writing for Days in 1966 and continued until 1975, a few years after he had created his own successful soap, The Young and the Restless. He stayed with the show as a storyline consultant until 1978. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, many writing changes occurred. In the early 1980s, Margaret DePriest helped stabilize the show with her serial killer storyline. Later head writers, such as Sheri Anderson, Thom Racina, and Leah Laiman, built on that stability and crafted storylines of their own, temporarily bringing up ratings. Many writing changes occurred after Laiman left the series in 1989 and would not become stable again until James E. Reilly started with the show in 1993. His tenure, which lasted for four-and-a-half years, was credited with bringing ratings up to the second place spot in the Nielsens. Other writers who succeeded him, such as Sally Sussman Morina and Tom Langan, failed to keep the ratings success, and another writer turnover continued until Reilly returned to the series in 2003.
Five-time Daytime Emmy winner Hogan Sheffer was named head writer with great fanfare in October 2006, but lasted less than 16 months with the show, with his last episode airing in January 2008. Current head writer Dena Higley's first episode aired on April 23, 2008. Her co-head writer was Christopher Whitesell until Feb 2011. His replacement has yet to be named. On May 18, 2011 Dena Higley was fired. The new head writers are Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas Jr.
For the first three years on the air, Days of our Lives was near the bottom of the Nielsen ratings, and close to cancellation. However, its ascent to the top was rapid; as the 1969 TV season ended, it became an effective tool of NBC, which attempted to dethrone daytime leader CBS. By 1973 the show, pitted against CBS' popular Guiding Light and ABC's The Newlywed Game at 2 p.m.(EST)/1 p.m.(CST), had matched the first-place ratings of As the World Turns and sister NBC dramatic serial Another World. Due to the success of the program, it expanded from a half hour to one hour on April 21, 1975. This expansion had followed the lead of AW, which became TV's first-ever hour-long soap on January 6, three-and-a-half months earlier. Further, Days' new starting time of 1:30/12:30 finally solved a scheduling problem that began in 1968 when NBC lost the game Let's Make a Deal to ABC, and in its wake, eight different shows were placed into the slot (Hidden Faces, You're Putting Me On, Life with Linkletter, Words & Music, Memory Game, Three on a Match, Jeopardy!, and How to Survive a Marriage).
However, this first golden period for NBC daytime proved to be short-lived, as Days' ratings began to decline in 1977. Much of the decline was due to ABC's expansion of its increasingly popular soap All My Children to a full hour, the last half of which overlapped with the first half of Days. By January 1979, the network, in a mode of desperation more than anything else, decided to jump headlong against AMC and moved the show ahead to the same 1 p.m./12 Noon time slot. In exchange to its affiliates for taking away the old half-hour access slot at 1/Noon, NBC gave them the 4 p.m./3 slot, which many (if not most) stations had been preempting for years anyway. By 1986, ABC and CBS followed suit, under the intense pressure of lucrative (and cheap) syndicated programming offered to affiliates.
By 1980, Days had displaced Another World as NBC's highest-rated soap. However, the entire NBC soap lineup was in ratings trouble. In fact, by 1982, all of its shows were rated above only one ABC soap (The Edge of Night) and below all four CBS soaps. The "supercouple" era of the 1980s, however, helped bring about a ratings revival, and the 1983–1984 season saw Days experience a surge in ratings. It held onto its strong numbers for most of the 80s, only to decline again by 1990, eventually falling back into eighth place. In the mid-1990s, however, the show experienced a resurgence in popularity and the show reached number two in the ratings, where it remained for several years before experiencing another ratings decline beginning in 1999, the year that Days became NBC's longest-running daytime program (upon the cancellation of AW). Throughout the 2000s, Days and all the other remaining network daytime serials have witnessed a steady erosion of viewers, mainly due to vastly altered viewing habits induced by cable networks and alternative genres such as reality and talk shows on minor network affiliates.
On January 17, 2007, NBC Universal Television president Jeff Zucker remarked that Days of our Lives would most likely not "continue past 2009." This contributed to an immediate ratings decline for Days. The show was averaging a 2.4 rating prior to the announcement, dropped to a 2.2 average household rating in the months after. In an April 2007 interview with Soap Opera Digest, executive producer Ken Corday commented on the ratings decline of the previous months, "If I don't pay attention to the ratings and what the viewers are saying, I'm an ostrich. I have not seen a decline in the ratings on the show this precipitous — ever. I've never seen this much of a percentage decline." Since January 1993, WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, PA airs Days weekdays during its 3:00 p.m. timeslot while some stations such as WJAC-TV in Johnstown, PA air the program during the 2:00 p.m. timeslot, but most stations continue to air Days at its 1 pm timeslot. With the cancellation of Passions, Days is now NBC's last remaining daytime soap opera.
Days of our Lives has finished the 2008-2009 television season with substantial increases in viewers (3.0 million vs. 2.8 million) and has risen to the #3 spot behind The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, respectively. It is now the #2 daytime program behind Y&R in the much coveted 18-49 demographic. During the first few months of the 2009-2010 season, Days increased its average household rating to 2.4, and is averaging consistently over 3,000,000 viewers. It is only one point behind the #2 daytime drama B&B, and has beat that soap on several days during the season. In 2010, Days has continued to increase viewership and has as high as 3.6 million viewers on several days. A substantial increase in viewership such as Days has had lately, also bucks the viewership trend in daytime dramas, which has declined since the 1990s for all other daytime drama series. Days is the only daytime drama series to increase in viewers over the last two seasons and has reduced its operating budget, making it a profitable asset to NBC's broadcast line-up.
According to Variety, Days is the most widely-distributed soap opera in the United States, with episodes not just broadcast via NBC, but also via cable (SOAPnet), and as of June 2007, episodes are offered via iTunes. and also has an international audience.
In Australia, it started broadcasting locally on 25 March 1968 at 12 noon, via the Nine Network. Over time, Days ended up airing at a delay of nearly five years behind the United States due to cricket pre-emptions in the summer, so in 2004, Nine aired a special titled Days of our Lives: A New Day, which summarized four years of storyline in one hour, in an attempt to catch up to more current telecasts. This speed-up caused mixed feelings as viewers missed many vital storylines and it landed right in the middle of the Melaswen storyline. Now, episodes are ten months behind the United States.
Throughout Canada, Days of our Lives currently airs at 1:00 pm on Global Television Network. Episodes are aired in sync with the NBC broadcast to take advantage of simultaneous substitution regulations. The show also airs on Newfoundland's NTV at 1:30pm Newfoundland Standard Time.
New Zealand has aired Days nearly as long, debuting on Television New Zealand by 1975 at the latest, and was currently running approximately five years behind the United States on TV ONE. TVNZ Stopped airing Days of our Lives on 19 May 2010 despite a national petition from fans, Sky has no plans to pick it up.
In South Africa the soap airs on SABC 3 each weekday from 16:30 to 17:30. Episodes are currently 2 and a half years behind that of the USA.
Days also airs in a number of countries across Europe, premiering in Turkey on October 8, 1990, France on July 29, 1991, and since July 1998 after the end of Loving diffusion on France 2 (currently 6 years behind the U.S.), Germany on September 6, 1993, Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1997 (currently four years behind the U.S.), Finland on August 11, 2003, and Hungary on June 14, 2004. Channel 5 aired episodes of Days in the United Kingdom from March 2000 to April 2001, eventually pulling it off the air; network executives deemed its audience of 200,000 viewers as too low a figure. Days had previously aired in the UK and Ireland on the Sky Soap channel between 1994 and 1999; episodes were three years behind U.S. telecasts. Days became available to viewers again in the UK in 2007 - to 2010; CBS Drama ended the run after relegating the show from daytime to 1.00am.
In Italy Days aired for only three months in 1985 on Rete A; in 1992 Italia 7 started to air new episodes, five years behind U.S. telecasts. In 1993, after 260 episodes, the show was cancelled.
In Greece the show aired from 1994-1996 on Mega Channel (focusing on the Cruise of Deception storyline), 1997-2000 on Star Channel (broadcasting the 1992-1995 Reily era), and 2005-2006 on NET (with the first 320 episodes of the Salem Stalker/Melaswen storyline).On February 2011 the show continued on ET1 in a late night zone...
Belize's Tropical Vision Limited features Days as an afternoon staple. Currently it airs at 2:00 pm UTC-6 (Central Time), though it previously aired as early as 1:00 pm or as late as 5:30 pm as a lead in to the news.
Opening title sequences and theme song
Almost unmodified since the show's debut in 1965, the title sequence of Days of our Lives features an hourglass, with sand slowly trickling to the bottom against the backdrop of a partly cloudy sky, as well as the trademark voiceover, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." From the show's debut in 1965 until March 1966, announcer Ed Prentiss spoke the phrase, adding "Days of our Lives, a new dramatic serial starring Macdonald Carey." Since April 1966, the voice has been that of Macdonald Carey, who played Dr. Tom Horton from the show's premiere until the actor's 1994 death from lung cancer. From 1966 to 1994, he would add "This is Macdonald Carey, and these are the days of our lives." After Carey's death in 1994, this second part was removed out of respect for Carey and his family. His full introduction was restored during the 45th year anniversary show that aired on November 8, 2010.
The theme that regularly accompanies each sequence was composed by Charles Albertine, Tommy Boyce, and Bobby Hart. The theme has only been modified a few times since Days premiered: in 1972, in 1993, when the opening titles were changed to computerized visuals, and in 2004, with an orchestral arrangement that was only used in eight episodes, at which time the theme was reverted to the 1993 arrangement, and is the one currently used. Beginning with the November 8, 2010 episode, a slightly revised version of the opening sequence modified for high definition broadcast debuted, although other than slight changes to the coloring of the sky background in the sequence and the sequence now being displayed in 16:9 widescreen, there was very little change in the sequence's appearance from the original 1993 version.
Days of our Lives was satirized on the hit NBC sitcom Friends when series regular Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) was cast as "Dr. Drake Ramoray" on the show, (possibly due to Jennifer Aniston's father John Aniston playing Victor Kiriakis) and despite Joey living in New York when Days of our Lives is shot in California. Subsequent episodes featured pseudo-Days of our Lives storylines invented for the sitcom, and included some guest appearances by real-life cast members from the soap opera. Joey's stint on the show ended when he angered the show's writers; his character was killed after falling down an elevator shaft. Later, his character was brought back to life thanks to a brain transplant from the character Jessica Lockhart, played by Susan Sarandon. Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady) appeared on Friends as faux Days character "Jessica Ashley," Kristian Alfonso as Hope Brady, and Roark Critchlow as Mike Horton. In an episode in which Joey hosts a "soap opera party" on the roof, Matthew Ashford and Kyle Lowder make appearances as his co-stars. In the spin-off sitcom Joey, Joey is nominated for "best death scene" after his character is stabbed while performing surgery. The show was also parodied as Light of our Love, or LOOL, in the Nancy Drew video game Stay Tuned for Danger.
The show has had many high-profile fans. In 1976, TIME magazine reported that then-Justice of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall, would call a recess around the 1 p.m. hour to watch Days of our Lives. Actress Julia Roberts admitted at the 2002 People's Choice Awards that she was a fan of Days, and asked to be seated near the cast at that event as well as other award shows. In 2004, during the show's Melaswen storyline, Roberts' interest was considered notable enough that Entertainment Weekly quoted her saying that "the show has gotten a little wacko." A 1998 TIME article mentioned that Monica Lewinsky was a passionate fan of Days of our Lives, so much so that she wrote a poem about the series in her high school yearbook. The article compared her whirlwind experiences in the White House to a story on Days. Best-selling novelist Brian Keene has stated in interviews that he has watched the show since 1983, and pauses from writing each day during the hour it is on.
- List of Days of our Lives cast members
- List of Days of our Lives characters
- Minor characters of Days of our Lives
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- Official website
- Days of our Lives on SOAPnet.com
- Days of our Lives - Sony Pictures
- Days of our Lives at the Internet Movie Database
- Days of our Lives - SoapCentral.com
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