Ken Corday opens up about two-season renewal of ‘Days of our Lives’, Peacock, classic episodes and more

Chris Haston / NBC | Ken corday (“Days of our lives”)

Fans were waiting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what was to come next. Would their favorite characters live to see another day? Would their favorite couple recover on time? No, it wasn’t a twist on the air that had been brewing for years. It was, in fact, a real nail biter that gripped worried fans as they waited to see if their favorite daytime soap opera would continue beyond its current 56th season. Turns out they never had to worry. Renewed for a 57th and 58th season earlier this month by NBC, “Days of our Lives” will continue to be the network’s longest-running scripted series for years to come and executive producer. Ken corday would not have it otherwise.

After a long day at work, Mr. Corday returns home. Its connection is sometimes uneven due to the mountainous area it has to cross to reach the highway. A few times he loses connection but is determined to stay in touch. No question is off the table.

What started as a show created by her parents, Ted and Betty, has grown into a cultural phenomenon. The theme of the show has remained the same for most of its run so far and its iconic line, “Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives” “is synonymous with thinking about what is a daytime soap opera. As the owner of the show, he is proud to see his legacy continue.

“It was all I wanted,” says Corday. Soap Opera Network when asked if he was surprised when the network returned with a two-year renewal offer. “I asked for it for Christmas in November when I first spoke to the folks at Comcast / NBCUniversal. I said, “Please can we have more than a year?” It took a while because they had changes at NBC, but yeah, I was pleasantly surprised.

Drake Hogestyn, Deidre Hall, Days of our Lives
XJJohnson / JPI Studios | Drake hogestyn, Deidre Room

The two-season renewal marks the first time since 2014 that the show will be able to operate without worrying about the production situation at the end of the current TV season, making planning for the show much easier.

Promising no major changes after the show’s renewal, Corday says things will go as usual while noting, “Now that we have this commitment, and the luxury of planning our distant future and being able to massage our budget. production, I think viewers will see a bit more of an ambitious, somewhat aggressive, and adventurous storytelling in the series. He added, “We’re able to be flexible, so to speak, with the production and can do a little more of an ambitious approach to day-to-day storytelling and make viewers a little more worried about what’s going on. will happen. “

A conversation could not take place with Mr. Corday without mentioning the coronavirus pandemic. As “Days of our Lives” was the only American scripted program still airing original episodes every weekday several months after production ceased in March 2020, the question of whether the show would address the subject during September’s resumption of production was quickly crushed when you consider that episodes that air in the US often don’t appear onscreen in international markets until years later. This is just one of the reasons why “DAYS”, and likewise the other three daytime soap operas, did not cover it in their plots.

“When the pandemic was thrown at us, we chose not to portray COVID as a natural part of Salem just because these shows might not air for another two or three years in overseas markets, and hopefully that in two or three years it will not be the case. be something people want to talk about or even see, ”Corday says.

As for how the series has managed to operate under tight COVID protocols, Corday shares that they’ve done it very carefully. “It’s very expensive, but I can’t get the cast, crew and staff to come onto a stage that they deem to be in any way, form or form, precarious or dangerous. We want to make sure it’s a very, very safe place. We want them to feel safer on set than they even feel at home. Strike wood, we’ve been pretty good at it for eight, eight and a half months.

Peacock TV, Peacock TV logo
Peacock TV LLC

With ratings on the decline across the board for TV and with streaming services appearing almost every month as studios and networks vie for viewers with Netflix and Amazon, among others, NBCUniversal has launched its own streaming service. streaming last year. Named after NBC’s iconic mascot, Peacock launched in mid-2020 with specific content available based on the various pricing options offered by the service, including a free + ads option. This plan provides all “Days of our Lives” episodes from the show’s current 56th season.

So what impact, if any, has streaming had on the “DAYS” renewal? According to Corday, it was a factor. “Network TV reaches a certain audience, but not necessarily the same audience as streaming platforms, and I think Peacock is doing pretty well. It is flourishing at a time when network television may not be flourishing, ”he says. He further notes: “The show is doing very well on Peacock and I see that the future of ‘Days of our Lives’ in the decades to come, from now into the 1920s, will be more of a date. streaming than a network appointment. However, it is important for people to watch network television. Subscription is cheaper and advertisers need network viewers. “

When you consider that the complete libraries of the originals “Law & Order”, “The Office” and even “House, MD”, among a plethora of others, are readily available on Peacock right now, you would think of classic episodes. of daytime soap could also make a seamless transition to streaming. Unfortunately, it’s not in the cards. At least not for the moment.

To be able to retransmit older episodes of the soap opera, one would have to negotiate with the various unions on the residuals of episodes that were not previously covered by the current contracts, explains Corday, who says that there will eventually be older episodes. of the show. available to watch in streaming. “There are a lot of implications in starting to air over 14,000 shows going back to 65. You are dealing with residue and a huge amount of residual payments that need to be determined for the actors, directors and writers of those. episodes. It’s not just about coming back to this season where everyone’s rates are set for a repeat. That’s where the crust of the problem lies … not that it’s a problem, but it’s going to work out. We’ll get there.

Speaking of going back to 1965 when the series debuted, Corday credits the success of the series to family. “This show is a success because we tell stories about romance, adventure and intrigue,” he explains. “We never strayed from that formula my dad knew when he created the show, and my mom followed for the next 15 years, and I did too. You just [think] “Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You can tweak it or add spokes, but it’s essentially family stories in Salem that have animated the series for five decades.

“Days of our Lives” is the only American daytime soap opera to be filmed several months before the air date. They’ve been following this production model for several years and they’re pretty good at it. It actually worked for the show’s benefit when production shut down last year, which Corday says kept the show in the originals without having to air a single repeat.

“I’m so grateful that I stuck to my guns and stuck to our production schedule in order to get ahead, so by the time the pandemic hit in March of last year we had more. seven months early, which means we didn’t have to air any rehearsals, ”Corday reveals before explaining that the show will likely continue with the production model. “I think the same will be true now,” he said. “Without being selfish, I think I know what works and what doesn’t, so what if we put on shows like that in four or six months?” Our viewers will get there until we fake it and start questioning ourselves, pulling punches and telling the story because we don’t know if it will work or not, ”Corday says in shares a famous quote from the Roman poet Virgil. “Fortune is on the side of the one who dares.”

“I’m kidding if I said that we just decided one day to go ahead,” he says. “It had to do with the budget… how we would produce in three weeks the same number of shows that we produce in four, four and a half weeks so that the cast and crew could rest for a week, and I didn’t. not. have to pay for this fourth week of production, which saves us a lot of money. “

Even with a guaranteed 57th and 58th season, Corday wants to see the show reach the big 6-0. “I hope we will turn 60. It will be a hell of a milestone. For a television show to air for 60 years is a true appearance of the standard. “

On the day the show’s renewal was announced, a small group of veteran cast and crews were on hand as NBC executives came to support Corday and the show with the wonderful news. A compilation video from that day can be viewed below. Along with Corday’s prolific words, a statement from Cherise Masukawa, Manager, Current Programming, NBCUniversal, stands out. In it, she said: “This year has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but the simple fact that we have released originals seamlessly throughout the pandemic is amazing, and it is. just a testament to the hard work you’ve put into this area, and also just knowing that this is family and that your fans around the world consider Salem like family. And for one of the toughest years in anyone’s life, it was a family where they couldn’t see their own family, and you brought love and light and joy and tears. and laughs in their life and we’re so excited we can do it. this for many years to come. “

Congratulations, “Days of our Lives” on your two year renewal. You are truly like family and we are happy to have you still for so many days in our lives.

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