A new head writing team, Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesell, is taking control of Days of Our Lives as the show fights to raise its ratings and stay on the air. And TV Guide is reporting that among their first orders of business will be cutting the cast.
Co-executive producer Greg Meng confirmed that some major exits -- as shocking as when Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John) were let go in 2009 -- were coming. "We're looking at weaving people in and out, and bringing them back later, if we can," said Meng.
Moments after the TV Guide story posted, Soap Opera Digest announced the name of the first four casualties: Matthew Ashford (Jack), Sarah Brown (Madison), Christie Clark (Carrie) and Patrick Muldoon (Austin). In addition, the magazine noted that more cuts would be coming.
Meng went on to explain that Days' current deal with NBC has the show "on the air through to September 2013, so it's really important that we do as best as we can, ratings-wise, starting [this] September. That's our final stretch," he noted.
Viewers won't see the new writing team's work on air until mid-August, because the show tapes months ahead. However, Meng assured that some "really big stuff" was coming up in the upcoming months, particularly prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics, when Days will be preempted for two weeks between Monday, July 30 and Friday, August 10.
"The week leading up to that is huge, and it ends in a great cliffhanger," said Meng.
Photo Courtesy: NBC/Mitchell Haaseth