Canceled or not? Here’s the deal on ‘Days of Our Lives’

TV Pipeline

Q: Has “Days of Our Lives” been canceled? – Sheila Morris, via e-mail

A: Much has been said about this in recent weeks, and here’s the story. NBC has not canceled the venerable daytime serial (or at least hadn’t at the time this was written, though a producer reportedly told the cast that the show had been renewed), but the company that makes the drama – Corday Productions – terminated its contracts with all of the actors. That doesn’t necessarily say much for loyalty, considering how long some of those performers have been with the show, but it surely was a canny business move.

What this means is that if the show is picked up again, the actors will have to agree to new contracts (possibly for less pay) to continue in their roles. Production is done well ahead of the airing of the episodes, and enough “Days” has been made to take it up to the start of NBC’s coverage of the 2020 Summer Olympics in July. For “Days” to resume telecasts on the other side of that, work would have to start up again fairly soon, so the future of the drama and it stars should become known before long. In the meantime, it certainly has made for lots of conversation, particularly among those who literally have grown up watching the show.

Some of the performers also have spoken out about the situation, including Chrishell Hartley (wife of “This Is Us” co-star Justin Hartley), who is advising fans to watch the series “live” when it airs weekdays – and not later, via recordings of it – to demonstrate to NBC and the producers that devotees still want their “Days.”

Q: I was so sad to see “The Village” canceled. I really liked that show. I wish they would bring it back. – Mary Bennett, Elk Grove, Calif.

A: Sorry, that’s not in the cards. The NBC drama’s ratings were soft from the start, even with it being scheduled on Tuesdays to capitalize on the somewhat similarly themed “This Is Us” after that show had ended its last season. A petition by fans to have the cancellation reversed didn’t work, and the studio didn’t even use the popular “We’ll shop it elsewhere” phrase used now in so many cases when a series is axed.

If there’s a possible silver lining, it’s that several episodes of “The Village” remained available on NBC on Demand as of mid-November. But if you’re going to watch them, you’d better hurry: The network’s new midseason shows are coming soon, so the older ones that didn’t get renewed are likely to vanish.

Q: When is “Criminal Minds” coming back? – Matt Draper, via-e-mail

A: There’s finally a start date for the 15th and last season of the CBS crime drama … Jan. 8, which will see a two-hour episode launch the rather compacted final round. The show also will conclude with a two-hour story on Feb. 19, and since the series has been delving more and more into the personal lives of its characters, expect big developments on that front for David Rossi (played by Joe Mantegna) and others before the program’s ultimate sign-off.

Q: Was the 1960s “Batman” movie made before the television series? – Jim Grace, Flagler Beach, Fla.

A: No, but the timing was close. The movie was made in 1966, between production of the first and second seasons of the ABC series; in fact, the picture was in theaters barely two months after the cameras stopped rolling on it. Producer William Dozier had wanted to make the movie as the pilot for the series, but it was only after the show became a hit that he got the go-ahead for the longer version.

Among interesting bits of trivia: Star Adam West wanted more money for doing the movie, but (at least according to his autobiography) he was threatened with being replaced with another actor if he didn’t capitulate; Julie Newmar couldn’t appear in the picture as Catwoman because of another acting commitment she’d already made (thus, the casting of Lee Meriwether as the villainess); and some footage from the film, particularly scenes of the Batboat and the Batcopter in motion, was repurposed for later episodes of the series.

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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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