Dear Kenny

Things are looking bleak, aren’t they?

An abrupt drop in ratings. Fans complaining. Cancellation rumors—make that, cancellation promises. A whole genre in trouble.

Kenny, isn’t it exhausting, this endless pursuit of that fickle harlot—The Demographic? Wouldn’t it be a relief not to dance that dance anymore?

Here’s an idea: die with dignity. I know, I know, but hear me out. Let’s not make the show prance around like Dee Hall anymore, trying to act like an ingenue. Stop worrying about the ratings. They’ll probably bounce around between 2.0 and 3.0 just like all the other soaps. (Except Y&R, curse you!) So who cares, really? Imagine the possibilities for a writer, to know that the show will end in two years. Let him plot the end out now. Let’s get a nice story arc going.

Let’s face it, Kenny. We all have things we’re good at, and things we’re not so good at. I’m sure there are many things you can do. Bowling, perhaps?ย  Whistling? But it isn’t writing. It’s time to leave the writing to the professionals—let the people you’ve hired do their thing, with only two stipulations: use the cast, and use the history. Let the writers write, the directors direct, and the actors act. Get everyone on board. Let’s make the end of Days something we can all look back on with pride.

But I haven’t forgotten about you. I have a job for you. While all this is happening, you’ll be out there making deals. Isn’t Days the only soap that has retained all its episodes from the beginning? Good thinking, Kenny! Wouldn’t classic Days on Soapnet, from the beginning, be fabulous? Or even starting in the supercouple era? Imagine, making money from a show when it no longer has any production costs! And here’s another idea: there are people making money right now making DVDs of different couples and characters, and selling them to other fans. These are second generation copies (at least), from twenty year old tapes sometimes, and people are paying for these! Imagine what people would buy if they could be assured of first generation quality, with some nice packaging and extras thrown in. Can you picture it, Kenny?

When a show is on the air, no one aims to be a cult show. Big ratings, that’s what you want. But when a show is off the air, a cult show is the best. Cult shows have fans who can milked indefinitely.

We’ll buy, we’ll watch, I promise you. You’re sitting on a gold mine. Think about it.

22 thoughts on “Dear Kenny

  1. Soaps are the ultimate cult shows, aren’t they? My current theory about the ratings is that a chunk of the audience was mesmerized by Reilly’s repetitive dialogue, flashbacks and storylines, the way you might be distracted by a hypnotist’s watch. When the spell was broken, they collectively shook their heads, said, “What the heck have I been watching?” and shut it off, never to return. This left the supercouple fanbases and the few remaining general fans who stuck out the Reilly era, surviving on a diet of snark.

    I’m hoping someone decides to write a juicy behind-the-scenes book about the last days of Days. Only then will we really know what happened in February.

  2. Hee—“What the heck have I been watching?”

    One day I accidentally opened the beginning of the Days forum on TWoP (instead of the recent posts). It’s all from the Salem Serial Killer era. It was really interesting seeing talk about the show then, versus now. At least there are SOME things we like now.

    Did you come back for Steve and Kayla? Or did you catch more of the Reilly era?

    I’m dying to know what happened in February.

  3. I don’t know if thinking about it is an option for Kenny, but I’d pay money for Days on DVD from late 1985 to about 1990. I’ve got it on SuperHigh Grade video, but it’s getting old. And I have to drag out a VCR and figure out how to hook it up to my current setup every time I want to watch.

  4. Well, I was in pre-school when S&K started their first run. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I first watched around 1996-1998, mostly for Bo and Hope. I was online then, too โ€“ I remember some incarnation of Coffeerooms and Dustin’s and Beth’s sites, as well as some that are no longer around (The Mining Company?). I came back when Zack died because we started getting SoapNet then, and paid half attention until Reilly was fired, S&K came back, and the huge glut of clips showed up on the internet.

    Reilly in the mid-90’s was far, far more watchable than his last few months in 2006. There were hints of his later bad habits, like the interminable Bo/Hope/Billie triangle. Nearly every problem that Bo and Hope had was a misunderstanding, which was frustrating and contrived. Kate did nothing but meddle in her children’s lives during this era โ€“ she was paying Franco to help keep Bo away from Hope and with Billie, and also was doing something with Sami, Austin, and Lucas that I canโ€™t remember. There were some very silly faux-Jack and faux-Jennifer stories then โ€“ something about a circus? And faux-Jack in prison? However, the secret room story was great; I remember the reveal, Kristen’s downfall, rooting for John and Marlena to tell each other that they were in love (!!!), various people dressed up like Elvis, Susan and Edmund falling in love in England, the false teeth, etc. It was high camp, but it worked, and Deidre Hall was very good. There were also other adventure storylines, such as John and Hope in the jungle. Overall, even though there were too many flashbacks and too much repetitive dialogue, the show was much more dynamic than last year.

    DVDs would be awesome, but I have a feeling they would come out with sets of clips for the supercouples instead of whole eps. I’m still hoping for SoapNet, too.

  5. I have heard that mid-90’s Reilly was a lot more dynamic and interesting than what I saw (Nov 05 through when he left).

    It sounds like Another World has been dumped from Soapnet! That makes me fear that classic Days won’t get picked up either. I’m dying for them to show the 70’s (when I was in preschool—but watching๐Ÿ™‚ ), but naturally I would love the 80’s as well. I missed Bo and Hope and Kim and Shane’s initial love stories (came back just in time for S&K) and I would love to see them.

    Densie, you’re lucky you kept your tapes. I was taping back then (same era as you) but I gradually taped over them all. Stupid stupid! Now I’m dependent on the internet for clips.

    Incidentally—speaking of clips—I’m waiting for the ohlookabird archive to be back up over at so I can do part 6 (Stockholm II) of the S&K saga.

  6. When I first heard about the cancellation rumors/promises for 2009, I was upset but just felt confident that either NBC would change its mind or another network would pick it up. Now, I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that it’s going bye-bye in a couple of years.

    Given that, I really wish that Kenny would take your advice and let the writers find a way to let the show go with dignity. Write some fun, adventurous romantic stuff with smart dialogue and just enough angst to keep things interesting.

    I know that if they put together DVD packages, I’d probably invest some money in them (I have all seven seasons of West Wing after all).

    BTW, it appears that the OLAB archive is back up at, so no more excuses for not having Stockholm II (my favorite part of the Stockholm story) done.๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I agree, if the show is going to go out let it go out with style. Saddens me, I watched from the mid 70s until the 90s when S&K left and they started to get into just stupid things like Marlena being possessed. Up until then, while some s/l’s were a little out there in left field they were at least somewhat “plausible” with some great angst, good dialogue, and you knew in the end things would work out. Now it seems like the same thing keeps getting played out over and over.

    My goodness – how many times can Sami get married?! I’ve really grown to love the character and thought they were going in a good direction with Sami and EJ. Would have made for some great s/l’s. I’m also loving Nick and Chelsea. But for me S&K will always be my favorites. I think the writers have all but trashed Bo and Hope though. So much wasted potential.

    I would however purchase DVDs of the 70s and 80s but I doubt Corday has the forsight. If he can’t keep one of the best known and longest running soaps on the air then I question if he has the ability to properly put together the DVDs.

    Generally I don’t like to critize an individual with regards to a production such as this as there are so many factors involved – changing demographics, actor and writer availability, technological advances, etc. Again, without a good visionary at the helm the show will sink. I hope Corday gets the message.

  8. I would so buy Days too. And my heart is breaking if the AW rumors are true. It’s just about to get to the point of the Jake/Paulina storyline!

    I so agree about dying with dignity. Though I’m afraid the extreme fans are going to complain as long as their characters are benched. They would rather their characters in bad storylines than little screentime. And when I say bad, I mean JERkish level of course.

    If Days is cancelled, please let him tie up all storylines and that includes writing in a happy Chick ending.

  9. BTW, it appears that the OLAB archive is back up at, so no more excuses for not having Stockholm II (my favorite part of the Stockholm story) done.๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, I know what I’m doing tonight!

    I am ready to buy DVDs. Couple sets, or full eps by year (packaged separately), either could work. The couple sets would be the smartest, I think, you could throw in interviews and commentary, along with a nice booklet or two with some pictures. The fanbases, who are pretty much a thorn in Corday’s side now, would eat that up.

    I think part of the reason I really want Days to go to Soapnet is so I can still do this blog, and go to the TWoP discussion boards! Maybe that makes me kinda pathetic, I don’t care.

    I think the worst thing about JERk (and I trace it back to Corday) is that he didn’t respect the characters. Soaps have always been a bit out there but the reactions of the characters were believable and we cared about them. When that trust is broken it’s hard to get it back. That’s why Hogan is facing an uphill battle.

  10. I’d love it if they offered both couple sets and full episodes by year. That way, I could get the years that I really liked most of the show (like 1987-88) and just get the couple stuff for the rest. But, do you really think Kenny’s that smart?

    Ditto about the trust issues. I may be naive, but one of the reasons I can handle the current S&K storyline is that I trust Hogan to bring stay true to the core of the characters. I may not like every plot point or the pacing or a particular piece of dialogue, but as long as the trust is there, I can overlook those individual issues (and, they do make good snark fodder). But, if I didn’t trust Hogan, I would probably have a much different reaction.

    By completely backburning J&M and B&H, I think Hogan’s lost the trust of those fanbases and at least for the near future, its not going to matter what he does, they are going to try and find reasons not to like it.

  11. I think part of the reason I really want Days to go to Soapnet is so I can still do this blog, and go to the TWoP discussion boards! Maybe that makes me kinda pathetic, I donโ€™t care.

    Hee! I’m totally pathetic – not being able to discuss the episodes on TWoP, not having blogs to read, bothers me as much as not having a show to watch. I started watching the show again (after a 2 year break) because of TWoP.

    I want to copy that letter and send it to Corday. It’s perfect. I really want the show to go out with a bang, to take advantage of the impending cancellation and take some major (well written!) risks. This show has been in a major rut for years, tptb need to change things up – they have nothing to lose at this point.

    And I would so buy DVDs – couples or whole episodes, whatever, starting with Doug and Julie.

  12. I’d like whole episodes on DVD. I’d really like to figure out how to transfer my videotapes to DVD and make clips of them, but I haven’t figured that out yet.
    But Soapnet would make it easy too.

  13. I agree with the “die with dignity” argument in theory but not in practice. Here’s why…

    If Corday accepts that the ratings decline is irreversible, he will continue to stack the show with cheap newbies and unfamiliar faces. With no hope of saving the show, his attention will turn to hoarding as much money as possible for when the axe eventually drops. Backstage morale will plummet and this will be reflected in all aspects of the show (acting, writing, production value etc.)

    Moreover, once actors know for certain that the show is gone, many will bail when their contracts expire rather than go down with the ship in 2009. Cancellation is rarely a dignified process and accepting it two years in advance only makes the process more agonizing and depressing.

    It’s my view that the show can still be saved. It was only 3 months ago that DAYS was competing with GH for the third spot and performing strongly in the demos. TPTB just need get the basics right: focus on the core characters that fans are most invested in, speed the stories up and write big events centred around Sweeps. I know some blame Zucker’s announcement for the ratings decline and perhaps it was a factor. But far fewer viewers would have defected had the balance been better and the stories not slowed down to a snail’s pace.

    I do not think most viewers are tuning out because they’re resigned to DAYS being cancelled. They’re tuning out because they think the show, in it’s present state, is not worth saving. DAYS has a loyal and fanatical fanbase to tap into it. If the show can win back their trust and interest, NBC will under serious pressure to reverse their decision…pressure Zucker was hoping to avoid when he dropped his litte bomb.

  14. You’re right that “planning” on being cancelled would create logistical problems of keeping cast members (and behind-the-scenes folks, too). I do feel, however, that some of these problems could be overcome if we had an EP who was respectful of the legacy of this show he’s inherited. If he was on board with the idea of “dying with dignity” then he might be able to address some of those issues to minimize the damage. Then he could leave those fans who stick around with an affectionate feeling towards the show, and therefore be more inclined to tune in to Soapnet or buy DVDs. But if everyone gives up in digust between now and 2009 because they’re watching the Willow and Jed are aliens from outer space show, he’s damaged the value of his gold mine.

    You’re also undoubtedly right that Kenny would do exactly what you say if the cancellation seemed inevitable. Ironically, with both saving the show, or dying with dignity, you and I are recommending nearly the same thing: use the cast, give us a nice umbrella story. In other words, make a quality show. It saddens me to think that we have an EP who doesn’t care about that, and who only sees two options: whoring for ratings or throwing the show in the garbage can. But that seems to be the case.

    Thanks for commenting.

  15. I started watching the show again (after a 2 year break) because of TWoP.

    lascuba, I’m curious—when did you tune out? And did TWoP make you come back just because you wanted to be able to join in the discussion? Or was it something else?

    My best case scenario is Days being shown on Soapnet from the beginning (in back-to-back episodes during the 1/2 hour phase of the show). But I think it’s more likely Soapnet would choose to start either with Roman I and Marlena or with Bo and Hope. What I’m hoping is that 80’s Days is such a hit, after they run through 90ish or so (stopping short of Sh**** of course), they go back to the beginning, or to the early/mid 70’s and start there. Doug and Julie would be a great place to start.

    I can dream.

  16. Let’s see, the last thing I remember was Abe’s “death,” but I had been watching very sporadically at that point,like once a month.I think the last SL I really watched was Colin Murphy’s murder. The reason I stopped watching wasn’t because of the SLs so much, it was mostly that the characters had gotten so ridiculous and one-note, and the dialogue and consant flashbacks to things that happened in the same episode drove me nuts. After I stopped watching I would occasionally read recaps online to see what was going on, so I wasn’t completely out of the loop. When I noticed that TWoP had a Soap Opera board, I checked out the Days thread out of curiosity, and I found it so funny that I soon started watching sometimes just so I could better understand the snark. I didn’t join in the discussions until JER was fired, though.

  17. Interesting—what a great tribute to TWoP! I’m like you, I knew TWoP (the whole site) already and then finally found out they had a soap board. I was already watching the show and posting at another board—but didn’t feel like the people there liked to talk about the show in the same way that I did. I found the TWoP board during the whole Billie triangle, and was relieved I had found SOME people, at least, who were keeping an open mind about it. (Which is funny, because in retrospect I don’t think it was well done at all!)

    I couldn’t believe the flashbacks when I first started watching again. I must have seen this one flashback of the “black glove” threatening Lexie over the phone six or seven times. If I had known about TWoP then, it would have made everything a lot more watchable, I’m sure.

  18. Kathleen, sorry! It’s a site called Television without Pity and they do recaps/reviews of current TV shows. There are also lots of discussion boards. lascuba and I are talking about the Days board.

    (A link to the soap boards is on the sidebar—though I believe the forums are down at the moment.)

  19. Television Without Pity?! How hysterical. I’ll have to check it out when it’s back up and running. I no longer feel left out in the rain (with a cake and I’ll never have that recipe again!!).๐Ÿ™‚

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