It looks like the sand in the hourglass is about to run out on Days of our Lives.
The long-running American soap will reportedly be going on an extended hiatus from the end of November; however, there are enough episodes banked to play out until the end of the year and into 2020.
According to TMZ, the entire cast of the 55-season soap opera was recently released from their contracts (in other words, the actors are free to take on other projects). The outlet also announced that the show was going on an "indefinite hiatus," and NBC and Sony Pictures Television will be deciding whether or not to renew the 54-year-old series early next year. While this doesn't necessarily mean the show is getting canceled, it's tough to say what the future holds for the beloved soap, at the moment.
After hearing this announcement, several fans expressed their utter disappointment. "WHAT?!?!?!? This must be a joke! Please say it isn't true. So many good actors/stories. This breaks my heart," one fan said. "It's a tragedy to see the enduring format of the traditional afternoon soap winding down. And surprisingly so considering it's #DaysOfOurLives which still enjoys a ferocious fan base around the world," another tweeted. A different fan wrote: "This is sad and ridiculous @nbcdays should stay on air along with all other soaps."
What does the long Days of Our Lives hiatus mean? And is it really ending?
Even though things seem grim, we know fans won't be cut off immediately. According to TVLine, the soap shoots eight months in advance, meaning that DOOL will at least run through the summer of 2020. And if NBC and Sony Pictures Television do end up deciding to renew the series, production will resume in March.
One insider told the outlet: "It’s actually a shrewd — if cynical — business move … If Days gets picked up, [Corday Productions] can offer the actors new contracts at a reduced rate and with a ‘take-it-or-leave’ it attitude. Worst case scenario, they lose half their cast. Best case scenario [for Corday], everyone agrees to return at a lower salary.” Corday Productions, the production company that handles the actors' deals, did not respond to TVLine's request for comment.
Soap operas as a whole have been declining as the race for ratings has pressured networks to cancel many of them. Days of Our Lives aside, there are three big ones remaining — General Hospital on ABC and CBS's Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful.
So, to be clear … "Days of Our Lives" — which first aired in 1965 — has NOT been canceled. Not yet. It's possible they'll bring everyone back, if the network re-ups, but at lower salaries.
We've reached out to NBC … but no word back, so far.