'Days of our Lives' Cuts Out Major Stars
'Days of our Lives' Cuts Out Major Stars
Kris De Leon
Kris De Leon
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Frequent casting changes are something soap opera fans are used to by now.  Almost every month, there are reports of who's to come and who's to go, and more often than not, viewers are able to adapt to the absence of the old and the presence of the new.  But when it comes to cutting out major stars whose existence on the show have greatly affected other characters and the general direction of the program, it's quite difficult to imagine how fans will react to the big changes.

According to TV Guide, the sands in the hourglass have run out for Days of our Lives veterans Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn as both have been fired from the 43-year-old soap.  NBC made the announcement in a statement Wednesday as the network deals with budget cuts.

"Days of our Lives has decided to rest the characters of John Black and Marlena Evans," NBC officials said in a prepared statement. "After a year of separation, John and Marlena will finally reunite before exiting the canvas in early 2009."

The unexpected decision to lay off the highly-paid longtime cast members came after Days of our Lives' producers cut spending earlier this month to keep the show on the air for at least another 18 months.

Deidre Hall has played Marlena on Days of our Lives from 1976 to 1987, and again since 1991. She has the distinction of being the only actress to play this role in the character's 30 year history. Through the course of her existence on the program, she has experienced what some consider being the most outrageous circumstances of any character in soap opera history.  These include possession by the devil, a plummet from a 30th-story window, which she survived by the way, and being mind controlled to believe she was a serial killer, just to name a few.

Drake Hogestyn, on the other hand, joined Days of our Lives as a replacement for Robert Poynton for the infamous role of John Black, a character who came to Salem not knowing who he was.  He made his debut in 1986 and has portrayed the character up to now.

-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: NBC, TV Guide
(Image courtesy of NBC)