Television Q&A: What’s going on with ‘Days of our Lives’?
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Television Q&A: What’s going on with ‘Days of our Lives’?

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You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: I’ve read an article that said “Days of our Lives” producers have canceled all their actors’ contracts and this may mean the end of this soap opera in 2020. Is there any truth to this? The show also fast-forwarded their whole story one year ahead. What’s going on?

A: The series, which has been on the air since 1965, certainly seems to be in a difficult spot (and one that could change any day). At this writing, “Days” is not canceled. But, as TVLine said in breaking the news about the actors’ contracts, “Days” distributor Sony and NBC are negotiating a new deal, and there’s no guarantee the network will keep the show going. In the meantime, Corday Productions, which makes the show, has announced a production hiatus and released the actors from their contracts.

Daytime soaps have been endangered for a long time, with only four currently on networks: “Days,” ABC’s “General Hospital” and CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” The time-jump on “Days” looks like an attempt to liven things up creatively, and ratings-wise. The contracts being dropped is a way to save money if the show is renewed. One insider told TVLine that the actors can now be asked to take a lower salary if offered new contracts.

Other issues appear in a CNBC report. Corday is in a legal tangle with Sony, claiming the distributor is favoring “The Young and the Restless,” which it also distributes. And NBC is launching a streaming service, Peacock, in 2020, which may — or may not — provide a new home for “Days.”

But none of this means “Days” is going end right away. According to TVLine, the show shoots telecasts eight months in advance and has banked enough episodes right now to keep going through summer 2020.

Q: Will “MacGyver” be coming back? I really liked that program.

A: The reboot of the classic Richard Dean Anderson series will be back in CBS’s Friday lineup on Feb. 7, leading off the network’s night. “Hawaii Five-0,” which had been in the first slot, will move an hour later. “Magnum P.I.” will take a break but return in the spring, the network says. And “Blue Bloods” will still complete prime time on CBS Fridays.

Q: Could you tell me the name of a TV science-fiction series from the late ’90s or early 2000s that had humans visiting other worlds, like on “Stargate: SG-1”? A number of episodes had Colm Meaney (of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) as a farmer who turned out to be head of the planet’s military, and they were battling aliens known as the Wraith. Is the series on DVD?

A: It’s interesting that you mention “SG-1” since the show you are asking about is the related “Stargate: Atlantis.” Episodes originally aired from 2004 to 2009; its five seasons are on DVD and streaming on Hulu.

Q: We are PBS viewers and the last several episodes of “800 Words” have been repeats. Is the series complete? I have an idea that the show wrapped up. If so, why the reruns?

A: The series, about an Australian newspaper columnist moving his family to a town in New Zealand, ended production in 2018 after three seasons and 40 episodes total. In the U.S., it is not on PBS per se but is sold to individual public TV stations by the distributor American Public Television. Like many shows, including those from overseas, it has faithful viewers who are still drawn to repeats.

Q: You recently answered a question about “Lawman,” one of my favorite westerns. Please tell me about Peter Brown, who costarred on the show with John Russell.

A: Brown, who played young deputy Johnny McKay on the 1958-62 series, had a long career that included another western, “Laramie,” several runs on daytime dramas and movies such as “Foxy Brown,” “Kitten With a Whip” and “Ride the Wild Surf.” According to the New York Times, the actor born Pierre Lind de Lappe made his last screen appearance in 2005 but continued to appear at fan shows and festivals until his death in 2016 from Parkinson’s disease. He was 80.

Do you have a question or comment about entertainment past, present and future? Write to Rich Heldenfels, P.O. Box 417, Mogadore, OH 44260, or brenfels@gmail.com. Letters may be edited. Individual replies are not guaranteed.

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