Could NBC’s Daytime Plans Kill ‘Days of Our Lives’?
Could the new Megyn Kelly program on NBC bring the network’s last serial, ‘Days of Our Lives’ to the end of its run after more than 51 years?
When I was a kid, soap operas dominated network daytime lineups.
In the year I was born, for example, there were 15. ABC had General Hospital, One Life to Live, and Dark Shadows. NBC had Days of Our Lives, The Doctors, Another World, and Bright Promise. And CBS had the most, with Love of Life, Where the Heart Is, Search for Tomorrow, As the World Turns, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, The Guiding Light, Secret Storm, and The Edge of Night.
Of that list, only two — General Hospital, currently the longest-running soap on the air, having made its debut in 1963; and Days of Our Lives, which began in 1965 — remain on the air. The Young and the Restless, which premiered in 1973, and The Bold and the Beautiful, which premiered in 1987, round out the four soaps that are currently in production.
And if rumors are correct, this year, we may wind up with just three left.
Since Megyn Kelly’s exit from Fox News, we’ve learned she will host an hour on NBC Daytime. It’s not clear yet when that hour will be or what current hour of programming it will replace. But a source close to Days of Our Lives claims staffers are being told the sand in the famous hourglass may be running out soon.
‘Like sands through the hourglass…so are the Days of Our Lives.’
Those legendary words, accompanied by the show’s iconic hourglass with a blue sky in the background, were voiced by the late Macdonald Carey, one of the original actors from nearly the first day. Even people who’ve never watched a single episode will surely recognize the long-time opening:
I watched the show as a kid because it was one of the few soap operas my grandmother watched and it was on while she’d keep me during the day. If I tuned in today, I’m sure there’d be almost no one I’d recognize who’s still on the show, although I’ve heard there are a handful of long-running veterans who still appear in occasional scenes.
But even though I’m not a viewer of the show these days, there’s still something sad to me about seeing a long-running show, in this case, one that is 51 years old, come to an end. That’s a long time with a long lifeline across the history of television, and I think there’s value in having shows with that kind of longevity still on the air.
It seems as though NBC could easily give Kelly one of the four hours of Today it broadcasts every morning. I mean, really, how much of one show do we need in a single day?
For now, no one’s saying what time slot Kelly will get on NBC, and no one’s confirming anything about the future of the soap, although in recent years, declining ratings prompted network executives to renew ‘Days’ on a year-to-year basis.