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Did This Guy Save Days of Our Lives?

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Ed Scott worked a miracle and was fired for his efforts. But he may get the last laugh—and an Emmy to boot. Scott took over the exec producer reins at Days of Our Lives in 2007, turning a show that was close to unbearable and threatened with cancellation into a true contender. Not only did Days end 2008 as the only soap to gain viewers, it’s currently nominated for 13 Daytime Emmys—the most for any soap this year.

Even after Scott’s shocking departure (Days owner Ken Corday bounced him because he tangled too often with head writer Dena Higley), the soap has stayed on a creative roll and is still picking up viewers, no small feat in this era of audience erosion. Days recently upped its cache—and made big news—by announcing it will bring back past faves Crystal Chappell (Carly) and Wally Kurth (Justin). Most important, NBC is showing renewed interest and pride in the program.

“It’s proof a show can turn around in these difficult times, a soap can be saved,” Scott says. “There needs to be leadership, drive, positive energy and a respect for the audience—but that’s nothing new. It’s old-school stuff. Of course, you don’t have all the time in the world. You need to work hard and work fast.”

Several of Days’ Emmy nods, including one for best soap, came as a direct result of Scott’s piece de resistance—the crash of a private jet carrying several top characters. It was raw, harrowing, emotionally transcendent stuff, and it brought a first-ever nomination for daytime superstar Peter Reckell (Bo), who joined the show 26 years ago.

“Ed inspired our entire company,” Reckell says. “He gave us back what made Days a part of American culture to begin with. Sure, the devil possession was a big conversation piece, but our show deeply mattered to people when it was about love and loss, family and relationships. Ed understood that.”

Scott, who has three feature films in development, bears no ill will about his ouster. “My time at Days was the best of my career,” he says. “It validated all the years I spent producing at The Young and the Restless. I learned all my stuff from [Y&R creator] Bill Bell, which was not an easy experience. Bill was a tough guy, a master sergeant in boot camp. But I learned a lot and I feel that Bill’s spirit was with me when I showed up to work at Days.” Did Corday acknowledge Scott’s contribution when the Emmy nominations were announced? “He sent me a plant,” says Scott, “and a very nice note that said, ‘We’re all very proud of you.’”

Scott left the soap before Corday fired a slew of major players, including Deidre Hall (Marlena), Drake Hogestyn (John), Thaao Penghlis (Tony), Stephen Nichols (Steve) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla). Scott calls the slaughter “very sad. Firing them hasn’t hurt Days so far, apparently, but I think there was a wealth of possibilities for those actors. It’s a shame.”

The mass exit left Reckell and longtime TV love Kristian Alfonso (Hope) as the veteran couple on the show. “It’s kinda strange,” Reckell says. “Some days on the set, Kristian and I will look at each other and just laugh. We’re like, “How did we get here? How did this happen?” It seems like only yesterday that we were the new kids on the block. Suddenly, we’re the patriarch and matriarch of Salem. We’re Tom and Alice!”

Source: TV Guide
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