Days of Our Lives

Worth the Wait: Days of Our Lives Makes Sure Doug’s Farewell Is Done Right and ‘Will Resonate for a Long Time to Come’

Worth the Wait: Days of Our Lives Makes Sure Doug’s Farewell Is Done Right and ‘Will Resonate for a Long Time to Come’

Days mashup, Ken Corday, Doug and Julie and Doug funeral attendees

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

As most Days of Our Lives fans know, the show just celebrated its 15,000th episode last week with a gathering that brought past and present cast together with the sudser’s incredible crew, creators and execs. Of course, it’s also no secret that Days of Our Lives has been going through tough times behind the scenes. But in a way, that makes this celebration of the Peacock soap’s continuing existence and success all the more incredible.

To add to the weight of the occasion, the 15,000th episode (which is, at the moment, tentatively slated to air on Tuesday, December 3) will be a celebration of Bill Hayes and his longtime Salem alter ego Doug Williams, after the incredibly talented and beloved actor passed away three months ago.

Executive producer Ken Corday said a few words at the big celebration, noting that they’ll be honoring “Bill’s life, Doug’s Life in these shows, with all of these wonderful people from the past. I won’t cry but it’s daunting to stand here and have the privilege of thanking you all for doing such a wonderful job for so many years and having such a beautiful cast and company.”


Days executive producer Ken Corday, Melissa Reeves, Matthew Ashford, headwriter Ron Carlivati

Corday and headwriter Ron Carlivati snapped a photo with Matthew Ashford (Jack) and Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) during their return.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

And yes, even for as far ahead as Days of Our Lives shoots, it’ll be nearly a year after Hayes’ passing before the show acknowledges it on screen and says farewell to Doug. But that was intentional and, rather than being a slight, was meant to deeply honor the actor and his character.

“I remember two months ago at Bill’s celebration for his passing,” Corday explained, “it was such a moving day. Ron and I were there and he said let’s hold this for 15,000 and do it right. And we are doing it right.” (You can watch Hayes’ touching celebration of life here.)

That much has been apparent from all the returns and, we’re hoping, in honor of the milestone and to honor Hayes, the show is given the green light to not just do it right, but do it big. It certainly sounds like it will be a celebration to remember.

Linsey Godfrey, Paul Telfer, Wally Kurth, Greg Rikaart, Michael Sluchan"Days of our Lives" Set Celebrating 15,000 EpisodeNBC StudiosBurbank04/11/24© XJJohnson/jpistudios.com310-657-9661

NBC/Peacock exec Michael Sluchan celebrated with the cast.

Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

Corday also had “a special thanks to Susan [Seaforth] Hayes for touching all of us in a way that makes this genre work, that makes daytime drama work. This is the right way to do things and this will resonate for a long time to come with our viewers.”

And rest assured, that 15,000 is just the start. “When Days first moved to Peacock in 2022,” NBC/Peacock’s Executive Vice President of Current Scripted Programming and Limited Series, Michael Sluchan, said, “there were definitely naysayers out there who I think thought that that was NBC Universal’s way of putting the show out to pasture. And I will say nothing could be farther from the truth. Days is thriving on Peacock right now.”

As Steve Kent, Senior Executive Vice President of Programming for Sony Pictures Television, added, “The reason there’s 15,000 and why there’s gonna be 16,000 in four years, 23 days, 37 minutes and 15 seconds is because of all of you. The cast and the crew are what make this show what it is and this is what brings it into the future.”

So here’s to the future of Days of Our Lives. We can only hope that it continues to shine brightly for years and episodes to come.

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