Late Wednesday, a press release was sent throughout the soap world, announcing that starting Monday, September 12, Days of our Lives will be moving from NBC, where it has been for 57 years, to the network’s streaming service Peacock. Fans expressed their strong reactions online, and they weren’t the only ones. Soap Hub editors, as well as our industry friends, weigh in on this seismic shift that’s occurring in the daytime universe.
Days of our Lives: A Huge Move
Whether this is a risk that ends up paying off or blows up in their faces, it is a bold move by the network. Of course, there is huge hope that it is a resounding success and buys the venerable soap many more years of longevity — and a future that has often seemed in doubt and hanging by a thread. Below, see reactions from those who have been involved in the soap industry for decades, and then please weigh in at the bottom with your own thoughts in the comments section.
“Like everyone who loves soap operas, I am devastated by NBC moving Days of our Lives off the network (where has it been since its premiere in 1965) to Peacock, its streaming service. I grew up on the show and in my long journalism career have been privileged to interview so many of the show’s great names: Macdonald Carey, Frances Reid, Deidre Hall, Susan Seaforth, and her husband Bill Hayes. Why did NBC do this? Perhaps they have so much success with their spinoff Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem that they see a big future for streaming soaps. If so, that is good news. The bad news is that we’ve lost yet another soap opera, leaving we fans just three mainstream network choices. Will fans pay $5 a month to watch the new DAYS on Peacock? This is indeed a cliffhanger on a very sad day in daytime drama history.” — Connie Passalacqua Hayman, AKA the soap critic Marlena De Lacroix, at Soaps for the Thinking Fan
“Days of our Lives move from NBC to Peacock is a distinctive sign of the times where the media landscape has gone and is going. It seems like we’ve been talking and reporting forever about cutting the chord and how appointment viewing would become extinct as TV offered ala carte options for ages — well now it’s here! DAYS is just the first in its genre to make the jump. But trust me, this trend will permeate across the whole of TV mediums. The journalist and media reporting part of my brain completely understands the varying reasons in terms of the business side and evolving TV viewer habits. But the soap fan part of me still feels nostalgic and a slight gut punch mostly; humans are creatures of habit and the ‘end’ to anything we have grown accustomed to shakes up our ecosystem. The good news is what DAYS has produced so far with Beyond Salem gives me every confidence that creatively it will thrive on Peacock and it’s just embarking on year one of its next 57 seasons.” — Joseph Kapsch, Former LAMag, TheWrap, THR digital chief (but “started on soaps” as the DAYS/Y&R website producer for SoapCity.com)
“I’m flabbergasted. I would have thought that NBC learned the lesson from ABC when it canceled All My Children and One Life to Live for cheaper talk shows that got canceled a few years later. These are the precious legacy shows of a uniquely American genre. While DAYS isn’t being canceled, per se, it’s still a bell that cannot be un-rung — or should I say an hourglass that can’t be flipped back over.” — Robert Schork, former Managing Editor, Soap Opera Weekly; former Senior Editor, Soap Opera Magazine
“If there’s one constant of this genre, it’s change. Just as novels by installment presaged the radio serials — aurally pleasing and a stimulant for the imagination — which in turn gave way to the televisual masterpieces known as daytime drama, a move to an online streamer is but the next evolution for an ever-evolving narrative. The soap opera is not dead. Long live the soap opera.” — Garren Waldo, Soap Hub Contributing Writer and Critic in Residence
“Yes, it beats the network canceling the show. But the process seems backward to me. If DAYS was a new show they were trying to get buzz for, sure, stream it. Personally, I’m an old fart, and I’ve been fighting joining all these streaming services for a while…I’m up to four. The idea of adding more does not make me a happy camper. But anything that will add audience to the genre, I’m all for it. I just hope that’s what this move will accomplish.” — Alan Carter, long-time soap magazine writer for People, TV Guide, Soap Opera Digest, etc.
“As someone who has watched soap operas on network TV for 50 years, I am shocked by NBC’s decision to move Days of our Lives to a streaming-only service like Peacock, and I hope this doesn’t become a trend followed by ABC and CBS. There are still so many loyal viewers out there who don’t — and can’t afford to — subscribe to streaming networks, and they shouldn’t be deprived of programming that brightens up their daily routine.” — Brian Scott Lipton, veteran journalist, Soap Hub contributor
“As someone who worked for Prospect Park on All My Children and One Life to Live reboots, I know that transferring a show to a streaming platform isn’t just asking to change viewer habits about where they watch. You also face the much harder task of changing viewer habits about when they watch it. Your show that comes on at noon or at 1 PM becomes the anchor of your day. You plan activities around it. Having it available any time any day sounds like it makes it easier to catch, but, in actuality, it leaves the viewer untethered. When you don’t have to commit to watching at a certain time, it becomes too easy to skip a day, and then to skip another day, and then to skip so many days that you start thinking you can never catch up, and you end up breaking the habit completely. Streaming DAYS may make it more accessible to young people who can’t even fathom the concept of ‘Appointment Television,’ but it frays the bond with your hardcore audience…who are the ones that traditionally introduced young people to the genre.” — Alina Adams, Soap Hub Contributing Writer and Soap Historian
“Change can be kind of scary and often risky, but more often than not, it’s necessary. Soaps started out on the radio before moving to television so moving to online seems like a natural progression. Days of our Lives extended its life with this move. Peacock has the data from both Days and its spinoff series Beyond Salem to show that their brand is valuable. I’m sure there will be a bit of a learning curve as they adjust to the new home, but I’m rooting for their success.” — SoapJenn, Diagnosis Daytime
“Together with Another World, Days of our Lives helped make NBC a player in the world of daytime television. Prior to DAYS’ launch, CBS was the network of choice for soap opera viewers. Because of Days of our Lives, for the first time, NBC was able to compete. It’s ironic that the show that helped NBC compete in the daytime space is now being banished to a place that viewers might not be able to — or want to — access.” — Leona Barad, soap historian, Soap Hub contributing writer
“The move to digital did not save All My Children and One Life to Live. Of course, digital streaming has come a long way since then, but Days of our Lives moving from NBC to Peacock could be a giant alarm bell going off to the industry that has already shrunk to just four daily daytime serials. It is a disservice to longtime and extremely devoted DAYS fans, especially the Canadian audience that doesn’t get Peacock. Time, audience numbers, and ratings will tell. On a positive note, I guess the upside is there will not be any late-breaking news interruptions.” — Sherrie Smith, Soap Hub Senior Editor
“As much as I literally pray DAYS succeeds in this format, the change concerns me greatly. Also, while NBC daytime has been infinitesimal for a very long time, the idea that NBC daytime will have another (IMHO, unnecessary) news show and NO games or soaps for the first time in circa seven decades is truly dreadful and sad. Still, I hope this is the beginning of a different future for DAYS and not the beginning of its demise. — P. Kellach Waddle, Noted Soap Pundit/TV Historian
“The landscape of how we watch our favorite shows is changing! First was cable TV, then satellite, and today it’s streaming. The announcement of Days of our Lives moving to Peacock is a shocker, but the two main perks I can see are no preemptions and less (or no) commercials. Entertainment is evolving, and we must adapt or fall behind.” — Sandra Leaming, Soap Hub Community Manager
“Time will tell how this move plays out for NBC, peacock, and the legions of Days of our Lives fans. Soaps have gone through many format changes over the decades. They started out as 15-minute radio dramas, transitioned to TV, began being broadcast in color, and have expanded to a half-hour, and then, to an hour in length. (NBC soap opera Another World even experimented briefly with a 90-minute format. For a short time, General Hospital and One Life to Live were each 45-minutes long.) And, now, we have streaming. The peacock has experimented with three DAYS shows — two DAYS: Beyond Salem series and the holiday movie, DAYS: A Very Salem Christmas. They must feel confident that soap opera fans will follow the show to streaming. It’ll be important to get the word out in a heavy media campaign so that DAYS fans know the show is still here.” – Michael Maloney, Sr. West Coast Editor, Soap Hub; author, The Young and Restless Life of William J. Bell
Viewers can start watching DAYS on peacock on the streaming service’s Premium tier which is $4.99/month. Click here for information.
Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Salem, check out all the latest that’s been posted on DAYS spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.