Demon ‘DAYS’: NBC Soap Revisiting Marlena’s Demonic Possession


Looks like all hell is about to break loose on ’Days of our Lives’.

What a time to be a soap fan. Just a week after the limited series dropped on NBC’s premium streaming service, Peacock, some more good news has emerged.

NBC has already given DAYS fans a lot to be thankful for. After protracted neGotiations, NBC renewed the soap opera in April. And unlike past years, it was renewed for not one but two more seasons. The multi year renewal came as the soap opera fell to series lows in. In an apparent sign of confidence in DAYS ability to lure viewers to its streaming platform, NBC made the soap opera’s episodes available exclusively to the Peacock streaming service.

‘Beyond Salem’, Onward to Hell

The good news continued in early August. When the NBC soap returned from its traditional Olympics related break, the network announced it had order a limited series spinoff. The five-hour Peacock exclusive, Days: Beyond Salem”, featured cast members past and present including Eileen Davidson and Lisa Rinna.

‘Beyond Salem’ premiered last week on the heels of quite a bit of promotion. The week long event was quite the hit with fans and left social media buzzing about each episode as it aired last week.

This morning, NBC posted a promo for DAYS warning that something wicked this way comes. And if you haven’t guessed it yet, NBC will be revisiting the demonic possession of Marlena this fall on DAYS.

Whether the storyline will be part of the regularly scheduled episodes, a new limited series spinoff like Days: Beyond Salem, a mix of both or something new entirely is anybody’s guess. DAYS has seen it’s numbers improve since it returned from the Olympics hiatus.

DAYS Has Seen An Uptick Recently

So far this season, DAYS is down 11 percent the previous year with just 1.697 million viewers watching the episodes the day that they air on NBC. During the three months leading up to the Olympics hiatus, the soap averaged just 1.59 million viewers. Since the soap returned alongside the spinoff announcement, DAYS has averaged 1.74 million viewers. That marks an increase of 9 percent in an incredibly short amount of time.

To put things in even better perspective, DAYS hit a low of 1.489 million viewers the week of May 28th. For the week ending September 3rd, DAYS was up to 1.777 million, an increase of 19%, with an addition 288,000 viewers returning to the soap in the course of three months. That was DAYS highest rated since February.

While the soap is still down from earlier this season and last year. However, NBC doesn’t seem to care about the Live Plus Same Day performance as much as it’s streaming numbers. How exactly the soap is performing remains a mystery. But since the soap launched on Peacock we gave seen the renewed efforts by NBC to promote the soap, the renewal news and of course the spinoff. The results have to be phenomenal. The question is whether or not the other soap operas will follow suit.

DAYS Ending Long Rumored

NBC has flirted with ending DAYS since the cancelation of Passions in 2007. An executive from the network even remarked that the show would be gone after 2008. NBC would renew the soap despite conventional wisdom that it would not. NBC outlived not only Passions, but Guiding Light and As the World Turns by the end of that decade. DAYS would look like it was in perilous territory for the years that followed, but survived longer than All My Children and One Life To Live.

The return from the brink has been common for DAYS, with the soap hitting number 1 in the mid 70’s before falling out of the top 10 by the end of that decade. The soap would claw its way back up the ratings charts, reclaiming number 1 for a single week with the wedding of Patch and Kayla in 1988.

From 1st to 8th place

DAYS would be the highest rated NBC soap for the rest of its run, but saw the failure to launch of two spinoffs: a Calliope Jones-centric sitcom/soap opera and a Diedre Hall starring ‘Manhattan Days’. NBC would struggle in daytime despite airing two groundbreaking younger soaps, Generations and Santa Barbara. The former, the first truly integrated soap opera with half the cast being made up of Black cast members, was cancelled just 22 months after its premiere. Two years later in 1993, Santa Barbara was cancelled just a few years after it had won three consecutive Emmys for Best Daytime Drama. NBC would fall down as far as 8th place during this period.

Hell on Earth, Heaven For NBC

DAYS would spend the majority of 1994 somewhere between 5th and 7th place. The soap surged the 4th place the week the devil possession storyline began although it was not an immediate success until later. The slow burning storyline built up through the following year. In July of 1995, DAYS had climbed passed all three ABC soap operas as well as As The World Turns and Bold and Beautiful on CBS to claim the the number two spot. And from then on DAYS was a contender, holding on number two for the majority of the next few years. Most importantly NBC had lured younger viewers to the soap, with DAYS regularly topping young women 18-34 and 18-49 for the better part of the next 5 years.

Just what does NBC have cooked up? Nobody is sure but it could not come at a better time. Hell breaks loose this fall on NBC.


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