Why Days Of Our Lives Once Fired Its Entire Cast

"Days of Our Lives" has been a staple in the soap opera world since its debut in 1965, and was created by Ted Corday, Irna Phillips, and Allan Chase (via Soap Hub). The series is set in the fictional midwestern town of Salem, Illinois, and follows the prominent Horton, DiMera, Kiriakis, Brady, Carver, and Hernandez families. When the series started, it was focused on Tom and Alice Horton raising their children. Tom was a well-respected doctor at Salem University Hospital, while Alice was the ultimate mother and grandmother with a killer donut recipe.

As the show grew, so did the "Days of Our Lives" family, introducing fan-favorite actors like Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), Bo Brady (Peter Reckell), and Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney), and many more. After years on the air, the sudser began to ramp up the drama with storylines about serial killers, love triangles, demonic possession, people being buried alive, and exploring their sexual orientation, per The Things.

Although the soap opera's ratings haven't always been the best, the series prevailed and was continuously renewed by NBC until the network decided to remove the show from daytime television in the fall of 2022 and air it exclusively on Peacock. While this move shocked many viewers, fans of the show have been stunned before — like the time the show seemingly fired the entire cast.

The entire Days of Our Lives cast was released from their contracts in 2019

In November 2019, "Days of Our Lives" fans were completely shocked when they heard that the NBC soap opera had seemingly fired its entire cast. The sudser opted to drop the contracts of all of its actors and go on hiatus as the show negotiated a renewal with the network, per TV Insider. Because the show films months in advance, new episodes continued to air without change. However, viewers held their breaths as they waited for news about the show's future as well as any possible casting changes.

The move was bold. As TMZ explained, it allowed the soap actors to pursue other opportunities, which may have led them away from the show upon its return. Meanwhile, TV Overmind noted that the hiatus and contract issues may have also been a way for "Days of Our Lives" to restructure how the show was filmed. Because the series was filmed eight months in advance at the time, it was possible that taking the break was a plan to allow them to film the episodes closer to their air dates.

However, the biggest reason for the mass firing at "Days of Our Lives" appeared to be financial.

How the cast set fans' minds at ease

Once the "Days of Our Lives" hiatus and casting contract news was revealed in 2019, an insider told TVLine that the move was made from a business standpoint. If the soap opera were to get renewed — which it did — production would be able to hire the actors back with new contracts and offer them less money. "It's actually a shrewd — if cynical — business move. If Days gets picked up, [Corday Productions] can offer the actors new contacts at a reduced rate and with a 'take-it-or-leave-it' attitude. Worst case scenario, they lose half their cast. Best case scenario [for Corday], everyone agrees to return at a lower salary," the source stated.

Meanwhile, the "Days" cast fought back against the rumors of the mass firing. Actress Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady) and Producer Ken Corday both spoke out about the hiatus to calm fans (via Nine). In addition, Chandler Massey, who plays Will Horton on the sudser, tweeted, "We're not being canceled. We are pausing production because we are so far ahead of schedule."

In addition, Camila Banus (Gabi Hernandez) lashed out over the news that the cast had been fired. "I have not been fired – none of my costars have been fired," she said in a live video on Twitter, calling the reports "fake false news." Thankfully, "Days of Our Lives" did get renewed and has found new life on Peacock.