TV Guide: I know you were disappointed that your longtime co-star Drake Hogestyn [John] was fired, but you must be digging the great material John’s shocking death has provided you as an actor.
Deidre Hall: I love that we got to play something with substance, and most importantly, that John’s death was given the weight and respect it deserved.
TV Guide: Can you talk about Marlena’s big upcoming storyline?
DH: I’m not terribly clear myself, but I believe I’m playing Jodie Foster, à la The Brave One: I’m out for the man who killed my man. And, of course, any kind of revenge story is great to play as an actor. Marlena’s quietly and fiercely empowered — and since she has nothing to lose, she has enormous strength.
TV Guide: Days of Our Lives feels very different these days — is it because of new co-executive producer Ed Scott’s influence?
DH: I don’t know who exactly is responsible, but my suspicion is it’s all Ed Scott, who has come in with great ideas and enormous energy. His first great idea was to change the lighting on the show. While it may seem superficial — and maybe it is — when you know you look good, you have the courage to do more and try more and [concentrate on the acting instead of hitting all these marks so you are lit properly and don’t block someone else’s lighting].
Also, when you make a change in the look of the show, it gets the audience’s attention. In regards to storyline, the audience then can focus on what’s happening instead of how bad things look, [which distracts fans, in my opinion].
TV Guide: After years of not submitting yourself for Emmy consideration, will you this year — especially now that you have the material to win? Fans and critics are dying to know.
DH: You know I haven’t for years, and it’s not that I haven’t been nominated, I’ve kept myself out of the race for years. I’m completely flattered regarding the Emmy buzz, but it’s such an energy black hole. I’m happy and peaceful knowing that Days of Our Lives is the best show on daytime, and has the most beautiful and talented people on TV.
Unfortunately, it’s always tragically overlooked on Emmy nomination day because it’s a numbers game. And I want the audience to know that we’re slighted on Emmy day because the Academy is compromised of actors on each show, and actors on each soap vote for their network — and now NBC only has one soap opera, Days of Our Lives, so we don’t have a chance.
TV Guide: You’re so well-loved and respected that other Academy members, who are aware of your Emmy-worthy performance this season, could easily check off your name. If anyone stands a chance on your soap, it’s you!
DH: It’s not going to happen, but thank you for the lovely support and kind words.
TV Guide: It’s a shame, because everyone has upped their game during John’s death — and the ratings keep increasing after Days of Our Lives plummeted to last place for the first time in history.
DH: The ratings went up again today! Killing off John, and bringing that infamous death-bed scene to daytime has made our show turn the corner. Everyone on that death bed did the best work of their careers.
TV Guide: NBC inferred that Days of Our Lives may not be renewed in 2009 — are you worried about the show’s future, and daytime’s in general?
DH: Daytime is suffering, as we are. We’re in a time when the audience is finally being heard: they want [traditional, character-driven storylines]. [Executive producer] Ken [Corday] and Hogan are returning to the heart and soul of soaps.