James Reynolds recently spoke to TV Guide Canada about a number of topics. Among them? Racism on soap operas.
TVGuide.ca: It’s been quite the roller-coaster ride behind the scenes in Salem! Are you nervous regarding the upcoming decision by NBC to either renew or cancel Days of Our Lives?
James Reynolds: No. We’ve all been through this before. The cast trusts all the parties involved — Sony, NBC, and Corday Productions — to make the right decision during the negotiations. Everyone wants to see the show continue — and on NBC. And, across the world. However, there are strategies in place if NBC doesn’t renew it, I believe. SOAPnet and ABC are possibilities.
TVG: The cast must be happy Drake Hogestyn [John] returned to the show; were you aware this was yet another publicity ruse spearheaded by executive producer Ken Corday?
JR: No — we thought John Black was dead. We’re so happy he’s back, and I personally think that John is a very interesting character now. I think Drake’s performance has been very entertaining.
TVG: I’d say. Last year, Victoria Rowell [ex-Dru, The Young and the Restless] labelled daytime "racist." The U.S. has a woman and a black man running for president, yet daytime appears to be moving backwards instead of forward with the world. Since you’re a black soap vet, I’m eager to hear your thoughts.
JR: Yes, I would have to agree with that assertion. It’s odd since daytime used to be groundbreaking in that respect. There is tremendous storyline potential for black characters on soaps, but it’s hard to convince the powers-that-be to acknowledge that the world is changing.
You know, I’ve been tremendously disappointed for people of colour on soaps. Other than Victoria’s former show, The Young and the Restless, and our show, Days, no one has had that kind of racial presence throughout the years. I have to say, though, that I’m very proud that Days has allowed me to grow older as a black man on TV — which rarely happens in any genre. I think often times, daytime TV operates from a cocoon.
They’re not looking around themselves. I can’t solely lay the blame on daytime TV, but it’s suspect when you consider the largest demographic watching daytime is blacks. They deserve to see their own stories reflected on their favourite shows.
Read the complete interview now.