The back and forth contract negotiations between Joseph Mascolo (Stefano DiMera) and Days of our Lives have been a virtual tennis match. Not only have the talks gone seen more back and forth rallying than Wimbledon, but the talks have also been the focus of their own controversy - messages that appeared on Mascolo's official web site seemingly contradicted themselves. Now, according to a message posted on Mascolo's official web site, it appears that the show executives have won game, set and match.
In a note to fans via his web site, Mascolo explains that he will be leaving the show in May because the show executives want to give his character "a rest."
"My contract is up in May and I tried to negotiate in good faith," Mascolo states. "Usually, one expects some give and take but the powers that be are adamant. They now feel that the character of Stefano should take a rest - as if Stefano ever rests."
An insider tells Soap Central that the biggest sticking point in the negotiations was the show's decision to have Stefano be a virtual no-show on the air. Money, it seems, was not an issue. It is unclear if Mascolo would have been offered a new contract if he had agreed to the decreased workload.
According to executive producer Ken Corday, Stefano will once again be featured prominently in the show this fall. Without Mascolo, though, would the show bring in another actor to play the part?
"[S]hould I not be available whenever they decide to bring the character back, they are not adverse to recasting. Bah Humbug!" Mascolo grumbles in his letter to fans. Mascolo seems to be handling his disappointment well, saying "Que Sera Sera" in the close of his letter. Mascolo also thanked his fans for their "overwhelming support."
Mascolo declined to comment on a Soap Central report that he is up for a role on The Bold and the Beautiful. According to the report, Mascolo would play a potential love interest for Darlene Conley's character, Sally Spectra.
NBC has declined comment on Mascolo's online statement. A final airdate for Mascolo has not been announced.