In what can only be seen as another devastating blow, Days of our Lives fans will soon be waving goodbye to another of the show's supercouples. Soap Opera Digest is reporting that both Mary Beth Evans (Kayla Brady) and Stephen Nichols (Steve Johnson) have been let go. The move comes just a matter of days after DAYS fans were forced to bid farewell to long-time fixtures Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans) and Drake Hogestyn (John Black).
Ever since NBC gave Days of our Lives an unexpected 16-month renewal last year, the sole surviving NBC soap has been looking for ways to slash its operating budget. The first move to free up some cash came with the unexpected firings of Hall and Hogestyn. It was immediately reported that more cuts -- especially those of the show's top-earning stars -- were on the way.
Days of our Lives trumpeted Patch and Kayla's homecoming in 2006 as "historic," and used their returns as a way to signal that the show was returning to its roots and featuring fan-favorite characters with more traditional storytelling. Evans and Nichols were immediately thrust into frontburner story, but in recent months, both actors have seen their characters shift more to secondary roles.
Both Evans and Nichols have an extensive history with daytime audiences. The two actors made their soap opera debuts on Days of our Lives. Nichols arrived in Salem first, about a year before Evans joined the show in May 1986. As "Patch" and Kayla, Nichols and Evans quickly became household names. After five years as Steven Johnson, Nichols left daytime to pursue other opportunities. Evans would remain at Days of our Lives through 1992, before making a move of her own -- to ABC's General Hospital. It was as Katherine Bell in General Hospital that Evans would again be reunited with her former DAYS co-star, who was then playing the evil Stefan Cassadine. Nichols remained with General Hospital through 2003.
In December 2000, Evans took a role on CBS's As the World Turns. While it was rumored that Nichols would be joining her, the chatter proved unfounded. Over the next five years, Evans would begin an off-and-on recurring-to-contract stay in the fictional town of Oakdale. Nichols, meanwhile, would keep a low profile until his 2006 return to Days of our Lives.
A Days of our Lives spokesperson did not return requests for a statement by post time.