Fans and reporters were not the only ones surprised by Chandler Massey's (Will Horton) Emmy-pulpit announcement that he'd be exiting Days of our Lives. According to a newly published report, Days of our Lives executives were also caught off-guard.
In June, after winning his second consecutive Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Younger Actor category, Massey revealed that he would not be re-signing his contract when it expired in December.
"I want to go back to school. I want to graduate. I want to have a degree," Massey said at the time.
As he looked back on his time with DAYS, Massey stated that he "wouldn't be bitter" if DAYS opted to recast Will because "[t]he character is more important than the actor."
Last week, NBC announced that it had decided to do just tha and released Massey from his contract so that he would be free to focus on his plans to return to school. TVGuide Magazine's Michael Logan reports that Massey was "devastated and in tears" when he was called into executive producer Greg Meng's office and informed that his contract would be terminated early.
Logan states that Days of our Lives executives were unaware of Massey's plans to exit the show prior to the actor's June announcement and, in turn, DAYS executives "decided to blindside him back with an early exit."
"I'm actually glad things went down the way they did," Massey told Logan. "I appreciate the producers for letting me out of my deal early because I can now pursue other opportunities I couldn't under contract. And, really, I want what's best for the show and the character."
Upon learning that Massey had been let out of his contract early, actor Charlie Sheen took to Twitter and created a firestorm of controversy.
"[H]ey Days of our Lives producers -- now your show REALLY sux!! You fired Chandler Massey?? NOW his career begins! He's a winner. Period the end. His TWO EMMYS speak to that loud and clear," Sheen wrote, along with off-color references to bestiality.
In a statement, Days of our Lives called the move to release Massey from his contract early a "mutual decision" because a replacement actor had become available. A show source tells soapcentral.com that DAYS had to move fast to secure the new actor because it was unlikely that he'd still be available when Massey's contract ended.
DAYS did not make available the name of Massey's successor, and the actor will not immediately report to work because DAYS is currently on a two-week production hiatus.
Massey will continue to air through the end of 2013 due to Days of our Lives' frenetic production schedule.