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30 September 11th, 2011 DAYS Sarah Brown Interview: Her new role as Madison James, updating Daytime & bringing back the audience!

Courtesy/NBC

Three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Sarah Brown is heading to Salem in her brand new role of Madison James on the October 4th episode!  And while the announcement a few months back that this acting dynamo was coming to Days of our Lives came as a bit of a shocker, when you speak to Sarah it all makes sense!  Having ventured to General Hospital twice; first as Carly then back again as Claudia Zacharra, a stop at As the World Turns as Julia, and her last daytime role as Aggie on The Bold and the Beautiful which seemed to unexpectedly fizzle out, Brown was ready to be front and center again, while being part of an exceptional canvas of new castmates and beloved characters.

On-Air On-Soaps recently caught up with the talented Ms. Brown to get the skinny on Madison and a preview of her upcoming on-screen love life! But after talking with Brown, not only did we come away with, as per usual, that this gal knows what she is doing, but that there may be a big future for her as a major television programming or development executive, should she ever decide to venture behind-the-scenes! Check out what Sarah had to say about how daytime needs to change, what we can look forward to in Salem, and bringing together generations of soap viewers once again.

When DAYS sold you the role of Madison James and you agreed to sign on, did you know that she you would be paired pretty quickly with Brady Black, played by Eric Martsolf?

SARAH: I did not know anything about Brady, but when Greg Meng (DAYS co-executive producer) sold me the role of Madison it was about the idea that we were going to build this character together from the ground up and that I would have a lot of input and I love that. There are a lot of things I can’t talk about right now, but I will say, I get him. I get our co-executive producer. I look in his eyes and I see he knows what he is doing.  I’m not saying other people don’t know what they are doing, but when you are coming on to a new show you need to consider who is helming it, because otherwise it is not going to do well.  I think Greg and I are on the same page as to what things need to change to move forward in a way that brings in more and more viewers. So 13-year-olds, women my age, and women my mother’s age, will all sit together again and watch the show.

Photo Credit: MF SOAPS inc

One of the things where I believe executive producers and head writers make a wrong turn is assuming that to get the key demo back that has tuned out to daytime soaps – who are now watching reality shows, or watch everything on the Internet – is that the young demo wants to see stories revolving around their same age group. That has more often than not proven to be a bust!

SARAH: Right. The thing that most producers in soaps think is that if they put younger characters on the show that is what the younger generation wants to see.  I can tell you this: my daughter, Jordan is 13-years-old and we finally agree on a few things.  One of them is Josh Duhamel, OK? That is all I have to say! (Laughs) We now understand that same thing. Jordan does not want to watch a 7 year old running around the set. She has no interest in that.  She wants to watch Ryan Gosling take off his shirt, God help her! And so do I want to watch Ryan Gosling take off his shirt and so does my mom, quite frankly! (Laughs) That is what I am saying, because who are most likely watching the soaps? I think a very high percentage of women and gay men.  Look, soaps can be a little bit of soft porn in the daytime for women.  We need to see in soaps opening titles and great music.  Those are part of the things we like to see on our favorite nighttime series that kick the show into high gear.

It seems like after all your travels in daytime that this new gig at DAYS could afford you the opportunity to really make a difference in the overall picture of the presentation of daytime soaps. You seem to have a firm grasp on how to modernize it.

Courtesy/CBS

SARAH: I have some revolutionary ideas for soaps and when I came to DAYS I said, “Look, I am going to tell you what I think. Do with it what you want, and regardless if I take this job or not, I think this will fix daytime.” And Greg, went, “You are absolutely right.” So then I said, “Well then you have got yourself an actress. Let’s do this together.” So yesterday, I had a scene where they said to me, “OK.  You are standing there behind a tree. And you can hear what he is saying all the way over there.” And I had to feel. And what I feel is … if I walk up to the tree and I sit down instead of lurking, I could just sit down on this bench which is right here in front of me. I take out my cell phone and I casually answer texts, while I am listening and watching it. To me, that will feel more like you are watching something on primetime, such as Pretty Little Liars, where they do gossip and spy on each other, but they don’t do it in such an obvious way. This is not the actress, this is the producer coming in and telling us that the audience doesn’t get it. They will tell us that they need to see more, and that they need to see it in your eyes more, and that is not what people want.  I feel I have had to at times in my career, bang my head against the wall while saying, “That is not what people want!”  I feel in the situation now at DAYS that for the first time people realize that and to make the show, (as per example again) more like Pretty Little Liars that my daughter would watch, or a show my mother at 56 would watch, and a show that I would watch again and again.

So what is the key ingredient that you think a daytime soap has got to have to grab the audience and make them stay put?

SARAH: Soaps have got to have romance, romance, and romance.  Romance leads to drama and all the other stuff is background. You know that, and I know that. It’s something you should be able to go in the next day to work and have that water cooler moment, and go, “Oh my God. Did you see that guy taking his shirt off? And then he did …” People get excited about that. Jordan and I went to see Steve Carell’s movie, Crazy Stupid Love with again, Ryan Gosling. (Laughs) And as we were walking out, I thought, “Wow. We are finally at that point when they are 13; they want romance in their lives, too!” Yes in real life women have kids and we want to relate to those characters on soap operas, but at the same time we want something better than our own lives. That is why people watch television, to escape reality not to relive it.  And this holds true especially during the day.  We want to have fun and escape. And when we watch talk shows like Ellen, people like her because she gets crazy. She dances in the daytime. And that is not to say heavy drama does not have its place in daytime, it’s just there needs to be some real romance between all the heavy drama. I can tell you what Greg Meng gets is that chemistry between actors is gold.  You don’t force a plot if the actors don’t have chemistry.  Nobody wants to watch it and the actors hate doing it. Yes, it’s called “acting” but you also need chemistry. And the people who are great in this business recognize that and go for it. You have seen bad movies with a great writer and great actors, and it does not matter because the actors hate each other, and I can tell! And it’s not that they are then bad actors, there is just no spark between them, there just isn’t.

Speaking of having that spark, do you feel that you and Eric Martsolf have that chemistry that will ignite the small screen?

Photo Credit: © WireImage.com

SARAH: We absolutely have the chemistry. He is gorgeous and nice man. I love Eric. He is such a fun actor to work with he cracks me up! He is funny and sweet and so talented. I can’t wait to see what happens when they finally give us some drama.  I am having a blast right now! I do not feel my guard go up when I am with him. And that is part of having good chemistry. If you have a strong woman paired with a strong man as well, but there is a delicate balance, well that is all I want to say. (Laughs) It’s beautiful with Eric and I. You are going to love it!

With Madison, since you had a major influence in constructing the role, did you come in with the idea of making her a CEO of a cosmetic company… Mad World Cosmetics?

SARAH: I did have input on Madison from the ground up, but not with the idea of her company.  With her company, she is the CEO and I came in and that was that.  It was, “Here is this woman, and here is her name. And she is going to be the CEO of a cosmetic company. Do you like that?” And I said, “Yes, I like that.” And then I was told, “This is what we know about her.” But from then on it was all very open.  She does have a past with Sami Brady. They were best friends as kids. So, I can relate to that because I have a best friend from when I was a little kid. It will be interesting to see where that relationship goes.

So many times viewers read interviews with all the hype from the actors and the producers, who all talk a great PR game to get viewers to tune-in to something new or revised.  What do you think it will take in the long run, after the first promotional push, to keep things moving in a forward direction for DAYS and in soaps in general?

SARAH: We don’t have more money and we don’t have more time in soaps anymore. So we have to do better. Everyone needs to be more conscience. We need people on the set who are making decisions who are very keenly watching and are very highly creative. People who see all the primetime shows, and the plays and the movies, and they watch everything that is out there, so they actually have their finger on the pulse of what is working in America.

Viewers have loved watching you in roles where you have been deliciously evil and bad, and tormented and complex. In Madison, can viewers expect to see Sarah Brown good? Or, Sarah Brown bad?

Courtesy/MFSoapsInc

SARAH: Both! (Laughs) There is no Sarah Brown only good or bad. There is only Sarah Brown (Laughs).  Will she have teeth? Yes! But I can tell you from the get-go this is the kind of woman who likes you, until you give her reason not to. Whereas on GH, Claudia did not like anyone, until you gave her a reason to like them. Claudia did not trust anyone and Madison trusts. She is much more open and trusting, and she is softer, but that does in no way mean she is softer when it comes to what she wants. We have even seen a little hint of that when something ticked her off. That is where you will see her go, “Do not mess with me!”

In closing, what would you say is the overall goal for yourself in coming to DAYS, and what you want your legions of fans to watch for?

SARAH: I want to bring joy to my audience. I am having fun.  And if its drama and it’s good and well-written, and people who are writing it are watching what is going on out there, this could be amazing. I know what kind of show in the daytime would get my daughter, my mother, and me all running to the TV set.  So I am really exciting about this and I think Greg Meng knows that too.

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  1. heidi says:

    Great interview Michael as usuual! Missing the podcasts by the way… Sarah is so talented and I really miss her on GH. I started watching BB when she went there and will check Days out when she is there. They are very lucky to get her!

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  2. Anita says:

    I was hoping that Madison and Jack would hook up that would let Jennifer think about how she might lose Jack to someone else and I think he would chemistry with Sarah Brown than Brady he has enough in his plate with Nicole and Chloe. I really would love to see Jack and Madison I do not want Jack to be just about Jennifer all the time if she going to be with Daniel because he is safe and all then I want see Jack move on for change let him have some fun for once. I think that Madison and Jack would be good too.

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    AlistairCrane replied

    No way!! I am tuning back in to Days for the supercouples and I want to see Jack and Jennifer back together and reunited, none of this Jack and Madison or Jennifer and Daniel nonsense.

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  3. LUMI says:

    I was hopeing her and Rafe would get together so Sami and Lucas be a family again.

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    Amy replied

    Sami belongs with Ej. Period.

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  4. JSFan says:

    I don’t know if I can believe anything any actor or producer say anymore, especially with respect to the actors having chemistry together. The producers of DOOL have/had a gold mine with the chemistry that Alison Sweeney and James Scott have/had together, along with the chemistry that Ari Zucker and Eric Martolf have/had together, yet they chose to ignore chemistry and have suck the pleasure right out of watching their show. We’ve had three years of having to endure the passionless relationship of Sami and Rafe. These two actors have absolutely no chemistry together whatsoever. The character of Nicole has more chemistry with the character of EJ, yet they refuse to allow the couples with the most chemistry to be together. Many don’t get it, are fed up and have moved on.

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    JSFan replied

    Sorry meant to say Nicole has more chemistry with the character of Brady, yet they won’t allow that relationship to grow.

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    Alex replied

    Totally agree, and they are surprised they are LAST in ratings, morons they are…NBC is too good to them, this soap should be cancelled instead of OLTL who has better ratings and better stories.

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  5. Oliveria says:

    I love SB since she was on GH the first time. I also loved Claudia, she was a wonderfull Mob princess.

    Glad she is coming to Days. I show i been watching forever.

    SB has chemisty with everybody. She is a wonderfull actress and i am exciting about her new role

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    Anita replied

    I have feeling Nicole will hook with Jack for awhile not romantic way but as friends and Jennfier is with Daniel doing god know what with him because she is angry at Jack for not telling her the truth where he was. Jennifer deserves to have Daniel. I hope Madison and Jack interact as well anything to drive Jennfier nuts.

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    Alex replied

    Jack was friend with SAMI he totally despises Nicole and guess what ? He is right, she is PATHETIC

  6. Sarah says:

    Sarah’s interview, by far, is the most intelligent interview I’ve seen a soap actor give in a long time. It’s intelligent, sincere, and the truth. I like how she sees the business side of demographics of the soap, but also recognizes that different generations of women and gay men want to see storylines with people of all different ages. Also, I like that there is a modern day women coming to the show.

    By the way, a lot of soap fans I see on the Internet just bitch and complain about their couple, but not the overall state of the soap. I’ll take an example from above, EJAMI. Aren’t they like six years ago? And also, they aren’t happening, so why campaign for them? Aren’t you wasting time? They aren’t on screen, and probably won’t be for a long time. I’m sure everything at days, and Ali and James are tried of repeatly telling the Ejami fans, Ejami is not happening. Move on. Support EJ and Nicole or Taylor and the new pairing of Brady and Madison. I think if you like EJ so much, you should support James in whomever he is working with and Ali as well.

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    David replied

    I agree.

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    JSFan replied

    Firstly, I was only commenting on the part where she talks about chemistry. I love the character of Nicole and would have loved her to click with EJ. I was also happy to see a new character being brought in for EJ after how vile both Nicole and Sami were. Unfortunately, Nicole just doesn’t have enough chemistry with EJ, and Taylor, well we all know what happened there. My comment really wasn’t about EJAMI at all. It was about chemistry between actors/characters and how DOOL has done everything to make sure they don’t pair up couples with chemistry, ie. EJAMI, BRICOLE, PHOLE, the list goes on. Melanie and Nathan had great chemistry and look what they did to them. I can’t support horrible writing with no build up and follow through for the characters/couples with chemistry and the ongoing pairing of couples without any chemistry.

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    JSFan replied

    Sorry, ran out of time.

    Secondly, I wasn’t opposed to Sami and Rafe either. I gave them a chance. Dialogue for this couple tells us how much in love they are, but I have yet to see it. They’re awkward together, passionless, contrived. I have seen Rafe have chemistry with other characters. Why won’t the producers acknowledge that and move on? The show absolutely needs more compelling stories, characters written true to form and more consistency. However, not even the best writing can manufacture chemistry between actors/characters. I question why the PTB have not and or choose not to pair characters/actors with the best chemistry.

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    the truth replied

    James Scott is WASTED with the Nicole character, simple as that…with AS/ Sami his scenes become captivating, if they want people to watch it is Ej/Sami interactions they need, people can move on sure but as ‘moving on’ they move on from this soap..they stop watching..simple as that.

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  7. aria says:

    I wish she would of return to GH, as Claudia she was so complex and fun to watch, she was never boring like she was on BB . DOOL is very lucky, they’re the closes soap to what GH is, so hopefully she will be a hit there, but i’m keeping my fingers crossed that Claudia is in a coma somewhere ready to wake up an cause some trouble, not necessarily with Sonny, or michael but instead get revenge on her crazy dad. plus i think she rocks as a brunnete more then as a blond.

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  8. Brenda says:

    I would like to see Nicole and Brady together. Rafe needs some tarnish. The combination of a boring actor and a squeaky clean character has not paid off. Put Rafe in a triangle with Madison and Sami. Maybe Sami will come to her senses and dump him.

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  9. Deborah says:

    Excellent interview with Sarah Brown. I really liked her as Carly on GH and look forward to watch her develop the charactor of Madison on DOOL. The name MAD Cosmetics…wouldn’t happen to be her initials would it? Then what could the “D” stand for I wonder…hmmm…..

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  10. AlistairCrane says:

    I haven’t liked Sarah Brown since she was on VR Troopers, so I am not looking forward to Madison on Days. I plan to DVR the show, watch the characters I love (Carrie/Austin, Marlena/John, Jack/Jennifer) and FF through the stuff I don’t like…a.k.a. Brady, Madison, Nicole, EJ, Sami, Rafe, etc….

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  11. Mo says:

    Sounds good. Let’s hope she and the show deliver.

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  12. Anita says:

    If Jennifer continues sleep with Daniel while she is with Jack then yes I want Jack to find new women for himself I am sick of Jennifer behavior.

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  13. Anita says:

    I do not another storyline where Jack has to be bad person again I rather Jennifer be one to look bad and if she continues to sleep with Daniel while angry at Jack then I want see Jack move on. I really think the writer’s need to bring Greta back for Jack because I am sick of Jennifer attitude she never had to even have her abandonment issues address. As far I know Daniel can have that Horton slut I really want see Jack move away from her and have better storyline with other castmembers and get his paper back and maybe interact with Madison not as romantic way or maybe. I am tired of Jennifer being only one to be prize. Jack is one deserves better not her.

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  14. Liza says:

    Great interview Michael! Thanks once again for asking the questions I want answers to! I think I am going to love her….as long as she stays away from EJ ;)

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  15. tvcat1 says:

    Days can use new blood. I can’t wait to see what the new writing team does with a new character. Compare with the Taylor character. But I hope they go with the flow and see who she has chemistry with. I’m a little surprised the powers that be already say she pairs up with Brady. Hoping it’s not a Taylor/EJ repeat.

    I’m really rooting for the new character and all the established characters to turn things around for Days. Hope the new writers can deliver.

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  16. Waverly says:

    Outstanding interview. I think Sarah made some excellent points. The audience is intelligent and the show needs to reflect that in how they stage scenes. It needs to feel real. Romance should be huge in daytime – it’s all about escapism and fantasy. Yes! Show off the guys gorgeous bods – they work hard for them and we want to appreciate their efforts! I also agree that music can help enhance the show and capture younger audience attention, but even more than that and something not touched on in the interview is fashion. I think fashion is a huge factor often ignored. Each character should really be defined by their style. Sarah mentioned Pretty Little Liars and I would add Gossip Girl as highly eye catching shows for the trends they display. Budgets may be tight, but style can be done creatively for less. Grab viewers attention by dressing the cast in a way that has viewers tuning in to see what new outfit is shown – so they can then run out & try to copy it. And please don’t ignore the men! Ej’s boring suit day in and out is dull, Bo in ugly grandpa shirts is pathetic, Rafe and Brady not sporting tight t-shirts is a waste of heavenly form. Mix it up and give them their own sexy signature. And casual wear for the ladies should not be oversize baggie duds. How about some sexy lingerie for those romantic scenes instead of tank tops peeking out of the sheet toga? Okay, you get the idea. I just think Days could use a fresh eye in the wardrobe dept to help with the refresh.
    It was great hearing Sarah’s views and her enthusiastic opinions. I hope she continues to share her input with Greg and Noel.

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  17. Anita says:

    I really want see Jack interact with Madison that would drive Jennifer crazy and also since she thinks she in love with Daniel then I do not want see Jack win her back anymore either it is no use I cannot stand Jennifer anymore I think her character is real slut and the actress is real bitch as well so I want someone better for Jack so why not hook Jack with Madison. Jennifer can suffer with Dr sleaze.

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  18. Anita says:

    Jennfier deserves to lose Jack the way she been acting lately I do not care if she is angry at Jack for not be honest where he has been but I do not blame Jack either because Jennifer is not being honest herself she never bother to go find out what really happen to him instead she acted like selfish bitch and went on slept with Daniel after three dates. She calls herself a reporter she deserves to lose Jack to another women serves her right. I cannot stand Jennifer anymore I hope Jack finally moves on away from that Horton trash.

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  19. Anita says:

    I am all for Jack and Madison or Jack and Nicole or Jack and Billie romance I want him to move away from Jennfier let her suffer with Dr Daniel who she thinks is hero and saint and shining armor she deserves to be miserable for the rest of her life. I hate Jennifer I want Jack to be happy without her for awhile even if he had couple dates with each ot these women or so he needs explore his options before he chooses to go back with that Horton slut. Jennifer is one who needs prove her love for Jack chase him again not the other way aorund.

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    Casey replied

    WOW! Negative, abusive, offensive language and attitude much? This is a SHOW! Get a grip and stop with attacking Melissa Reeves personally! Oh, that’s the actress who plays Jennifer since you probably don’t even know the actors’ real names. She has always seemed very sweet, honest and devoted to her family. Super actress. This interview was about Sarah Brown! Not your immature and vulgar Jennifer rant. What an intelligent, professional, forthcoming visionary Sarah is! The soap genre is in jeopardy. No show or its actors needs these vicious attacks right now. True fans NEVER behave and speak like you! Mean, unhappy people do! Get help!

    Reply

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