We are in the home stretch of Alison Sweeney’s (Sami) final weeks on Days of our Lives. While the longest running scripted television series in NBC history is being tight-lipped about her final airdate, Sami will exit the canvas this month. And thus, fans will say their farewell to an astounding almost 22 year run by Sweeney, who first came on to the show as a teenager, and has blossomed right in front of our eyes to a woman of great strength, and so much talent to boot!
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Alison for this very special interview to get some of her parting thoughts, as she, and the viewing audience, gets ready to watch Sami’s exit in the coming weeks. And while fans are guessing on just how Sami will exit the show, they can right now get a double dose of Alison not only on DAYS, but on the new season of the Biggest Loser (Thursdays 8PMET) as host of the NBC weight loss competition series which is celebrating its tenth season this month.
Since Alison departed DAYS, she has been busy directing at both General Hospital and in Salem, and in our chat she discusses that experience and her plans for the future. And what of the collaboration with James Scott (EJ), that caused quite the sensation as EJami, and her other Salem leading men? You’ll find out her thoughts below! It’s hard for us to fathom DAYS without Sami, as Alison was a true cheerleader and leading lady of the soaps. So for the final time, for now, here’s our chat with one of daytime’s all-time champs!
We are in the final month of the airing of your last episodes of Days of our Lives. While you ended your run back in May. and said many goodbyes back then, what emotions do you feel now knowing your millions of DAYS fans are going to watch you exit the show on-screen shortly?
ALISON: I’m just so grateful to all my fans who have stayed with me through Sami’s ups and downs. The tweets and facebook messages of support … mean the world to me!
When you look back at the extraordinary dynamic and soap fame, you and James Scott (EJ) created as EJami, could you ever see something like that being replicated? It seems while you had many leading men over the course of your time as Sami, EJ was the one who guy with Sami that became a “phenomenon”! You either loved or hated the on-screen duo!
ALISON: Yeah, it definitely always sparked a reaction out of the fans. But I think every pair of actors creates a unique combo – you never know what you’re going to get until you see them on-screen. So in that way, I don’t think what we did could be ‘recreated’. It’s all to do with chemistry, the character and the story. I’m very proud of the work James and I did together over the years. The EJami fans definitely voiced their support in a way that inspired me. But I’ve loved all my leading men throughout the 21-plus years. I’m very proud of the work we have all done together. I feel very lucky to have worked opposite Galen Gering (Rafe) and Bryan Datillo (Lucas). And certainly storylines with Austin (Patrick Muldoon/Austin Peck) and Lucas hold a special place in my heart because of the many years we worked together.
I so wish I would have been able to wish you well, and celebrate in your success for all you have meant to DAYS, and the fans of the series, when you had your on-set goodbye party. Anything you can share that looking back on the day that was extra special for you with a cast member, longtime executive producer, Ken Corday, or a memento that you took with you?
ALISON: That last day was surreal. I walked on set to be surprised by my work family and my family with my mom, and Dave and my kids. They were all there alongside: Wayne Northrup (Ex-Roman), Christine Clark (Ex-Carrie) and Patrick Muldoon (Ex-Austin) who all surprised me alongside: Deidre (Marlena), Drake (John), Kristian (Hope), Lauren (Kate) and so many others. To look around and see my family, and the cast and the crew surround me, and to have such touching thoughts from Ken and NBC was overwhelming. I look at the pictures from that party and am so touched!
Many, including myself, have said you have done absolute Emmy-worthy work over the last several months (on-screen) with Sami’s revenge on EJ and Abigail (Kate Mansi). Will you consider throwing your hat into the ring come Daytime Emmy time for Lead Actress, even though you have departed the show?
ALISON: Right now, I’m focusing on the last month of the show airing. I’ll think about that next year when we get closer to it. But, thank you so much for the compliment!
You have been active on social media and facebook doing the Sami countdowns – “The DAYS of Sami”! Are there more on the way before you say farewell to Salem? We loved “Top Ten Chick Fights”!
ALISON: So glad you’re liking them! It’s been such fun for me to reminisce alongside my fans, and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy the ones I’m planning for October.
Will you be watching your final episode of DAYS when its time for Sami’s exit? How do you think it will sit with the fans of the show?
ALISON: I really enjoyed all the trips down memory lane as we get closer to the end. I hope it touches the fans as it did me. As for the final day, I’m not sure what’ll be doing, but I do know that I’ll have it on DVR to keep forever.
Has there been now a feeling of relief that you are not doing the daily grind of performing on a soap opera? Or, do you find yourself at times missing it?
ALISON: I certainly miss the people at DAYS; I miss Sami too and loved going back to direct, but I relish time with my family – taking my kids to school, riding horses with my daughter, being with my son for practices, and date nights with my husband.
You directed at General Hospital and Days of our Lives! Could you see yourself becoming an ongoing director for either series? And could you ever see yourself joining the ranks of Michelle Stafford (Nina), Maura West (Ava), Laura Wright (Carly) and Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), and playing a part in Port Charles with probably the top notch female cast in daytime in the near future?
ALISON: I love to direct. I love finding interesting choices to tell stories and working with actors that I’ve known for so many years. My plan right now is to host Biggest Loser, direct when I can, and start production on my next Hallmark Movie, Radio Hype.
With Biggest Loser back for another season; oftentimes people are concerned with the sudden weight-loss of some of the contestants and that it’s potentially unhealthy. But what has been inspiring is that you have really helped women everywhere in terms of lifestyle choices, and food and fitness, etc. Did you ever think this would be part of your brand? Or, was this something you had always hoped and set out to do?
ALISON: I was a fan of the Biggest Loser before being asked to join as host. So, obviously I was thrilled when the offer came to me. The show is incredibly inspiring to me and to the many people that come up to me sharing their stories of weight loss. At the end of the day, I’m proud to be part of the solution to the obesity epidemic in this country by having a show that teaches the importance of fitness and nutrition.
In closing, what would you like to say to the millions of DAYS fans who are preparing to get out their hankies when they watch your on-screen exit?
ALISON: I love my fans and am so grateful to them for almost 22 years of support. The gifts, the notes, and the social media messages all mean so much to me, and I hope my fans know that.
So, what do you think about Alison’s comments as she and us get ready to say goodbye to Sami? How do you think she will be written out of DAYS? What do you have to say about the success of the soap super couple, EJami? And what are your thoughts on Alison’s accomplishments throughout her career? Share your thoughts below!