A Day At DAYSBy Janet Di Lauro Posted: Oct 23, 2003
11:00 I arrive at the Bob Hope Drive entrance, hand over my ID, and wait for the guard to find my name on a clearance list. "Are you working on the show today?" he asks. "No, I'm a reporter doing a set visit," I respond. Computer difficulties delay my entrance, but I'm finally handed a neon pink name tag and instructed to head to parking spot seven.11:15 Two of DAYS's handsomest stars greet me, when I enter the main hallway: 7-month-old twins, Chase and Tyler Johnson, who share the role of Theo Carver. Cast and crew are fawning all over them, as their proud mother, Dawn, wheels them around in a double stroller. "Aren't they adorable?" coos their TV mom, Renee Jones (Lexie).11:30 I head to publicist Andrea McKinnon's office, where we discuss who's around to talk to, my goals for the day, and anything new I might need for the magazine. "We'd love some personal vacation photos from any of the actors," I tell her. On the monitor, we watch Jones, Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) and Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) rehearsing.11:45 Music director Amy Evans arrives and McKinnon tells her that Hank Williams Jr. wants to appear on the show. "He'll even pay his plane trip to L.A.," announces McKinnon, noting that Williams and his wife are big DAYS fans. After checking out his Web site, we all laugh upon learning that Williams' band is called The Cheatin' Heart, the same name as a bar in Salem.12:00 As we stroll to the makeup room to see who's available, Peter Reckell (Bo), Kristian Alfonso (Hope) and James Reynolds (Abe) are diligently running lines. The trio beg off doing any interviews, since they are rehearsing a very tense scene.12:15 Arianne Zuker (Nicole) arrives, flashes a big smile, and says, "Hi!" She agrees to chat, later. Right now, she's on her way to the makeup room. However, if the truth be told, she looks absolutely radiant sans a stitch of blush, powder or concealer.12:30 Jones, who's just finished her scenes, invites me to her dressing room for a chat. She tells me how happy she is to be working with Tanya Boyd (Celeste), again, answers some Style questions, and shares the name of her favorite skin cream. "Feel my arm," she says stretching it toward me. Pick up a future issue of Weekly to find out the cream that makes her skin feel like a newborn baby's. Honest!1:00 I head back upstairs to the DAYS publicity office. John Aniston (Victor) is on the payphone between the DAYS sound stages. He waves, as I walk by.1:15 PR assistant Joelle Johnson and I decide to head to the commissary for lunch. We walk out with Reeves, who's finished taping for the day. Reeves thanks me for the Weekly interview on her and Matthew Ashford (ex-Jack). "It turned out great," she says, noting that she's anxious to get home. "But first I have to go get some boxes. We're moving to a new house, and I have to start packing."1:30 Having picked up our lunches, Johnson and I return to the studio with McKinnon, who we met at the commissary. En route to their office we encounter Ashford. "Ooooh! That looks good," he says, as he ogles my turkey cheeseburger.2:00 Johnson calls Alexis Thorpe (Cassie) and asks her if she's available to be interviewed. She agrees to stop by the PR office in a bit.2:30 McKinnon receives a phone call from Evans with some big news. Believe it or not, there's another country music star anxious to appear on Days: Toby Keith.3:00 Thorpe and Kirsten Storms (Belle) breeze into the publicity office. "We've got the day off, but we came in to bring presents to my makeup artist (Kim Salvatore). It's her birthday," notes Thorpe, who gifted her with a purse. "I got her a bouquet of flowers," adds Storms.3:15 A perfectly coiffed and made-up Zuker peeks into the PR office, ready to talk. I motion that I'm in the middle of interviewing Thorpe and Storms, and she quietly waves and slips off. Unfortunately, Zuker and I never do get to talk, because she winds up running lines with Aniston.3:30 Thorpe and Storms check out the cast photos on McKinnon's office wall. Storms gravitates towards a bare-chested shot of Eric Winter (Rex). "He is quite possibly the cutest guy on our show," Storms smiles.3:45 I say my goodbyes and thank yous, as I leave the publicity office with Storms. We make a stop in the makeup room, where she shows me all the lip glosses and shadows she wears regularly as Belle. I jot down the brand names and colors for a future Style story.4:00 It's time to bid adieu to "Salem," as I jump into my car, pull out of the lot, and head back to the real world. I've got e-mails to check from my New York office; then, it's off to the dentist.