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Soap will return for at least 2 more years

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

LOS ANGELES – NBC announced Wednesday that it is renewing the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives” for two more years, taking it into 2016.

The renewal means the show will get to celebrate its 50th anniversary while still on the air in November 2015, an impressive feat in a time when many daytime soap operas have vanished.

Currently, ratings are up for the soap, which also picked up the Daytime Emmy for outstanding daytime drama in 2013. It’s got the biggest total audience in 4 years, and this is its best season in the key demographic of women ages 18-49 in three years.

Soap operas used to be ubiquitous, but currently there are only four airing on the major broadcast networks: “Days,” “General Hospital,” “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Soaps reached their peak in 1970 when 19 were on the air at the same time.

One long-running performer on “Days” who probably won’t be around to celebrate the 50th anniversary is Alison Sweeney. Sweeney, who plays troublemaker Sami Brady, announced this week that she’s leaving the series sometime early in 2015 after 21 years on the program. She joined the show in 1993 at age 16.

Sweeney told Ellen DeGeneres she had no idea what the fate of her character would be, but she did say, “It would be awesome to have some sort of happy ending, but then I also think maybe Sami deserves some sort of twisted, ‘Breaking Bad’ ending.”

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