The soap returns to it core characters and values in a time of struggle for the industry

By Lynette Rice
Updated July 15, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Finally some good news from the beleaguered soap world: As part of its promise to reset the show and return to more character-based stories, Days of Our Lives is bringing back super-couple Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans) and Drake Hogestyn (John Black) to the NBC sudser Sept. 26. Details about their length of stay weren’t released, but Hall — who, like Hogestyn, left Days in 2009 after the soap underwent massive budget cuts in an effort to stay afloat — is promising an exciting reentry to Salem. ”It’s dramatic, romantic, and involves the entire town,” says the star, 63, who is particularly thrilled at the show’s new direction under the exec-producing team of Greg Meng and Noel Maxam. (Meng found out firsthand how much fans missed the couple when he toured with his book Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos this year.) ”They brought in two new head writers who really believe in things that our core audience believes in,” says Hall. ”They like romance. They don’t like people buried alive, they don’t like who’s your daddy.” For a couple like Marlena and John — who endured bouts of paralysis, amnesia, false deaths, and mind control — that should come as a huge relief.

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