Why DAYS OF OUR LIVES Made A Huge Casting Change That Swapped Emmy-Winner Natalia Livingsont For Another Golden Gal, Tamara Braun
Last October, DAYS OF OUR LIVES announced that they had hired Emmy-winner Natalia Livingston (ex-Emily/Rebecca, GH) to play the role of Taylor, Nicole’s sister, who hadn’t been seen or mentioned since 1999. The actress began airing at the end of January, but three weeks later, she was replaced by another popular GH actress — Tamara Braun (ex-Carly; ex-Reese, AMC) — who won an Emmy in 2009 for her portrayal of DAYS’s Ava.
So, why the switch? “The storyline is going in a different direction,” says Executive Producer Ken Corday. “Tamara brings a different quality to the role and that’s why we made the decision. We made this choice carefully. It wasn’t an arbitrary thing and we believe it’s in the best interest of the show and the character. Natalia is a wonderful actress and a very lovely person, but it’s the nature of the business. It’s not like the first time for us or the first time on daytime.”
The exec admits there was some momentary trepidation about bringing back an actress who had recently appeared on the show. “Sure, there’s hesitation, because she’s very recognizable in another role, but I knew her capabilities as an actress would far outweigh the fact that she played Ava. We did it with Josh [Taylor, Roman; ex-Chris], although that was a lot of time in between, and this was only two years. But I know the viewers get accustomed to things quickly.”
Corday reveals he always felt Braun would be back in Salem, thanks to a memorable conversation in August 2009. “It was the night she and Darin [Brooks, ex-Max] sone the Wmmy and she was there with her mom,” he recalls. “She and I didn’t have that kind of relationship where I could be that candid, but the night she won, she was so happy and I was so effusive, the last thing I said to her was, ‘I believe you’ll be back on the show.’ And shee looked at me and said, ‘Call anytime.’ That’s how it went down, and here we are almost two years later and I made the phone call.”
With DAYS’s new production schedule — which is taping more than two months ahead of what’s airiing — Livingston will be onscreen until late April. “It concerns me, but there’s nothing we can do about that now,” Corday admits. “That is a blessing and the curse of our production schedule — the show is very far ahead.”
Co-star James Scott (EJ) has mixed emotions about the switch. “I am sad to see Natalia go,” he says. “It’s a shame. She is a wonderful actress and I loved working with her. I understand they wanted to change direction of the storyline, but I don’t exactly know why. But it’s lovely to have Tamara back. I am so over the moon to be working with her and it will completely change the dynamic of the storyline. She and I work well together. She and Ari [Zucker, Nicole] work wonderfully together.”
Adds Co-Executive Producer Gary Tomlin, “Natalia Livingston is an amazing actress and a consummate professional. She is a class act and everyone at the studio adores her.”