In somewhat unsurprising news, Days of our Lives star James Scott taped his final episode as bad boy EJ DiMera, today, May 2, reports Soap Opera Digest. His exit marks the end an eight year relationship with the lone NBC soap, which began in 2006.
“We are saddened but supportive of James Scott’s decision to leave the show after eight years to take some personal time and pursue new projects,” said Days of our Lives publicity in a statement to Soap Opera Digest. “His contribution to the show has been tremendous and we wish him the best always.”
James Scott also issued a statement regarding his exit. “I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to NBC, Sony and Corday, particularly Ken Corday [executive producer], for the amazing 8 year run on Days of our Lives and for graciously supporting me in my decision in leaving the show to take personal time. To the unbelievably loving fans, I can’t begin to express my gratitude for your love and support over the years. I will miss you immensely.”
Though Scott wrapped up filming today, he’ll continue airing through the fall as a result of Days of our Lives’ production schedule. In a recent interview, Scott revealed they were filming October episodes, so that should give an indication as to how long he’ll air.
Scott joined Days of our Lives shortly after his 18-month stint as All My Children’s Ethan Cambias came to an end. Over the next eight years, the British hunk would take the show by storm, ascending to leading man status and never letting go of the mantle. Hugely popular in his own right, Scott and leading lady Alison Sweeney (also departing this year) created one of the series’ most popular and controversial pairings in EJ and Sami.
While I’m not surprised to see James Scott go, it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Days of our Lives is in an interesting predicament going forward. Recasting EJ will be an unenviable task, as Scott’s popularity would make it extremely difficult for any actor coming in. Though difficult, it’s been done before and probably will again in the future (ie Roman, Bo, etc.). I don’t see a reason to recast immediately either, as the soap has other leading men to fall back on and/or elevate in light of James’ departure – with Shawn Christian, Greg Vaughan, Eric Martsolf and Bryan Dattilo as the leading candidates. EJ has had such a stranglehold on Salem since his debut, I’m curious to see how the show fares without him around. Introducing another character similar to EJ isn’t the answer, but should it happen, I hope the show learns from the mistakes made with EJ and opts not to replicate them.