A slew of actors, including Lucas Adams (ex-Tripp), Marci Miller (ex-Abigail), Sal Stowers (ex-Lani) and Lamon Archey (ex-Eli), have left Salem over the past few weeks, and this week, Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Robert Scott Wilson (Ben) say their good-byes, but Head Writer Ron Carlivati (r.) assures that it was all a matter of timing.
“This is not some mass exodus,” emphasizes the scribe. “This is nothing for people to panic about. We had some characters exiting at the same time, but it’s not connected. With some of our actors, their deals come up at the same time, because maybe they made a new deal when we came back from Covid. Yes, we do have a few characters that leave around the same time, but it is not indicative of some big crisis at the show. Some of these actors were on recurring, it was not working, it was costing the show a lot of money for scheduling, and we decided we needed to exit some people if they didn’t want to be here full-time.”
Carlivati says he understands the stars’ desire to spread their wings and seek employment elsewhere. “My attitude is, these actors are super-talented, they’re young, they want to go see what else they can do. And I think it’s great, but harder for us. But I do think that they should definitely go and try.”
One of the challenges, however, is when one of the actors is part of a popular supercouple. “With Victoria, she really just was not available on a regular basis, and in the way our show works and how you have to schedule people, it just became less and less feasible to keep her in that status,” he explains. “So if you’re going to tell a story with a couple, you need these people to be on contract. So as all of these different people come up, you have to decide how they’re exiting. And it is a little bit of a challenge because we had this before when we killed off Ciara — the couple is so popular, you want them to have a happy ending, but then that involves writing Rob off the show, who doesn’t necessarily want to leave. So, you’re like, ‘Does the couple go off into the sunset? Does one half of the couple leave? Does someone die?’ Half the couple leaving oftentimes doesn’t work, like, ‘Oh, this person is going to go take a job over here?’ Well, how do you tell story with the other half? Are they not supposed to have any kind of romance, any kind of love story because their spouse or a significant other is out there somewhere else? It just ties your hands in an impossible way. So then does the person die? These questions always come up and we really wrestle with them and they’re very difficult. I understand that the fans can be upset when their favorite person leaves, but they often do not understand what it means to be recurring. For example, Marci being recurring or Victoria being recurring is very different from, say, certain other characters who recur occasionally. I will not go into all the ins and outs but it is completely not a fair comparison to say, ‘Well, why is this one recurring and this one not?’ It depends on the person and their storyline, and all of that.”
Though “Cin” sails off into the sunset, they won’t be off camera for long. “Timing is everything,” muses Carlivati. “We were writing BEYOND SALEM at the same time, so we decided, ‘Hey, they leave Salem on July 8th and say that they’re going to arrive in Montreal on July 11th on their sailboat, and guess who’s there?’ So that’s how we started, and it worked out that they were leaving Salem and they arrive in Montreal, where some of our action takes place the following Monday in BEYOND SALEM, so you can kind of seamlessly follow their story when they leave town.” As for Wilson, Carlivati teases, “Salem hasn’t seen the last of Rob.”
The story of writing out Eli and Lani was similar to Ben and Ciara, he explains. “Lamon has been super-busy on other shows. He’s getting a lot of work, which is great, and both he and Sal elected not to sign a new deal. So, again, we decided that they’re going to leave town after Lani confesses her part in her father’s death, and it becomes a question of what’s going to happen to her. So you will have already seen that Lani and Eli leave Salem around the same time.”
Carlivati concludes by stressing that these are challenging decisions for the show to make. “It really is very hard for us,” he says. “So many of your favorites are still here to watch, but yes, it is always painful to lose one person, let alone a few at once. We will introduce one or two new people, which you’ll see. We’re in no way trying to replace people who go, but it does kind of open up the canvas a little bit. And like I said, we love these people, and dead, alive, in prison, whatever it might be, we never say never and the door’s always open for them to come back.”