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"SALEM LIVES: VENDETTA" and "THE VOYAGE OF VENGEANCE" have brought great changes to Salem Lives over the past few weeks. From reunions and payoffs to deaths and shocking revelations...the residents of Salem have seen it all of late. "It's been wild and very exhausting to write," says EP/HW Tim Lowery. "We invested so much in this and we built up to these events for over a year. We wanted it to be perfect and, judging from the response by the fans, it was. We only hope we can keep on delivering."

While the past few weeks have made fans who patiently awaited payoffs happy, it's very bittersweet as some characters have said their final goodbyes recently. As of the July 13 episode, 5 actors have seen their character killed off. Those actors consist of Jensen Ackles (Eric Brady), Paul Kersey (Alan Harris), Patrick Muldoon (Austin Reed), Charles Cioffi (Ernesto Toscano), and Roscoe Born (James McCluer). Ackles was doing double duty for most of the last year and had asked to be released from the show. "It's just too hard," Ackles admits. "I loved the show but I was only supposed to come back for a little over 6 months with Ari (Zuker, Nicole) but it turned into more of a recurring thing. However, I worked quite a bit and it conflicted with "Supernatural" alot so I knew I couldn't do this any further. The writers were great and gave me a fantastic exit. I was pleased but I will miss all my friends."

Kersey wasn't around for comment but Born reiterated that sentiment. "I knew it was a short-run. I only wish more time was spent on James grieving but Tim told me that was his fault. There was just so much story and James got lost in the shuffle. I had so much fun with this role. I mean, I worked with Deidre Hall (Marlena). It was just a blast." Cioffi was also pleased with his stint. "I was shocked when I returned last year because I left in 1990. Never once was there any speculation, except my name was mentioned in 2004 during the Captive Island plot. I was never called though. I had a blast last summer and had a blast returning to finish the story. I would return anytime, if asked. The material I received was a pleasure to play." Muldoon's exit was perhaps the most shocking as his character, Austin Reed, is married to Carrie Brady (Christie Clark) and has been frontburner all year. Muldoon, the role-s originator, was asked to return as a recast for Austin Peck. Muldoon had been wooed for years to return to the role and admits that he's sad to see his run come to an end. "It sucks but it's the business. They felt Austin had nowhere else to go and that he was merely a prop to Carrie and those around him. I kind of had the feeling when they brought me back that it wasn't going to last. I just had an instinct. I am happy I did return. This is the best material I ever got and playing this story with Christie, Ali, and Bryan was awesome. The exit I was given couldn't have been any better. I would come back as a ghost or for whatever they had in mind. I was treated well and have no regrets or ill feelings. I just hate to leave but that's life."

"We hate to see these actors go but many of these exits were necessary," admits Lowery. "Jensen was here alot longer then we all thought and Paul, Charles, and Roscoe were never meant to be long-term characters. I feel bad about Roscoe because his character got the short end of the stick. My co-EP/HW Patrick L. Ewing and I planned to do much more with him pertaining to his grief over his family and so on. The blame for that rests on me. I put other stories ahead of that and we suffered in that area. I regret what happened there. I feel bad about Patrick too but we just had nowhere else to go with Austin and some people had to go. This opens up alot of story and we needed to make the current stories end with a bang. We promised lives would change and this changes lives so we are proud of how everything went but sad to see these actors go."

Setsiders have been reporting for weeks that a massive casting bloodbath was about to hit and it appears to have begun. However, it may be far from over, as sources hint. "It's not over," Lowery hints. "We have more exits to come this summer and a few more further down the road. The cast was simply too large so that goes into our line of thinking and some exits coming are storyline-dictated. We just try to tell the best stories possible so whatever it takes to do that, we'll do."

The most surprising news, however, is word of cast additions in the midst of cast cuts. In a major casting coup, 2 major movie actors and a major soap star will be joining Salem Lives by summer's end. Famke Janssen (X-Men Trilogy, Nip/Tuck) will join Salem Lives August 3 as Miranda Grey, an ISA agent who is friends with Shane (Charles Shaughnessy) and has ties to another Salem resident as well. The role is recurring at the moment. "Famke is one of my favorites and we are delighted to have her aboard," enthuses Lowery. "She is a fine talent and will bring alot to Salem Lives." The other film star joining the cast is Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Prestige), who will join Salem Lives on August 24 as Alexander Dawson, son of Elizabeth Dawson. He is said to be a brooding man that has led a privileged life but feels something is still missing. "This is a major coup as he is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood right now," says Lowery. "He is an amazing talent that gives us something we need...a young leading man. We will have to work around him a but but we feel we can do it." The role is contract.

Playing the role of Alexander's mother, Elizabeth, is none other then GH favorite Finola Hughes (Anna). "We are thrilled to have her and we will need to work around the show she has and her summer GH schedule but we have a plan in place," explains Lowery. "We believe she will bring alot of class and elegance and will contribute alot. Her coming aboard really makes the story for me." The role is recurring for now but expect Elizabeth to have connections to a few Salem residents.

In the midst of all these comings and goings. Lowery promises fans that Salem Lives will not lose any steam. "The best is yet to come," he adds. "You haven't seen anything yet."

For more casting news on two cast members who are STAYING, see below.



Famke Janssen (Miranda Grey): Janssen debuts as the ISA agent friend of Shane (Charles Shaughnessy) on August 3. The role is recurring. See main article above for more.

Finola Hughes (Elizabeth Dawson): Hughes debuts as the mother of Alexander (Christian Bale) on August 24. The role is recurring. See main article above for more.

Christian Bale (Alexander Dawson): Bale first airs as the brooding mystery man on August 24. The role is contract. See main article above for more.


Patrick Muldoon (Austin Reed): Muldoon last aired on July 9. He originated the role in 1992 and returned to the role in November 2006. See main article above for more.

Charles Cioffi (Ernesto Toscano): Cioffi, who returned in July 2006 after a 16 year absence, last aired on July 10 when Ernesto died in Cal's (Josh Taylor) arms. See main article above for more.

Roscoe Born (James McCluer): The actor, who joined Salem Lives in December 2006, last aired on July 10. See main article above for more.


Arianne Zuker (Nicole Walker Brady): Nicole fans worried about her fate can rest assured...she is going nowhere and the actress has been upgraded to contract status after starting out short-term and being recurring since December. "I love her," enthuses EP/HW Tim Lowery. "We are glad she is contract now. She is a familiar face to recent fans and isn't related to anyone. The possibilities are endless. We weren't sure what we were going to do with Jensen and his situation but we came up with something a few months ago and we still have much story to tell with Nicole." Zuker returned to the role in May 2006, alongside Jensen Ackles (Eric). Before that, she had previously played Nicole from 1998-February 2006. Sources hint that Nicole will be involved in a huge story this Fall. Will she be good or evil?

George Delhoyo (Orpheus): The actor, who just returned in June when Orpheus was revealed as the infamous MCF, is going nowhere and is on contract status.


-The cruise ship survivors fight for their lives in the stormy seas.

-Two arrests are made.

-The truth about Forrest/Fred is spilled.

-Don't miss a stunning, jaw-dropping moment that will leave you breathless!!




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