James Lastovic, Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans as seen in "Days of Our Lives"
Live another 'Day': The sand in the hourglass hasn't run out yet: NBC's venerable daytime soap is sticking around for at least one more year. "Days of Our Lives," the iconic backbone of the peacock network's afternoon programming and currently in the midst of its 51st season, has been renewed for an astounding 52nd.
"It's a great day in Salem!" executive producer Ken Corday said in a statement announcing the renewal. "We're pleased to announce that after more than 51 years in the hearts and homes of our amazing fans, 'Days of Our Lives' will continue to be part of the NBC family."
The decades-old soap opera is set in the fictional town of Salem, and revolves around the day-to-day lives of three large families: the Bradys, Hortons and DiMeras. As in any good soap, the levels of romance, betrayal and intrigue experienced by the people of Salem are enough to put any real-world town to shame, but they do make for sinfully good television.
The current season saw the show's landmark 13,000th episode air in January -- the same month that a new head writer was announced. Ron Carlivati, formerly the head writer of ABC soaps "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital," has taken over the reins of "Days of Our Lives."
Since its 1965 premiere as a half-hour drama, "Days of Our Lives" has earned 276 Emmy nominations, winning 46 of them. Its extensive and varied cast currently includes James Lastovic ("A Talking Pony," 2013), Stephen Nichols ("The Young and the Restless"), Mary Beth Evans ("The Bay"), Kristian Alfonso ("Falcon Crest"), Josh Taylor ("The Hogan Family") and Brandon Beemer ("The Bold and the Beautiful").
For six decades, audiences have peeked into the lives of Salem's residents, and now they're guaranteed at least one more year.
A criminal delay: After only a single season, the people behind "American Crime Story" are already hard at work on the third and fourth, but that doesn't mean that the second one should be expected any time soon. Last year's "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" garnered heaps of awards and loads of critical acclaim, so it's no surprise that the minds behind the true crime anthology are planning far into the future. With development of the second season, "Katrina," already well underway, the cast lists of the third and fourth are quickly filling up.
"Glee" alumnus Darren Criss and "The Bourne Ultimatum's" (2007) Edgar Ramírez have recently been cast in "Versace," the third season that's expected to air not long after "Katrina's" finale. Both are currently planned for a 2018 release.
The long delay between the first season and the second isn't time wasted. Matthew Broderick ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off," 1986) and Annette Bening ("American Beauty," 1999) recently joined the cast of "Katrina," which explores the events surrounding the aftermath of 2005's devastating hurricane that overwhelmed New Orleans.
As for Criss and Ramírez's "Versace," it will dive into the assassination of legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997, with Ramírez playing Versace and Criss playing his killer, Andrew Cunanan. The following fourth season, already early in development, will focus on the sex scandal that rocked the later years of the Bill Clinton presidency.
Each season of "American Crime Story" is a self-contained retelling about a real-life crime from the nation's history. Watch for the next story, "Katrina," early next year.
A new face in the kitchen: "MasterChef" is getting ... well, a new master chef. Chef Aarón Sánchez has joined the judging panel of Fox's popular cooking competition series ahead of its upcoming eighth season, after serving as a guest judge last year.
He's taking over as the show's third judge following Chef Graham Elliot's departure after six seasons; last season, only Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi were in charge of deciding who was eliminated each episode, with the help of a guest judge filling in the empty third spot.
For the world-renowned Sánchez, judging and critiquing dishes won't be anything out of the ordinary. He's been doing that job in Food Network's "Chopped" since its very first season aired in 2009. His own show, "Taco Trip," was nominated for an Emmy, and he's even won a coveted James Beard Award for his work in television.
The Latin chef isn't just about being on the tube, though. He's the chef/owner of Johnny Sánchez, which has locations in both Baltimore and New Orleans, and he's published two successful cookbooks.
It's no small task to find a chef who's got the qualifications to stand up next to the likes of Ramsay and Tosi week after week, but Sánchez fits the bill. "MasterChef" returns to Fox this summer.