Stephen Nichols No Longer Taping at Days of our Lives? image

Jill Johnson/JPI

Where in the world is Steve Johnson?

Stephen Nichols has reportedly not been taping at Days of our Lives as Steve Johnson since March and the actor has revealed it isn’t by choice. Nichols has been playing Steve “Patch” Johnson on the NBC soap since June 13,1985. Steve, along with Kayla Johnson (Mary Beth Evans), has been one of the soap’s biggest supercouples, beloved by many fans.

The soap doesn’t discuss contracts with fans or the media, which is their prerogative. There is a lot happening behind-the-scenes that fans aren't privy to, including the reasons why one actor is on canvas more than another, though generally, it seems story dictated. Nichols’ contract is nobody’s business unless he makes it so. However, fans are understandably worried that one of their favorite actors and characters isn’t taping, especially when he wants to be. According to the actor's social media pages, he hasn't been posting photos as he has in the past on set. Instead, he's been on holiday and wasn't even seen in April at the Daytime Emmys this year, telling fans he was sorry he couldn't be there.

Not using Steve Johnson on the show doesn’t only affect the actor, his co-star, and the core family dynamics, mostly which have been missing as of late. Under utilizing a legacy character and legacy couple in a soap opera never bodes well with the ratings, either. Instead of seeing couples grow and change, there have been complaints about some stories this year which were seen by many - not all - as over-the-top and sometimes “silly.” Most seem to prefer the stronger family-oriented drama which forces them to feel for all involved, rather than see characters as caricatures.

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An Instagram post created by Nichols stated, “…one day per week (or less) doesn’t give the fans enough time to live with these characters. Respectfully, hoping for a remedy to this.” The post had fans in a tizzy, and assuming that the actor’s states that Steve be seen on Days just once per week when the actor wants more, but in actuality, it’s conjecture. No matter what is going on behind the scenes, Nichols is right. Showing less of Steve doesn’t give fans a chance to invest in any of his stories when he is so rarely seen. This goes for any character. It sounds possible that the actor turned down a one-episode per week guarantee, which incidentally is just a minimum amount, opting instead to request for more minimum tape days per week.

Johnson originally served in the merchant marines with Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) and then moved on to working as an ISA Agent, a Salem police officer, and co-owner of Black Patch, as a private investigator, with his friend, John Black (Drake Hogestyn). Steve’s the son of Duke Earl Johnson and Josephine Johnson, both now deceased. His brother is Jack Deveraux (Matthew Ashford) who passed on but has been seen on canvas a handful of times as a ghost, and his sister is Adrienne Kiriakis (Judi Evans). The PI’s main squeeze is Dr. Kayla Johnson, University Hospital’s Chief of Staff, and the longtime couple shares a daughter in Stephanie (Shelley Hennig) and a son in Joey (James Lastovic), while Steve has a child named Tripp Dalton, with Ava Vitali (Tamara Braun), who is played by Lucas Adams.

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Not only can’t the show seem to get Steve together with Adrienne and Jack in the same scenes, but Stephanie’s never seen and nobody’s quite sure where she resides, while Joey’s in prison for killing Ava Vitali. That leaves Steve’s new son, Tripp with whom Steve and Kayla have barely had time to bond with. Many fans have found it bizarre that such a longtime couple should have their family scattered so when these adult kids should be showcased more if the Johnson name is to continue in the future of the show. There’s a lot of missed opportunities for such an intriguing and beloved family. Hopefully Nichols re-signs a contract with Days that benefits both the show and him but if that doesn't happen, fans are already wondering if contract talks don't pan out, will Nichols consider a return to General Hospital as a resurrected Stefan Cassadine?