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« Days of Our Lives Week in Review | Main | General Hospital: Killing Machine »

February 03, 2008


Check out this MySpace entry by one of the recently fired Days of Our Lives writers (thanks again to esp13 for this link in the forums).  It provides some insights on the difficult situation behind the scenes there.

This writer, Tom, is apparently responsible for Bo and Hope becoming super-adorable and fun last year, wanted Julie Pinson to be a leading lady, wrote Tony and Anna's scenes, and adored Steve and Kayla.  This is someone the powers-that-be decided to get rid of? 

Sigh.  Does anyone understand what the hell direction this soap is headed in?  And if so, for the preservation of my sanity, could you please at least confirm that it does not involve a talking dog, pseudo-alien twins, dead bodies in pinatas, satanic possession, an island of undead people, or John and Marlena constantly making out?


I can only assume that Ken Corday has put all his money into that goat farm he's had his eyes on for so long, and is now just throwing in the towel and trying to get the show cancelled at this point. Wow.

But, on a related note, is there any way that Brian Frons can see this news, then look at GH, then look at the news again, then GH again, and so on until the hamster jumps on the wheel and he's suddenly inspired???

Well, the only good news I can give you is that, as far as I know, Dena Higley was responsible for none of the storylines listed in your last paragraph. That has to be some kind of positive, right?

Dena Higley would probably toss Lexie into all guys at town (Philip, Bo, Lucas, Victor, etc.) then have a racist come to town so that he could burn her.

Or have a Bo/Hope/Shawn triangle.

Or... you know, Belle and Chloe tied to two separate burning stakes so that Philip could choose who to save first.

There's more but I'm tired.

esp13, I suppose if you insist on being optimistic I can indulge you. God!

Seriously, what storylines was she responsible for? And is it official that she's the replacement?

Beth, since the soap world refuses to being anyone new in, I could actually see Hogan Sheffer doing well at GH, since there appear to be good supporting scribes there (collectively known as Awesome Writer). GH could use some of the cast balance and veteran use that I think Sheffer does well.

Sorry, Becca. I'm eternally optimistic by nature. I'd tried to be pessimistic for awhile but, like Dr. Rolf's death, it just didn't take.

I don't know what stories she was responsible for on Days because that was in my 14 year hiatus from the show. But, I've heard she had Bo and Hope as bounty hunters searching for some kind of goop. She also had one of the million rounds of Lucas and Sami (I think this was post-Brandon). She was only HW for like 6 months in 2003 before JERk returned the second time, and most of what I've heard is that she was just really boring. Now, I think boring would be about the nicest thing anybody from OLTL would say about her.

It's not official that I know of, but Carolyn Hinsley had an article in the New York Daily News last week that identified Higley as the person currently writing Days. And Higley was hired as Co-HW just days before the writer's strike. Plus, it has been stated (at SNS, I believe) that Higley was the one that came up with the story for John's return. So, all the evidence that I'm aware of points to Higley being the current and future HW writer.

Did I mention that alcohol is very useful in remaining eternally optimisic?

Well, maybe Higley was the person who fired Shelle. If so, maybe there is a little hope?

I don't consider this bad news in the least. This writer of whom you speak has not impressed me much at all, based on the episodes he claims to have penned. Drippy, saccharine dialogue is not my idea of good stuff. In my opinion, Days has never been as painfully boring as it has been in the last year. Things started looking up when Ed Scott arrived. Production values improved. The writing seemed to tighten up a bit. This regime is the one responsible for the show's two most popular couples, John/Marlena and Bo/Hope, being literally OFF THE CANVAS for four months at the beginning of the year, and then had them spending another four months reading other people's love letters. Touch the Sky, Tinda Lau, Vendetta overload -- all brought to you courtesy of Sheffer and Co., all disasters in my considered opinion.

I haven't yet been able to understand what people think has been so great about Days in 2007. It's only in the last couple of months I've seen marked improvement. As a Bo and Hope fan, I would say the episode last week with the two of them in the Irish car, arguing about directions, was WAY more true to character and adorable than anything we've seen in months. I'll take this over making diaper bets any day of the week.

As for Dena Higley, I doubt she is as involved with the current direction of the storylines as people think she is, but whoever is steering this ship needs to stay because I'm actually enjoying the show now more than I have in years. Yeah, I know: It can always get worse. I am a Days fan going back 25 years so believe me when I say, that's one thing I know I can usually count on. What can I say though? I am like the wife in an abusive relationship. I keep coming back for more, keep hoping it will change, thinking that maybe this time it will be different. But maybe this time it will. For the first time in forever, the show has an executive producer who has some vision and leadership ability. I am putting my trust in Ed Scott that he knows what he's doing. Maybe it's about time we had someone in charge who is willing to take such drastic measures. Maybe it shows some interest on someone's part, FINALLY, to do whatever is necessary to keep the show on the air past 2009. I'm not writing Days off just yet; I don't think anyone else should either. Wait and see. You might be pleasantly surprised. Or I might get kicked in the teeth again. It will be one of the two.

I do join in the hope, however, that this will inspire Frons to clean house over the hill at GH. The Band-Aid writers there have been doing a great job.

Electra I agree with you. This is Ed Scott taking control all the way. The EP is more powerful than the HW and dictates what the HW can and cannot do. Higley may have been a disaster when left to her own devices at OLTL but here she's on a short leash at a show she knows like the back of her hand because she's worked at Days for about 20 years - as opposed to coming in out of the blue and not knowing the history.

I really wish you were right and this was Ed Scott because I would feel much better. But my understanding is that Ed doesn't have any input on the creative side (writing or casting). He was hired to run the day to day production and has done a wonderful job, but Corday retains full control over the show.

The same person on SON who broke the news of the firing (and has been consistently correct about Days stuff) has repeatedly said that Ed Scott doesn't have any control of the creative side of things. Maybe he's wrong, but I don't think he is.

Screw GH. Can the hacks that "write" AMC go next? Those fools finally got me to stop watching the show. Not even McTavish achieved that.

I don't watch Days, but the mass firings worry me because they make me worry about soaps in general. Once NBC gets out of soaps completely (which is looking more and more like a real possibility), I can see ABC following behind a few years later. This depresses me.

Mal, I've never been a conspiracy theorist but I'm reversing myself when it comes to soaps. We must be twins because I mentioned something about this very topic in the forums (You should post your comment there, btw, under the writers strike. Sounds like you have some interesting thoughts.)

Jeff Zucker has made no secret that he doesn't find soaps profitable and is pulling NBC out of the soap biz in 2009. I think there's a strong possibility he's slowly dismantling the shows to make his decision all the more prescient so his predicted profit/loss sheet becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. After all, if Days starts recouping its ratings (and thus ad revenues) then his decision to pull the plug becomes questionable. However, if he can sabatage by undercutting it at every turn so it tanks, then he becomes the trendsetter for ALL the networks by yanking daytime and switching over to something more cost-effective like chat shows (much cheaper to produce). Or they might go out of production altogether (although NBC tends to like to own its properties) and stick with syndicated programs so they doesn't have to make *any* cost outlay except the actual syndication fees.

I suspect Frons is on this same wavelength. He appears to have a true contempt for daytime (look what he's done to Soapnet -- removed most of the "soaps" and original soap-related programming then replaced them all with cheap movies that are decades old and teen dramas). He's just not as honest as Zucker about his intentions. Of course, he does seem to love Guza and GH, and did put money into NightShift so perhaps I'm wrong and he's just boneheaded rather than actively destructive. Who knows.

Until recently, I was in the TV business. My co-workers and I always suspected that Jeff Zucker had very intimidating pictures of someone high up in the General Electric family in order to keep his job, and we were always dumbfounded when he got promoted.

It's profit over all else, which might work in other businesses, but not in TV. People stop watching eventually, and then you have no business, profitable or otherwise.

This contrasts with CBS, which under Les Moonves has always believed that you give people something of quality to watch and in the long run you will come out on top.

This is why NBC has fallen from its lofty perch atop the primetime ratings of late, and why CBS consistently is #1 or #2. The tortoise won the race, remember, not the hare.

I don't dispute NBC wants out of soaps. They've wanted it for years. When Susan Lee was still heading up daytime programming at NBC she said point blank that there was no future in soaps. And that was over ten years ago. This network has never been committed to this genre. Not even back in its heydey. And it has cancelled -- lemme count -- SIX? soaps in the last 20 years. That sure hasn't happened at the other networks.

So all the more reason, I think, for Days and anyone connected to it to do whatever it takes to make the show as attractive as possible to either NBC or to another network when its license runs out next year. As I understand it, the best thing Corday has going for him right now is Sony, which makes money hand over fist in overseas distribution rights for the show. I don't think they're ready to give that up just yet. Switching networks has traditionally been the kiss of death for soaps, but I doubt that would stop them from shopping it around and buying themselves at least a little more time. I think that's what we're seeing going on here. Days is prettying itself up for the beauty contest.

Ken Corday might call the shots, but don't fool yourself: It's the person who has his ear who is really steering the ship and that has always been the co-EP. Just take a look back at the chain of succession. Al Rabin? Great EP, great show. Tom Langan? Not exactly a visionary and known to be a tyrant as a leader, but at least he ran a tight ship. The show was decent under him. Steve Wyman? No leadership skills, no vision. The show suffered. There has been so much marked improvement in production values alone since Ed Scott arrived, that I don't know how anyone can say he doesn't have influence on the creative side.

In my post I obviously meant incriminating pictures. I'm thinking something involving an executive and a farm animal.

I agree that the production values have soared since Ed took over. But, my understanding is he doesn't have much, if any, input into specific storylines or casting decisions. He's not telling the writers who to write for, what kinds of stories to write, and which actors to hire and fire. That's still Corday.

"Beth, since the soap world refuses to being anyone new in, I could actually see Hogan Sheffer doing well at GH, since there appear to be good supporting scribes there (collectively known as Awesome Writer). GH could use some of the cast balance and veteran use that I think Sheffer does well."

Becca, I agree. There are still a few writers worth keeping. I think that it's a toss-up between which show needs a shot in the ass more - GH or AMC. Hopefully, Frons has some sense and snaps Sheffer up. He's got a lot more going for him than the current regimes do.

I think what concerns me for Days more than anything else is the lack of a clear vision for the show. This is, what, the third writing regime in five years? There's no way to have any kind of stability with this constant upheaval.

Some of Higley's previous gems on Days:

Love Is Blind dating show with Phil/Belle/Mimi/Cassie

In the House television show hosted by Jack and Jennifer from their living room.

Bope as bounty hunters searching for mysterious goop

The Gentlemen's club - Club Eschelon

Shawn D as a wanna be lawyer

And last but certainly not least...

Belle's Days of the Week Panties

Is there really anything more to say?

They should have keeped these writers for the simple fact that not once since they started has Sami uttered her favorite phrase
"my parents are getting back together, they love each other" I'm sorry but once your own son reaches the teenage years it's time to give up on the whole divorced parents reconciling thing, especially when they weren't even together for the better part of your life.

On another note didn't Higley just get fired for the terrible job she was doing at OLTL, did TPTB at DOOL not get the memo.

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