Big big news

Dena Higley is OUT …

I’ve actually heard people many times toss around Ron Carlivati’s name as a possible Days headwriter. He wrote for both OLTL and for GH. He wrote the GH 50th and apparently is credited with saving the show. Apparently he has a campy style, which I don’t mind as long as it’s not over the top. Those of you who know him from GH or OLTL, please chime in in the comments!

What I’m more excited about is that Sheri Anderson is being brought on as a creative consultant. (Ryan Quan will also stay on, with the same title.) Sheri was headwriter or co-headwriter from 1982-1986. It’s truly mind-boggling the mark she left on the show in that time. She created the supercouple formula and the characters of Bo and Hope, Shane and Kim, Steve and (recast) Kayla, John Black as Roman Brady, Victor Kiriakis.  I mean, she wrote the Stockholm storyline — need I say more?

She also worked as a co-headwriter with John E. Reilly, famous for the devil possession storyline. I wasn’t watching then and have no desire to see it, really, but I have been assured by people whose opinion I respect that the stories were campy and over the top, but they were well structured and one flowed into another. That makes sense to me, because that’s one thing that Sheri was very, very good at in the 1980’s.

So, I know it will never be 1986 again. But I have hopes that the stories will be better structured, that character will count more, and we’ll be able to root for some romances.

I am guessing too that this change was forced by NBC, and that renewal was contingent upon it. By the same token, I think we’ll see that cast cuts will likely be coming. But for now … celebrate!

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23 thoughts on “Big big news

  1. I’ll copy what I wrote other places here.

    I’m optimistic. Ron is a mixed bag. But you can never deny he SAVED General Hospital. ABC was done with soaps by 2011. They’d cancel AMC and OLTL, and GH was about to be cancelled for Katie Couric and Good Afternoon America. (Sounds familiar?) Ron was brought on to give the show a graceful end, (like he did OLTL), and he hit the ground running. He drastically reduced the mob, brought back fan favourite characters and focused on history, and THAT saved GH. I hope he does the same for Days. He doesn’t have the same history with the show. I guess, this is where Quan and Andersen fit in.

    Ron LOVES soaps. He’s not a plenteous hack who thinks he’s better than the genre. As much as he burned out at the end (and I have to admit his last year was BAD), 2012 to early 2014 was GREAT soap. He had dud stories and pets, but he had amazing umbrella stories and events. You can look forward to that. Although I don’t think you can blame Ron for all of GH’s faults. Many of the things people complained about are stilling going on. I blame his burnout on network interference and EP who loved hiring new people.

    People can get excited about is the dialogue. Ron is funny. He injects humour into every show, so even when GH was at its worst under his tenure, he made you chuckle. You can also get excited about cliffhangers and epic twists. Ron knows how to do cliffhangers. He loves to incoperate history into stories. He loves writing divas, so I can guess Kate, Marlena and Nicole are going to get great materiel. He’ll probably love Patch. I would be worried about Kayla. He’s never been good at writing the “good girl”. He tends to make them bland.

    He has faults. I don’t think his romances on GH ever took off. I hear he was great on OLTL, but I only saw his last year on that show. He’ll be great for the gay characters. He won’t have ABC breathing down his neck anymore. Corday/NBC have always seem way more supportive for their gay characters than ABC.

    It will be interesting to see a Ron free from Frank Valentini (his EP on OLTL and GH) and ABC. I always thought it was a mistake to fire him. He needed a co-writer, not a pink slip. He needed someone who could reign him in, which it sounds like Andersen was for JER. JER/Sheri was an epic combo from what I hear. Maybe they could recreat that. Ron does share JER love of camp.

    • Thanks for the inside scoop, Farah! I’ve been through too many writing changes to think this is going to be THE one that fixes everything, but your comments make me hopeful. The show could really use some juicy cliffhangers and some humor. Plus I’m just hoping for better execution. I have said this before, but I think Dena’s story ideas are fine (with some exceptions) but there’s always something lacking in the way they play out.

      A lot of soap writers have trouble with good girls, so – while depressing – that’s nothing new. I’ll always love Josh Griffith for how he wrote Kayla. Maybe Sheri will be some help there. I’ll be happy to see better writing for Nicole.

  2. DENA IS GONE—-PARTY AT MY PLACE !!! Although I know Dena’s stories will still play on our screen for a few more months, I’m optimistic at a new direction. So many things about Dena and her style bothered me—the rushed components of a story, important components happening off screen–my biggest gripe, her weird obsession with male rape; both Steve & JJ. As for Ron, it sounds mostly good & I am especially happy, as Mary tweeted, that Sheri, writer from the 80s & 90s, will be there as well. If he saves DAYS , fantastic—-if not, I think he would give a better send off than Dena. I shuddered at the thought of her writing the series finale, because I could see her thumbing her nose at the fans and leaving stories unresolved. Hope you are enjoying the Eric scenes Mary !

    • I haven’t been hating the show as much lately as some people have (Great, though brief, S&K scenes, and Eric’s return, have helped!), but it’s hard to be hopeful with her at the helm. I know things can never rise above a certain level.

      I have been enjoying the Eric scenes! I was working on a post about them when this news broke. 😄 I’ll finish it and post it tonight.

  3. I just want MBE and SN’s jobs to be safe. I hope cast cuts don’t include them. I always worry about that.

    GH’s 50th is available on YT for anyone who wants to watch. I can’t say I was a big fan of what I saw but I’m not a regular viewer of the show like I use to be back in the day. From what I saw it was Luke and Laura dealing with the return of the Cassadines.(it was campy.) Frisco came back to town to try and reunite with Felicia. I guess it was better than what the show is today.

    Anyone is probably better than Dena. The only positive I can say about her is that she seemed to want to keep S/K together. But she really hasn’t given them much to do since she took over but we know that is coming soon. Too bad Ron didn’t come on board before she came come up with the Ava spawn.

    I read on twitter that Tony Geary wouldn’t return until Ron was fired? I don’t know if this is true. I did see on twitter a few GH cast members congratulate Ron on his new job so he seemed to be like by some.

    • Yeah, that was kind of my next worry, as I indicated above, that cast changes would be coming next. There are quite a few long term legacy characters on the show right now, and I could see them looking at John/Marlena and Steve/Kayla and wondering if they need both of them. That’s happened before. I hope I’m wrong about that.

      I have been reading some of the same stories as you have, about Ron feuding with Tony Geary and I believe another male lead on GH. He’s also apparently gotten into some fights with fans on Twitter. LOL. I don’t care about that stuff as long as he can write. I’ve heard he’s campy but I’ve enjoyed some campy stories if there are real emotions involved too. We’ll see.

      • Tony Geary and Sean Kanan were the two actors who publicly criticized Ron and he defended himself on social media. My impression of Tony Geary is that he is the biggest DIVA daytime TV ever had so I took that feud with a grain of salt. GH always bent over backward to accommodate his lifestyle and allowed him to come and go as he pleased for years. I can’t imagine having to constantly write a character in and out like that.

      • Shea,
        Tony Geary is the reason Luke and Laura were destroyed over the years. He didn’t want them together anymore. Luke’s last day on the show didn’t even involve Laura. Awful.
        Tptb never seemed to treat Genie Francis fairly either while they catered to everything Geary wanted.

        I loved Luke and Laura but I always found Geary overrated as an actor. Genie was always the better actor. It also upsets me that Geary has something like 7 Emmy’s yet Stephen Nichols has none! That is a crime. What SN did to create Patch in 86-88 was better than anything Geary did as Luke.

    • GH had a 50th anniversary season. It pretty much started in March 2012 and lasted through the end of 2013. It wasn’t the month itself that was great. It was seeing all the fan favorites coming back in a big umbrella story.

  4. I’m with Michelle. I just want to make sure they keep MBE & SN and that the writers make sure that neither of them get bored and want to leave again. MB has so much going on that if they don’t do Kayla right, I wouldn’t blame her for leaving, but I sure as hell don’t want that to happen. I’m hopeful that since Sheri was there in the beginning, she’ll be there to influence the Kayla character. All fingers and toes are crossed that this works out for my favorite couple and favorite actors.

  5. I’m still kind of amazed that Stephen Nichols came back. I remember everyone and their dog saying that he would NEVER return. I can even remember MBE in around 2010 saying that she wouldn’t be opposed to giving Kayla a new romance since “SN is never coming back”. Something happened to really piss him off, which is probably simply the way he and MBE were let go in the 2nd run. Anyone know differently?

    Likewise, something happened to significantly change his mind. And even upon returning, I thought it was going to be brief, like just a 50th anniversary thing, and last roughly as long as Peter Reckel did.

    • I do remember MBE’s saying ‘SN is never coming back’ I think she said he is on Y&R now so I took it she meant it was because he was on another show. Maybe things didn’t work out on Y&R for Stephen. I didn’t watch but I’ve read from fans that tptb didnt really use him well. Maybe he got frustrated over there and decided to return to Days.

      I don’t think MBE would ever decide to leave. If you ever watch any of her interviews on her blog, she loves doing the show so much. She just said last week in one of her Q&A that her and SN were discussing how lucky they are to be still working together when other couples have been separated over the years.

      • Hey Michelle… my concern is that Days is also not using SN very well and he’ll leave again. I really don’t think he or MB (but especially SN) get the respect they deserve from TPTB at Days. Take the 50th anniv. book for example. One of the S&K Twitter group ladies who has it said S&K were barely mentioned (I think you were involved in that conversation ??? IDK, my memory sux) but S&K were Days for half of the 80s and their work was instrumental in Days’ success even after they were gone. May be it is my bias toward and love for S&K that makes me see things this way, but I don’t think so. I just think they get crapped on or ignored way too much. For Days, it seems to be mostly about Bo & Hope (no offense to the Bope fans out there), but they were no S&K. Both fell in love multiple times w/others. Not S&K despite there being other women, for whatever lame reason or another, there was never another love. — My rant boils down to I’m worried about losing SN and lord only knows what kind of hell we’d see them do to/with Kayla if that happens.

  6. Oh, and I never ever ever saw what the hell people saw in Tony Geary. My short time watching GH was to watch Jack Wagner!

    • ILoveMySnK,
      Bo and Hope are probably the most well known couple from Days. I think because both actors have been on the show since 1984. Both KA and PR left for a couple of years here and there but for the most part, over the years they’ve been sort of the face of the show along with Deidra Hall.

      Whereas both SN and MBE were on for 7 yrs in the 80’s thru the early 90’s but then they were gone for 16 yrs. That’s a long time. By the time they returned in 2006 soaps had changed so much. If soaps were still as popular as the were in the 80’s or early 90’s, SN and MBE would have never been let go during their 2nd run.

      I agree that there’s no couple like S/K. There’s been no one else for them and I love that about them. I also think they are the most loved couple. I liked Bo and Hope but their love story never gave me the feels the way S/K did. SN and MBE’s acting and their chemistry are unmatched. Plus we were lucky that they were blessed with some special stories in the 80’s.

  7. HAHA ILoveMySnK ——Tony Geary !! Okay…I am not too worried about SN & MBE come budget cuts–why would they get rid of actors/characters that have stood the test of time for over 30 years ? They have a lot of lesser, less developed, less liked characters out there to purge—leave the ones who brought you to #1 the only time in your history alone ! As for SN, he left DAYS over 26 years ago—-and he ( & MBE) were let go in 2009—-I would think, as an actor in his 60s, that his view of things is different than almost 30 years ago when he left. I would certainly hope that TPTB have their contracts ending at the same time anyway—wasn’t there talk that they looked forward to being the next Tom & Alice ? S&K memory alert—–Drunk Kayla happened 30 years ago — maybe Mary can post the clip (sans Adrienne–lol)

  8. I was so excited to hear Dena had been canned. Anyone could read my twitter rants and posts here to know I was no fan of hers. Some days, things seemed to be going well. Other days, I wanted to throw an object at my TV & I scratched my head trying to figure out how anything related to the other. Not trying to be disagreeable, but I don’t think Dena KNEW how to write for Kayla. Or Steve. Strong female leads Dena seemed at a loss as to where/what to do. Sure seemed as if Kayla in particular was either (A) kidnapped; (B) in a coma, or (C) being forced to deal with another woman whom in Dena’s warped little mind, was the love of Steve’s life. As for Hope, watching what has been done to this once beloved character is depressing. I began watching Days in June of 1984 the very day Bo kidnapped Hope from her wedding to Larry. So I always had a huge space in my heart for Bope (even though S&K are my favorites). Hope has lost her way and quite frankly, is just annoying now. I miss the Hope who knew her own mind, had a backbone and was a wonderful mother. (does she even know she has a granddaughter? Alice would slap her silly if she was around.) I have never watched GH so I know nothing of others worry about what this new writer will likely do. But my heart was lifted immensely when I heard Shelly was coming back. This lady knows how to write! I do know something about her. She gave us Bo, Hope, Shane, Kim and sigh…..my beloved S&K and our wonderful Stockholm SL fans still rave about 30 years later. As for the cast being slimmed down, I am all for it. (unless SN & MBE go) I have felt for quite some time the cast is way too big. Its hard for anyone to write good plots and SL for that many characters. So we wait out the next 6 months as what is left of Dena expires. (damned avaspawn) But at least we get another S&K wedding and MBE said in her FB interview w/KA it was very personal! (happy dance) If Dena somehow manages to give them a good wedding, then ok. Still don’t want her back though. How many days until Feb. 14th?!?!?

      • Perfect ! I’m glad TPTB had them help, since they know their characters better than anyone. I think they also helped with the vows at their first wedding in ’88 (writers strike, I think)—can still remember how great those vows were. That wedding lived up to expectations–which, for S & K fans, were pretty high !

  9. Preach Heather !! Loved your post !! I liked Hope way back when, when she was championing Steve and the whole Stockholm story, but she has lost her way. At least S & K have stayed their course. Looking forward to Valentine’s Day as well !

  10. Someone said the drunk Kayla is 30 years old – is that like, this very month in 1987? That’s one of my all time favorite eps. So well done by both actors, hit those comic marks so well. The bit about her not being able to sleep through “it”, and her seemingly true laugh at that, is priceless.
    But, I never quite understood how she woke up a few hours later with a hangover. She would have been out for the night?

    • Hey timesaxismedia—I clearly remember the episode was toward the end of January 1987–can you believe that–CRAZY !! Yeah, she should have been out for more than a few hours since she never really got hammered before !

  11. That IS insane. I truly don’t know where 30…THIRTY years went. In more ways than just DOOL. Won’t be long till the 30th anniversary of their wedding comes. I was 20 in 1987 and have fond memories of watching DOOL everyday with my mom, who passed away just over a year ago. She really dug Steve.

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