Writer Russian Roulette continues apace in Salem, USA. Dena Higley is out and Ron Carlivati is in as the new Days of Our Lives Head Writer. The two once served as Co-Head Writers on ABC’s cancelled soap, One Life To Live. According to Deadline, Higley’s most recent Co-Head Writer, Ryan Quan, will now serve in the new “Creative Consultant” role on the NBC soap opera. Although the change is reportedly effective immediately, there is no word on whether the “Creative Consultant” role is a long-term position, or a stop-gap, to give Carlivati time to get up to speed.
In hopeful news for Days of Our Lives fans, veteran writer Sheri Anderson (aka Sheri Anderson Thomas) is also returning as a Creative Consultant on the NBC series. In the daytime drama’s heyday, Anderson was involved in the development of DOOL super couples John Black (Drake Hogestyn) and Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall); Steve “Patch” Johnson (Stephen Nichols) and Dr. Kayla Brady (Mary Beth Evans); Tony (Thaao Penghlis) and Anna DiMera (Leann Hunley); and Shane Donovan (Charles Shaughnessy) and Kimberly Brady (Patsy Pease).
Will NBC Cancel or Renew Days of Our Lives?
Last week, NBC Entertainment Chair Bob Greenblatt would not commit to a renewal and predicted The Peacock Network would have a better idea in a couple of months. Although NBC doesn’t produce Days of Our Lives, it is likely he knew this staff change was coming and wants to see how it works. For what it is worth, Greenblatt did say the network likes the show
As mentioned above, Carlivati and Higley once served together as Co-Head writers on the defunct ABC daytime drama, One Life to Live. Ultimately, though, she was let go and Carlivati ascended to the top spot, alone. He served in that position until the network cancelled OLTL in 2012.
From there Carlivati soon took over ABC’s General Hospital. At first, his stories and dialogue revitalized the slumping soap. He seems to be a true fan of the genre — with respect for the characters’ histories. Eventually though, Carlivati was fired in 2015, after Anthony Geary’s convoluted exit storyline as Luke Spencer.
Can the New Writing Team Save Days of Our Lives?
In this writer’s (and lifetime viewer’s) opinion, Carlivati could be the initial shot in the arm that Days of Our Lives needs, in order to earn another year on NBC. As his time wore on though, some of his storylines on General Hospital were, to me, lacking in depth and follow-through.
RELATED: Follow the weekly ups and downs of Days of Our Lives ratings.
That’s where Anderson’s long and successful relationship with Days of Our Lives could come in handy. Between 1975 and 1993 (arguably the show’s strongest years) she worked on DOOL in various capacities. Among the roles she has filled are Script Writer, Story Consultant, Script Editor, Co-Head Writer, and Head Writer. If Carlivati makes good use of Anderson, Days could experience a creative renaissance.
Still, I think to truly save Days of Our Lives, Ken Corday and Sony need to make a dramatic change to the production schedule. As a cost-cutting measure, the show has long filmed five to six months in advance. As discussed this time last year, that means the writers can be nearly half a year into a failing story, before they realize they’re driving away fans. A shorter lead-time would give the writers the chance to make more nimble course corrections.
What do you think? Are you still watching the Days of Our Lives TV show? What changes would you make to save this NBC soap opera? Sound off, in the comments