Head Writer Switcheroo AGAIN

Breaking news! Dena Higley is out — though her Co-Head Writer, Ryan Quan, remains in a Creative Consultant post — and former One Life to Live/General Hospital Head Writer, Ron Carlivati, is coming to Days!


From Soap Opera Digest:

The show has replaced Co-Head Writer Dena Higley with Emmy-winning scribe Ron Carlivati, who toiled at both GENERAL HOSPITAL and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, effective immediately. His title will be Head Writer. Higley’s Co-Head Writer, Ryan Quan, will remain with the new title of Creative Consultant. Daytime Emmy-winner Sheri Anderson Thomas, who has served on DAYS’s writing team in various capacities, including head writer and co-head writer in the ’80s and ’90s, will also hold the Creative Consultant title.

I’m actually way less shocked by this than I maybe should be. Carlivati has been a free agent for a while, and his brand of heightened storyline has been talked about a lot online as a possible fit for Days. And former Head Writer Sheri Anderson, who has long, long been buzzed about as being the needed fix for what ails the show, will be consulting!

I definitely agree that Salem could use a shot in the arm. As I’ve said recently, I like a lot of what Higley and Quan have set up, but I don’t necessarily think it’s playing out with as much energy as it needs to have. Carlivati’s initial time as HW of OLTL was very, very strong, with interweaving, character-driven storylines, and he brought a lot of that to GH at first, though that show seemed to get away from him for whatever reason. At any rate, I’m excited (interested?) to see what the hell happens next.

One thing Carlivati did at both those shows was establish a gay presence, so I would not be surprised to see Sonny/Paul become more prominent, or to see Will’s murder reversed. He also definitely loves vets and history — though sometimes applies established canon, er, liberally — so we should be up for some unexpected stuff in the coming months, or at least when his material begins airing in the 22nd century.

Of course, the real question is: when do we get our next The Plan to Save Days interview?!

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28 Comments on “Head Writer Switcheroo AGAIN”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Wow!! This is huge news. Ron’s a legend, and I’m really hopeful for whats to come.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I’m excited. It’ll either be great or I’ll have plenty to “discuss.” I think the current show is nowhere near as bad as it’s been at its worst, but it’s sluggish, so I’ll take a change. Feel free to slap me in a year.

  2. Shea Says:

    “One thing Carlivati did at both those shows was establish a gay presence”….

    Well technically that is true for what I saw of his time on GH. There was a gay presence BUT they were really just supporting characters who are gay. There was kind of a storyline but the characters would go weeks between appearances so it never really went anywhere. On one hand it’s kind of nice that gay characters can be on the canvas without everything being focused on their sexual orientation (because they were medical professionals working in the hospital setting supporting various storylines) but it would have been nice to tell their story more than once month. So I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a front burner story.

    I know my opinion is going to be unpopular but I am not really a PaulSon fan. I want to like Paul but I find him kinda bland for some reason. If they could get Chandler Massey back then I would welcome a Will resurrection but without him I think I will pass.

    I ‘m not sure if any one has seen this but I thought it was interesting…http://soapcentral.com/days/news/2017/0118-jonathon_mcclendon_rips_days.php While I agree that Chase shouldn’t have been a rapist I wonder about the timing of this rant. Is he referring to Vivian Jovanni when he says “They also let one of my friends go without even telling her,” McClendon writes. “There was just a different actress name next to her character”???? The only other option I could think of was Paige Searcy but I thought it was pretty widely reported that she left on her own.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I want them to undo Will’s death almost more than anything. It was executed all right, but it feels SO wrong, and honestly, if they could get Chandler Massey to do three episodes and then go off, cool. Ron’s gay storyline at OLTL was pretty strong (and subtle!) until the actors got canned, so that gives me hope. I don’t think it helped at GH that he was trying to do it with a recast of a character who’d barely ever been on the show and two recurring characters who weren’t related to anyone. That makes me feel like I have room for optimism.

      I kind of agree about Paul. Actor is good, character is blah. If they can do something intriguing with him, awesome. But considering that he’s John’s son, the actor is capable, and he has such a distinctive backstory, he’s oddly “generic soap hunk.”

      McClendon must’ve been referring to either Jovanni or Searcy. It would be weird for it to be JV since she was under contract and they’d have to notify her if she weren’t working, but who knows? I know how TV works, and they don’t just have actors showing up to set thinking they’re working if they aren’t. They would also have to notify her reps if they were voiding her contract or they’d have to pay her. He’s been going on these unhinged rants on and off for months, so I kind of put very little stock in it. He’s a good actor, but he seems like a troubled kid, and he seems awfully bitter for someone who got let go from a recurring part on a daytime soap.

      • Farah Says:

        He’s talking about Searcy. She told TPTB she wasn’t signing a contract, and they informed her they were recasting. Then they told her that her final date was. The cast and crew were apparently going to give her send-off. And when she arrived at the set for her final day, she wasn’t allowed on the lot. She wasn’t even allowed to visit to pick up some gifts.

        Lysie (from DR) also said she was hauled out of Day of Days (she was visiting her boyfriend, James “Joey”).

        It sounds like Days treated her pretty bad.

      • mykleraus Says:

        That’s not great, yeah. It’s shitty if they brought in the new actress on what was supposed to be her last tape date. But it’s also like — refusing to sign a contract literally means that neither you nor the show are beholden to ANYTHING, so I sort of can’t blame them for that part. Anyone who isn’t on the call sheet wouldn’t be permitted on the lot, but unless she really burned bridges, there’s no reason they shouldn’t have let her in after clarifying…

      • Shea Says:

        I don’t understand why any one would have been upset enough about Paige Searcy leaving to treat her poorly. It’s not like Jade is that significant of a character anyway.

      • mykleraus Says:

        Same. It actually sounds like they handled it in a very straightforward way. She didn’t want to go on contract, so they hired an actress who did. If PS wasn’t on the call sheet for that day, she wouldn’t have been given a call time, which meant she was showing up “for work” without actually having been told she was working. The call sheet usually comes out the night before, so she should’ve known she wasn’t on it, unless they literally replaced her between the end of work one day and the beginning the next and then didn’t call her. And unless she was banned from the lot in Burbank, anyone could’ve given her a drive-on pass to come in and visit — like, uh, her boyfriend. So the story feels a little funky to me.

  3. Farah Says:


    I loved Ron’s run on OLTL and GH. He wrote the perfect end for OLTL, and it went from being #5 in 18-35 demo to #2 in that time. Curse ABC. He also wrote a perfect 50th anniversary for GH. He likes BIG. I don’t know how DAYS budget will handle that. He can’t have a location shoot pier shoot-out on Days. I will agree Ron burned out in the end. He needs someone to reign him in. He has great ideas. He knows how to write a kickass beginning and an amazing end. He just has problems with the middle, which can be frustrating. He needs someone who’ll make him slow things down. Ron also doesn’t know how to write romance. He can write for an established couple, but he’s terrible at creating his own once. It was really noticeable at GH. One thing I know he’ll bring to Days is humor. Even at RC lowest at GH, I laughed. The dialogue is incredibly boring and uninteresting right now. He’ll spice that up. Also look forward to MANY gratitious shirtless scenes.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Yes! I feel confident he will bring the shiftlessness, which is oddly lacking right now. I also think he brings a sense of excitement. I did get the sense at both OLTL and GH that he burned out and started defaulting to excessive versions of whatever he preferred, but I could say that of just about every head writer on Days (to varying degrees) of the past 20 years…

      As for the romance, I don’t disagree based on what I’ve seen, but he DID do the very strong Kyle/Fish build on OLTL, so maybe that portends some potential.

      At least we won’t be bored. This show needs to take some swings and not just sit back and do what has (sort of) worked before. I’m a much bigger Dena Higley defender than a lot of people I see online, but I do feel this current stint is doing a lot correct in a technical sense but failing to ignite.

      • Dan Says:

        I don’t know how I feel about this.

        Ron Carvilati doesn’t write my kind of soap opera. Higley’s OLTL was definitely choppy at best, but I enjoyed some of the things she was trying to do. During the OPP storyline, the payoff was a really nice romantic moment between Tika Sumpter and Tobias Truvillion on a rooftop. It wasn’t the type of stuff that popped up afterwards. Similarly, I remember some really nice scenes of Marcie and John drinking beers and talking about the baby that Marcie and Michael were raising. I remember everyone credited Ron for Asa’s funeral, which I felt was emotionally hollow and quickly glossed over.

        Overall, I think Ron C had some interesting ideas (there was a mixed marrieds story with Alex marrying David), but these story points would go nowhere. Or the show would explore history for now reason (the return of Lee Halperin). Also, stories didn’t seem to go anywhere and there was little in the meantime to follow.

        Regarding Ron C.’s history with gay storylines, people can say what they want but Kish was written out in several days and not mentioned again. They weren’t a core part of the canvas, but rather an easily eliminated B-story. Well-written? Maybe, but it would have been more meaningful if Ron C. had told the story he really wanted to tell (Joey Buchanan and Billy Douglas). At GH, he didn’t bring in Lucas til later. We will see what he does.

        He also wrote some of the most complicated paternity stories (not in a good way). I just had to look up who Rex Balsom’s parents were by the time the show ended.

        If they allow him to plot, and allow Quan or the Cullitons to flesh out the historical/emotional pieces, I think he might have a shot. However, DAYS has the smallest budget and I cannot imagine Ron C. working within those parameters given his huge casts.

        I don’t think Quan will be Creative Consultant very long. Probably to smooth over the transition before being sent back to the writing team. Anderson will also not last long. Her style will not work on the show’s current form.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I’m nervous, but I also look forward to not being bored, and at a certain point, that’s about all I can ask for. (I’m also very aware that a year from now, this could be another Griffith-style trainwreck from which I’m screaming for rescue.) The thing about RC that I think could be great for Days is that his signature style is a really distinctive blend of camp and sentimental history. If he stays focused and Anderson reins him in, that *could* really work in our favor. I thought his OLTL, especially the first few years, had a really interesting interconnectedness going — X would happen, and because of that, Y would be triggered in a totally separate story, etc.

        Like you, I’m fearful of all the insane parentage rewrites. The Rex stuff got absolutely ridiculous. And it happened at GH several times, too. That, a young woman (Abigail?) winding up with broadly played DID, and more rape are my chief concerns.

        I haven’t been able to shake the sense the past six months that, while this Higley/Quan Days has restored the show to its “usual self” post-Griffith, a lot of it isn’t quite achieving liftoff. I can admire the setup of the stories — especially the DiMera/Kiriakis/Hernandez thing and the Nicole/Chloe baby story — but in some ways, it’s more an academic appreciation than anything. So I think the impulse to swing for the fences is right. And it’ll be interesting to see what RC’s work is like apart from Frank Valentini, who was his EP at OLTL and GH. His time at GH was *so* linked to all the fuckery with the OLTL holdover actors that it’s hard for me to judge it objectively.

  4. Damon L. Jacobs Says:

    If there’s any hope for DAYS at this point this is it. It seems both a creative and financial investment in the show’s future, which we need right now. If this doesn’t work out I really believe NBC is ready to let the sands run out for good.

    As a 45-year-old viewer of this show, and someone who appreciated RC’s work on OLTL and GH, I am really excited. Yes, he can go a bit off the rails on doing wild and wacky baby switches, prison break-outs, campy returns from the dead. But DAYS could really use that level of frenetic silliness right now, and hopefully Sheri will serve as an earthly balance. Sheri was responsible for some of my favorite stories (with Thom Racina) including Bo & Hope’s sexy escape to New Orleans, Kim & Shane’s wild romance in London, The scary plane crash that left half the cast in need of a shower for a month, Victor’s introduction and the wild Miami story, Bo as Victor’s son, John Black as Roman Brady, Patch’s introduction as a villain, and so many more.

    RC at least cares to write stories about strong women over 40, romance between gay boys, and snappy snarky dialogue. As long as Kate doesn’t run around with a bad wig calling herself “Denise,” I think we’ll be in good shape.

    • mykleraus Says:

      This at least feels like an investment in the future rather than just “write eight weeks of stuff to wrap up the show.” I think if that were the mandate, it’d be Higley/Quan, Tomlin, or Anderson. And I agree that Carlivati’s energy could be just what the show needs. The inclusion of Anderson really makes me hopeful that they’ll find the right balance.

  5. ADW Says:

    This is good news because I want to see some changes for the better. I think firing someone as HW multiple times after stuff was “not working out” yet, proceeding to put them back in the same position was counter productive as well as insane as they were expecting to pull the same move and expecting different results.
    I have to admit I never watched OLTL and never really got into GH except briefly in HS so I’m not farmailar with his work.
    IF Johnny boy expects casting teams to come banging on his door and blow up his phone after his shenanigans he pulled on social media, he is as sadly deranged and idiotic as Chase Jennings. While I didn’t care for the rape storyline, I’m glad Chase is gone. I liked him as a kid but, as a teen I think he was awful. I saw no point of Chase really sticking around long after Aiden left the first time and especially not now.
    I heard Chandler Massey/2nd to last Will was “let go” with out notice either.

    • Damon L. Jacobs Says:

      Yes hiring and rehiring and rehiring Dena Higley and expecting different results is most definitely a sign of insanity!

    • Shea Says:

      I thought Johnathan McClendon was a decent actor but he does appear quite immature from his social media accounts. I really hate that they went with the rape storyline and after giving it some thought I would have preferred to have Ciara and Theo dating ( a chaste courtship) and Claire and Chase dating but they could have had Ciara and Chase fighting an attraction to one another and making out behind everyone’s back or maybe even go there with a taboo affair if they wanted shock value. I would have rather seen that than watch Chase cover Ciara’s mouth and rape her on Tom and Alice’s old sofa.

      Apparently Chandler Massey went public with his intent to leave Days before letting the show know of his plans and some people didn’t take it too well. It may have been petty but he was leaving on his own and wasn’t fired.

      • Michelle Says:

        I always thought they let Chandler go early because they knew Will and Sonny were going to get engaged and they didn’t want one Will playing the proposal and the other actually getting married. I’m not sure why they just didn’t push the proposal back to until after Chandler;s contract expired. I guess they had it on their mind that they wanted it to happen on certain dates.

      • mykleraus Says:

        It might’ve been because of the engagement/wedding. I believe all they did was let him go at one of the 13-week intervals as opposed to waiting out however long was left on the full contract, which they had every legal right to do. It’s unusual to cut a well liked performer who’s said they’re leaving at the end of their contract at one of the intermediate cycles, but they *can* do it, and if they felt like they had the right recast (God only knows why they thought GW was that, but that’s another story), no one should’ve expected them to wait 13 or 26 weeks for CM’s full contract to play out, causing them to lose their ‘ideal’ actor to take over for him.

        These stories get really jumbled and lopsided in the translation, I suspect.

      • mykleraus Says:

        He seems immature/unstable, to be sure.

        I agree about Chase. They could’ve built a long-term story about Ciara and Chase having feelings for one another, *if* they’d leaned into the idea that everyone thought of them as siblings but they felt more. There’s a forbidden love aspect that could’ve worked. I just thought the rape was absolutely atrocious in every regard: it was cheap, it wasn’t interesting, it deep-sixed Chase’s potential, it made Hope look like an even worse parent, etc. Shock value at its worst.

        Massey announced that he was planning to leave at the end of his contract. The show found Guy Wilson and let Massey go at the end of one of his 13-week cycles (which they are legally allowed to do, and it’s often how they let actors go) rather than wait until his full contract was up. Now, I have no idea why they thought Guy Wilson was THE actor they had to have, but it makes sense to me that if you know you’re losing a popular performer who plays an important character, you don’t want to sit around and lose your recast while you let the current guy work 13-26 more weeks.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Corday’s devotion to Higley is/was really sort of puzzling. I’m probably a bigger fan of her 2009-11 stint than most people, and I can appreciate what she’s been going for this time around, but she’s rarely set the world on fire in a way that would make me, if I were in KC’s position, go, “Yeah, that’s who we’ve GOT to have!” I do think some of it is familiarity and some if the fact that she clearly can deliver a show on time that can be produced on-budget, which probably a lot of the eligible HWs can’t or won’t do.

      I really liked the potential in JM’s Chase. There was something about Hope taking him in — and how complicated the backstory was — that spoke to the roots of Tom and Alice Horton, who would’ve given shelter to just about anyone. But they moved on SO quickly from that and never played the nuance of the situation (aside from him getting his Horton ornament, which I thought was very well done).

      • Matthew Says:

        You know how I hate loose storyline threads… All this talk about Chase just reminded me of another one.

        I don’t think it ever came out that Andre gave Chase the backpack which started the fire at Hope’s house. Speaking of which, is Hope renting it out (now that it’s been renovated) for extra income while she’s in jail? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for all the kids to live there instead of Steve & Kayla paying for a new apartment big enough to house five people?

        One more (ancient, at this point) loose and lost storyline thread… Remember five years ago when most of the show focused on “the secret that Alice was holding over Stefano” for months? They had to find the lawyer with the key to the safe deposit box, etc.

        It turned out that Alice had helped Stefano find a doctor to save EJ’s life when EJ was a baby. Somehow, through that action, Alice had learned “the secret.” Eventually, Stefano cried when he read Alice’s letter revealing that EJ wasn’t really his son!

        Later, the writers (or more likely, the next batch of writers) undid that saying that Ian McAllister had faked that letter. The logical question remains: then what did Alice really have over Stefano in the first place? Since Ian had substituted his phony letter for the real one, what the heck was in the real one?

        Not to mention… If Hope and half the cast took months to locate and retrieve the secret letter, how did Ian (who presumably had no knowledge of Alice’s existence when the woman was alive) manage to gain knowledge of said letter and beat all our heroes to it in order to substitute his bogus version? What gave him hope that the other characters would ever find it? Wouldn’t it have been smarter (and a hundred times easier) to find another way for Stefano to “discover” this information?

        And those questions are just the tip of the iceberg in that secret letter storyline…

      • mykleraus Says:

        That entire Chase/Andre thing was so stupid. Beyond the backpack, remember how Andre was constantly plying Chase with, like, sandwiches and scrambled eggs right before the rape? Like he somehow coaxed him into raping Ciara by feeding him? It was REALLY WEIRD.

        That entire Stefano/Alice thing drove me insane. Stefano also had something over Alice, right? Why in the good god damn would Alice not have turned right around and exposed EJ’s paternity when EJ was using his heritage as a reason to terrorize Sami and ruin her marriage to Alice’s grandson, Lucas, who was left heartbroken by that entire thing?! Did Ian just make Alice *think* she had that over Stefano? It’s all absolute foolishness that doesn’t track whatsoever.

        Remember how Doug and Julie went to Africa to check out that bank account? And then just never said anything about it again? The whole thing was garbage. I’m sure MarDar wanted to do a big-budget African safari extravaganza and Evil Corday told them no, thereby ruining their ability to write any kind of story whatsoever…

      • Damon L. Jacobs Says:

        How about the build up to Chase finding out he murdered his mother… only to never find out? What was the point? (I know, I know…)

      • mykleraus Says:

        Oh yeah. THAT. The natural story that made clear sense to tell that they just left on the table while shoehorning all kinds of other shit onscreen instead.

  6. Matthew Says:

    I totally agree on your take from the Chase/Andre scenes. That was by far the creepiest vibe I’ve ever gotten in 40 years of soap watching. (And that includes COUNTLESS stalker/obsession/serial killer storylines.)

    I think the whole food angle was a set up (which later got dropped, of course) to say that Andre was drugging Chase with some psycho-suggestive substance and therefore Chase “wouldn’t really be responsible” for attacking Ciara. That way they could redeem the character of Chase to keep him on the canvas.

    As for why the scenes were creepy, I’m guessing that it wasn’t in the writing like that. I bet it was Thaoo Penghlis with his outstanding acting skills. He probably tried to add layers into some some rather generic material. It worked! He played the mystery angle of it and actually made wonder if Andre planned to molest chase!

    • mykleraus Says:

      Those scenes were so odd. I honestly was nervous that Andre had designs on molesting Chase. And yes, they absolutely were setting up some wobbly “Andre actually drugged him so he’s not responsible for the rape he committed” thing that luckily never took off.

  7. […] all the rumors that Megyn Kelly’s move to NBC would spell the end of Days of Our Lives, and the news of a new head-writing regime… the network has just announced that it’s renewed Days for another […]

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