As expected, Tomlin’s long time friend, Fran Myers, returns as script editor. This will be Myers’ 4th stint as the “DAYS” script editor: 1999-2003, August-September 2004, and October 13, 2008 – August 25, 2011. Jeanne Marie Ford moves from script editor to script writer.
TV Guide‘s Michael Logan got the first real interview with “Days of our Lives” Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng, just days after the soap fired its head writing team and replaced them with the team of Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell. In the interview, Meng promises some epic firings in the coming months!
Although many speculated the reasoning behind Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr.‘s ouster from the NBC daytime drama series, only Meng was able to shed light on how things went down. “We spoke with the network and collectively felt we needed to take a pause, make a change with the writing and the style of the show for a while and see if that will redirect things. The ratings situation is very complex and difficult, and we have a tremendous challenge with that right now,” Meng said to Logan. “Everybody on the ‘DAYS’ team, and that includes NBC and Sony, our distributor, wants this show to succeed and we’re doing everything we can to make it work. We all have different visions as to how to achieve that success but the good news is that we’re all in synch on the future. No one wants cancellation. Even though we brought in Darrell and Marlene to reset ’DAYS’ last September, it was always our feeling that the show needed to constantly be nurtured with smaller resets. This isn’t the end of the world. We’re just resetting it again in an effort to get it right.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Last summer I was lucky enough to be included as an interviewee in the new soap opera themed documentary appropriately titled “Soap Life,” which follows the life, and possible death, of daytime soap operas. I can’t believe I forgot all about it and didn’t realize it until this morning!
Several past and present actors, producers, journalists and writers were interviewed for the documentary including Lisa LoCicero, Rick Hearst, Kristen Renton, Jill Larson, Bradford Anderson, Carolyn Hennesy, Mimi Torchin, Shenell Edmonds, Ronnie Marmo, Cady McClain, Derk Cheetwood, Jordi Vilasuso, Max Tapper, Lexi Ainsworth, Crystal Hunt, Bobbie Eakes, Gary Tomlin, Sean Ringgold, Francesca James, Julia Barr, Eileen Fulton, and many more.
The crew behind the documentary recently surpassed their goal of raising $12,000 in funding for the project, but if you’d like to help out you are more than welcome to do so.
“Soap Life” is a new documentary about the changes taking place in the world of daytime drama. As more and more classic soap operas are cancelled or forced to move to exclusively new media distribution, the landscape of American television is going through unprecedented changes. We’ve spoken with executives, fans and a number of current and former daytime stars to get their perspective on what it all means and what lies ahead.
We are trying to raise the last amount of funds needed to finish our documentary. We still have a few weeks left to film in NYC and then post production where we need to edit, color correct, and clean up the audio.
We hope to finish the film within the next few months and the money we raise will help this become a reality.
Our gifts include a pre-order of the DVD, a collectible poster, an invite to the film’s premier, a special thanks in the credits, and the chance to make an appearance in the documentary.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – Editor’s Note: The information is clearly outdated at this point, but “Days of our Lives” issued the following statement to Soap Opera Network just a short time ago announcing (what we’ve already previously reported) that Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell are now heading up the shows writing team effective immediately with Lorraine Broderick in as a breakdown writer.
via press release
‘Days of our Lives’ announces new head writers Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell, both of whom are Daytime Emmy award winners!
The two writers join forces immediately, working together as a team to continue to pay tribute to the show’s roots both in storytelling and character development. Tomlin and Whitesell will be joined by Daytime Emmy award winning Lorraine Broderick as a member of the breakdown writing team.
Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng comments, “ We are excited and look forward to the stories of romance, suspense and intrigue this new dream team plans to tell.”
Related Story: ‘Days of our Lives’ Put on Notice by NBC?
On the heels of “Days of our Lives” replacing the head writing team of Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. with a new head writing team consisting of Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell, TV Guide‘s Stephen Battaglio is reporting that part of the deal NBC signed in order to keep Matt Lauer with the network late last week could include a possible fifth hour of “The Today Show.”
TV Guide Reporting
“Lauer’s new agreement keeps him in the coanchor chair of the morning show for four years and includes a program development deal, which could give him an ownership stake in a syndicated show outside of ‘Today,’ TV Guide Magazine has learned. The contract could earn him in the neighborhood of $100 million, according to people familiar with the deal. One idea already being kicked around is spinning off Lauer’s regular segment ‘Today’s Professionals,’ in which he spars over hot-button issues with a panel that includes Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The segment could also be developed into a fifth hour of ‘Today.’
The ink on Lauer’s new NBC contract is barely even dry, so discussion of how it impacts “Days of our Lives” is too early to tell if even at all. Additionally, the network giving Lauer a stake in a syndicated program doesn’t necessarily mean the end of “DAYS” or any indication of the network looking to tinker with its barely there daytime schedule, which consists of the long-running daytime soap and hours three and four of “Today” (aka: The Today Show 2 and The Today Show 3). A syndicated program could logistically air on any affiliate willing to pay the most dollars to air it. This includes stations that currently air network programming from ABC, CBS, FOX or even The CW.
If, however, the network does decide to add a fifth hour of “Today” on its schedule, it would greatly impact the future of “DAYS” as NBC’s current contract with Sony Pictures Television and Corday Productions, producers of the soap, is set to expire in September 2013. A decision on renewing the show for additional years will not be made until at least March 2013, according to sources.
The latest Nielsen ratings data shows “DAYS” hit a new series low in Women 18-49 viewers and tied its series low in Women 18-49 rating, the key sales demographic advertising rates are set and sold by.
Christopher Van Etten and Jean Passanante are joining “GH” as breakdown writers and Katherine Schock is joining as a script writer. All of them were part of current “GH” head writer Ron Carlivati‘s writing staff at “OLTL”.
Exiting “GH” are scripts writers David Kreizman, Joanna Cohen, and Nathan Fissell. Fissell is the latest long time ‘GH’ employee who was given the axe under the new regime. He started as an intern in 1993 and has done various jobs over the years before finally being promoted to full time script writer last year. Breakdown writer David Rupel, who joined a couple of months ago, is also leaving.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With news of Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell‘s ascension to the top of the “Days of our Lives” writing team after the NBC daytime soap let go Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr., less than a year after the two were hired to replace Dena Higley, Soap Opera Digest in its newest issue (issue dated April 16, 2012) is reporting that Tomlin and Whitesell has added the multiple Emmy award winning talents of veteran writer Lorraine Broderick to its new regime.
Broderick, who most recently enjoyed a stint at ABC’s “One Life to Live” as a breakdown writer shortly after penning the final months of “All My Children” as the soaps head writer – she was hired at “AMC” just days before the network officially announced it had decided to cancel both soaps with “Children” going off the air in September 2011 and “One Life” completing its run in January 2012 - joins “DAYS” in the same position she had at “One Life to Live” until its final episodes were written. “We are excited and look forward to the stories of romance, suspense and intrigue this new dream team plans to tell,” Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng said via Digest.
Broderick’s long career in daytime television as a writer began more than three decades ago when she was hired on as a script writer at “All My Children” in 1979. She held that position until 1981, when she was named Associate Head Writer. She would begin a short stint as the soaps Co-Head Writer in 1987, but would revert back to her former position as Associate Head Writer beginning in 1988 until 1991. She left “AMC” for “Guiding Light” beginning in 1992, where she was hired once again as an Associate Head Writer (1992-1993). After leaving “GL,” Broderick would find herself at numerous daytime soaps in various capacities including the role of Head Writer and/or Associate Head Writer at “Another World,” “As The World Turns,” “One Life to Live” and “Port Charles.”
Before marking her return to “DAYS” later this year, Broderick was previously credited as Head Writer of the soap for just one month (October 1999).
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Earlier today Soap Opera Network broke the story that NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has decided to end its relationship with co-head writers Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. The female half of the dynamic team has now spoken out on Twitter against the decision by revealing that the two weren’t given enough of a chance to develop the soap to where they wanted it to go thanks to network interference.
“NBC never let us tell our stories. They kept stopping us and changing our direction,” said McPherson, who also took the time to thank the fans for hanging in for the ride (for the full tweet, see below).
Sources tell Soap Opera Network that Thomas deleted his Twitter account late last week.
An NBC spokesperson did not return requests for comment at press time.
Marlene McPherson’s Twitter Response
Former “Days of our Lives” Co-Executive Producer Gary Tomlin and Co-Head Writer Christopher Whitesell will take over co-head writing duties effective immediately. Note: “Days of our Lives” films approximately three months ahead of airdate, however, in most cases the soaps writing is completed four months in advance. Therefore, depending on rewrites, Tomlin and Whitesell’s material should begin airing sometime in August after the Olympics on NBC.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Exclusive! Soap Opera Network has learned that “Days Of our Lives” has fired Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. as its co-head writers and replaced them with Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell.
McPherson and Thomas were hired in May 2011, replacing Dena Higley, to help shepherd the “DAYS” reboot (the returns of fan favorites Drake Hogestyn, Deidre Hall, Patrick Muldoon, Christie Clark and Matthew Ashford). Unfortunately, the ratings did not improve and the show recently hit a new low in Women 18-49 Viewers with just 496,000 total tuning in from that ratings category for the week March 19-23, 2012.
Tomlin returns to “DAYS” after being the Co-Executive Producer from September 17, 2008 – September 2, 2011 (on air episode dates) . This will be Tomlin’s first head writing gig in about 27 years – he was Head Writer of “Another World” in the mid-80′s. Though he was an interim Head Writer for “One Life To Live” (on air episodes dates: February 1, 2008 – May 1, 2008) during the 2007-2008 Writers Strike.
Whitesell also returns to the show after being Co-Head Writer from October 13, 2008 – June 13, 2011 (on air episode dates). This will be Whitesell’s 6th Co-Head Writing stint: he co-head wrote for “General Hospital” (1997), “Sunset Beach” (1998 – 1999), “One Life To Live” (2001-2003), “As The World Turns” (2005-2007). Whitesell was writing breakdowns for “The Young and The Restless” for the past year.
After weeks of reported firings, hirings and rumors, NBC’s “Days of our Lives” is breaking its silence. In a press release issued to Soap Opera Network, the program has outlined a series of changes that will be reflected on screen beginning in September that includes highlighting romance and the faces of beloved characters once more. Behind the scenes changes include the hiring of “Passions” scribes Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas and naming Noel Maxam and Greg Meng as Co-Executive Producers. The duo replace Gary Tomlin, who was fired last week. The behind the scenes changes are effective immediately.
“It’s time to make a more positive, romantic, and intriguing show driven by the power of heroic love. I’m very excited about the new adventure we are about to take which is based on the show that my parents created 45 years ago,” said Ken Corday, Executive Producer and owner of the daytime drama series.
“‘Days of our Lives’” initiated a strong direction of change by appointing a new head writing team consisting of Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas. The successful writing duo plan to change the direction of the show as they tell contemporary stories based on the solid foundation of the ‘DAYS’ history of family, romance, and intrigue,” the press release stated. According to McPherson and Thomas, “New fans will find many reasons to stay, and longtime fans will find many reasons to return.”
The big changes taking place this fall begins with a grand event, which was expected as McPherson recently tweeted “The excitement is building! Huge party with many surprises the week of 9/26! You are all invited! We promise you won’t be disappointed!”
“The new writing team has already generated much excitement with the compelling stories they have written, and we plan to translate those stories to the screen with a refreshed look,” said Meng, who for over ten years has served as Executive in Charge of Production for the drama series. Before joining “DAYS,” Maxam for his part had a long and successful run at CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.” He began his daytime career with the drama series in 1997 as an Associate Director. He served in this position until 2002, but directed a number of episodes since 1999 until his departure in September 2007 to join “DAYS.” He was named Supervising Producer in late 2008. Both “Y&R” and “DAYS” are co-produced by Sony Pictures Television.
“I am confident these changes will bring back excitement and anticipation to our family of fans as they tune in each day to see what happens,” Corday promised. “You won’t want to miss a single episode of the new ‘DAYS’ ahead!
As previously reported, actors Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker), and Francisco San Martin (Dario Hernandez), head writer Dena Higley and co-executive producer Gary Tomlin are OUT! It has been reported that Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans), Drake Hogestyn (John Black) and Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux) are IN! Rumored to be joining them in the coming months are Mark Hapka (Nathan Horton), Bryan Datillo (Lucas Horton), Christie Clark (Carrie Brady Reed) and Patrick Muldoon (Austin Reed). Reps for Datillo and Muldoon issued a “no comment.”