Soap Shake-Up: ‘One Life’s Headwriter Moves to GH; ‘Days’ Producer Fired

One Life To Live Headwriter Joins General Hospital Writing Staff

One Life to Live” headwriter Ron Carlivati will join the writing staff ofGeneral Hospital after OLTL wraps.OLTL star Robin Strasser revealed the news via Twitter, tweeting “JUST TOLD but NOT told it wuz SECRET: Ron CARLIVATI to #GH as script writer-hopes 2 b co-head writer? Yo, I’m taking heat for leaving early?” (Strasser will be departing the show this summer, months before its final episode in January, due to health issues.) An official statement later made it clear that Carlivati’s would be going to GH after finishing his work on OLTL. “I remain fully committed to [executive producer] Frank Valentini and “One Life to Live” as the show’s Headwriter until the series concludes in January of 2012.  It has been my distinct honor to write for Agnes Nixon’s groundbreaking soap opera for the past fifteen years, and it will be with a heavy heart that I, along with my incredibly talented team, pen its finale.  At that time, I am happy to announce that I will then be joining the writing team of “General Hospital,” and am thrilled to be working once again with Executive Producer Jill Phelps as well as new Headwriter Garin Wolf.”

This news gives me new faith that ABC wants GH to succeed. If nothing else, ABC Daytime head Brian Frons probably is not pleased that his division is losing an hour of programming to the syndicated Katie Couric show. If he goes from running a cable network, three soap operas and a talk show, to  two talk shows and a reality show, he’s going to have a lot less to do. There is not as much to oversee on a show without scripts or actors. The talented Carlivati, who knows how to structure a story better than any other headwriter currently working in daytime, will be an asset to GH.

In fact, if there is any silver lining to the cancellation of OLTL it is that GH has the potential to dramatically improve. New headwriter Grain Wolf spoke to TV Guide yesterday about his plans for the show. On the whole, I was impressed. My favorite comment: “I want to bring balance to the show. I’m very big on secrets and romance and triangles. I’m a child of Dickens and Doug Marland.” It’s easy to make soap fans happy by invoking the beloved deceased soap writer Marland’s name.

According to GH’s most outspoken actress, Nancy Lee Grahn, Wolf is not just talking the talk. He’s walking the walk. She tweeted, “We’ve got a chance 2 avert the iceberg….dont give up now. Pix kate & leanardo realizing writer/capt headin 4 berg & at last min new captain averts disaster & not only doesnt sink but 0 casualties.”

Gary Tomlin And Francisco St. Martin Fired from Days of Our Lives

Thursday morning TV Guide Canada’s Nelson Branco tweeted that “Days of Our Lives” executive producer Gary Tomlin has been fired, apparently as part of  Executive Producer/showrunner Ken Corday’s extreme makeover of the show. He had already changed headwriters, fired five actors (Crystal Chappell, Louise Sorel, Nadia Bjorlin, Tamara Braun and Bren Foster) and brought back three former cast members (Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, Matt Ashford). Tomlin has worked in daytime as a writer, producer and director for decades. He was given a lot of credit for turning DOOL around the last time it was in trouble. Apparently, everyone must go in this purge.The show has not announced who will be replacing Tomlin.

Later Thursday, newcomer Francisco St. Martin, who plays Dario, tweeted (of course) that he, too is departing DOOL. The capitalization-challenged Martin wrote, “i wanted you guys to hear it from me first; DOOL has decided to bring back some of the old characters and i’ll be one of the casualties. i couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of an amazing team.”

Where does that leave Dario’s love interest, Melanie (Molly Burnett)? Rumors abound that Melanie’s ex. Nathan Horton, played by Mark Hapka will return.

All My Children Has Suddenly Gotten Good

After months of boring, dark storylines “All My Children” has suddenly gotten really entertaining. The Erica (Susan Lucci) doppleganger storyline got interesting when David (Vincent Irizarry) figured out that Jane was an imposter because he noticed scars on her scalp. Let’s hear it for a doctor displaying medical knowledge.

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Kendall (Alicia Minshew) and Tad (Michael Knight) discussing their mixed emotions about being attracted to new partners while still treasuring the memories of the loves of their lives was realistic, character driven writing. I hope the final months (sob) of AMC will be full of it. Of course, viewers know that both Zach (Thorsten Kaye)  and Dixie (Cady McClain) will be returning from the dead before the finale. Dixie has already turned up, dreaming of Tad in some indeterminate location. Looks like the poisoned pancakes did not actually kill her. As I have fallen for Tad and Cara’s (Lindsay Hartley) marriage of convenience turns into the real deal storyline, I am happily conflicted about Dixie’s return.

According to the opening credits, we are still seeing the last of David Kreizman and Donna Swarjeski’s headwriting, though based on the appearance of Dixie, I suspect scripts have been tweaked since the show was canceled. If only the show had been this good all along, perhaps AMC’s days would not be numbered.

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