Wow, they actually fired Pat Falken Smith in 1977. How stupid were they.
I'm beginning to think that there might have been a lot of panic at NBC around this time. They saw how GH and the other ABC soaps exploded, so they just panicked and ran with any idea that came to mind, not giving enough thought as to whether their ideas were good or not. Sometimes new characters do save a show, but sometimes new characters mess it up even more. That seems to have happened a lot on the NBC soaps, particularly DAYS and AW. I think a lot of that depends on the writer too. Laemmle might have been a failure (which the exception of Liz, from what I've seen of her, I really liked her too), but look at PFS' second stint. She was there only six months and she created some of DAYS' most iconic characters. I believe if there was just more thinking and less panicking by leaderships, producers and writers, DAYS might not have plummeted in the ratings like it did.
I also find it hilarious that the writer that broke up Doug and Julie was SSH's own mother. Was she trying to say something to her son in law lol