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All: How do Co-Head Writer situations work?


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When a soap has a co-head writer situation, as is happening now on OL, and even at several of the other places, past, present and future, how exactly does this work? Do they dividie storylines, write for certain characters do they each get to create stories and divy up who gets airtime and story and can they negate something the other has in mind for story. Also, in the case of OL, is this new co-HW a sign that the old one, Higley, is on her way out, or is this to help her. How does this co-HW stuff work? And what about the EP, do they decide which ideas of the writers are chosen, what is the scoop all?

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In many situations, pairing a writer with a co-writer is a way of ensuring a backup if/when the original headwriter leaves. I seriously doubt that Higley's contract will be renewed when it's up and OLTL will use her co-writer as the interim HW until they decide to make him the permanent or just transitional writer.

It would be different if they joined the show as co-writers, but I don't think it's a good sign when you write a show for 2 years, then is "given" a co-writer.

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When a soap has a co-head writer situation, as is happening now on OL, and even at several of the other places, past, present and future, how exactly does this work? Do they dividie storylines, write for certain characters do they each get to create stories and divy up who gets airtime and story and can they negate something the other has in mind for story. Also, in the case of OL, is this new co-HW a sign that the old one, Higley, is on her way out, or is this to help her. How does this co-HW stuff work? And what about the EP, do they decide which ideas of the writers are chosen, what is the scoop all?

I agree with Ryan. When a solo head writer is given a co-head writer a year or two into their run -- not a good sign.

But as with most writing teams, they work differently, so there really isn't one or two ways to define how it works. But typically, co-head writers often work together on story projections and the style and tone of the show. Carlivati is Higley's new co-head, right? At any rate, I'm sure he will look at what she's already plotted out for the next six months, add his two cents, revise, edit, restructure if need be, then they will present it to Valenti who will present it to the network and some stories will get the greenlight, get notes, or get rejected all together. I believe by Higley getting a co-head writer, it's ABC's belief that the stuff she has will be better fleshed out with someone else's influence and perspective, and then if that stuff still doesn't fly, OUT SHE GOES! Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

I think having Chuck Pratt co-write with Bob Guza at GH only exacerbated Guza's flaws. It's rumored that Pratt was the one focusing a LOT on the mob and a LOT on the violence -- which, Guza had been criticized for previous to his 2002 return with Pratt.

When Agnes Nixon and Jean Passanante (and Elizabeth Page, briefly) co-wrote AMC back in 1999-2000, Nixon's work overshadowed Passanante -- because when Nixon left in late 2000, it was GLARINGLY obvious that Passanante couldn't write for anything.

But I'm no expert. Whatever happened to 'Jackie', anyway? I'm still mad at that lie about Courtney Bugler already being gone from AMC by August 2006. :angry:

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I'm glad someone asked and explained this. I have been wondering about it too.

I too doubt that Higley's contract will be renewed. I'm guessing then that Carlivati will be there to take over for her when they let her go until a replacement can be found. I think they are setting the wheels in motion for her to leave.

Does anyone know when her contract is up?

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Brace yourselves. December!!! Remember, they could have given her a 6 month contract with a six month grace period as well which is what i think. This means that she will be let go in June and Ron will take over until December when the new HW takes over, and that writer will be on the same contract railing as Dena. Thats just what I think.

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Brace yourselves. December!!! Remember, they could have given her a 6 month contract with a six month grace period as well which is what i think. This means that she will be let go in June and Ron will take over until December when the new HW takes over, and that writer will be on the same contract railing as Dena. Thats just what I think.

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Brace yourselves. December!!! Remember, they could have given her a 6 month contract with a six month grace period as well which is what i think. This means that she will be let go in June and Ron will take over until December when the new HW takes over, and that writer will be on the same contract railing as Dena. Thats just what I think.

By the looks of things all three ABC soaps could potentially have new HW's by fall. A good sign.... just a year or two too late.

Dena had a good 6-8 months, then it all went south and fast! LOL Dena getting Ron now is soooooo not a good sign.

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I think having Chuck Pratt co-write with Bob Guza at GH only exacerbated Guza's flaws. It's rumored that Pratt was the one focusing a LOT on the mob and a LOT on the violence -- which, Guza had been criticized for previous to his 2002 return with Pratt.

I actually enjoyed the show more with Pratt :lol:

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Thanks everyone for the insights. I wasn't sure how they handled it all.

I would hope for OL that this new co-HW Carlivati can have some of his writing ideas put on canvas too instead of just tweaking the mess of Higley's. Not sure what his story is, but he did come recommended by Labine I think.

Higley better be gone by summer OL needs to fire her. Why didn't they just out right fire her like McT?

Also, could ABC be keeping Alden as consultant for both AMC and OL, and leave her there while they promote someone at AMC up just like they did at OL. Then Alden would sort of oversee the two NY soaps, which might be good for both?

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