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Thank you for answering my question, as I never knew that NBC seriously considered expanding The Doctors to an hour. And while I knew about AW's trial-long 60-minute episode, I never knew that DOOL had one as well.

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Thank you for answering my question, as I never knew that NBC seriously considered expanding The Doctors to an hour. And while I knew about AW's trial-long 60-minute episode, I never knew that DOOL had one as well.

According to this one source I found (can't remember the name of it, but it's the one that compiled all of the network TV schedules over the years for Wikipedia), virtually every NBC soap in the mid-70s got its own 1hr special (save Somerset, which I guess was too far gone by then for them to bother with). Even How To Survive A Marriage got a trial 1-hr episode in '75, if I recall.

Also, Joe Stuart was on the Tomorrow Show episode about soaps that was on YouTube, which aired about a week after DAYS expanded to an hour, and he mentioned that NBC brought up the expansion for The Doctors just after AW had expanded. He said he was against it then, mostly because the logistics sounded horrendous (and using the production model they used at the time for 30-min episodes, I'm sure it would've been), but I think once DAYS had done it, the method had been refined, and at this point he was ready to make the leap to an hour, though at that point the network wasn't so sure.

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own memory, before we started. And it's an ongoing thing. We list when somebody has a terrific fight with someone else, so their relationship changes. We have relationship charts and all kinds of different methods of keeping track of this and inspiring new stories. We're also in the process of making a whole map of Madison so we will know how far everyone is from everyone else. If you know this and it doesn't change, then it's wonderful because you know Matt driving from X to Y will pass such and such a scene.

We'll also have a floor plan of the hospital. Many times you come on a show, a medical show or something, and they don't know how many beds are in the hospital, they don't know how many staff are in the hospital, and that doesn't get reality, it doesn't ring true. If people pass in a corridor, the actors and the directors, everyone should know where they came from, where they're going and what their environment is.

Q: I've always wanted to know that - where the third floor desk is in relation to the lab, etc.

A: Well, we want to work all those things out.

Q: I'd like to know the mechanics of this thing. How does it work?

A: OK. We're plotting it in five day segments, Monday through Friday air dates. Essentially, there are 25 scenes a week. I've got four colors for four storylines. Yellow is the Billy/Greta storyline and the four parents; red is Mike, Colin, MJ and Sara; blue is Nola, Mona, Jason and Doreen; and the green is Barney, Sweeney, and Luke and that group. So this is basically how I divide it so I'm sure when I've finished these fancy magnetic boards each week, I can see the colors are well intermingled and that all the viewers can watch enough of their own favorite storyline each week. They would be cheated not to see their own favorite characters, so that's my way of being sure I get a good mix.

Q: Have you brought in new storylines?

A: Yes.

Q: And did you wrap up some old ones really quickly to get rid of them?

A: Well, when I came on, there was some thought that Greta would try to kill herself and the baby would be poisoned and die early in the pregnancy, but I just thought this teenage pregnancy story was so important. 600,000 teenagers this year are having babies and more than half of them are keeping their babies. It was a good summer story, an important summer stor. So that was one of my early choices, to keep that story going because it is so basic and vital.

Q: Can we give the viewers anything to look forward to without getting too specific? Like, who has big storylines coming up?

A: Well, let's say that I want to hear from people, I want to hear from viewers what characters they think should have big stories. I really want more mail. I'd like to know what they'd like more of, but I don't want people to write and suggest storylines because those I cannot read. People have wonderful ideas and it hurts me that I can't respond to them. But I would like to know who they like, who they don't like - that's what I want to know.

Q: What was their reaction?

A: They were just blown away! And then I've been trying to have lunch or a drink with each actor, or they come to the office and we talk about their characters. I learn things from them. Jim Pritchett is a wealth of information, and Lydia's been on the show so long, and David is wonderful, just wonderfully helpful. They all are.

And it's wonderful to go into the studio and have people like the wardrobe ladies and the stagehands come over and say the show hasn't been this exciting in years and years, and now they don't mind working harder.

Q: It used to be one of the best daytime shows years ago.

A: And it's going to be one of the best again! We're gonna get there and we're going to get there quickly. The audio-man went in to see our producer recently and said he wanted to come in earlier in the mornings because the show was more exciting and challenging to do. That's what's pleasing me. And that's what I'm talking about when I say involve everyone in the fantasy. We'll have a map in living color available so the actors and the stagehands and everybody can enter Madison and see what it's like, and can see what the hospital's like. That's what makes it fun instead of work. The truer you can make it to life, the more exciting it is. And I want all the actors to know their character's history, to know where they came from, know a lot about it.

We'll be doing a lot more hospital, authentic stories. We are spending a great deal of time in research. My assistant, Meg Blackstone, is spending an enormous amount of time and she's going straight to the top. When we need information on cardiac surgery, we go to a top cardiac surgeon. We're determined to make it all totally authentic.

Q: I notice you have every actor's photograph pinned to the drape across from your desk - why is that?

A: So that when I speak in their voice, I can look in their face and say it as they would say it. I need the actors' pictures up.

Q: How did you get into writing soaps?

A: Because I was a stage mother, a captive of control rooms for about five years, so I figured I should use what I knew about soaps with what I knew about writing - I'd written a book.

Q: That's right - your children were in soaps. For those viewers who remember them, can you update us on them?

A: Sure. Cindy, who was on "Love of Life," just did "Jaws II." She also has a series coming up on CBS called "Married," in which her father, Stanley Grover, will be playing her father-in-law. Stephen, who was the little boy Lamont on "The Best of Everything" years ago is going to Stamford. He played John Quincy Adams in the "Adams Chronicles." And Jamie, who was on "Secret Storm" for two years as Clay Stephens, is 12. He's very busy with girlfriends and is going into 8th grade.

And I have a book out called Looking Terrific, about the language of clothing. It was in Family Circle in September and was also a Literary Guild alternate selection. It's a fun book on the message you give with what you wear. That's a co-authorship with Emily Cho who is the original fashion image consultant. She goes into people's closest and weeds out what they've got and pre-shops for them, so it was a wonderfully fun book to write. I learned a lot about clothing.

Q: Anything you'd like to get across to viewers, apart from the fact you'd like more mail?

A: Yes. Tell your friends that "The Doctors" is changing! Tell people they can go back to "The Doctors" and watch it lie they used to. It's like an old friend that may have gone away for a while, but it is coming back and coming back strong!

- Gloria Paternostro

Edited by CarlD2
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Great article. I love this behind the scenes stuff that gets into the writing process, Grover certainly had good ideas about creating a sense of character and community but I don't think any of her stories were that memorable. There was no buzz around the show at that time. She went on to SFT with similar lackluster results.

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Wonderful article, Carl. I had never read that one. I loved Linda Grover's tenure at The Doctors. She was superior to the writers who came before and after her, IMO. I wish she had stayed longer, but NBC never gave its good writers a fighting chance. Her comments about the proposed story of Greta attempting suicide and killing her baby are absolutely appalling and the height of distasteful. Greta never would have done such a thing. Mel and Ethel Brez were clueless. Thank God Grover was hired and corrected it. I enjoyed the teen pregnancy story of Greta and Billy. It was tasteful and well written, one of the best of its type really in all of daytime. Her decision to move The Doctors back to more realistic, medical-based stories was a good one, particularly since the Pollocks had moved away from it near the end of their reign, and when they did a "disease" story, it was something inane such as Ann Larimer's Obonda fever.

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Wonderful article, Carl. I had never read that one. I loved Linda Grover's tenure at The Doctors. She was superior to the writers who came before and after her, IMO. I wish she had stayed longer, but NBC never gave its good writers a fighting chance. Her comments about the proposed story of Greta attempting suicide and killing her baby are absolutely appalling and the height of distasteful. Greta never would have done such a thing. Mel and Ethel Brez were clueless. Thank God Grover was hired and corrected it. I enjoyed the teen pregnancy story of Greta and Billy. It was tasteful and well written, one of the best of its type really in all of daytime. Her decision to move The Doctors back to more realistic, medical-based stories was a good one, particularly since the Pollocks had moved away from it near the end of their reign, and when they did a "disease" story, it was something inane such as Ann Larimer's Obonda fever.

From the synopsis's I've read, her tenure does seem quite good too. Didn't Grover write some interesting stories for Nola and Jason?

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My favorites, in no particular order were: Sally Gracie, Meg Mundy, Carolee Campbell, Elizabeth Hubbard and Ann Williams. It totally blew my mind when I received in the mail a beautiful photo of Ann with one of her beloved horses. Little did I realize that years later, I would be her guest for a day at the SFT studio (April 30, 1974). I was 18 at the time. I also never thought I would have the task of attending her wake in Dec. 1985. (As it turned out, we have two mutual friends)

I've met Elizabeth Hubbard on several occasions, one of the first was when she was in the Broadway play version of 'I Remember Mama (1979). Being a presidential historian, I was, at first, a bit skeptical when Elizabeth Hubbard was cast as the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, Edith Bolling Galt (1872-1961) in an NBC Daytime Drama special in 1976, but she won me over, and erased all my skepticism, and she went on to win her second Emmy for it, to boot. At the Paley Center tribute to ATWT in 2006, I told that everyone else may think of her as 'Lucinda,' but I would always think of her as 'Edith.' She was quite touched by my remark.

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Those are beautiful stories. I'm glad you got to meet these legends.

I have to admit Ann Williams' life has kind of haunted me ever since I read about it.

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That's an interesting clip of the 1981 closing. I don't think I've heard that version of that particular theme song. I always thought that moody downright depressing one with the trumpet was the closing theme for the show at the time. I actually liked hearing the closing theme in that video, and wish they could have used parts of it for the opening.

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Dear MichaelGL, you can imagine my surprise when I saw an old family friend of ours at Ann Williams' wake. Margaret, who at age 95, is more active than some 35 year olds, God Bless her, knew Ann via Ann's Housekeeper, and were friends with Ann and her family.

And, when I read Ann's children's book, you can also imagine my delightful surprise when my dear, dear friend of 28 years, Dagne Crane (Sandy, the 2nd Mrs. Bob Hughes on ATWT) was mentioned in the book. Apparently, during Ann's illness, Dagne took one of Ann's daughter for an outing.

I will always remember the day that Ann Williams took me to the SFT studio. It was on April 30, 1974, the same day that President Nixon released the Watergate tapes and Agnes Moorehead died. I distinctly remember seeing Peter Simon and Courtney Sherman together backstage, and, it struck me that even though they were married, at the time to others, there was the beginning of a relationship between the two of them. I was so touched when I read in the book how Courtney Sherman Simon was able to secure for Ann her much needed medical insurance when she was so ill. Now, that to me, is a true friend.

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