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Days: Lets Discuss Head Writers/EP's

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Well... For one, I am sad Lorraine Broderick was unable to do a thing on that show, she was there for less than a month. Then again, even if she were there longer and had at least a part of what she wanted to do executed properly, I'm not sure DOOL people would have loved it.

She's a Nixonian writer, "humor, family stuff, socially conscious stories, all with a sense of heart and warmth", and Nancy Curlee picked her to HW GL after she left. Apparently, there was also a interview with Nancy in 1992 where she sang all the possible praises for Lorraine. But this is kind of off topic. :)

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Oh, and i didnt pay atention to the EP's because... idk why, i just didnt. It very well me all their fault on what i loved and hated, but it was too much for me to try and decide who got what blame. i dont know that much inside information.

Also, if im wrong in my time line or who wrote what let me know.

The Best-

1. James E Riley (1st run) - 1993-1997/8 - It was my childhood. I loved it. Bo & Billie, Marlena/John/Kristen, The Possession, Sami/Austin/Carrie/Lucas. All of it. It was campy and fun but never a parody of itself. I do think he did much more damage to the show in the long run than good, and for soaps in general actually, but i really dont care. It doesnt take away how awesome his DAYS was.

2. SSM - Jan - Oct 1999 - I loved all of 1999. I loved Mike/Carrie/Austin, Craig & Nancy, Hope as Gina, crazy Ali, Nicole/Eric, Sami/Brandon, Kate/Nicholas, etc... It was fantastic and took the type of stories JER told i loved but she put her own stamp on them and it worked really well. She would be higher had she lasted longer, what happened? Why did she leave?

3. B&C 0 march 02- march 03 - I loved them. They took the teens inflicted on the show and fleshed them out and gave them good stories, IMHO. Shawn saying he was Jan's baby daddy and Belle's heartbreak was fantastic -- i esp loved the scenes where Shawn blamed Belle for Jan losing the baby. Sami's lies came undone at her Vegas wedding to austin - and like half the cast was in vegas! It was fantastic. that scene where Sami falls to the floor in her wedding dress was chillingly soapy awesomeness, lol. Jack & Jen coming back together. The goodbye to JT. Chloe's cancer. Roman/Kate. Murder at Midnight!.... but then again, there was the aliens, that awful billie storyline, and a few other duds.

Cant Place Due To Such Short Stints-

Beth M. - Aug - early Oct, 2006 - I loved how she pretty much instantly turned JER's crap into greatness. Billie & Steve, Jack & Jen, Alice & Maggie trying to get Hope away from Patrick and back to Bo. Mimi keeping the truth from Shawn. Sami & Ej! There really was no bad but her stint was so short i couldnt place her

I dont know how to place Lorraine Broderick who wrote for less than a month and didnt really seem to create any stories of her own, but i did love oct & nov of 99, so she was pretty good. i really would have liked to see what would have happened had she stayed.

The Worst-

1. Hogan Sheffer - Oct 06 - Jan 08 - Umm... so much bad, so little good. The good? Hummm... i honestly dont know. His DAYS just wasnt Days. Had it been AMC or Y&R i prob would have loved it - but Days isnt one of those soaps. And it was all just... so bad. I mean when he tried to do Days type stories they were even worse, the letters? santo/colleen? ugh. Then there is the rape issue. UGH! and lets not even go into Sami Brady: Saviour of Salem. i have to stop.

2. JER (2nd run) - Aug 03 - Aug 06 - Umm..... The murders? Fantastic. Everything else? Awful.

3. (tie) Dena H (1st run) March - Aug, 2003 - the good? Sami & Tony's friendship; Sami & Lucas' romance. Philip & Belle.... thats it. the bad? Belle & Shawn fighting over everything -- like her day of the week panties. Philip's return. anything rex or Cassie was involved in. The quake. the villian of the week. Bo & Hope: Bounty Hunters. Brandona s Abes son and his quickie marriage to Sami. and sooo much more!

3. (tie) Tom Lanagen - Nov 1999 - March 02 - It started out fine. But then... it went to hell. The Teen Invasion was too much, and i was a freaking teenager. I mean at the time i liked it, top a point, but even as a teen myself it was overload. It was all horror, i mean there were some good stories but still. A lot of bad ones - Brandon/Angela thing, the virtual reality thing, hope as gina turned into pure cartoon.... ugh. Just, i wouldnt want him back.

Okay... then there is Dena's second stint. And al her co-HW's and EP's and stars writing the show and whatnot. I... dont know how to rank it. overall its pretty imposable for me. I loved it at first, for a few months. because Dena is good at cleaning up others stories. But then.. it went to hell. Then it would be good here and there and bad here and there. However, from about Oct of 2008 - now? I would place it on the best list, because its amazing. But pre oct? id place it on the worst list. SO therefor for me the cancel eachother out and leave it unplaced. lets see how much longer i love the show. Ask me in 6 months. lol.

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William J. Bell

Pat Falken Smith's First Stint

Pat Falken Smith's 2nd Stint

Ann Marcus

Margaret DePriest & Sheri Anderson

Gary Tomlin's 1st stint on the show in the 80's


Hogan Sheffer

Tom Langan

James E. Reilly's 2nd Stint

Elizabeth Harrower

Ruth Brooks Flippen

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She was actually headwriter from January 1998 untill October 1999 when she left. I read that she left because Langan interfered with her work, that would explain why I loved 1998 but thought most of 1999 was crap. I will post my list later.

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I'd imagine Bill Bell, Pat Falken Smith and Sheri Anderson would be considered the best writers of this show but since I only started watching in 1992, a mere 17 years ago, I'll rank what I have seen:

Best: 1. JER 1st run: Carly buried alive, Maison Blanche, Bo/Hope/Billie, Who killed Curtis Brown, Kristin & Susan Banks, Sami and Alan Harris, Vivian/Kate/Victor, Laura Horton, John/Marlena/Roman, Austin & Carrie, wow the list is long - brilliance. I must confess I was not a fan of Possession & Aremid, but the lowpoints definitely are eclipsed by all the great stuff JER gave us.

2. SSM - I loved her whole tenure (Killing Pool, Vivian/Stefano/Jonesy, Princess Gina, Bo & Billie in the Bayou, Carrie/Mike/Nurse Ally, Sami on deathrow & franco's murder, Eric & Nicole, Greta) minus the SORAS'ing of the teens and sub sex, which from what is implied in interviews she did not want to write at all, but was forced to by Langan. Thats why she didn't renew her contract - she basically said she had no creative control. I believe this is the same reason Loraine Broderick abruptly left. I remember reading on Coffeerooms at the time that Langan went above Corday to NBC (Susan Lee I believe) to usurp creative control of the show. Corday had to wait for the ratings to plummet below 4.0 before he could get rid of Langan - dont know how accurate it is, but seems believable...

3. Brash/Cwikly - loved their stint minus the twins arriving in Salem in a pod :/ There stint was too short, but had so much potential which they were laying the groundwork for such as the will reading of Stefano's. Loved Sami's non wedding, Chloe's luekemia, Bo & Hope with the Reibers, the return of Larry Welch.

4. Dena Higley/Chris Whitesell/Gary Tomlin - This really is the only the second time this decade I'm into DOOL in a serious way. The show is so good right now, I actually look forward to every episode and have slight withdrawal on the weekends :P i hope it lasts. I am skeptical it will because, well, its Dena.... but I'll enjoy it while I can.


1. Langan - Langan was a great producer. He cut his teeth on Y&R and the show always looked just as good. But as a writer he sucked. There was pacing - it was just talking heads everyday with teen overload and bad acting and scripts. One particular sweeps involved Kristen Storms and jason Cook getting ready to go tohe movies on a saturday night - this took place over a frigging month. This was when i tuned out for the first time. He also fired Louise Sorel, so extra blech for him

2. Dena higley's first run - wow this was craptastic. I tuned out after 2 months, but I kept up with spoilers which sounded as bad as people actually watching the show said it was.

3. Hogan Shefer/Meg Kelly - Good dialogue, bad stories. Made Sami unrecognisable. Wrote off Jack & Jen, Austin & Carrie rather than fixing them. All his stories started off strongly and then ended abruptly and in an anti-climatic manner. The show was also heavily unbalanced during his tenure. People argue that Corday interfered, but in reality it was probably the awful Stephen Wyman as Ken doesn't watch the show or visit the studio as the Ed Scott firing illustrated. Nevertheless his stories had remarkable failures quite similar to his later years on ATWT leading me to think that Meg Kelly and him cooked up all this crap by themselves. Shefer defenders say Days fans don't appreciate serious character driven drama - but he never showed us serious character driven drama...

4. JER 2 - Cant say I enjoyed his second stint, not even the SSK storyline because it was so OTT and badly acted and written. Nevertheless it was better than the above 3 and that kinda sums up why Days sucked for the majority of this decade.

Regarding producers, I think Langan's production values were amazing - go look at old youtube snippets to appreciate it. I'd put Ed Scott second, Tomlin third and then 6 trillion spaces below Stephen Wyman. Corday doesnt count since he doesnt produce - he only plays golf with Josh Taylor apparently.

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I'm only going to answer this in relation to my viewing period which was summer 1993 to summer 1995 off and on and 1995 - til later 2002 regularly.


1. I hated him but...James E. Reilly (first half of 1st stint). Buried Alive was fantastic, shocking and nuts. Hope's return and Maison Blanche was great. Aremid was great, very romantic and gothic.

2. Brash & Cwikly. Their first 6 months was beautiful. I think some of this was credited to Tom Langan though, early 2002, but maybe that was them just without the credit. The fallout of the Gina story with the John/Bo fight at the Dimera mansion. The DNA test for JT. The JT story was awesome: Bo, Hope, Abe, Lexie, the Reibers. Great drama. I cried and I felt like I was watching a good, classic soap opera. DAYS had never made me cry, well it did once - but that was out of disappointment (a first too), lol. The Sami/Austin/Nicole stuff was great too. I was really falling for Nicole and Austin, these writers gave both characters some real meat and the chemistry was great. Sami and her non-wedding, fabulous. I liked the Dimera will-reading episode, such potential...but it went downhill after that, possibly Tom Langan interference?


1. JER (second half of 1st stint). I quit the show SO, SO EASILY when I realized he was coming back in the 2000's, lol. I consider a writer having the ability to make me do that as having some true ability at being a hack.

2. Tom Langan. He sucked except for early 2002 if he was at all responsible for early 2002's story-telling. I gave B&C the credit (above). The teen obsession was borderline creepy, well not borderline.

3. Dena Higley (first stint). She deserves some of the credit for accomplishing getting me to the point of being an ex viewer. I think I blocked a lot of it out, but there was something about Bo, Ben and cans? IDK. WTF?


1. SSM. I have a feeling she was being forced to be JER-like and it just wasn't a good match.

2. LB. She was there for a month...err week?

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I think I remember reading that before JER left to work on Passions, the producers brought in SSM first as an associate head writer so that she could get accustomed to the sci-fi/fantasy aspects of his storytelling on Days.

Here is some stuff from Pat Falken Smith's 2nd HW stint on Days that I found on youtube. You can also find Doug and Julie’s 1976 wedding from her 1st HW stint, which also include scenes of Valerie Grant and David Banning discussing their relationship and future.

A 1981 promo showing how the arrival of Tony DiMera is causing trouble for Don and Liz's marriage. Also, Marie receives some bad news.


Tony and Liz have a heart to heart talk about their relationship and reflect on their failed marriage. From the dates listed on Jason's website, Pat Falken Smith would leave Days a month later.


Here are the classic Days scenes of Roman coming to stay over at Marlena's home to make a point about her needing police protection. Marlena ruled when she was tough, feisty, and sarcastic. I love the chemistry between Wayne Northop (Roman), Deidre Hall (Marlena), and Jed Allan (Don).


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And I echo his thank-you. That was the "Doc" I looked forward to seeing again when DH had returned to DAYS, back in '91. Alas, aside from some fleeting encounters during the Sheffer/Scott era, she was nowhere to be found.

As for this topic...

Best HW's: Bill Bell, followed by Pat Falken Smith. Not that I'm putting down the Sheri Anderson/Leah Laiman/Thom Racina era of the mid-'80's, but it seems as if Bell and Smith tried very hard throughout the '70's to make DAYS a progressive yet traditional soap opera.

Worst HW: Gene Palumbo. Marlena and RealRoman's return had to be the biggest event that year; and yet, he botched them. Both of them.

Best EP: Betty Corday. As long as she had a firm grasp on the show's overall direction, DAYS remained DAYS, even after the introduction of the Brady and DiMera clans.

Worst EP: Ken Corday. 'Nuff said.

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