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Daytime's Master Headwriters: Their Strongest and Weakest Work

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I agree with everything you said about Pratt. His style of writing worked best for both SBs (Santa Barbara AND Sunset Beach). He cannot handle serious dramas. He flounders every time. Whether it is GH, Y&R, or AMC. He sucked each time. I wish people would stop getting wet b/c of what he did for Melrose Place and see what he's did afterwards. All of his shows afterwards have suffered or were cancelled. MP was a flash in the pan for him.   

 I really wish people would stop attributing Pratt with Melrose's success - first of all, he was barely even a part of Melrose third season, which is it's best, as he was off doing the flop spin-off Models, Inc. Second of all, wheels of Melrose started falling off once Darren Star left to do Central Park West and his original outline for the fourth season changed - after that, he and Frank South managed to run the show into the ground with endless "we are going to fix the show" campaigns. Melrose continued to well for seasons 4 & 5 because the original cast was still there, but once they left the show completely bombed in the ratings!

 

Season 7 was a massive improvement over season 6, mainly because his partner in crime Frank South was fired and Carol Mendelsohn stepped up, who later incidentally happened to go on and create a little show called CSI. 

 

It saddens me that Charles Pratt Jr somehow keeps getting jobs because he was a part of the Melrose team. The man can't plot himself out of a paper bag and admitted that he would just start writing characters horribly if he didn't like them (Jack Parezi and Brooke Armstrong on Melrose Place are two obvious examples - oh Chucky u so clever!).

 

The man is an ass.

Edited by te.

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People..... 

 

Some writers are routinely dreadful no matter where they end up, so it's pointless to include them on a list such as this, but some of daytime's well-known scribes work wonders on one series, but simply do not "click" as well on another.

 

Why are Passante and Ron a part of this conversation?

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Jean is a master storyteller, a liberal and more importantly a respected woman. She's been in biz for nearly 25 years. Her approach to soaps is what will keep them on the air.  I wonder if Jelly created a cable primetime show it would break the barriers of tv. 

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Jean is a master storyteller, a liberal and more importantly a respected woman. She's been in biz for nearly 25 years. Her approach to soaps is what will keep them on the air.

It worked out so well when she wrote for ATWT.

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This thread is going off the rails now

The only reason the thread will go off the rails is if people yet again take those posts seriously when there's jack all reason to do so, because they'd rather cluck their tongues in outrage instead of respecting the original poster and the point of the thread.

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People..... 

 

Some writers are routinely dreadful no matter where they end up, so it's pointless to include them on a list such as this, but some of daytime's well-known scribes work wonders on one series, but simply do not "click" as well on another.

 

Why are Passante and Ron a part of this conversation?

Exactly this.

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Definitely agree with Ann Marcus's worst work being at DAYS. She did away with the Grants almost immediately upon her arrival, and did an embarrassing lesbian story that lasted about a week from all accounts. Just embarrassing, and caused great damage to the show's ratings in the process.

I thought the lesbian story was Pat Falken Smith?

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As for writers who never had a "best," I'd put that disgusting hack Sheffer over even Ron (who had a few moments at OLTL) or Jean (who had some moments at ATWT, and who was about as responsible for its cancellation as the janitor, given that P&G had let it fade away for years). He spent his time at ATWT getting hummers from the press rather than giving a damn about characterization, history or story. Just yesterday I was reading about his DAYS stint and remembered that he repeated the hollow stunt of someone shooting multiple rounds into a coffin - something that had made me cringe on ATWT and set a precedent for one of the most offensive stories of all time (tic-laden Annie Parisse's Julia, where we were invited to get hot and wild over everything from murdering animals to drugging and raping men).

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Millee Taggart

Best Work: Loving
Honorable Mention: Guiding Light

Worst Work:As the World Turns

David Kreizman
Best Work: Guiding Light - Like Shaffer and ATWT, DK started off strong but fizzled out horribly. However I can't say he didn't infuse new energy into the show. 
Worst Work: ATWT and AMC

Dena Higley
Everywhere

I see someone mentioned Pam Long, would OLTL be her worst work or a "honorable mention"?

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Definitely agree with Ann Marcus's worst work being at DAYS. She did away with the Grants almost immediately upon her arrival, and did an embarrassing lesbian story that lasted about a week from all accounts. Just embarrassing, and caused great damage to the show's ratings in the process.

 

I thought the lesbian story was Pat Falken Smith?

 

I thought so, too.

 

I'd consider Pam Long's work on OLTL to be on par with her work on SANTA BARBARA.  In both cases, she managed to pen one good story (on SB, B.J.'s sexual abuse; on OLTL, the "Who Killed Georgie Phillips?" mystery) but overall, popular opinion seems to be she didn't do the shows any favors.

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Definitely agree with Ann Marcus's worst work being at DAYS. She did away with the Grants almost immediately upon her arrival, and did an embarrassing lesbian story that lasted about a week from all accounts. Just embarrassing, and caused great damage to the show's ratings in the process.

 

I thought the lesbian story was Pat Falken Smith?

I believe the great Pat Falken Smith (who was the very best writer in the history of DAYS, if you ask me) was already gone when the Sharon Duvall scripts played out.

 

Roger Newcomb attributed the plot to Smith on his website, in a review of gay characters on daytime TV. Maybe she had originally conceived it before she left in April of 1977, but Marcus was credited onscreen when the story played out. I remember one awkward scene in which Laura Horton and Marlena Evans pontificated about all their supposed gay friends (never seen or mentioned before or after that episode, of course) when Julie Williams reacted negatively to Sharon's coming out. I think the material would have been better handled under Smith's supervision, frankly.

Millee Taggart

Best Work: Loving
Honorable Mention: Guiding Light

Worst Work:As the World Turns

David Kreizman
Best Work: Guiding Light - Like Shaffer and ATWT, DK started off strong but fizzled out horribly. However I can't say he didn't infuse new energy into the show. 
Worst Work: ATWT and AMC

Dena Higley
Everywhere

I see someone mentioned Pam Long, would OLTL be her worst work or a "honorable mention"?

Taggart was the last decent headwriter TGL was to have, alas. Springfield felt like home again under her pen. It's a shame she could not have been the one to usher the show out.

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I tend to wonder how I would have felt about Taggart at GL with a different producer. Other than Ed's return and Alex's return, I actually had a hard time watching most of her stories (the trite Reva/Cassie court case after the umpteenth "BJ's heart" homage with Richard and Rick, the "rape me" scenes with Tony and Marah, shrewish and unbearable Michelle, the annoying Philip/Harley custody battle that made her look like a complete idiot). It was only toward the end of her run that I started to feel more invested. 

 

With the Grants, was it Marcus who wrote them out or did network and fan pressure do it?

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I have checked the Soap Opera Digest synopses for 1977, and Sharon's declaration of love for Julie on DAYS took place in August, months after Pat Falken Smith's departure in April. Ann Marcus had taken over as headwriter during the third week of April, 1977, so the bulk of the Duvall material played out under her supervision.

 

http://fnaf.net/classicsod/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1977-08-DAYS-2.jpg

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