Well, it’s a step in the right direction, anyway. ONE LIFE TO LIVE announced yesterday that headwriter Dena Higley was being let go, with former co-headwriter Ron Carlivati taking her spot as the top scribe. And while we’re going to try and hope that this means major — and very necessary — changes will hit the screen in the months to come, color us skeptical. Why? Because ABC’s big problem still remains: Brian Frons, head of ABC’s daytime division, has proven himself to be something of a disaster. Under his watch, all three of ABC’s sudsers have turned into dark tales filled with unrelatable characters, violent stunts which have replaced character-driven storylines, and a general lack of knowledge. Why, for example, did the network put Kay Alden and Jack Smith — former headwriters for long-time #1 drama THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS — under contract only to eventually let them go? (Alden, it has been announced, will now become a co-headwriter with THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL’s head honcho, Brad Bell.) Why can the horrific Megan McTavish from ALL MY CHILDREN… only to replace her with the equally dreadul Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown, who have written for LOVING, PORT CHARLES, THE CITY… notice a pattern here? All those shows have been cancelled! And it was during their stint at GUIDING LIGHT that Josh cloned (yes, that’s right, cloned) Reva!
But as we said, we’re trying to look at this as a positive change. So with that in mind, we’d like to offer OLTL’s new scribe a little advice. Perhaps he, unlike Frons or Higley, will at least attempt to listen to what fans actually want to see on screen. So here we go:
1) It seems simple enough, but put the characters we love back on the front burner in storylines we care about. The show fought to keep Hillary Smith on contract, only to see her alter ego, Nora, vanish. If there’s one thing long-time fans want, it’s a return to the wonderfully fun and romantic days of Bo and Nora. Both characters are on the canvas… whatcha waiting for?
2) Cut the dead weight. Yes, Paige, we’re talking to you. And Tate.
3) Stop the violence! We still don’t know who killed Spencer, and now there’s some racist group running around setting fires and blowing things up? Enough already.
4) Bring back the romance. Are we the only ones who remember when the slogan for ABC’s soaps was Love In The Afternoon?
5) Stop wasting your talented cast. For God’s sake, why isn’t Ilene Kristen’s Roxy being used? Every single time she’s on screen, we’re amused and happy. Move heaven and earth to get Tuc Watkins (David) back full-time. Give Erika Slezak — who had a very public feud in which she claimed Higley refused to write for Viki — a real storyline!
6) Let Blair and Todd move on. Yes, yes, they were once this show’s supercouple. But that was before she accused him of rape and he fell for Evangeline and Blair slept with Cristian and they broke up a thousand times. Maybe if the show kept them apart, let them find new loves, we might eventually be ready to see them work their way back together. But as of now, they’ve inflicted far too much damage upon one another — and us. We could all use a break.
7) Get Renee Elise Goldsberry back. Evangeline and Todd were a true supercouple in the making. Settle whatever disputes may have arose in contract negotiations and get Evangeline back on the canvas… NOW!
For now, Carlivati has his work cut out for him. But based on the shows currently airing, he can hardly do worse. So while keeping our fingers crossed that Frons is the next person to go, we’ll anxiously await the new scribe’s changes, which probably won’t take effect until early fall.