Soap Opera Network Reports Former Passions Scribes Take Helm at DAYS

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Soap Opera Network is reporting former Passions writers Marlene Clark Poulter and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. have been hired as head writers of Days of Our Lives. Poulter was associate head writer for NBC's wacky-but-popular cult sudser from 1999-2008. Before that she wrote for DAYS from 1991-1999. Thomas wrote for Passions during its entire run.

I know Passions wasn't everyone's cup of soap (I certainly had my issues with it), but I still see this as a win. Dena Higley is perhaps the worst head writer in the history of daytime television. There's no place for Salem to go but up from where I'm blogging. Let's just hope people don't start romancing monkeys, cutting off penises and/or are talking to themselves all the time. Breathe in. Breathe out.


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marknsprmo wrote:
David46208 if anyone had bothered to watch Another World during the Swajeski years, she probably would not have gotten a job again. Her only saving grace was all those great characters that Lemay Harding left her. Which she dismantled piece by piece. Still she is not the worst head writer in history. I am happy that AMC is in safer hands but scratch my head as to why it took a cancelation to place the show with the writers that should have been there all along......

Aside from bringing back Iris and possibly Sharlene and bringing in Evan, I can't remember Lemay bringing in anyone during his brief return. I thought she did a fine job with characters like Vicky, and to a lesser degree, Felicia and Cass, and I liked some of her new characters like Ryan and Paulina, but as the years went on she was more of a mixed bag. The only real complaint I had with her writing was what she did with Donna and Nicole, and I didn't like Frankie/Cass.

I don't think she's a bad headwriter...she's just not great. She wasn't suited for today's soap world. If anyone is.

marknsprmo's picture
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[\quote]
The biggest problem Days has in terms of pleasing it's fanbase is this very schism, between the fans who loved the far more traditional soap Days had once been and those who came aboard during and adored Reilly's camp-fest.[/quote]

Amen Rosevioletdaisy! It is really too bad because Days of our Lives was once a great show. Especially when Bill Bell and his associate Pat Falkin Smith wrote the show. Pat's short term return in the early 80s served as a springboard to reinvent Days and had a second golden age. This era while uneven was highly adventurous and romantic with big touches of humor and family. I truely miss those years and wish Days would return to one of those two formats. The first one was highly dramatic and fearless with totally outrageous(for the time) stories that pushed the limits. Told in a traditional soap opera manner with the very very conservative but loving duo of Tom and Alice Horton trying to guide their kids through rough waters of the modern world. I could easily see Days updating this format today with the ruturn of Doug and Julie in the more modernist version of Tom and Alice. Stories like the promised gay story would be right up the alley of this model.
Or the escapist humor and romantic version of Days in the 80s could be a thought. This one is a little problematic with the lack of funds that soaps have experienced. Yet operatic love and funny really don't cost money just good writing and experienced actors. A return to music guided scenes and an occasional good cat fight would be a good start to this model. Chad going on the run after finding out terrible information about the Dimera's and taking along his buddy/bf Will could supply a summer of love on the run. Maybe they could end up in L.A. and Days could just go outside and film....
Just stop giving me this totally childish and identity challenged view of Days. And please please please no more badly concieved Reilly version. If he was the third golden age of Days, his version should have gone with him.
Todays audience is not into Princess's of nowhere, psychiatrists turning into wild animals, months of listening to someone with an extra mouth of teeth trying to say dialog of 5 different people.

Member since:
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Mark: Heh. I love that "extra mouth of teeth." The storyline got old quickly, but it was so funny watching that during my summers.
I'm, again, guardedly optimistic about this. I looked on imdb.com, and Marlene Poulter McPherson was with Days from 555-5555. I just hope she and Darrell Thomas are not into the "out-there" storylines of James Reilly. He had some crazy ideas, and I certainly did not like his second tenure. You can only capture the "magic" so many times. All I know is that I can't say it enough. Dena Higley is goooooooooooone! Yeeeeeeehaw!!!!!!! If I could do cartwheels, I would! Laughing out loud

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Whoops, I forgot they block numbers. It should say nineteen eight-eight through nineteen ninety-nine.

AlistairCrane's picture
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Passions was my ultimate favourite soap, followed by Days 93-97 and Days 2003-06. These writers are the closest we have to JER, a creative genius who got his OWN DAMN SHOW after proving to be a huge success with Days.

Days has been AWFUL, truly DREADFUL since they got rid of the sci-fi/supernatural aspects of the stories. Now we have a chance to restore the magic and bring back what made Days so great in the first place!

I am actually excited to watch Days again! I quit watching when Reilly left in 06 but I will tune back in and see what the Passions writers bring to the table. Haters be damned!!!!!!! Laughing out loud

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Well guess what, Alistair, we may not get sci-fi! Laughing out loud And I for one would be happy about that! Laughing out loud

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I will give the new head writers a chance. Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves without any pre-judgment. Just because they were writers under Reilly does not mean they will write exactly like him. I had a total love/hate relationship with Reilly anyway. Loved some of his classic stories like Maisson Blanche, Aremid, Kristen/Susan, etc. However disliked other stories and totally was ticked at how he diminished the Horton family and refused to write for many classic characters. We will see how it goes.

Member since:
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I agree wholeheartedly, SonnySprocket. Every word. I'm just optimistic right now since Marlene Poulter was with the show during the 80s and 90s. I remember those years well, and I really enjoyed the late 80s, early 90s. Those are the years I remember the most.

Member since:
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First off I'm glad that Dena Higley is OUT as headwriter, about time really.

Secondly, I NEVER cared for Passions. I thought it was too over the top. I also wasn't a huge JER fan, I thought it was too over the top, but I can admit he did have entertaining stories. But at the same time, not many of the stories during JER's tenure is really referenced today (although I could say that about many tenures as history is always re-written all of the time). But I will give these writers a chance. At least it's not Charles Pratt or the duo from GL who went to AMC which helped lead to that show's cancellation (I can't remember their names). And I'm not knowledgeable of the whole system for writing a soap, but JER was the headwriter there so wouldn't he dictate the stories and the other writers down the line write the words and essentially help fill out what JER as headwriter puts together? If that's the case, these two can't entirely be blamed for what people may have disliked because it would go back to the headwriter because he was driving story.

Thirdly, I'm playing devil's advocate, but what if the networks are so reluctant to hire new writers because it can be a very stressful job and hard to find someone talented or willing to deal with the demands involved with head writing a soap? It's not to excuse the bad writing that can and DOES happen, but just trying to understand the perspective there. Hogan Sheffer (the last non-soap experienced writer to my knowledge who broke into soaps) may have pleased some fans when he joined ATWT but he also alienated others (and I believe Eileen Fulton too if I recall correctly). And didn't he have some health issues too? Couldn't that have been attributed at least partially to the demands of being a headwriter?

But ultimately I'm going to give the writers a chance to hopefully make my beloved Salem a better place. Hopefully Marlene Calrk Poulter's prior experience at Days gives her enough knowledge and history of the show that she can make it better along with the Darrell Ray Thomas. And I want balance! Less Sami, Rafe, EJ, Nicole and Taylor. Give me more Bo, Hope, Jenn, Jack, Will, Will's new potential boyfriend, Adrienne, Justin, Maggie, Victor and of course MADAME Vivian! Just rotate characters around so one group of actors do not always drive story all of the time.

AlistairCrane's picture
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FYI: JER was coming back to Days in Fall 2008 after Passions ended but he died and it didn't end up happening.

Finally Sony has realized Days needs help in the writing department. They are smart because they know JER-style writing is what Days needs to be a hit again.

I *love* that the Passions/JER haters are getting all bent out of shape over this! Well, guess what?! For waaaaay too many years now, Days has been telling awful, horrid "character driven" bullshit garbage. FINALLY, we are getting rid of that and going back to the fun, exciting writing that made Days so popular in the 90s. Sony wouldn't have hired these writers if they didn't think they could bring some JER-esque elements to this show. Come on, you actually think someone who wrote for Days during JER's original era and all of Passions' run *isn't* going to write Days in classic JER 90s style? GMAFB!

This is a good move for Days and I am excited for this new era! I WIN! I WIN! I WIN!!!! Laughing out loud I've finally got my show back!!! Laughing out loud

AlistairCrane's picture
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People who criticize Passions just don't get it. Passions was a satire. JER created a send-up of the soap opera genre. Something so transgressive is obviously going to ruffle the feathers of purists and traditionalists. I thought it was brilliant. It spun every soap cliche on its head and pointed out the absurdity of soap operas in general. Some people are too sensitive.

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I think there was a dividing line with Passions - for some reason the last 3-4 years of the show seemed much darker.

AlistairCrane's picture
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It got darker but was still brilliant. 2004 and 2007 are stand-out years. The He/She blackmailer in 2007 was friggin' AMAZING. 2005 and 2006 were good too but 04 and 07 were the best of the "later years". And the show ended perfectly, with the wedding of Theresa and Ethan.

AlistairCrane's picture
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Anyway, I'm out! I'm not gonna let the haters rain on my parade. I'm leaving this thread with my head held high and with my body SHAKING with the excitement that friends of JER are taking the reigns at Days and restoring it to brilliance. Yes yes yessssssss!!!!!!!! Laughing out loud What a happy day! A glorious, joyous day! So excited for a Days that will actually be exciting and interesting again! Congrats Marlene and Darrell! Can't wait to see Days restored to its 93-97 glory! Laughing out loud

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Oh my gosh, AlistairCrane. LOL. You really are one fry short of a Happy Meal! Gotta give it to ya: you keep things interesting!

Ryan-Scott's picture
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I honestly thought the work Brash & Cwikly did was good other than aliens in foil undies. I never understood why they got the hook but whatever....

marknsprmo's picture
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I really do not understand why anyone thought that James Reilly was that creative. He wrote about witches, animated dolls, transsexuals, heaven and hell, possession, and angels. Though noone else in daytime tv was tackling these themes, there were plenty of movies, books and tv shows elsewhere discussing these things (Chucky anyone?) Working with these topics certainly gives one more liscence than working with themes such as love, deceit, hate, revenge, family dynamic, but creativity? I could conjur up a story about possession in about a minute. All of the themes that James Reilly was famous for had open ended possibilities. So I think creativity belongs to someone who took a theme such as love and made it fresh for the viewer again.
If anything I don't think that Reilly went far enough with his "creativity"
One great dissapointment for me was the character Allistair Crane. A man whose voice only we heard for several years. Why? A creative answer would be that the man had found a fountain of youth and could not expose his face in known public because his face was far to youthful. A creative answer would have been he was a vampire or werewolf and had to live exiled from his family. A creative story would be that he was a lepper and was embarassed by his appearance. Instead there was just nothing.
Reilly's unwillingness to throw himself head first into the fantasy is what caused Passions to fail. Had he actually took the show over the edge like Dark Shadows or say The Wizzard of Oz, I might have enjoyed it. But rather the show was mostly just boring and Banal. With occasional bouts of unbelievabiity because the supernatural didn't sit well with the banality of the rest of the show.
Plus the usual complaint that Reilly only wrote the bad guys as mustache twirlers and the good guys as lumps of coal.

marknsprmo's picture
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Wow I just noticed on Days NBC website that the headwriters name has already changed. They work fast! I wonder when their stories will start being told on screen....

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UGH, the Marlena possession story is the reason I stopped watching DOL in the first place. Yes, soaps are supposed to be an escape, but that was the most ridiculously stupid storyline I think I've ever seen.

Now they are bringing that crap back?.....pitiful, just pitiful.

harlee490's picture
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Can't see how this is winner? Replacing one hack writer with two hack writers is not good. I just bidding my time and after AMC and OLTL ends no more soaps....will continue with Y&R because I have watch since debut in 1973 but I personally tired trying to watch different soaps and for me it was AMC and OLTL after GL and ATWT. It just isn't worth the investment anymore, because it's been a chore now with the other two and getting through until the end. Everybody fav's is OLTL and it's a hair better then AMC but there are a lot of holes and stupidness going on with that show. I digress, if DOOL would had brought on a writer like Sheri Anderson, Pam Long, Jeff Ryder, then I would definitely check in to watch. Ken C. I think is making horrible choices for the show.

Miry's picture
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I am just super glad that she will be gone! B/c when she was off playing with her gold ball, the show was actually good again. Now it is unbearable and she made me actually stop watching.

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The Possession was no more or less silly than, the Ice Princess, Eterna, The Old West, Vicki Goes to Heaven, Erica being a 5 foot supermodel, and the number of back from the dead storylines over the years. As for buried alive, Bill Bell did it first. At its core, the Possession was a simple love story, the core of all of Reilly's stories - but really no different than a multiple personality storyline.

But, again, these new writers were breakdown writers for Reilly. They had nothing to do with his long term story other than outlining it. Stop judging these two based on who they worked with, especially since you haven't seen one of their stories on air yet. Would you want to be judged based on the people you work with or for? Give them a shot.

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Mark: With you saying that, I'm wondering if Dena Higley was fired 3 months ago (or however far ahead they tape), and they are just now announcing, keeping it a secret for all this time. That would be a great treat! Smile No more of her boring, contrived crap!

Ryan-Scott's picture
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I want to know what the backstage drama was all about.

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It's another kiss of death for ABC soaps...

Why the F does that network keep Fronsie?

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that's odd I clicked on the Guza/GH story to comment and it went on Days. Ooooops

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I have been reading on this site for quite sometime & this news made me register to post! I have watched Days since around Eighty two. so i have seen alot of things this show has done both good and bad. the bad coming from the last five yrs. PASSIONS is my all time favorite show. not just soap but favortie show period. this is good news to me. i do think Passions went overboard at times but i loved every second of it. Days druring Reily's time was good. there was something for everyone. my problem with him was dragging stories out too long. but really wether most want to admit it or not Days has alwasy been a lil bit out there since i started watching in the early eighties. BUT they alwasy balanced it with strong characters, good stories and lots of mystery and romance. i would like for days to be a mystery/romance soap. they need to get daring again. not necessarily magic and demons but just a lil off center. a show that gives you something the rest arent giving. i only watch Days once or twice a week now if that. i will be tuning in every day when their material starts airing. i hope they dont let me down. this is probably Days last chance to get another renewal in a couple of years.

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I'm glad to hear that Jamey knows these writersthinks things will get better. This gives me hope rhat *I'll* love the show again! I was a Passions fan, but I didn't always like their storylines. I don't neccesarily want to see supernatural stuff on Days, I just hope that these writers will focus more on history and maybe give us something new and interesting to watch.

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Sheri Anderson has commended this hiring, and that's enough for me to be optimistic about a change for the better.

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Sheri Anderson's approval does make me feel better about these unknown writers. I am excited to see what they have in store. Like it's been said, they'll be better than Dena Higley! By a mile.