Days of Our Lives: Dena Higley Out as Head Writer, GH Vet Ron Carlivati In

While it awaits word on its fate, Days of Our Lives is making some major changes.

As rumors swirl — and get slightly quelled — that NBC might scrub the long-running soap, it has been announced that series vet Dena Higley will step down as co-head writer.

Seizing the show’s reins as head writer will be Ron Carlivati, whose credits include extended runs at ABC’s One Life to Live (where in 2008 his writing team won the Daytime Emmy) and, from January 2012 to July 2015, General Hospital.

Days‘ other co-head writer, Ryan Quan, will remain with the sudser under the title of creative consultant. Soap Opera Digest first broke the news.

“We look forward to the fresh and compelling stories these changes will bring to Salem,” the show said in a statement.

Fretting over Days‘ fate was amplified by NBC’s recent hire of Megyn Kelly, calling into question where the network might carve out an hour for the Fox News vet’s new daytime program. “We don’t make a decision for another couple months,” NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told TVLine at the Television Critics Association winter press tour last week.

Current contracts for the Days cast and producers only run through the end of 2017, so the clock is ticking on a possible renewal. But Greenblatt says NBC would make an effort to give Days fans plenty of notice if they do decide to pull the plug: “Unfortunately, soap operas are written so far ahead…  But yeah, we would try to be respectful.”

Was this head writer swap overdue? And could this creative change help steer Days toward a stronger case for renewal?

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52 Comments
  1. Drew says:

    But the story lines have actually become so much better recently under the outgoing head writer, with characters interacting in new combinations and so many fewer flashbacks. Now everything is going to change again? If the new guy finds a way to bring Wil Horton back, fine. Otherwise seems kind of a sure way to end the building story momentum.

  2. Kevin says:

    The head writer change should save Days of Our Lives and the future of the daytime soap.

  3. Robert45 says:

    Hope they don’t cancel it.

  4. GuessWhat says:

    #SaveDays!

  5. ninergrl6 says:

    I liked what Carlivati did with GH, especially in the first two years. He respects tradition and long-time fan faves. Good move for Days.

    • scyren says:

      How does Ron respect tradition. He ruined almost every character making them do OCD things or blatantly destroying them for the hell of it. People I never thought I would hate, I did. He ruined that soap. I stopped watching and doubt I’ll ever come back. That NuJason story was HORRIBLE and now I hate every player in it. He does not respect tradition at all and was all about plot points- no depth whatsoever.

      • Phil says:

        Speak for yourself… Burton’s Mason was a one more bore. Billy Miller adds much needed depth to this character and his chemistry with Kelly Monaco is incomparable!

  6. Michael says:

    This is great news and just what Days needs, Ron did great things at OLTL and GH. I know a lot of soap fans do not like his style but this man loves and respects the genre and soaps history

  7. Steve Ungrey says:

    This is fantastic news all around. Ron Carlivati is easily the best of the head writers currently on the staff of a soap. He gets the story. He’ll do everything in his power to write what the fans want to see.

    Now is it so much to ask that we get Matt Ashford and Peter Reckell back on our TV screens?

    • Michael Bailey says:

      I agree. Loved his work on GH so much more than the snooze fest it has become. People complained that he recycled stories but it’s been nothing but since he was fired, and at least when he introduced a story it had a plot line. Now it seems they make it up as they go along with no plan, and change the story on a whim til it makes no sense at all

      • scyren says:

        He had people doing things that made no sense of all. He ruined every character with drama, having them do things that were extreme and ridiculous. Sorry, but he ruined GH. I doubt I’ll ever watch again. There was no depth to anything he did, just violence or drama without finishing stories. There were so many crazy people running around at once who never get caught doing anything it was ridiculous.

  8. Diane says:

    Poor Days. Soaps recycle so many bad writers.

  9. Jbj says:

    No mention that Ron also happened to replace Dena on OLTL? Believe it or not, this seems like a sign of good faith, since Ron was able to boost the ratings and critical appeal of both OLTL and GH when he became head writer of those shows.

  10. Jim says:

    I guess someone must care.

  11. Shannon Patrick says:

    What’s the point? They are cancelling DAYS next year.

  12. trumpam says:

    I wish someone would hire writers that know how and aren’t afraid to write good material for minority characters. It’s really frustrating to watch the same old recycled crap with the same faces year after year.

  13. They need to stop with the at least six months ahead nonsense. There’s no way to judge how the audience reacts.

    • wrstlgirl says:

      I agree. I had heard they were going to stop doing that but I guess that wasn’t true. Filming so far ahead hurts the show the most because they can’t fix anything.

  14. Alicia says:

    Days is a part of or lives! It just gets better!!

  15. Tania says:

    Please save Days, do not pull the plug. It is more interesting now, I love the story lines and look forward to watching the show everyday.
    From an Aussie lover of DAYS!!!

  16. Norma Quezada says:

    Please please do not cancel Days!!! It is the soap opera I watch! I would be very disappointed if it was canceled and I know I will not be watching “Kelly Live”

  17. Patty baker says:

    I watch days ever day love the stoy line

  18. Walkie says:

    They change writers every six months it seems.

    It’s pretty clear that the sands are running out finally.

  19. Tabby Pagliaroni says:

    In my opinion Days is the best so opera on the air today. It is fast moving and you get a feeling of being a part of the show. Why strike down such a great show to replace it with more crap like the other networks are carrying? Continue to be different and be proud of it!

  20. Jacob says:

    I’m not a Days fan, but Ron IS a good soap writer.

    Ron got me to return to OLTL and to GH after I’d stopped watching both for several years (due to writers like Higley’s inept storytelling). His final weeks on OLTL were actually a master class on how to close down a soap and his integration of OLTL characters on GH was very clever (unfortunately interrupted due to a nonsensical lawsuit).

    However, he can introduce a lot of stories and not always pay as much attention to all of them as he could/should and he tends to go overboard with characters becoming crazy but he does know how to embrace a shows convoluted history and bring back characters who are meaningful to fans… and frankly, Ron excels at the kind of camp/high concept storytelling that Days is famous for. And if anyone could ever finesse a Matt LeBlanc cameo/arc, it’s Ron.

    Just make sure Ron isn’t allowed to have a Twitter account – the man argues with fans over plot points and can get petty. It ain’t pretty.

    • Jacob says:

      Oh, and wanted to mention: kudos to whomever wrote the “comment are monitored” spiel – it’s clearly an homage to Nikki Finke. Good job! :)

  21. Ashley Cashon says:

    Day’s. Has REALLY BEEN ON SO LONG & so AWESOME, Seriously DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO WITHOUT OUT DAYS! ! Please. Pretty please don’t let the awesome characters lose their day jobs!! Please don’t!!

  22. wrstlgirl says:

    I’ll take anything at this point. Every time I think they get a good story going it turns to crap.

  23. gerri plumeri says:

    Some of your story lines are so boring and go on FOREVER. And the new Abby doesn’t fit AT ALL……she has NO chemistry with Chad. And since Stefano is dead in real life how can you insult his memory by searching for him? That’s one of the worst story lines you ever had. No wonder the network wants to cancel your show. I hope and pray that it doesn’t happen cause I’ve been watching Days since it first came on. It would really upset me and a lot of people if Days was taken off. Also, how can such a street smart woman like Nicole be so blind when it comes to a creep like Demos? I really hope your new writer does a better job. And why don’t you tell Nichole that Holly is her’s already. What are you going to do wait until the kid is walking?

    • Maria says:

      Agreed, esp about continuing the whole Stefano storyline. The viewers know that Joe Mascolo (sadly) passed away last year, so it’s a little too much suspension-of-disbelief to ask us to watch the good citizens of Salem “search for Stefano.” Besides, Thaao Penghlis does a fantastic job as Andre…just let him be the bad DiMera.
      And also agree about the new Abby. I think Gabi has more chemistry with Chad.

  24. Jenni Goodman says:

    This is very positive news! Days current contract expires in September. They have filmed episodes airing now thru June. Why would someone take a job knowing he only had a very short time to end a soap he has never worked for? My point is it looks pretty good that Days will get renewed for another year at least. NBC wants to stick by it for a lot of financial reasons, but the ratings must improve. Ron Carlivati is a great writer and he will pull Days together even more. Honestly, it has been much better recently anyway. Just my two cents!

  25. Dorathy says:

    Another news story for a spoiled reporter making over 20 million. I think NBC would be making a huge mistake canceling Days of Our Lives, millions of people watch the show, I have quit watching the early morning show and I also don’t like the Kathy Grifford and Hoda Kotb, acting silly and encouraging the drinking. If continue to change your program and pull Days of Our Lives I won’t be watching NBC

  26. Elaine Wethy says:

    I have been watching Days since I was 15yrs old…..Please, please do not take it off!!! This is an awsome show!!!! I will not watch Megan Kelly.

  27. Kelley Schroeder says:

    I’m sure Ron will do good things with Day’s but I really hope it doesn’t get cancelled. I’ve been watching it since I came into this world.

  28. Carol Hetes says:

    Love the show would hate to see it end

  29. scyren says:

    So basically, they replaced one hack with another. Ron ruined GH for me and I stopped watching because of NuJason and how they continuously destroy characters. There was no one left to root for. I certainly will not watch if he’s at the helm. I can’t stand him.

  30. Omg. I have watch Days of Our Lives for years even my mother did when I was a baby and growing up it is a soap that not only calms me for an hour to relax but it gives us that drama suspicion comedy love romance that we all some don’t have in our lives

  31. Brian says:

    We need Days of our lives. We can’t live without it. There world allows us to escape our world even if it is just an hour a day. I have learned a lot from this show. Heck I started watching the show back in the early 90’s. Do not cancel. You wouldn’t want us to go all Dimera on you.

  32. Pat Hart says:

    Been watching since the very beginning. Don’t cancel the show. It’s the BEST!!!!!!

  33. I’ve been a faithful watcher of Days for 50 yrs. Taking Days off would be the worst thing you could do to the thousand of Days watchers. Put Megyn on at a different time slot. Like 6:00 pm. Men love watching her. PLEASE leave Days on

  34. Please keep Days on the air. I’ve watched it for 45 years. Best soap on town.
    Dumb move hiring Megan Kelly. Enough talk shows.
    what you do with dr. Oz.
    jd banks is crap

  35. Colene Ruggiero says:

    Since they film ahead I guess Stefano (Joe) won’t be bk? I’ve been watching for yrs.. Maybe
    the brass at NBC are more interested in Kelly coming on board. STUPID IDEA TO CANCEL
    DAYS. iT’S IN NBC’S COURT DO THEY CARE ABOUT VIEWERS OF DAY’S???????
    BLESSINGS TO ALL CAST MEMBERS.

  36. Elizabeth Hanlon says:

    Please if it has to end GIVE NICOLE HER BABY….I DONT WANT IT TO END .IVE BEEN WATCHING IT FOREVER…. WOULDABSOLUTELY LOVE IT IF IT STAYED ON …BUT AS WE ALL KNOW NOTHING LASTS FOREVER

  37. Sheldon says:

    NBC is stupid, CBS should pick up the show and then I could quit watching the Peacock channel altogether

  38. Bridget Olson says:

    Please save days

  39. Sharon says:

    I have been a long time fan, however, get bored with the story lines that go on and on AND ON!!!!!!!!

  40. Shirley says:

    This program is getting worse and worse. I cannot believe that the baby goes to someone who broke the law by stealing the embryo, which there is no consequence for. What are these writers smoking ,Seriously, completely stupid. Not a happy fan after 51 years. Get some good writers. I am ready to stop watching as is my group of 20 friends. Not that they csre!!!!

  41. Eileen Shonk says:

    I am so glad for the writer change! I have been a fan for over 30 years and the writing has been going down hill for quite awhile. Just so many bad storylines. It is so annoying, and in general really insults people’s intelligence. I am actually getting to the point of turning off Days Of Our Lives. That is sad! Now there’s hope!

  42. Geri says:

    Days of our lives needs to increase the volume of their actor’s microphones and decrease volume on the background music. You can’t hear the actors a lot of the time because the background music drowns the actors out.