The fate of NBC's Days of our Lives is seemingly in the hands of Ron Carlivati, who stepped in as head writer for the low-rated daytime drama earlier this year. Time will tell if the Emmy-winner will be able to give the soap a desperately needed viewership bump the same way he was able to improve General Hospital's ratings when he stepped in as scribe for the ABC soap in 2012, but he's having a hell of a lot of fun nonetheless.
"What's great about this genre is one day you're writing action/adventure, one day you're writing a romance, a comedy," he told Dan's Papers, a website that covers the Hamptons, where Carlivati lives. "I started [working at Days of Our Lives] in January, which is crazy because nothing I've written has been on the air yet; they film six months ahead. My first episode airs in four weeks. It's very strange, I've written five months of material, stories with a beginning, middle and end, and they haven't even started [airing]."
Rumor has it the storylines he has penned for Salemites are well worth the wait. After all, the guy is known in the soap world as one heck of a writer, having covered a wide variety of topics as head writer for GH and One Life to Live that include homophobia, hostile corporate takeovers, bullying, steamy romance, and even time travel (when he sent several OLTL characters back in time for the soap's 40th anniversary).
But believe it or not, Carlivati didn't set out to be a writer. In fact, though he's been a fan of the genre since he was a little boy, writing wasn't originally on his radar at all.
"I had actually gone to law school and became a lawyer," Carlivati shares. "One of my bosses [David Baldacci, who went on to become a bestselling author] was a frustrated writer and sold his first novel overnight for $2 million. He was living through this exciting chapter and all of a sudden my job became really exciting. And he eventually left to become a full-time writer."
Baldacci's choice to follow his heart led to Carlivati doing the same thing. He soon left his job at the law firm, moved to New York, and pursued work in the soap opera field.
"I told everyone I talked to that I wanted to be a soap writer and that my dream show was One Life to Live," he says. "Then, I went out for a friend's birthday and a guy overheard a friend and I talking and he said, 'Oh, my friend works for a soap opera, One Life to Live, as a writers' assistant.'"
The serendipitous encounter led to Carlivati getting a job as an assistant an OLTL, and the rest, as they say, is history. (In case you don't know the history, Carlivati gradually moved up at OLTL from proofreading scripts and checking them for continuity to becoming a scriptwriter and eventually head writer. After One Life to Live's cancellation in 2011, Carlivati went on to become the head writer of General Hospital, where he stayed until 2015. He was then announced as DAYS' new head writer in January of this year.)
What do you think about Carlivati's journey to his soap opera career? Will you adopt his tactic of telling everyone the job you want to do with the hope that eventually you might meet the right person to help you make it happen? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.