As reported by Soap Central earlier this week, As the World Turns has released three-time Emmy winning head writer Hogan Sheffer. In his place, the show has promoted Jean Passanante, who served as co-head writer under Sheffer since May 2001, to the head scribe position. [For more information on Sheffer's firing, click here.]
Sheffer's release came as a surprise to many on the As the World Turns set. Unofficially, executives from Procter & Gamble Productions were said to have told Sheffer on March 30th that he would not be returning in May from a 17-week sabbatical that he had taken back in January.
"I am pleased to announce Jean's new role at As The World Turns," said Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin, Executive-in-Charge of Production for Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc. "She is a wonderful, creative storyteller who has a clear creative vision for the show. I am confident her stories will be full of romance and intrigue that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats."
"Jean has a deep respect for the show's rich history," added Goutman. "Her awareness of character and her strong sense of plot development will serve As The World Turns well as we move into our 50th year on television."
Before joining the Emmy Award-winning As The World Turns writing team, Passanante served as co-head writer of ABC's All My Children, for which she received Writers Guild and GLAAD Media Awards as well as an Emmy nomination. Previously, she served in a similar capacity on the writing teams of Another World (1998-99) and One Life to Live (1992-98), for which she won a 1994 Emmy Award. Her other daytime experience was as Director of Writer Development for ABC Daytime Television.
Prior to her work in television, Passanante spent fifteen years as a theater administrator, dramaturg and producer. She served as both Artistic Director of the New Dramatists, a playwright's service organization, and as Administrator of the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference, where she worked on the development of new plays by August Wilson, Lee Blessing, Jon Patrick Shanley, and James Yoshimura, among others. During her four seasons at the New York Theatre Workshop, she founded the New Directors Project, and helped foster the early work of such artists as Michael Grief, R.J. Cutler, Anne Bogart and Tony Kushner in her role as Artistic Director.