May saw the end of Megan McTavish’s writing career for the popular soap opera All My Children. The 58 year old joined the writing staff of the daytime drama as head writer in 2003 and was later criticized for the plots she produced were often dark. The fans were left distraught and dissatisfied, thus the producers of the show let her go and replaced her with two veteran soap opera writers, Barbara J. Esensten and James Harmon Brown.
Esensten and Brown have been known for their work on daytime dramas such as Guiding Light, Loving, The City, Port Charles and Days of Our Lives. Initially, producers were skeptical on hiring them, however, the writers have been working hard to carry out their plans for All My Children.
In a conversation with Soap Opera Digest, Jsames Harmon Brown said, “Our main goal is to make the stories a tree with many branches the so-called umbrella stories. That’s always the goal when we come to a show, but the positive thing about this show is that there are so many great characters, rich history and family entanglements that it’s really not that difficult to make those branches grow.”
Barbara J. Esensten agreed, adding that as the new headwriters of the show, they need to present more realistic and relatable storylines.
“You want the audience to believe that this really could be happening, and once you start doing so many stories that are so unrelatable, you get a little tune-out,” Esensten said. “So even if some of our stories appear to be larger than life, the goal is for the audience to think, ‘Wow, I’ve been there! I wonder what she’s going to do.'”
The writing partners started their work on All My Children early last month and were surprised to see previous co-workers from other shows and even happier to be reunited with some of the actors.
“It was kind of like old home week,” Brown said.
Executive producer Julie Hanan Carruthers threw a cocktail party as a welcome gesture to introduce the two to the rest of All My Children. There, they had a chance to meet their new writing staff and since then have created an open and comfortable environment for their writers.
“We were very fortunate to be able to inherit this show with the actors and writers and, obviously, working with Julie…we’re really having a good time,” Esensten said. “We have a lot of humor injected into the meetings, some of which we can’t repeat, but we’ve taken our writers out for dinner and drinks and stuff and just had a lot of fun with it.”