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Saturday, December 6, 2008

To Jeffrey Immelt

Greetings Mr. Jeffrey Immelt,

In order for a company to succeed, it has to provide a product or service the public finds valuable. In addition, a company that ignores their customers’ needs will rapidly find that they don't have customers. Mr. Immelt, you know all this. You weren't just handed the CEO position of one of the world largest corporations, you earned it.

You know what it's like to be creative enough to make something out of nothing. Unfortunately, there are those do the reverse; they make nothing out of something. This is what Ken Corday and Dena Higley are doing to Days of Our Lives. To some people it's just a soap, but to many it is a connection to our mothers and grandmothers as well as a little port in the stormy sea of life. These two have nearly destroyed a very successful and prosperous business. Ratings and thus revenues are down solely due to their mismanagement and incompetence. The fans are leaving due to the bad writing and the recent firings. There does need to be drastic changes made in the staff. In business, you fire the people who aren’t getting the job done, not the ones who go above and beyond.

Mr. Immelt, you have the power to change this and save an icon. GE owns NBC. NBC holds Corday’s leash. A phone call from you could make the needed changes But why would you? After all it’s just a soap. A 43 year run is great, but all good things must come to an end. All true. It’s also true that Days has an extremely loyal fan base. They had remained devoted until now, when there is no longer a reason to be.

Daytime soaps are failing not because lack of interest but due to exclusiveness of the business. It seems the industry has become so inbred and arrogant that they believe no one outside their clique could possible write for soaps. When a writer is fired from one show for incompetence, she or he just moves onto the next until eventually she or he completes the circuit and is hired back by the original show. Soaps are failing because the fans are tired of the same old storylines. Higley has been fired for the same reason by every soap she has worked for, including Days. Yet, here she is again, writing the same old stuff. The industry hasn‘t run its course, it’s merely stagnant.

In April, I started writing alternative storylines for Days and posting on the NBC boards. It was in protest to the bad writing and was only meant to be short term. I had my own writing projects to work on that didn’t leave much extra time for an off-the-cuff project. However, so many people like what I wrote that the project took on life of its own My script had more favorable comments than what was being shown on the screen and many suggested I contact executive producers. I did, but wasn’t even given basic common courtesy. They only wanted to know how I got Gary Tomlin’s private office number; I’m a writer--a real one, which means I know how to do research. When a head writer does their job right, they spend their career making the show, the executive producers and the actors look good, while quietly standing in the background. The only time anyone outside the industry wants to know their name is when they really screw up.

According to your bio, you not only encourage change, but you are willing take risks in order to make it happen. If the doors were opened to new writers with fresh voices, this would revitalize the genre, once again making them an asset to the network. You are also known for being able to see new opportunities even in the darkest of challenges. If this be true, I challenge you to create change not only for Days, but for me as well. I want the head writing gig. I can’t guarantee to make it number one. I can’t even promise to save it; however, I would like the opportunity to do my best to do both. What I written is at along with some of the comments from the NBC fan board and articles I wrote about soaps.

Mr. Immelt, please call whoever you need to in order to make this changes happen.

Theresa Chaze

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