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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Blog Entry Fourteen Months in the Making

If you've been spying on a few soap message boards in the last couple of days (or my Facebook/MySpace pages), you might have heard rumors of my return to daytime.

In fact - I am.

I have accepted an offer for a trial deal on The Young and the Restless. Next week, I'm flying out to Los Angeles to reunite with some old friends, and meet some new ones - including my new head writer, who I'm thrilled to meet and work with.

To be honest, I pretty much said goodbye to daytime at the end of 2008. I was working steadily on my own projects, making some headway networking with other career paths, and was generally resolved to start 2009 with a new lease on life. I never thought I'd ever receive a phone call again from a daytime show, and even went as far as to say goodbye to my agent of the last eight years with a heartfelt farewell in early December when I decided it was time to start over with something else. New year, new dreams, new goals, etc.

And then this came out of nowhere.

Readers of my blog will know that I spent a brief nine weeks at Y&R back in 2006. I said in an interview with SON a few years later that it wasn't a very good fit - and back then, it wasn't. I loved getting to know the writers on that show, but overall, it wasn't working and I could feel that at the time. I didn't understand the vision for the show back then, and it was incredibly frustrating and left me really disappointed in myself and my abilities that I just couldn't get on the same page as the people in charge of the show at that time.

But at the end of the day, it was an incredibly respectful parting of ways, I got to know people I've idolized my whole life, and I had a tremendous fifteen months at Days after that, so I don't regret it at all.

Now, I'm heading back, to work with many of the same breakdown and script writers I worked with back in '06, but under new leadership. I'm incredibly excited and unbelievably nervous, but I can tell you that I plan on devoting my ALL to this show. I love what Maria Arena Bell has been doing this last year, and I've been incredibly invested in the show for a long time now. After talking to the different members of the team I worked with, just knowing I have their support as well, on top of Maria and Hogan and Scott's support, means everything to me. I never want to get a job on my friendships alone, so knowing many of them believe in me as a writer is truly amazing. I can't wait to dive right in.

However, it is a trial deal. That means they have the option not to pick me up after the first few episodes. This is standard in the business, and it just means I work all that much harder to knock their socks off.

It's been a long fourteen months, but I've spent much of that time trying to listen to you guys, take in what everybody loves about their soaps, and what they feel is missing. Hopefully, I can put all of that to good use.

Please understand that my job is to take the head writer's vision (not mine), and assist in bringing it to life. And I plan on doing my damndest to live up to Y&R's history, its characters, and Bill Bell's legacy. I won't have any say in the future storylines of the show, but I will do everything in my power to deliver the kinds of scenes in my episodes that Y&R fans love - those deep, soulful, character-driven moments that make Y&R so unique.

So what does this mean for my blog? That's a damn good question.

Obviously, breakdown writing is a full-time job, and I plan on devoting most of myself to knocking this trial out of the park. So I won't be blogging three or four days a week like I've been doing. But this whole "blogging" thing was uncharted territory in daytime not that long ago. And I don't know the rules because there's never really been any rules. We're all in this together, just trying to figure this out as we go along. I've always been very upfront about the blog, and was writing it for most of 2007 when I was writing for Days. I never gave away story spoilers, I never talked about behind-the-scenes goings-on... although occasionally, I'd suggest tuning in on a certain day because I thought it was a particularly strong episode. But I would never reveal anything I shouldn't.

If people are at all interested, I'll probably touch base once a month or so, let you know how things are going - what it's like to get back into the heads of these characters again. How I find the inspiration for the scenes I'm writing. That kind of stuff. I'm really moved by what Shonda Rhimes writes on her blog, or Jon Robin Baitz and Joss Whedon, for that matter. I'm nowhere NEAR the talent they are, but if folks are still interested, I'm happy to continue along that path.

But for now, you'll probably hear from me less. And if at any point, the Bells ask me to discontinue posting how my crazy little brain works, I'll be happy to do so, and I hope my readers will understand and respect that.

Whatever happens next, if it's meant to be? It's meant to be. And if not? So be it.

What a long, strange trip it's been... and now, a whole new adventure is starting. I hope you'll all share the ride with me.


DrewH said...


Scott N said...

Congrats, Tom, and best of luck being part of the Y&R team!

bl said...

Tom good luck with the trial run at Y&R. I hope it works out for you.

zarathelawyer said...

Congratulations! That's such great news.

I'm enjoying Y&R right now and look forward to your contribution.

Damon L. Jacobs said...

Tom, I'm just so proud of you! Doesn't the Universe have a wicked sense of humor? As soon as you completely made peace with not getting what you want, you got what you wanted. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me as well.

Again, congrats. I've never been a huge Y&R fan, but you can bet I'll watch now.

RIKKIE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RIKKIE said...

Yea! I am so happy to hear that Tom. That is wonderful news! Best of luck to you and yes, if it is meant to be? It will be.

I know you will knock it out of the park though. {wink}


RIKKIE said...

Let us know when your shows air if you can. I will have to tune in.


PhyllisShnell17 said...

Congrats, Tom. I don't watch Y & R but I wish you all the best.

Honestly I wish you were coming over to AMC to help get it back to what Agnes Nixon created. (Did I say that out loud?!?)

SimplySusan said...

OMG this is fantastic! Hooray for you - congrats!! And Y&R, of all shows. Way to go. I'm sad that you won't be blogging as much but at least you'll have a good reason why. ;) I really hope everything works out for you there. Good luck!

Leiha said...

I've never posted before but have enjoyed your blogs this past year and just wanted to jump in and say Congratulations! Thank you for taking the time to share so much of yourself and your insight. I'm so happy for you!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I'm very pleased for you! This might be enough to lure me back to Y&R. Instead of reading your blogs, I guess I'll have to watch the show. I know you'll do an excellent job and I look forward to seeing your episodes. Now, if you could just get Racina back, I'd be a totally happy camper./syd

MsT said...

Congrats BB!

Here's to hoping it's just the beginning.


Aviad said...

Great news. And as we say here in Israel: Mazal Tov!


John said...

Congrats, Tom, and best of luck. It's obvious from reading your writing this past year that you have a lot of talent to offer.

Corey said...

YEAH TOM!! Y&R has and always will be "my" show in the sense that it has my most beloved characters, stories, pacing and production qualities. My fave soap of all time is "Ryan's Hope" but that's a different time and a different subject.

This is about you and congratulations on this wonderful opportunity to get your feet wet back in the daytime industry you were meant to be in. You have been working so hard for so long at this, you deserve the chance to shine. Show them what you can do. If you can move me like you did at John's funeral on DOOL, then you can provide some memorable moments on Y&R just the same. You will get to know these characters and learn to love them as, obviously, millions of people do being it's the number one show for ten million years.

I will be so excited to look for your name in the credits because I do scrutinize who writes every single episode of the show and if it's a particularly great one, I remember who wrote it and get excited for their next script. My disappointment was so deep when they let Thom Racine go after he wrote some of the first few amazing comeback eps of the show this past summer and then he was gone. I still do not understand. You, though, are young, eager to learn the show and I know from reading your blog you will make a fabulous addition to their writing team. You can only make the show better which would just thrill the fans even more then the greatness we are getting now.

Good luck with the trial run and I know that fate has put you on this path for a good reason. You were born to write and destiny will not let a talent like yourself get away. If you cannot post for awhile, so what? We would rather see excellence on the screens then excellent criticism and behind the scenes stories on an internet blog, Keep us posted when you can but so not ever compromise your new position to satisfy some fans thirst for dirt. I feel the internet has been a huge part of the down fall of soap opera as well as it's savior and champion but that is a subject for my own post somewhere. Once again, good luck and enjoy the beautiful LA weather and soak up the CBS sound stage and everything going on there. Your fans (an you have them) are very proud indeed, especially biased ones like myself who want Y&R to knock it out of the park and show all these other soaps (GH "cough" GH) how to really write a true, emotional, poignant soap opera.

Frederick Smith said...

Congratulations! I know you will be a success!

Anonymous said...

The Y&R board at is thrilled on your behalf!

Rock on, Tom!

Superposter said...

Let me add my voice to the chorus on "congrats!!"


Tess Mallory said...

Tommy C!!!! CONGRATULATIONS! I am so, so happy for you! You deserve it, and so much more! You have a better handle on soaps than anyone I've ever known. I can't wait to see what you do on Y & R ! :)))

Tess Mallory said...

Oops forgot to say -- PLEASE do keep blogging when you can! Would love to hear how you get inspired, develop your scenes, etc., if the Bells don't mind! Thanks for all of your amazing blogs on the subject of writing soaps. They've been wonderful.

Joe said...

Congrats on the new job. I hope you still can find some time or that "I Wanna Be A Soap Writer" experiment. Maybe Y&R will let you do it? haha

Anonymous said...

Good for you!!!! I hope this won't diminish your ability to blog.

Anonymous said...

I am extremely happy that someone as passionate about daytime, like yourself, will have a huge part in Y&R!!!

Emily said...

Well, I'd already been watching Y and R when I was home on a weekday.. .now I'll have more incentive. I look forward to hearing your words on television again.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Good Luck!!
I listened to the podcast you did in the fall with LANE fans and that was really cool, interesting and informative. I'm a big fan of the show and can't wait to see what happens. Can you tell us when one of your episodes is going to air?

Jen said...

Congrats Tommy C! And you'll be working on the only show I watch! WOOT!! I'm looking forward to seeing what you can bring to the canvas of Y&R!!

Anonymous said...

Tommy C, remember every trial is a test of faith, every triumph a gift of God's grace. Your test being let go from Days) has opened the door for you you to bigger and better things. You've help shake up the soap world with your blog and use of the internet. Peace and blessings to you!!

Anonymous said...

What a great time to be making a move to Y&R! I don't watch the show, but I keep hearing fabulous things about the current storylines and the writing. I have tremendous confidence you will be a valuable contributor. Best of luck! smooches.


We Love Soaps said...

Congratulations, Tom. You not only are a great guy and writer who deserves the chance, you love the genre as a fan and that always shows in the writing. Best of luck to you.

Kentology said...

I love that you love what you love so much. With that kind of awareness and attitude, there's no way you cannot succeed - which, in a roundabout way, is my way of saying I think you'll be HUGE at Y&R.
I respect your commitment and look forward to your contribution to my favourite show.

Destineysmine24 said...

Tom you deserve nothing but the very best and it was about time you got your wish; you will definitely knock it out of the park baby:)

We'll have to stay connected since I do the previews for this show, hun:)

Love you much


loveyourpet said...

Hi Tom! I see your name come up a lot when people Google me. My name is Julie Casiello. Any chance we might be related? That would be so cool. I didn't know how to communicate with you! I found you on this blog. Can you write to me? I'm at or on Facebook. Please write! Congrats on the daytime soap return! Good writing runs in the family...I'm pretty articulate on paper as well. Hope to hear from you!!


Anonymous said...

Och....I miss your reports...

Here's all I wanna know, and you've got to find a way to communicate it.

I think I understand what Arena Bell, Sheffer and Hamner do.

I think I understand what the BDW and SW functions do.

I do NOT have a clue what that peculiar triad of Natalie Minardi Slater, Beth Milstein and Marla Kanelos does. They can't all be script editors or coordinators can they? And, if they are, how does it work.

There has got to be some way we can get assistance in better understanding the singular writing structure of your show.

Your "students" are still out here, wondering

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