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Dec 31 2008, 01:15 AM
Dec 31 2008, 01:01 AM
Here is the quote from her July 2nd blog: "And now I'm getting ready to go back to NYC to do the Today show with Renee and Jim and talk about the autism storyline. I want everyone to know that NBC came to me with this story idea (props to Rebecca McGill and Bruce). This wasn't my initial idea. I would never presume to foist my own agenda on the public. But with a nurturing environment, our writers are going to go to town to write a pretty powerful story. And Renee and Jim are beyond great and ready to commit body and soul to this story. How fabulous is that?"
I remember this quote. But I never took this as Higley being forced to write the autism storyline. I know the execs can be cruel, but if they thought for one moment that this storyline was pushing too close to home for Higley, they would have axed the idea. They would've had to take her personal life into effect. I believe that NBC approached her about the idea to have one of the children of Salem be diagnosed with autism, and Higley accepted the idea. I think that the stuff we saw in the fall, when the story actually seemed to be about Theo's autism, was supposed to be what was written in the beginning. However, it was around this time that Scott and Higley seemed to start butting heads and storylines were being thrown in every random way. The autism storyline probably didn't get the attention it should've gotten, and did get later on in the year.

But in no way do I think NBC forced Higley to write this story and that she was uncomfortable to write it.
Perhaps "forced" is the wrong word on my part.

I think the point is it wasn't her idea. However, I must disagree on NBC taking into account her personal feelings. They could care less. Network execs only care about the bottom line. Their decisions suggest that. They saw a chance at publicity and saw other shows/networks promoting autism too so they jumped on the bandwagon, much like they did the Green Movement. Same goes for Days. It was publicity. We';re talking about the same people that forced Hogan Sheffer to drag out stories and not use vets for 3-4 months. What they want, they want and Higley wanted her job so she went with it. She knows her job options will suck if she is axed so she will do what they want.

I do think your right on about the poor timing of the start of it. It started around the time Higley and Scott seemed to but heads and the Fall seems entirely different. I do think it was played out the way it was intended then.

I also have to agree with hops' comment. Up until the past three months, the show lacked direction and was all over the place. It's improved immensely on that note. However, I can't give the credit to Higley. I think Tomlin and Whitesell and the additions to the writing team helped and I actually feel like she has barely any say in what happens now outside of things here and there. Tomlin is getting everything he wants. Directors he wants, writers he wants,influencing casting...I think at some point, possibly soon, he will get his boy Chris Whitesell in the HW's chair for sure.
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