In a surprising shakeup, Jean Passanante will leave her post as All My Children head writer later this summer and join the Emmy award winning writing team of As The World Turns.
The announcement was made today in New York by Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin, Executive-in-charge of Production for Procter & Gamble Productions and As the World Turns' executive producer Christopher Goutman. Procter & Gamble, the company which pioneered daytime dramas, owns and produces As The World Turns as well as Guiding Light.
Passanante has served as All My Children's head writer since October 2000. For several months prior to that time, she was co-head writer with AMC creator Agnes Nixon. During her brief tenure with AMC, Passanante received the 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. Passanante's prior daytime experience was as Director of Writer Development for ABC Daytime Television.
"Jean is a highly prized talent whose contributions to our show will help strengthen what is already a very solid team, as demonstrated by the show's recent Emmy win for writing," said Dwyer-Dobbin upon making the announcement. Added Goutman, "Having worked with Jean at Another World [where Goutman was Executive Producer], I know her to be an imaginative and skilled writer, with a highly developed sense of plot, structure and character."
Prior to her work in television, Passanante spent fifteen years as a theater administrator, dramaturge, and producer. She served both as Artistic Director of the New Dramatists, a playwrights' 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. A former actress, Passanante appeared in The Return of the Secaucus Seven and Lianna, two films written and directed by John Sayles.
At As The World Turns, Passanante will serve as co-head writer alonside Carolyn Culliton and head writer Hogan Sheffer, both of whom were honored with Emmys this year. Passanante's first date with ATWT is Monday, July 16th.
It is assumed at this point that Passanante's move from Pine Valley to Oakdale is of her own accord. However, All My Children's ratings have sagged to record lows while she's served as the show's top scribe. Either way, there will apparently be an opening at the top of AMC's writing department. According to rumors that have been circulating for several weeks, the Port Charles writing team of Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown will make the move to co-head writers of All My Children. According to the unconfirmed reports, Port Charles will be canceled at the conclusion of its next three-month story arc. ABC declined to report on this report. Also possible is that All My Children will turn to another outlet for its new head writing or promote someone already in the ranks of the AMC writers. And finally, it is also possible that Agnes Nixon could return to head writer, should she want to step down from her position within ABC Daytime.