Dobson out, Pam Long may be in as Santa Barbara head writer

 By Linda Susman, Soap Opera Weekly, 1992

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Santa Barbara creators Bridget and Jerome Dobson are leaving their posts as head writers of the NBC soap but will remain as creative executive producers. John Miller, NBC executive vice president of daytime, says the decision was the Dobsons'. A new head writer was scheduled to be named before the New Year; reliable sources say it will be Pamela Long, the Emmy winning former head writer of Guiding Light.

"We had a year's contract, and we completed it," Bridget Dobson tells Soap Opera Weekly. "My attorney has told me not to say anything else at this point." She says their exit isn't a legal matter, "and I hope it doesn't turn into one."

The couple's return to the show last year followed a 2 ½ year legal battle with NBC and New World Productions, with whom the Dobsons co-own the show. The Dobsons had been ousted as executive producers and locked out of the studio over the issue of creative control when they sought to fire then head writer Anne Howard Bailey. Several months after they returned, executive producer John Conboy was replaced by former One Life to Live, executive producer Paul Rauch.

Bridget Dobson says she had and her husband are "still connected" to the show. "We are creative executive producers. I don't quite know the definition of that yet. When we were head writers, that went hand-in-hand. Now that they are separating, I imagine we will be making suggestions and comments on storylines and breakdowns. I also think we will be maintaining an office at the studio, but that hasn't been decided yet."