Fans of daytime would kill to find themselves in Ron Carlivati’s position. It is his right as One Life to Live’s head writer to act as the supreme puppet master and dictate the twists and turns each resident of Llanview’s life will take. Carlivati, a tall, lean, handsome man whose brown eyes light up each time he conspires with one of his associates and adds yet another layer to one of his fictional friends, relates to viewers’ interest in his profession because it was not so long ago that he found himself pounding the pavement in search of employment in the very world he now reigns over.
As a teen, this young man grew up watching soap operas after school with his sister who is four years his senior. Almost daily, the siblings would return home from their day of knowledge to catch the last ten minutes of One Life to Live and the complete hour of General Hospital. It was when Carlivati ventured off to college that he developed in to a full-fledged Llanview junkie. Not long after graduation, he entered George Washington University as a law student and earned his degree in 1993.
“I worked in the law field for about a year,” he reveals. He does not hesitate to inform Soapdom that it turned out to be the longest year of his life given how in such a short time he had become “very bored” with the daily routine. Like many before him, Carlivati took a chance and left the courtroom along with the comfortable life he had created for himself in Washington D.C. to go after what he had known he wanted to do for years: “My goal was to break in to soaps with the ultimate being to work at One Life to Live- the show that I’d grown to love.”
Now that he is secure in his position, it is interesting to observe Carlivati take in the full magnitude of his duties as his eyes briefly stop on each head shot of the soap’s major players tacked to the writers’ office walls. “The entire ride has been fantastic and I’m thrilled to be where I am,” says the writer, pausing to add, “But it is also a little scary because this is a big responsibility having the entire show and its 30 some odd characters in your hands.”
Carlivati’s own story with OLTL began in 1996 when he landed the job of Writers’ Assistant thanks to some hard work, a giving mentor and a stroke of luck. Upon his arrival, Carlivati knew absolutely no one of prominence in New York and thus decided to start to write on his own. “I honestly didn’t even know what the format was (for soap operas),” he smiles, “but I wanted to have an example of a scene ready in addition to an original long(er) story if I ever got to the point where the door opened slightly and allowed me an interview.”
Before our own conversation moves ahead any further, it must be noted that it is easy to see why OLTL’s cast has so easily taken to Carlivati in his latest role. Through the years, he’s slowly become a coveted member of the show’s family thanks to his laid back personality, jovial banter, biting humor, and, of course, a diligent work ethic that allowed him to quietly climb the ranks from Writers’ Assistant to script and breakdown writer, then associate head writer and eventually co-head writer. Frankly, his knowledge of the serial’s history is unmatched as is his spirited laugh which can be heard down the halls of OLTL’s executive corridors.
This may explain why at this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles Kassie DePaiva (Blair) and Robin Strasser (Dorian) insisted on introducing their new scribe to the television public during E’s pre-show. “It was very sweet that they wanted to introduce me but I did not want to be on camera,” he grimaces. “Maybe I’d be a little better at it now after having done some interviews – although almost all of them have been by phone – and I would look less like a deer in the headlights.”
So how did Carlivati go from looking for a “foot in the door” to hunted, yet so stylish, interviewee?
Ironically, it was in thanks in part to another daytime icon: Emmy-Winning writer Claire Labine (Ryan’s Hope, General Hospital, One Life to Live).
As Carlivati explains: “She was incredible! I only knew Claire because her son went to college with one of my friends, so technically, we had never met face-to-face but she allowed me to telephone her and offered me tons of advice. She even helped to get me the interview once I learned about the opening (at OLTL) and as fate would have it a few months later I’m the Writers’ Assistant and One Life to Live decides to hire Claire as Head Writer.”
“Even though I was still in the position that I was in, she would allow me to do continuity, cuts, and if the show happened to be short, suggest something that the writers could expand on,” he continues.
Now that he is living out his dream there isn’t much for the man to frown about and this happy-go-lucky attitude has been picked up in previous interviews, so much so that Carlivati’s own mother questioned why he is always described as laughing so much. “What can I say?” he smiles. “Once you write this up, you have to put down that I was nothing but somber throughout. Sour and somber.”
It’s a total lie of course.
Carlivati generously offered Soapdom readers a sneak peek at what’s coming up for some of your One Life to Live favorites during November Sweeps:
- The reading of Asa’s will brings everyone and anyone to Texas, which, by coincidences that only happen in the soap opera world is not far from the café where Viki is working and assuming a double life. So look for a collision there!”
- However, there will be one noticeable absentee: Bo. “He makes the decision that he wants to stay with Lindsay because the last time (he left her) she had a breakdown, and so, he feels this is not the best time to go. Plus, he still hasn’t gotten over those issues he had with his father prior to Asa’s passing,” sums up Carlivati. “Watch for David and Alex to shock everyone with their news… in addition to a few more surprises Asa included in his will prior to his death!”
- “Look for Dorian to take drastic measures to make sure that Clint is hers and hers alone and to work on keeping Nora out of the picture.”
- “Fans will begin to understand Jared’s obsession with the Buchanans a little more and you just may see he and Natalie acknowledging their feelings they’ve buried down deep inside for one another.”
- “Cristian is left with the wrong idea what with Sarah having invited Jared down to Texas, but once she comes back, a romance between Cristian and her will have a chance to develop more.”
- “Blair and Todd will have to deal with a lot of romantic and sexual tension because they are on the road together, staying in motel rooms together, etc. Blair has been such a support to Todd during the search for Tommy. It might just be naturally for them to finally come together.”
- “The hunt for Marcie definitely reaches a climax but it doesn’t mean there aren’t more climaxes to come,” teases Carlivati. “This story is not finished just yet.”
All we can say is – Stay tuned!
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