Michele DeVito’s Career Change to TV Nurtured Her Daughters’ Artisitic Ambitions

Saturday Night Live - Best of Chris FarleyMichele DeVito started her soap opera career because her daughter had a crush on Jack Wagner (General Hospital). Both of her daughters, grown now, have artistic leanings. And one has a dream job that keeps her busy on Saturday nights.Susan Dansby: At least one of your kids is in the industry.

Michele DeVito: Yes, my oldest daughter works for Saturday Night Live. About 17 or 18 years, she’s been there.

How she got into it is — I don’t even know if it was interning. I brought her in one day – just to see what it was like.  Because it was because of her that I got this job.

Susan Dansby:  She was the one that was in love with Jack Wagner?

Michele DeVito: She was the one with Jack Wagner. Amazing how everything works out.

Susan Dansby:  And is Janine’s last name DeVito? And what does she do on Saturday Night Live?

Michele DeVito: She’s the script supervisor/production manager.

Susan Dansby: Fantastic!

Michele DeVito:  She worked herself up through the ranks. In fact, here there was a nepotism rule. She did every aspect in the Business Affairs department. Then they saw what a good worker she was, too. She was temping, and there was a big joke about it. [They got around the nepotism, by letting her temp; but they couldn't hire her.] And they said, “Gee, Michele, do you still want to work here? For the company?” And I said, “Are you kidding? Sorry.”

Susan Dansby:  ’I was here, first!’

Michele DeVito:  But it’s not really what Janine wanted to do. She then got a job at NBC where, just one day a week, did she help out at SNL. And then they saw how she worked. My gosh, they hired her. And she worked her way up in that control room right next to the director.

Michele DeVito:  She does the work of  an AD [Associate Director]. She times the music. She breaks down the music for the musical guests. And she sits in the round table. She’s very close with the writers where they have their “read-through,” they call it.

And the cast is there. She has an amazing job. But it’s hard work. I even said to her, “Janine, what about me?” She says, “Mom, I love you too much to have you work at Saturday Night Live.” She said, “Mom, the pace.” I said, “Okay.”

But she also does freelance, she does concerts. She worked on the Macy’s [Thanksgiving Day] parade.

But it all happened through this little circle of this wonderful genre.

Susan Dansby:  Well, I think that it’s only appropriate that since she got you your job that your being there  facilitated her learning more about the industry, and led to her getting the opportunity to be at Saturday Night Live – because obviously she’s made her own luck in terms of her skills and talent.

Michele DeVito:  I’m really lucky, you know. And, Chris, my other daughter, loves to write music and plays guitar. But we all know, this is not an easy business.

Saying Goodbye to As the World Turns

Chris [Goutman] is the most incredible boss. I mean, he does a lot for himself. I have to say that he was really the easiest one – out of all my execs – to work for. It’s funny, without mentioning names, some demanded more. Some, I would get more stressed out over.

But, Chris? Oh my gosh. I’m trying to think how long he was at Another World. I don’t know exactly offhand. I don’t remember the years. But he had to be there about four years when I worked with him then, before it went off the air in ’99. I’ve been really so lucky.

Susan Dansby: So, I just have one last question for you, Michele. And that’s what is your big takeaway from your experience specifically on World Turns? And you know what? You don’t even have to be specific –your big takeaway in these 24 years in soaps?

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Michele DeVito:  I wish I learned more. I do wish I’d had more time that I could have left my desk. Because my responsibility is to be at my desk. Chris, my boss, might get a phone call, or I might have to set up a conference call or something like that.

I wish that I had more opportunity to go into the control room — to go down on set to see how the making of the show really comes together.

That’s what I wish I could’ve done more. That’s a regret. But as far as what I’m taking with me? The people. The people that I’ve met. It’s like a family. Just happiness. I’m going to miss that most of all.

About Susan Dansby

Susan Dansby has received four Emmy® Awards and two Writers Guild Awards for her work on the soap opera, AS THE WORLD TURNS. She is the author of HOW DID YOU GET THAT JOB? MY DREAM JOBS AND HOW THEY CAME TRUE.
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