Hear Full (19 minutes) Interview: Michele DeVito with Susan DansbyMichele DeVito had worked for six years as a legal secretary before the career change that led her to the world of soap operas as the Assistant to the Executive Producer on the daytime drama,
Another World. Looking back (after 24 years in daytime) she remembers, it wasn’t an easy transition.
Michele DeVito: I had no idea of the hours, because I worked 10 to 3 [at the law office]. But when I got here? Forget it. The hours in this were rough. And we ran into that Labor Day weekend — we had a party planned for the entire family. At my house! And they said I had to work Labor Day.
And I said, “What?” They said, “Oh yeah, we tape 52 weeks.” And I had to cancel the party. It was terrible.
It was a genre that I didn’t know. I didn’t even know what the control room was. When they would say, “Go down to the booth,” I didn’t know what they meant. [The control room is the technical hub from which the directors, producers and various crew members “run” the show. It’s also referred to as “the booth.”]
A week after I worked there, I was so overwhelmed, that I went in to him, and I literally quit my job. I went in to John Whitesell [the Executive Producer], and I said, “I can’t do this. This is a bit much for me.”
And he said to me, “Sit down. You’re not leaving. I have more confidence in you than you have in yourself.”
Susan Dansby: Oh my gosh, what a wonderful thing to say.
Michele DeVito: Can you imagine? Now, I have survived seven executive producers. Chris Goutman is my seventh. And it’s just history after that. I just fell in love with this job.
You learn. You learn everything. I thought I was going to go into a stroke when they brought in the computers because I said, “Oh my God, I don’t even know what a computer is.” What I had to learn was on the job. And everybody was so wonderful. It was amazing.
And then Another World closed in 1999. And I said, “Oh no.” Chris Goutman was my last executive producer at that time, because I had gone through six.
Susan Dansby: Okay, so all of those executive producers were on Another World. How many years was this?
Michele DeVito: Well, I started in 1986. And ironically, this August was my 24th year. I wanted to make 25. But that’s not going to happen.
Sadly, As the World Turns would be the last of the Procter & Gamble soap operas. the last air day for the show was September 17, 2010.