Sudser pair reach their ‘Starting’ point

Taggart-Ratcliffe tapped exec producer

Syndie skein “Starting Over” is snagging some sudser muscle as it starts its soph season.

Scribe-thesp Millee Taggart-Ratcliffe (“One Life to Live”) has been tapped exec producer of the hourlong reality strip from NBC Universal Domestic Television and Bunim-Murray Prods. In addition, Taggart-Ratcliffe has recruited sudser colleague Francesca James (“All My Children”) to serve as consulting producer.

Co-exec producer Jim Johnston and supervising producers Linda Midgett and Joan O’Connor all will be back for season two of the skein, which puts a group of women-on-the-verge together in a house and tries to help them work through their respective issues.

Bunim-Murray’s Jonathan Murray said because of their soap backgrounds, Taggart-Ratcliffe and James have “an excellent sense of what women want to see in daytime.”

Taggart-Ratcliffe joined “Starting Over” in the middle of its first Chi-based season, recruited by late exec producer Mary-Ellis Bunim.

“I flew to Chicago thinking I’d only be there a few months, but I got addicted,” Taggart-Ratcliffe said.

Taggart-Ratcliffe worked to inject “Starting Over” with some hallmarks of daytime storytelling, a process that will continue in season two.

“A story’s a story, whether it’s real or not,” she said. Sudser queen Agnes Nixon’s three cardinal rules of soaps still apply, Taggart-Ratcliffe said: “Make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait.”

James was added to the production staff this season in part because of her skills as a soap helmer, Taggart-Ratcliffe said. “I want to make sure we get the stories we’re trying to tell on camera,” she said.

Soph season of “Starting Over” began lensing earlier this month, with the show shifting production from Chi to Hollywood. Changes in the works include a revamped theme as well as more sophisticated props.

“We’re trying to move on from the Post-It notes we used last season,” Taggart-Ratcliffe quipped.

Producers also plan some twists on last season’s life coaches.

New episodes will begin airing Sept. 13, with an hourlong update special slated right after NBC’s broadcast of the Olympics concludes.

Taggart-Ratcliffe’s sudser career began on-camera on “The Edge of Night”; she also appeared on “One Life to Live” and “Search for Tomorrow.” Latter skein gave her the chance to switch to writing, and she went on to serve as head writer for five different sudsers, including “As the World Turns” and “All My Children.”

James and Taggart-Ratcliffe were co-stars on “One Life”; former thesp went on to roles as producer and helmer on several sudsers, including “Loving,” where she worked with Bunim.

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