As we know, David Paulsen was brought in to take over DYNASTY in 1988 when the show was basically dead-in-the-water and one suspected (as I did) that they were bringing in a new producer to take the blame for the series' imminent cancellation. The show was moved to the same dead-end timeslot which had killed the spin-off series, THE COLBYS, and was now seemingly intended to kill the parent series which had been sliding badly even in its cushy Wednesday night spot for several years... Paulsen came in as show-runner for Season 9, and even though too few people saw it, it was arguably the best year since Season 2 in terms of tone, characterizations and narrative. But wily Esther Shapiro had actually gone after Paulsen three years earlier (even though she would later claim that "the show was taken away from us" in Season 9, supporting my suspicion that they wanted a public fall guy once the axe finally dropped). Paulsen had been largely responsible for the best post-'WhoShotJR?' seasons of DALLAS (to his credit, Leonard Katzman, the DALLAS show-runner, seemed to recognize Paulsen's talent) and had an excellent sense of seasonal structure. When Patrick Duffy left DALLAS and Bobby "died" in 1985, Katzman also left DALLAS and the brass at Lorimar refused to give Paulsen the position vacated by Katzman. (A huge mistake). Now a free agent, Paulsen would only agree to taking over DYNASTY in 1985, at the height of that series and its Moldavian Massacre cliffhanger, if he could be given total creative control... It was a reasonable demand, given that Paulsen probably wanted to avoid what Camille Marchetta had just faced as a mere writer-producer in Season 5 as she saw her attempts at any narrative logic sabotaged by the Pollocks, DYNASTY's show-runners (and the pals of the Shapiros) who seemed to feel sudden character and plot shifts were the key to keeping the program exciting -- even if those shifts often felt silly and didn't make much sense. Just as reasonably, the Shapiros and Aaron Spelling seemed to feel that since DYNASTY was still #1 in 1985, they couldn't or shouldn't trust an outsider with total carte blanche control over their series... But should they have anyway? Instead, Paulsen went over to KNOTS LANDING, created and produced by his childhood chum David Jacobs, who gave him Supervising Producer status (as that position was being vacated by Peter Dunne, who was headed to DALLAS to take the show-runner role Paulsen had been denied). Meanwhile, the Pollocks continued running DYNASTY in its post-massacre era, with writers like Diana Gould brought in, and sothe show began its long, painful slide for the next three years. Paulsen wasn't happy on KNOTS LANDING, as there was a political situation there (other writers who resented his outsider presence and/or his "male chauvinistic" DALLAS acumen) while Peter Dunne, now running DALLAS, tried to give that show a quasi-feministic make-over, blending DYNASTY's glamour with KNOTS' sense of intimacy, but it didn't work at all. Paulsen and Dunne left their respective positions within a year. Paulsen went back to DALLAS (along with Katzman and Duffy) in 1986 and Dunne was fired... Both shows' creative tone for that years is a source of debate -- Paulsen's year in KNOTS indeed seemed a little "off" but Dunne's year on DALLAS became a muddled, sudsy disaster (although it started out with promise, as if it might be a rawer, edgier, more experimental DALLAS). And, to be fair, the 1985-86 season was a drab, beige, cluttered year for all four of the '80s wealth-based nighttime soaps. KNOTS probably worked best amongst all of them, but it was usually the strongest on character anyway. While I'm really glad Paulsen went back to DALLAS for two more years (from 1986 thru 1988) and I'd hate to have missed Season 10 (per DVD count, and Victoria Principals' final year) as it was one of that series' greatest periods, what would DYNASTY have been like had Paulsen come in to Season 6 or DYNASTY with the total creative control he'd requested? Paulsen apparently wanted to leave DALLAS by 1988 (perhaps because Arthur Bernard Lewis had returned in 1987, a writer with seniority over Paulsen, or perhaps because DALLAS had decided to go "lighter" -- Larry Hagman even said in the press that Paulsen "didn't have a sense of humor" when he left, suggesting that Paulsen may have realized the destructively facetious direction in which DALLAS was now headed for its closing years). And because DYNASTY had been collapsing in a rather high profile way, Shapiro and Spelling were now willing to give Paulsen the total creative control necessary to sign him up in 1988. So he became the show-runner for Season 9, later said Spelling "was as good as his word" about permitting Paulsen that total control, the TVGUIDE in 1989 credited DYNASTY with have the Best Soap Plotline (for the Roger Grimes mystery) for the year, and Paulsen remained good friends with the Shapiros presumably to the present. But what if Spelling and the Shapiros had understood what some of us already did about DYNASTY in 1985 (David Jacobs observed in the press in early '85 that DYNASTY needed "to concentrate more on story" if it was going to survive) and went ahead and gave full control of DYNASTY over to Paulsen from Season 6 onward? At the very least, when FALCON CREST's show runner for its first three seasons, Robert McCullough (and the man who essentially made that show a hit) was fired over studio politics in 1984 when FC as at its ratings peak, and Aaron Spelling immediately made him a producer of his HOLLYWOOD WIVES mini-series, why not then bring him over to keep DYNASTY afloat? I think Paulsen's better, but McCullough was pretty darned good, too.