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After graduation, she went to New York City and played Ashley Linden on Texas from 1981 to 1982. She had almost no acting experience when she landed the part: one small paying role in a dinner theatre production of Play It Again, some television commercials and an appearance on local television in Alabama were her only previous jobs.
In 1982, Long also became Head Writer of Texas. The show began to improve in quality, but the ratings in the United States remained in the basement. The show was more popular North of the US border. In Canada, Texas topped the daytime ratings charts for many weeks. The last episode of Texas aired on December 31, 1982.
Both of her stints were well regarded and provided a renaissance for the aging show, at one point pushing the show's ratings to the #1 spot for three weeks in the summer of 1984, dethroning then-powerhouse General Hospital from the top ratings spot. Long created some of GL's most memorable characters, like vixen Reva Shayne, haughty ice queen Alexandra Spaulding, and rough-around-the-edges ingenue Harley Davidson Cooper.
NANCY M. REICHARDT of Los Angeles Times: "I intend to bring a reality to my storytelling on 'SFT,' which is a result of my own personal growth. I'm not interested in wild, outlandish, fantasy-type stories. People and their relationships are more fascinating to me." Some of the story lines she will be developing over the next few months, along with that of the McCleary brothers, will include a torrid love triangle between Patti (Jacqueline Schultz), Liza (Louan Gideon) and Hogan; there will be a hot new love story between Quinn and Evie (who is now played by Joanna Going) which Long hopes "will rival the love story of Bo and Hope Brady (Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso) on 'Days of Our Lives."'
|Head Writer of Texas|
|Head Writer of Guiding Light (GL)|
Jeff Ryder 
|Head Writer of Search for Tomorrow|
Joseph D. Manetta 
|Head Writer of GL|
James E. Reilly
Bridget and Jerome Dobson
|Head Writer of Santa Barbara|
|Head Writer of One Life to Live|
(Jill Farren Phelps-de facto)
|Awards and achievements|