Totally agree with you about Meyer not fitting the 'hack' descrip, which is BS, but disagree rather strenuously about THE DAY AFTER. While it falls under the heading of 'nice try,' it was nowhere near as impressive as SPECIAL BULLETIN, a show NBC did around the same time that carried a helluva lot more impact.
I think THE DAY AFTER had to deal with a lot more censorship problems than just about any TV programming I can recall, and that's just based on reading the old CINEFEX article ... also I think it suffered from losing its original director, Robert Butler (TOS' THE CAGE, HILL ST BLUES pilot) when he had to bow out and work on REMINGTON STEELE.
Could also be that there were just too many good intentions, so the cast may have attracted more attention for starpower than performance (I remember being surprised and distracted by Lithgow and JoBeth Williams, with both of them very prominent from 1982 feature films, and thought the film would have worked better with less-recognizable character actors -- which is what SPECIAL BULLETIN did for the most part.)
The thing I remember most about THE DAY AFTER broadcast was that the network ran a 45min feature afterward (I think that was because they lost all their usual advertising after the bomb dropped, so they had a lot of dead time left over) with political types discussing nuclear war.
Pretty sure McNamera was there, not sure who else. But it was more upsetting than the movie for me, because its hard to compete with genuine political types when it comes to menace (that was a very frightening time -- I remember absolutely being convinced that civilization would not weather Reagan's occupancy of the big house, and in that sense was of the same mind as Meyer, that we could not possibly get out of the 20th century intact.)
Back on topic: has anybody brought up PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW as an example of GR's writing talent? Pretty sure that is his only feature credit. Also, it'd be interesting to see if his talked-up take on a sexed-up TARZAN (pre-BoDerek) ever actually got written up, or if it was just vaporware.