Yesterday at the CBS studios in Manhattan, some of my fellow bloggers and I were able to sit down with GUIDING LIGHT star Kim Zimmer in a green room to talk about the show. As a fan, I have read numerous interviews with Zimmer over the years, sometimes with a controversial sound byte or two being used to "sell" the story.
My take on Zimmer is she is an interviewer's dream and a public relation person's nightmare. She tells it like it is and doesn't hold back.
When she arrived I mentioned that I had "met" her once before, six years ago sitting behind her and her family at a New York Giants football game. Zimmer is a diehard Jets fans but was at the Giants game that day because of her sons. I joked with her that we were jawing back and forth at the game as I am a lifelong Falcons fan myself. We quickly derailed the conversation for about five minutes talking about Brett Favre and who was going to play in the Super Bowl before making our way back to the subject at hand, GUIDING LIGHT.
The first topic of conversation was the show's new production model. Zimmer had spoken out previously about wanting to wear a mic in the outdoor scenes and that got spun into some type of mini-controversy, but she believes the audio on those scenes has improved over time. "It's still a problem for me but I think the sound has gotten a little bit better on the outdoor stuff. But I still think we have problems on the interiors."
With smaller sets being used these days, Zimmer explained how this has impacted her performance.
When we spoke to Grant Aleksander later, he had not yet taped his first scenes, but was looking forward to the change. Yes, he was comfortable with the old production model, but as an actor, felt the change was going to be good to shake things up and a challenge he was looking forward to taking on. Then it hit me. Yes, Kim Zimmer is one of the biggest stars in daytime and one of my favorites. And yes, she is one of more vocal actors in the press. But while her words get so much play at times, when you put it in perspective, it's one actor's opinion, not necessarily the "voice" of the entire GUIDING LIGHT community. I spent time with Marj Dusay, Ron Raines, Tina Sloan and others and they all had different takes on the new model and the state of the show.
I would also like to point that just about everything that Zimmer told us that could be blasted as a controversial headline was pretty much said in a humerous way or a very "Kim" way. It is very evident how much of a fan of GUIDING LIGHT she is. She's willing to stick her neck out and talk about some of the bad things because she really loves this show as much as the fans do. "I like being in Peapack better than I do at the studio," Zimmer told us, with the outdoor space and a faster commute to work. We then started talking about Reva and she told us the more story the better for her, but stressed that the writing has to be there for it to work. LISTEN
When the subject of Jeff Branson (GUIDING LIGHT's new Shayne) came up, Zimmer couldn't say enough good things about him and how he reminded her of her real-life son.
She then gave us an update on her son, Jake Weary (ex-Luke, AS THE WORLD TURNS), who started college this fall in California.
She later informed us that she told the writers she wouldn't play the Reva pregnancy storyline if they were going to kill another baby. She had a humerous take on Reva's current situation and the fact that her contract is up again in June.
When asked about the return of David Andrew Macdonald as Edmund, Zimmer explained what she expects from Reva's interactions with the character.
She told us she was "thrilled" about the return of Grant Aleksander as Phillip in early February but said, "I have this awful feeling that I'm not going to have anything to do with him." She then explained that she wanted to be a grandmother and credited the longevity of her marriage with living vicariously through the soap as only Zimmer can.
When asked about Josh and Cassie and that relationship, Zimmer told us that she felt bad for Nicole Forester as a new actress coming into that story because the fans rejected it so strongly. She wondered how it would have played out with Laura Wright in the role and then stressed that, as always, it's all about the writing.
Zimmer spoke about the state of the soap industry and joked that Susan Lucci could "afford" a pay cut. She believes that despite the state of the economy people are always going to be buying Procter & Gamble products and there should be more money available to GUIDING LIGHT to put the show on the air.
We then talked about her recent subscriber-only cover of Soap Opera Digest and how she found out while getting a facial. I took out my copy as she was talking and she later signed it "You'll Always Be My Giants Fan."
We then had a good laugh at the cover headline, "The Hardest Decision Of Her Life." I mean, come on, this [going through chemotherapy] was Reva's hardest decision? Ever?
She does feel the show can survive, "I have great faith this show can recreate itself enough to keep going. But they have to pay closer attention to the quality. If it is going to be smaller, it has to be quality. It has to be good."
She closed with us on a positive note, "I am optimistic and hopeful. And I love that you are honest in your blogs and have the opportunity to express how you really feel about the show. I hope they listen to you."