Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DISGRACE: Where Is GUIDING Light's Finale Cover?

This is a post I did not want to write. I was really hoping against hope that Soap Opera Digest would not let me (and the entire soap opera community) down and give GUIDING LIGHT the cover for their final week. For anyone who isn't aware, GUIDING LIGHT is the longest running drama in broadcast history. It's an institution. There will never, ever be another show that runs this long or produces this many episodes. The fact that it is going off the air is tragic - a fact that everyone seems to know except the people who produce the leading soap opera print publication.

"Baby Switch Exposed!" is this week's big headline. Really Digest? Really? You can not be serious. As much as I am looking foward to that story on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, it isn't even a blip on the radar of soap opera history and never will be. Why is a baby in the center of this cover instead of Reva Shayne? Bert Bauer? Roger Thorpe? Anyone from GL? In the upper right side of the cover, we get a "Our Fond Farewell to GUIDING LIGHT" tease. I don't think a 50-page tribute inside the magazine, which there isn't by the way, would come close to making up for this royal snub. And to look at the cover, the GL farewell is no more important than "Co-Star Crushes Revealed!" Seriously?

Those who know me know I don't just rant about anything. And I have a high tolerance for bad writing, shakey cams and unfortunate acting choices. But I just can't tolerate disrespect and that is what this is.

None of us should be surprised. The soap print press is struggling and Digest in particular falsely believes that there is a set of 10 to 20 actors who must be on the cover or else no one will buy. I just can't buy that out of all the millions of fans of GUIDING LIGHT who have watched over the past seven decades who will be strolling through their local checkout lines next week, enough wouldn't buy a special edition GUIDING LIGHT cover to make a profit.

I have yet to get my subscriber cover in the mail and perhaps GUIDING LIGHT will appear there. I will be grateful if that is the case, but it will not make up for this complete lack of acknowledgement at next Friday's historical finale.

Lynn Leahey, Editorial Director for both Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly, offered an explanation to We Love Soaps "That was a really tough call, and I understand your frustration. We don’t put the same show on both Digest and Weekly because we just can’t split sales between the two magazines. I had to decide which cover it would go on, and since Weekly has room for more images, I gave it to Weekly."

Look for Leahey on an upcoming "We Love Soaps Radio" episode in the near future.


  1. Oh, Roger...I love you. Thank you for kicking ass.

  2. Here here.

    The soap press -- particularly the big paper publications -- has as much to do with the death of soap operas as anyone.

    Disrespecting the genre itself, dumbing down the coverage, and focusing on the ephemeral and same old same old, they haven't brought a single new interested eye to either their publications or the television in years.

    The industry continues to whistle walking by the graveyard. Soon they too will end up in the exact same place.

  3. It is a shame but at least it wasn't another Y & R cover. It's a small thing in the greater scheme of epic fail that is this SOD cover but it's a little bit of a silver lining, eh?

  4. Nothing less than a full GL cover would have satisfied me this week. This is a 72 year old show going off the air. NOTHING on television - daytime OR primetime - can compare to this. If the soap press won't even recognize it, that's very sad.

  5. Amen. Nothing more to say.

    I understand the economics behind this ("Why honor something 'dead' when that won't sell covers...let's honor the story with a future"). But that such logic prevailed shows that (a) SOD is clearly struggling for survival, and, more importantly, (b) SOD has lost its soul and its mission.

    I have said this before: SOD, sadly, has earned my non-renewal.

  6. I hope you'll indulge a poem here. This is, of course, Robert Frost's classic "Out-Out".

    The final lines reflect, to me, the same kind of thing going on with SOD. Is it heartless or is it pragmatic? I never figured it out.

    The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
    And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
    Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
    And from there those that lifted eyes could count
    Five mountain ranges one behind the other
    Under the sunset far into Vermont.
    And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
    As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
    And nothing happened: day was all but done.
    Call it a day, I wish they might have said
    To please the boy by giving him the half hour
    That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
    His sister stood beside them in her apron
    To tell them 'Supper'. At the word, the saw,
    As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
    Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap--
    He must have given the hand. However it was,
    Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
    The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh.
    As he swung toward them holding up the hand
    Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
    The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all--
    Since he was old enough to know, big boy
    Doing a man's work, though a child at heart--
    He saw all spoiled. 'Don't let him cut my hand off
    The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!'
    So. But the hand was gone already.
    The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
    He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
    And then -- the watcher at his pulse took fright.
    No one believed. They listened at his heart.
    Little -- less -- nothing! -- and that ended it.
    No more to build on there. And they, since they
    Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

  7. I noticed Soap Opera Weekly also, didn't do a whole GL cover. I'm guessing none of the entertainment/news mags will do whole GL covers either. It's too bad when you don't respect your elders....

  8. Thank you Roger. When I saw the cover I just about fell out of my chair.
    I just don't see why they wouldn't give GL the whole cover one last time, it doesn't make sense to me.

  9. No matter type of research has gone into featuring a small subset of daytime on the cover, it couldn't possibly include what to do when a 72 year old show gets canceled. That is a once in a lifetime special event and it's too bad they didn't treat it as such.

  10. What they fail to understand is that more people would buy the issue if it had given GL the cover because it would tehn be a must have for those of us who collect such items, and I beleive that the many GL fans that are out there who do not normally buy SOD would have just to have it. This is just another example of the industry kicking us (GL) in the ass.

  11. I know Mala is over at SOW (not SOD)...but why don't you ask her what is going on?

  12. I wish Mimi Torchin was still Editor in Chief at SOW. She did magnificent covers and she would have done one worthy of GL's 72 year history.

    Even if these soap publications didn't want to spend money on a cover shoot, they could have just taken GL's final cast photo and used that as the cover. Would that have been too difficult. It's just disgusting all around. In a way, I agree with what Kim Zimmer when she said she couldn't wait for this to be over because it's been so hard. I don't know if I can take another disrespectful blow to this show.

  13. I agree with you Roger, this isn't surprising, but it doesn't make it any less offensive.

    I hope they have something on the subscriber's issue. Wish they would do what TVGuide has done in the past, made a special only available directly from them issue with a Guiding Light cover. I wouldn't be the only person who would be interested in ordering that.

  14. Roger, how did you feel about Lynn's explanation? Did it satisfy you? It didn't satisfy me. I understand why SOD and SOW can't have the same soap as covers for both magazines. But that doesn't explain why SOW doesn't have GL as the full cover. Instead it's just a sidebar.

  15. i totally bought the SOW this week & never do. If SOD had had a spread with different pics & features I would have bought BOTH. I have spent decades with GL and am hungry to enjoy it as much as possible til the last day. If TV Guide & EW put goodbye features in, I'd buy them too. And i agree, those who watched years ago and lost track over the years would also love to reminisce over their favorite moments of GL past. So short sited on the part of these media outlets.

  16. Marc, I do appreciate the response. In soap land, I feel that GL leaving the air should be on the cover of every magazine, every blog, every mainstream publication. This is such a huge milestone that will never be achieved again. It does speak to the fact that, like many story and casting decisions, not everything is about the creative or artistic side of things. In my heart, I believe a nice GL collector's SOD would have meant more than anything the other soap magazines could have done and certainly believe this passing was THE biggest news item of the year and especially next week. It's like the Obama election. He was on the cover of every single magazine and they all sold record numbers. When it's a big event or milestone it deserves to be covered like it is.

  17. ITA with you, Roger. There's no viable excuse why the granddaddy of all soaps shouldn't get the cover. Considering how significant GL has eben to broadcasting, it belongs on the cover of TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly, too. As Maeve Kinkead said, "We won't see this, again."

  18. Thank You Roger! It is really sad that all the mags have not honored GL properly. I don't know of any other soap that has touched so many lives. I mean 72 years is incredible! All mags should have had special issues with nothing but GL in them. And yes, they would have sold every issue! The fans will buy what they like! End of story :)
    P.s. Crystal Chappell is a Goddess

  19. Her explanation would make sense if one magazine had GL as the full cover and the other one didn't.

    But neither SOD nor SOW have GL as the full blown cover. It's a sidebar on both magazine covers.

    Again I can't say it enough. I wish Mimi Torchin was still in charge of SOW. She would have done a great cover.

  20. Even Another World had an SOD cover when it was yanked off the air in 1999 (and yes, I'm still bitter). Michael Logan & TV Guide did right by GL and included a 2-page spread in the November 14-20 issue which is on stands now. Nice big photo of the current cast.

  21. Thanks Roger!

    I'm sorry but Lynn Leahey's reason for not putting GL on the SOD cover is lame. You would think they'd make an exception for the longest running drama in broadcast history.

  22. I got my TV Guide in the mail today. What a nice surprise. Thank you to TV Guide and Michael Logan!

  23. I agree with everyone's comments. I never watched Guiding Light but intended to buy both tribute issues. Guiding Light is a part of television history and I think SOD should have put their love of all things Y&R, GH and Days aside for one flippin' issue and given GL both covers.

    I didn't agree with explanation at all.

  24. I also think that an exception should have been made in the case of GL's final week.

    It's unfortunate that the media has become so capitalistic that they cannot step outside the box and put the REAL stories on the front page. As someone mentioned earlier, GL's cancellation after 72 years (three generations!) and going through various forms such as radio, television, and the internet is HUGE! It's a blow that even the soap press couldn't even acknowledge this.