Wednesday, September 16, 2009

News Round-up: GUIDING LIGHT

GUIDING LIGHT ends 72-year run amidst melancholy feelings from cast and crew
"I would feel fine, and then, when I shot my last scene, I just broke down and cried so hard," says Beth Chamberlin, who plays Elizabeth (Beth) Ann Raines Spaulding. "It was like the death of a friend for me at that moment. As much as I was prepared, I was surprised at the death."

Head write Jill Lorie Hurst believes there's a future in the format as long as producers adapt. GUIDING LIGHT tried changing over a year ago, when the show began shooting with hand-held cameras and went outdoors.

"I don't know the audience has time to invest in hour-long shows," she said. "The existing shows could go to a half-hour. I think the storytelling will exist, but I think we're going through a change."

Once the producers got word that the show was going to end, the plan was to tell stories that didn't wrap up the characters' stories, but rather suggested a transition.

"We didn't want to leave it open to speculation," she said. "We were a little more conventional. We didn't want to have a car crash or a bus crash, or anything like that. We wanted you to have an idea of where people were going."

Mother of soap operas, GUIDING LIGHT was an influential force in storytelling
This Friday, the story ends. But at the Peapack Reform Church in Peapack-Gladstone, N.J., where location shots were filmed, GUIDING LIGHT will live on in the Fellowship Hall, which was dedicated to the show after Proctor & Gamble donated $10,000.

The church also held a short prayer service of appreciation.

It's not exactly the Rev. Ruthledge's original guiding light.

GUIDING LIGHT ends a 72-year run; the future of TV soaps is a cliffhanger
"It's an incredibly troubling time for soap operas, and there's no reason to think this isn't going to continue," said Michael Logan, the resident soap opera expert at TV Guide. "Soaps come and go, but this loss is so big, it can't be understated."

The numbers tell the sad story. AS THE WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT were the most-watched soap operas during the 1963-64 season, attracting 15.4 percent and 14.2 percent of all the nation's TV homes. Those are comparable to the ratings that made the Wednesday and Tuesday editions of Fox's "American Idol" the No. 1 and 2 prime-time shows last season.

But by the end of the 2007-08 season, AS THE WORLD TURNS was attracting just 2.4 percent of TV homes and GUIDING LIGHT was down to a mere 1.8 percent (ranking eighth among eight daytime soap operas).

INTERVIEW: GL's Kim Zimmer (Reva)
"When I think of GUIDING LIGHT I think about the impact it's had on generations of viewers. I think of the show as an heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation. I can't tell you how many people I've met who've said, 'I've watched with my mother and my grandmother.' It's that family feeling that I hope people will always remember. With Reva, I hope they remember that everything that she did she did for love."

To fans, it's been more than a soap opera
"Soap viewership peaked in the 1970s and ’80s and then saw a steady ratings decline, as more women entered the workforce, cable TV offered more options, and cheaper-to-produce talk shows spread across the airwaves."

GUIDING LIGHT PROJECT: Roger Thorpe, A Darkness in the Light
"It will be odd for Roger to not be on this week; he was the dark side of the show, and he was proof that while there is darkness, there is always light as well. When Michael Zaslow was fired in 1997, a shadow appeared on the show, and on Friday the shadow will finally be gone."

VIDEO: 94 Year Old Woman Laments Loss of GUIDING LIGHT
At 72 years old, the soap didn't start on black and white tv, but on the radio. That was back when 94 year old Nathalie Vaughan was just 22. "I didn't listen on the radio," she says with a smile. "I'm that old but," and she ends with a laugh.

GUIDING LIGHT: Top 10 Moments in Series History
Michael Maloney and the Inside TV staff at AOL count down the top moments in GL history.

FLASHBACK: Celebrating the Glorious Life of GUIDING LIGHT
From a 1992 Soap Opera Weekly column: "So with all this going for it, why isn’t GL No. 1? Well, in the world of TV, high-quality programs don’t always do best in the ratings. The taste and perception level of the general public is seldom on the cutting edge.

What GL needs now is for Procter & Gamble and CBS to call attention to the show with a publicity push equivalent to the super campaign ABC recently waged for ONE LIFE TO LIVE. GL is a soap that can live up to the hype. Why keep it a secret?"

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