Monday, December 31, 2012

INTERVIEW: Kim Zimmer on GL, Indie Soaps & the Future

Kim Zimmer is a daytime legend after receiving eleven Emmy nominations, four wins, and coming in at #2 on We Love Soaps 50 Greatest Soap Actresses.  But how has she been coping in the year since GUIDING LIGHT went off the air?  And is she in touch with her "lesbian side" enough for Crystal Chappell's VENICE? The Divine Ms. Zimmer gave us the answers during the GUIDING LIGHT So Long Springfield Cruise Bon Voyage party. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch the video here.]

We Love Soaps: What about this cruise are you most excited about?
Kim Zimmer: My husband is coming with me. We will be married 29 years on August 29th.  So we’re using it as a little honeymoon anniversary celebration.  Unfortunately I think this is going to be our last group effort as a GUIDING LIGHT team with our GUIDING LIGHT fans.  I’m really sorry about that.  We have looked forward to these events, to be able to get together and shoot the shit.

We Love Soaps: Have you been surprised at how many events there have been this past year, and how well attended they have been?
Kim Zimmer: Yes.  And thank God for Mike Gold and Celebrity Events Group.  This would not have happened without him and his wonderful team. 

We Love Soaps: It’s been almost a year since GUIDING LIGHT wrapped shooting.  How are you, and what have you been doing?
Kim Zimmer: I’ve been busy writing my book.  Unfortunately my publishers gave me a long [deadline].  So I’ve been taking my time and now they want the manuscript delivered in October.  It won’t be  released and published until Spring of 2011.  I’ve written everything, it just needs to be complied now. 

We Love Soaps: This is an autobiographical piece?
Kim Zimmer: It’s more a memoir, kind of fun walk down memory lane.

We Love Soaps: Including THE DOCTORS?
Kim Zimmer: Some of THE DOCTORS.  But I think my publishers would like it to be more about the dirt on GUIDING LIGHT.  But I’m like, “No, I have a bigger career than that, and I have more to say than just dishing dirt on people.”  There is some of that. 

We Love Soaps: One of the things I have always admired about you, even going to THE DOCTORS and the movie Body Heat is how you always play these characters who are confident and speak their minds.
Kim Zimmer: Yeah, I wish I was like them [laughs].  This year has been rough.  It has given me an opportunity to reevaluate Kim.  And to see where I want to fall.  You heard it hear first. I have some exciting news I will be able to share with you sometime soon. 

We Love Soaps: What have you learned about yourself this past year?
Kim Zimmer: That patience is a virtue.  When you work a soap you are used to working every day, for 15 hours a day.  When that is taken away from you, you really have to find other ways to occupy your time and your brain.  My husband keeps saying, “It hasn’t even been a year yet, Kim.”  But it’s been a year, it’s like I’m losing my mind.  Actors act.  And nobody has been banging my door down. 

We Love Soaps: How do you deal with that?
Kim Zimmer: It’s okay because I know what the soaps are looking for these days.  I know the atmosphere of what the shows want.  I know that as a 55-year-old woman I can’t be the mother of that teenage star on the show.  I’d be the grandmother, and they are not going to give a contract to a grandmother. 

We Love Soaps: That makes no sense to me at all!
Kim Zimmer: But that’s the way it is.  I accept that.  I want to be able to work in soaps again.  I’m not interested in signing a contract.  I don’t want jump around and play six days here and a week  or a two month arc there, I’d like it to be a little more than that.  So I’m looking for something six months, nine months, a year, with no contract because I’d like to be able to be free to do theater, which I am doing. 

We Love Soaps: What can you tell us about that?
Kim Zimmer: I’m doing a play.  I’m starting rehearsals on August 10th in New Jersey.  At Kean University Premiere Stages.  It is a wonderful new play called, “Lost Boy Found At Whole Foods.”  It sounds like a comedy, but it’s not.

We Love Soaps: It actually sounds like a porn.
Kim Zimmer: With me in it you never know!  It’s about the lost boys of Sudan and their journey to come to America.  I play kind of a Sandra Bullock-Blind Side character who encounters this young character at Whole Foods and kind of adopts him.  It opens September 3rd. 

We Love Soaps: At the end of this year there will be six daytime shows left on the air.  If you were an executive producer, what changes would you make to keep daytime alive and vital?
Kim Zimmer: What I have watched recently, and have talked about for years, is crossover.  What they are doing at ABC with the “What-Ifs” is brilliant.  I watched them, I love them.  I know it’s  a scheduling nightmare to do those crossovers.  But I think to consolidate the soaps.  So you don’t have three separate soaps, you have one that crosses over three different times during the day.  I would go back to simple storytelling.  I would take it right back to the 1950s with simple storytelling with maybe eight contract characters, maybe a half-hour.  THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL has been very successful with that.  That is what I would do.  Less is best, it’s always been that way.

We Love Soaps: And that is what I think internet soaps such as STEAMBOAT are doing.  It’s a back-to-basics model telling unique stories about a core group of characters.
Kim Zimmer: That’s the way I think the networks have to go as long as they keep the faith.  CBS is replacing AS THE WORLD TURNS with another mommy show, another group of cackling women.  Do we need another one of those? They are electric and wonderful women, but I don’t want to hear that when I’m in the kitchen.  I don’t want to those women yakking and laughing and gooing and ooing. 

We Love Soaps: I, for one, would love a Kim Zimmer talk show!
Kim Zimmer: Me too!  See, CBS if they were smart would have done just that.  Or, I love Wayne Brady.  Me and Wayne Brady together.  We could do musical numbers together.  I could bring in all my really talented friends. 

We Love Soaps: Have any other indie soaps approached you about being on their shows?
Kim Zimmer: Yes.  But Crystal has not called me.  Bitch! [Laughs] I love you, Crystal.  I guess she doesn’t think I’m in touch with my lesbian side.

We Love Soaps: And are you?
Kim Zimmer:  I am.  I’ve kissed Crystal Chappell many times! I have been approached by another internet soap.  It didn’t work out because they couldn’t get their shit together, basically.  It is tough.  But I’m an actor.  Actors like to work.  Whatever it is. 

We Love Soaps: We have loved your work now for over 30 years.  We can’t wait to see your show this September, as well as to read your book, and see you on our screens again. 
Kim Zimmer: Thank you so much. I love you guys!

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve."


  1. Why cant any of the young girls have a brain they use and be a strong powerful character instead of needing a man to make them rich and powerful.