What’s Wrong and Right with Soap Operas… Guiding Light

What’s wrong with Guiding Light is that the venerable 72-year old soap, which got its beginnings in radio before making the move to television in 1952, was recently canceled by CBS. Despite this sad and discouraging news, this show is currently what is right about the state of soap operas today. Incredibly well-written and amazingly well-acted, this is what soaps should strive to be, slices of daily life with fascinating, angsty, interesting, slightly out-there twists and turns thrown in for fun. It recently won Daytime Emmy Awards for Best Writing and Best Show in 2007, despite low ratings. You don’t see a different character dying every other day, flying off cliffs on motorcycles or being shot in the head in order to harvest organs for comatose spouses, young children aren’t needlessly put into dangerous situations, hospitalized with life-threatening viruses or kidnapped by crazed parents before being locked in a burning building and people don’t wear Armani and Prada to sit around the house. Tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards and hurricanes don’t descend on the town on a daily basis so that supposedly tormented soulmates can have sex in a shed as the storm rages around them, and the fictional town of Springfield doesn’t lie conveniently equidistant to the beach, the mountains, New York City, Darfur and some island where everyone goes for a quickie divorce (and by quickie, I mean 2 hours from departure to return).

And despite having a time when GL attempted to keep up with the GH’s and AMC’s with some outlandish storylines (Reva’s cloning, anyone?) and ever declining ratings, the current regime has refocused the direction of the show with emphasis placed on the return of Phillip Spaulding (the fantastic Grant Aleksander) and the slowly burgeoning romance between Olivia Spencer (daytime powerhouse Crystal Chappell) and Natalia Rivera (daytime newcomer Jessica Leccia), affectionately nicknamed Otalia by their massive legion of fans. Unfortunately, like so many things that finally find their feet and begin to rebound time just ran out on the show. CBS had hinted to both viewers and Procter & Gamble Productions, which owns and produces the show along with As The World Turns, that GL would escape cancellation then inexplicably turned around and gave it the axe. Apparently there’s another talk show out there that just MUST see the light of day…

Luckily PGP is not ready to put GL to rest just yet and is looking into its options to keep this slice of television history on the air, whether taking the DirectTV route that Passions followed a few years ago, or making the jump to other mediums, like the Internet.

Whatever the outcome, I urge anyone who is a soap opera fan to search out this hidden gem and give it a try. It’s what soap operas were originally intended to be.

If you’re already a fan of Guiding Light, please let TPTB know how you feel about the cancellation. It’s never too late to save this show. Here’s a list of addresses:

Brian T. Cahill, Sr. V.P., Managing Director for TeleVest Daytime Programs
Procter & Gamble Productions c/o Televest
World Wide Plaza
825 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Greg Ross
Vice President, Media and Programming
Procter & Gamble
One Procter & Gamble Plaza
PO Box 599
Cincinnati, Ohio 45201-0599

Barbara Bloom, Sr. Vice President
CBS Daytime
7800 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Richard Mensing, Jr., Vice President
CBS Daytime
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Nancy Tellem, President
CBS Entertainment
7800 beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Leslie Moonves, President
7800 beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Executive Producer
Ellen Wheeler
C/O Guiding Light
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Jill Lorie Hurst
C/O Guiding Light
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Alan Lafley
CEO, Proctor and Gamble
1 P&G Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45201

The Press:
Soap Opera Digest

Carolyn Hinsey
Columnist, Soap Opera Digest
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director, Soap Opera Digest
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Stephanie Sloane
Editor, Soap Opera Digest
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Danielle McClure
GL Editor, Soap Opera Digest
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Soap Opera Weekly:

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director, Soap Opera Weekly
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Mara Levinsky
Editor, Soap Opera Weekly
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Meredith Miller
GL Editor, Soap Opera Weekly
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016


The Press

* Michael Logan at TV Guide
in care of Rich Sands… Rich.Sands@tvguide.com

* SOD Sound Off:


* SOW Public Opinion:




Sarah Lee at Suite101.com

Sheri O’Shea on the New VR

Cast email addresses per GL Fan Club:

Cast emails

The phone numbers are:

Guiding Light- 866 – 695 – 1859

CBS in New york: (212) 975-4321
CBS NY–FAX: 212-975-4516
CBS in LA (Les Moonves): 213-852-2345

CBS Audience Services: 212-975-3247

E- Mail: audsvcs@cbs.com

Letter Rip: gl@cbs.com


37 Responses

  1. Thank you! You have just said what so many of us have felt since the annoucement was released. GL is what all soaps should strive to be. We will continue to fight because it’s what the writers, cast, crew and fans deserve… the best soaptelling that has been seen in years maybe even decades!

  2. Thank-you for your excellent review of Guiding Light. I couldn’t agree more! Last week I spent a few hours watching BB and ATWT for the first time. I was honestly bored senseless. I don’t understand why Guiding Light is being treated this way, because it’s one of the best soaps I’ve seen. It’s funny, engaging, brilliantly acted and far more creative and original with its new production model.
    I sincerely hope someone has the vision to give GL a brand new home. It deserves the opportunity to thrive.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful article! You hit the nail right on the head. GL has always seemed the most real to me – just at the basics of show with the core families at different economic levels, women working at the newspaper, tv station, the board room, cops and waitresses. I’m ready to watch my soaps on cable or online. P&G has my full support. .

  4. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I remember watching GL during the cloning story as well as Reva and Josh going back through time to solve crimes…it lost its soul a bit

    What makes GL so great is when they return to their roots, which involves how families navigate life together. Long live the Bauer’s, Coopers, Lewis’s, Spauldings, and the Rivera-Spencers.

  5. Great article Mary Beth! Witty and funny as usual, and I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said.

    Guiding Light has been improving the most out of all the soaps.

    Come on, GL fans! Let’s save our show! Let P&G know we are behind them in looking for a new home.

  6. Great article and you nailed it, Mary Beth. GL is definitely on the right track with the return of Grant Aleksander and the wonderfully crafted Otalia story line. The network smart enough to pick up this gem will have two million plus loyal fans flocking to their channel and to their advertisers.

  7. Fantastic article! And true, every word of it! GL is realy a pioneer in it`s feel and it`s good to know that people still notice that!
    We are all working tirelessly to find it a new home and every little thing helps!

  8. Thank you! You are absolutely correct. Within the last six months, GL has risen to the heights of creativity. They have gotten there by giving us slow build stories full of deep personal struggles. The camera work makes me feel so intimately connected with the characters. GL has the best actors in daytime. And Otalia are the supercouple of daytime. I feel bad that the former “Tiffany” network made a bad decision on such an incredibly vibrant show. I give P&G my full support in finding another platform on which to air this vibrant show.

  9. As a book lover, I am fond of rich characters and carefully woven, well written plots. This is precisely why I rarely watch TV. With the exception of Guiding Light. Tuning in is like picking up my favorite book. The characters stay true and the plot is not so outlandish as to offend my intelligence. and as a bonus, I’m treated to the wonderful work of many talented actors and actresses. It’s a keeper.

  10. Oh, Mary Beth! You’ve outdone yourself this time, dearie! You said it all!!

  11. Thank You and I agree that GL is the soap that is getting it right. Its a shame that CBS couldn’t hold off just a little longer to give this great soap a chance. I will follow GL where ever it goes.

  12. What a brilliant summary!! Thanks for writing such an insightful article and getting the word out there about saving the show!! Articles like this give me hope that we do not have to lose these wonderful actors or stories! Otalia is the best couple anywhere on TV!! I haven’t been moved this much by a story in ages! Maybe once the powers that be see next weeks excitement between the ladies, it will help sell the show even more!

  13. Thank You for the wonderful article. We all feel that way the writing and the story lines right now are great. I so hope that P&G find them a new home. Keep The Light Shining!!!

  14. MB-

    thanks for putting into better words than i ever could why i- not a soap watcher- love, love, love guiding light. the show is so well written and so well acted, most days i forget i’m watching a soap. all the reasons why i never stuck with GH or AMC or OLTL are the reasons why i love guiding light. Gl doesn’t rely on trite storylines or unbelievable scenarios or over the top acting. it’s just great television. i can’t wait to be a part of GL’s new chapter. i feel like we are at the crossroads of a genre changing- ne saving- event.

  15. Thank You. The other soaps try to use outlandish gimmicks to get people to watch. This show has the best cast, writing and directing. CBS has meshed up, this is one show that is getting new viewers with the Otalia storyline and returning viewers with Phillips return. Plus thank you for pointing out the Crystal Chappell is the best actress, she’s brillant. She’s the reason I came back to GL a few years ago. I think the show should be picked up by Lifetime.

  16. Great article and spot on. GL is on a massive upswing complete with brilliant storylines and incredible acting. I hope P&G is successful in finding a new home for this amazing soap.

  17. Thanks for covering this important story.. Guiding Light is indeed everything that is right with daytime.. It is my fervent hope that someone else recognizes that soon. The fanbase for this show is huge!!! And we will Follow the Light!

  18. Fantastic article and I wholeheartedly agree with everything that was written. GL just needs to find a new home.

  19. Great article. Great show. Save the Light!

  20. Great article, Mary Beth! You’ve hit the nail right on the head!
    I hope that P&G find a new home for GL!

  21. Thank you for the great article. You said everything I’ve been trying to say since I heard the news. I am a new soap fan thanks solely to Guiding Light, and the incredible Otalia storyline. I had lost hope that TV would return to real-life, can’t wait to see what happens next storytelling.
    I just found this TV gem, and I’m fighting to keep it. I hope P&G finds it a new home soon.

  22. Wonderful article. As well-written as GL, and completely on the money! Couldn’t have said it better, which is why thankfully you’re the one doing the writing. Great job!

  23. Thank you for this wonderful written article.
    O truly believe that the Guiding Light of today is the future of daytime. It is bringing in a whole new set of viewers who earlier wouldn’t dream of watching a soap.
    CBS messed up big time, the tide was changing but hopefully we will find a new home for our favourite show.

  24. Awesome article Mary Beth! *clap clap clap*
    Keep the Guiding Light shining!

  25. Awesome article! I haven’t watched GL in years, but it was one of my most favorite shows (aside from BB and ATWT). My favorite storyline involved Reva’s return to San Cristobel and everything that happened after. It’s a shame that CBS wants to take away great stories like that from future generations!

  26. You’ve hit the nail on the head – Guiding Light is currently showcasing some of the best writing, acting, and directing on daytime television. It’s a tragedy that it got canceled, but we GL diehards are not going to give up on it just yet.

    Anyone who is enjoying GL right now should join the cause and write, write, write. The fans truly have a say in what happens to this venerable soap which is currently trailblazing in all ways – production, stories, and a return to the “vintage” soap opera era – human emotions over pricey explosions.

    Let’s work together and keep GL on the air.

  27. Its simply stunning to me still that I could ever become this addicted to a soap. Until I discovered Guiding Light a few months ago, I would never have believed any television could devote so much time and finely tuned writing to craft such a beautiful, and compelling love story, as being depicted in Otalia. It took vision, discipline and commitment that you just don’t see any more, in an era of too easy ratings stunts and short term attention spans. It rewards the viewer by allowing us to trust our brains, emotions and observations skills, rather than being hand fed every development in the story. Its so well done I, as a non-soap viewer, am watching little else now because I’m wanting more. It is my firm hope that another network with the smarts to adopt this show, will have vision as well. Please keep the light shining.

  28. Fantastic article and so very true. I’ve glanced at AMC a few times to see what they did with Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paul Goldin and was so bored I couldn’t watch. GL by far has the best writing of any of the daytime shows and a lot of prime time ones. The acting is so impeccable that you actually get lost in the characters and feel like they are just extended family and not actors. CBS made a huge mistake canceling this great show. I hope another network or cable show has the foresight and wisdom to pick it up and keep it on the air for years to come. There is a huge fan base that will follow it where ever it ends up. We need to keep the light shining and these wonderful actors working on the best soap ever.

  29. I can’t agree with you more. The writing, acting and directing on Guiding Light right now is phenomenal. Why is it that the only ones who can’t see that are the people at CBS?

  30. Thanks for such a deserving tribute to Guiding Light. My own opinion is that he show is truly in a league of its own. Beautiful article Mary Beth! Yay!

  31. Thank-you Mary Beth for this well written article. You have beautifully articulated what many of us have been feeling the last couple of weeks. I strongly believe that another network (Lifetime or SOAPnet maybe?) will be wise enough to see the business opportunity that CBS has passed on. I am part of a massive e-mail, postcard, snail mail campaign to keep the light shining. To everyone out there, please do the same. Thank-you Mary Beth for listing out the addresses.

  32. Thank you for the wonderful article. Guiding Light is the best on TV period. A great soap keeps you coming back for more and believe me, I tune in everyday!

  33. Thank you for your well written and accurate article. I am addicted to the Otalia storyline, which is being told with just the right amount of angst and nuances. This is just one example of the exceptional writing on this show which IMO is head and shoulders above all other soaps on the air. CBS missed the boat on this one and cancelled the wrong P&G soap. It is my hope that P&G moves both their soaps to a new medium and that the GL writers can give some tips to the ATWT writers and that soap will improve too. Boy does it need it.

  34. Guiding Light is the best of all daytime soaps on television right now and thank you so much for acknowledging that fact. Otalia is not the only reason I watch, although it is my favorite reason; I love to watch Grant Alexander at work—he is awesome. The writing is impeccable and the acting amazing (can we say Emmy for Crystal Chappell next year?); I truly hope that TBTB find a home for a show that has been in my family for generations.


  35. Thank you for this very well-written article! You’ve articulated what so many of us have been thinking since the announcement. Guiding Light had finally started to regain its footing and CBS pulled the rug out from underneath it. Here’s hoping PGP finds a new home for the Light!

  36. Thank you so much for this article. Guiding Light is on a serious upswing and it is without a doubt the most well written, well acted show on daytime. The Otalia storyline is the kind of achingly beautiful, slow burn build up of a super couple that soaps used to be all about. It’s such a shame that CBS let this amazing show go, but their loss will definitely be someone else’s gain.

  37. MB? Perfectly said. So glad you wrote this. The show has been amazing and has left AMC in the dust for many. They know how to tell a story and hopefully, someone will pick it up!

    Oh…and engrave CC’s name on the Emmy now. Why wait?

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