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
CBS TV
7800 beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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

Headwriters
Jill Lorie Hurst
C/O Guiding Light
CBS-TV
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

EMAIL

The Press

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

* SOD Sound Off:
sodsound@sourceinterlink.com

sodopinion@aol.com

* SOW Public Opinion:
spwpubop@sourceinterlink.com

tellus@primedia.com

* SID
cbsmail@soapsindepth.com

Miscellaneous

Sarah Lee at Suite101.com
sarahlee22@juno.com

Sheri O’Shea on the New VR
latherup@thenewvr.com

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

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ABC Daytime’s Curious Influence on Prime Time Television… Speculation or eerie fact?

Okay, so, I’m watching Psych the other night, the season 1 finale entitled “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast”, when I noticed something… while one of the characters in the episode was named Bianca (that being the name of former character and daytime icon Bianca Montgomery from All My Children) there was another character on the show, a tall, slender brunette who’s name was… EDEN… the name of the actor who played Bianca on AMC. As in Eden Riegel, Emmy®- Award winner for Best Younger Actress in a Daytime Drama (which, by the way, was long overdue, if you ask me). Eden Riegel, who is also, curiously enough, a tall, slender brunette… hmm…

So… tell me… Coincidence? I think not.

Even more coincidental is the fact that the character of Bianca was fried in a tub with a toaster. Not that Bianca on AMC was similarly dispatched, mind you; as a matter of fact she’s actually not even dead. She is; however, just a memory since she has departed the Valley of the Pine for the City of Lights (and, presumably, a reconciliation with her soul mate and life’s love, Maggie Stone – at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Anyway, what I’m trying to say is… both Bianca’s are no longer on the respective shows on which they appeared…

It just seems to me that it’s a little more than a fluke that two characters on the same show, in the same episode, carry the name of an All My Children actor and her character’s name, as well… Sheer happenstance? Pretty curious, if you ask me.

I point all this out (well, not that stuff about Bianca and Maggie because that’s irrelevant to my point, but I digress, which I have a bad habit of doing… but you’ll eventually get used to it), because it seems that there are a lot of TV and, more specifically, CBS writers, out there who must be closet AMC and/or ABC daytime drama fans. For example, one episode of CSI:Crime Scene Investigation featured a character whose name was Kenli… which, rather ironically, is the nickname fans have given to the coupling of two of the funnier female characters on All My Children, Kendall and Greenlee, or… Kenlee… Maybe it’s “pairing” instead of “coupling” though, since they really don’t couple all that much. Anyway… fans have christened them Kenlee, which is incredibly similar sounding (no, actually identical sounding) to CSI’s character named Kenli.

Coincidence? I think not.

As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet the word “Kenlee”, or “Kenli” as spelled on CSI, was initially created at the exact moment when AMC fans bestowed it upon the twosome…

And one night on CSI:Miami (where Eva La Rue, formerly Maria Santos-Grey of AMC, now resides), the killer in the case was named Todd Manning, the name of a leading man on One Life to Live. On another episode of CSI:Crime Scene Investigation, the dead boy’s name is Tad. And his dad was portrayed by Jon Lindstrom, who played Kevin (Doc) from General Hospital. His character’s first name was Martin… You put Tad and Martin together and what do you get? AMC character TAD MARTIN!

Coincidence? Again, I think NOT.

And lastly, Elizabeth Hendrickson appeared on CSI:Miami this past season as well as another CBS crime-drama, Criminal Minds (hmm, former AMC’er getting work on multiple CBS shows… coincidence?). Elizabeth, as you may recall, portrayed con-artist Frankie Stone and her bi-curious twin Maggie Stone on All My Children, who like Bianca, was a much loved character on the show, as a matter of fact, her character was much loved by Bianca… and vice versa, but again, I digress… Anyway, her character on this particular episode of CSI:Miami, brutally murdered after the opening scenes, was named Rebecca. An homage to Rebecca Budig, half of the Kenlee duo on AMC, perhaps?

Hmmm, you decide…

Oh, wait! Rebecca also appeared recently on CSI:Crime Scene Investigation. Her character, too, was brutally murdered, albeit after Rebecca flashed a goodly amount of skin, in a similar fashion as Elizabeth’s Rebecca… slashed incessantly with a knife…

Again, coincidence? Not a chance…