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"GL's" former EP, Ellen Wheeler on cancellation, production model and Otalia!

Ellen-wheeler.jpg“GL’s” now former executive producer Ellen Wheeler chatted with TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan in a new interview out today.  Wheeler gives insight into her thoughts on how “GL” ended, what befell the longest running show, Otalia’s storyline, and this banter below between the interviewee and the reporter! In the conversation, Logan talks to Wheeler about the new production model. Wheeler says it was done for budgetary constraints but Logan is quick to point out that this former EP, said something different in 2008 on the matter.   Here is the excerpt below!

The new production model obviously didn’t save GL but do you think other soaps will in any way benefit from what happened here?
I think we achieved a level of nuance and naturalism that is to be admired. But I want to stop you: That’s a little bit of a misnomer there, because [the production model] did save GL for a year and a half.

I’ve seen you quoted elsewhere saying that same thing, and I don’t get it. When this new production model was launched I clearly remember it being promoted as a way to move GL into the future, using information culled from research groups about what today’s viewers want to see on their soaps. It was not stated that the show would be cancelled if you didn’t go with this production model.
I can tell you absolutely that it kept the show on the air. We could not have stayed in the [previous] model with the budget cuts that came down, so something had to change. And the change was going to have to be drastic and enormous. I’m not saying it had to be this exact model, but this was the one we came up with and we had to come up with it pretty quickly. But without taking those budget cuts we were going to be cancelled.

[Logan note: Okay, I’m not that nuts! I went back and looked at my interview with Wheeler in the February 25, 2008 issue of TV Guide Magazine, in which she told me that the switch to the new production model followed a two-year viewer research project conducted by Procter & Gamble. Here’s what she said: “Our audience has been very clear to us. They don’t like the nonreality of soaps—the fake grass, the fact that people in Springfield never seem to go to work or actually do their jobs or take care of their children. They want the stories and characters they love but with the same sense of reality they get from Grey’s Anatomy and other nighttime shows.” Wheeler then ended the interview with: “This is not a desperate survival move. This is a creative, financially efficient way to move soap operas into the future. GL has always led the way.”]

Guiding Light

Guiding Light Alum, Michelle Forbes, Lands Key Role in Upcoming Season of ‘New Amsterdam’

She made her mark as Sonia/Solita on Guiding Light and has turned her career into a major primetime and film success.  Now comes word that the talented Michelle Forbes is set to appear on the new season of NBC’s drama, New Amsterdam.

According to TV Line, Forbes will join the cast for the fourth season in the recurring role of Dr. Veronica Fuentes. The character is said to be ‘a calm, poised and fearless fixer who is brought in to reconstruct the failing hospital.”

However, the outlet reports that Forbes’ Dr. Fuentes’ first order of business on her way to reversing New Amsterdam’s declining numbers will be to “wipe clean the inept board.”

Forbes was most recently seen on ABC’s Big Sky and had notable roles in True Blood and The Killings.

The new season of New Amsterdam premieres on Tuesday, September 21st  at 10 pm. EST.

So, looking forward to seeing Michelle in her new role on primtime? Comment below.

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Guiding Light

Soap Alums: Helgenberger, Bonilla, and Ilonzeh Cast in New Drama Pilot ‘Getaway’

Three very familiar faces to daytime fans have their new potentially new nighttime gig!  E.J. Bonilla (Ex-Rafe, Guiding Light) has been added as as series regulars opposite Annie Ilonzeh (Ex-Maya, GH) along with former Ryan’s Hope favorite Marg Helgenberger (Ex-Siohan) to the NBC drama pilot, Getaway.

In Getaway, the loglines for the series read that the proposed seriescenters on a destination wedding at an isolated luxury resort that quickly descends into chaos after a group of dangerous criminals takes the island hostage. The small group of guests, led by a fearless female Army vet (Ilonzeh), will do everything they can to stay alive.

According to Deadline: Helgenberger will play Sen. Charlotte Pierce. As a senior Democratic senator from New York, Charlotte is used to calling the shots. She’s happy to see her son, Jack (played by Matt Long), settle down with his bride, Grace (Jasmine Mathew), but there are darker forces at play she has yet to fully understand. Charlotte will soon have to choose between her family and the political career for which she’s worked so hard.  Bonilla will play Rafi Salinas. Rafi claims to be a fisherman on the run with his friends from a gang of cartel members, but he’s hiding a dark secret that will put everyone at the resort in danger.

So, what do you think of the concept for this new drama pilot for NBC and the cast? Comment below.

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Guiding Light

Murray Bartlett Virtual Interview on Tap

Daytime fans remember Murray Barlett as Cyrus Foley on the beloved Guiding Light. 

Since then, the actor has appeared in numerous TV series and specials and film roles including HBO’s groundbreaking series, Looking and Tales of the City. 

However, now Bartlett can now be seen on The White Lotus, a new series from HBO, where he plays, the resort manager, Armond which bow this weekend on July 11th.

Murray will be chatting with Alan Locher live on The Locher Room You Tube channel on Friday July 16th at 3 p.m. EST/Noon PST. Make sure to have your questions ready for Murray!

You can watch the livestream here.

So, will you be checking out Murray on The White Lotus? What are your remembrances of Cyrus on Guiding Light? Comment below.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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