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Guiding Light

"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.”]

All My Children

All My Children and Guiding Light Vet, Gil Rogers Passes Away

Gil Rogers, who played one of the all-time most dastardly villains in soaps on All My Children and was the on-screen father to the one and only Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) on Guiding Light, has died at age 87.

News came via his daughter, Amanda Rogers on her Facebook page, relating that Gil passed away on March 2nd.

The actor had played Tad (Michael E. Knight) and Jenny’s (Kim Delaney) father, Ray Gardner on All My Children from 1977-1978 making multiple appearance though 2001, then later as Hawk Shayne on Guiding Light from 1985-1992 making multiple appearance through 2009.

Gil also appeared on Another World, Search for Tomorrow and The Doctors.

In her post, Amanda wrote: “Gil Rogers died this morning. As you all know, my dad was awesome. He was my best friend, confidant, mentor and just an awesome dad. He came to pick me and  Charlotte Whitaker Zdanowski up at clubs at 2AM in our teens to keep us safe, and drank bourbon with me every day since moving out here 2 years ago. He was welcoming and kind, funny and gregarious, a shameless flirt and a fierce protector. He loved his dinners with grandkids and endured animated movies and discussions about pokemon. And I miss him so terribly already. He died in his sleep, without pain or fear. I am so grateful to have had such a great father and to have spent these past 2 years with him every day.”

Check out this vintage scene below from All My Children where Ray played by Rogers blows up the Martin house.

Now share your remembrances of Gil’s performances and along with condolences for his family in the comment section.

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Guiding Light

Cicely Tyson Recalls Her Time On ‘Guiding Light’ & Her Mother’s Obsession With Soaps In Final Interview on ‘Live with Kelly & Ryan’

The world is mourning the loss of legendary actress Cicely Tyson who died on Thursday at the age of 96.   On Wednesday, Tyson had taped what would be the final interview of her life with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest for the morning show, Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Today on Friday, the show aired Tyson’s interview which was filled with so many moments made all the more poignant by her passing yesterday.

As soap fans know, Cicely was the first black actress to appear on the soaps, and on Guiding Light, back in 1966 in the role of Martha Frazier.  The character was married to Dr. Jim Frazier played first by Billy Dee Williams and then James Earl Jones.  Tyson’s role was eventually taken over by Ruby Dee.

 

During her interview with Kelly and Ryan, the hosts asked the Oscar-nominated actress and icon, best known for her roles in Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots, and A Trip to Bountiful about her time on Guiding Light.  Cicely revealed that her mother was a huge fan of Guiding Light and the daytime soaps, and was obsessed with the characters and what was going to happen next.  As it turns out, according to the interview, Tyson’s mother’s favorite role of her daughter was Martha on Guiding Light.

Watch the clip from the interview below.

Then, share your remembrances on the extraordinary work of Cicely Tyson via the comment section below.

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Guiding Light

Guiding Light Alum, Michelle Forbes, Lands Role In ABC Hit Drama, ‘Big Sky’

David E, Kelley’s new drama, Big Sky has been a captivating hit series for ABC in its freshmen offering.  Former One Life to Live star, Ryan Phillippe (Ex-Billy Douglas), who was one of the leads of the series, was seemingly killed-off early on and the show has had more shocking twists and turns in the crime thriller.

For those who don’t know, Big Sky, follows private detective Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. But when they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken. After a winter break, Big Sky returned with new episodes this week.

Now, another soap alum has been added to the cast in the back-half of the first season.  Enter Michelle Forbes (Ex-Sonia/Solita, Guiding Light).  Michelle will take on the role of a mother named Margaret.

According to Deadline on Forbes’ Margaret: “She seems to be the picture-perfect ranch wife who knows her place, likes to bake and loves all of her children equally, but scratch the surface and there’s real steel beneath.”

So excited to see Michelle on Big Sky? Did you love her as Sonia/Solita on Guiding Light? Comment below.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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