How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of 'GH,' 'The View' and 'The Chew'; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of ‘GH,’ ‘The View’ and ‘The Chew’; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

 
Topic:
Another World

NBC Universal

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Exclusive! Soap Opera Network has learned that “Days Of our Lives” has fired Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. as its co-head writers and replaced them with Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell.

McPherson and Thomas were hired in May 2011, replacing Dena Higley, to help shepherd the “DAYS” reboot (the returns of fan favorites Drake Hogestyn, Deidre Hall, Patrick Muldoon, Christie Clark and Matthew Ashford).  Unfortunately, the ratings did not improve and the show recently hit a new low in Women 18-49 Viewers with just 496,000 total tuning in from that ratings category for the week March 19-23, 2012.

Tomlin returns to “DAYS” after being the Co-Executive Producer from September 17, 2008 – September 2, 2011 (on air episode dates) . This will be Tomlin’s first head writing gig in about 27 years – he was Head Writer of “Another World” in the mid-80′s.  Though he was an interim Head Writer for “One Life To Live” (on air episodes dates: February 1, 2008 – May 1, 2008) during the 2007-2008 Writers Strike.

Whitesell also returns to the show after being Co-Head Writer from October 13, 2008 – June 13, 2011 (on air episode dates).  This will be Whitesell’s 6th Co-Head Writing stint: he co-head wrote for “General Hospital” (1997), “Sunset Beach” (1998 – 1999), “One Life To Live” (2001-2003), “As The World Turns” (2005-2007).   Whitesell was writing breakdowns for “The Young and The Restless” for the past year.



Disney/ABC Television Group

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Yesterday afternoon, Soap Opera Digest reported that “General Hospital” has named breakdown writer Shelly Altman as its Co-Head Writer working alongside Head Writer Garin Wolf. Per the magazine’s website Altman’s new role is effective immediately.

In July, Soap Opera Network first reported on Altman’s move to “General Hospital” after 11 years at ABC’s “One Life to Live.” At the time Altman was joined by Tracey Thomson on the breakdown team replacing Meg Bennett and David Goldschmid, who were both fired following the termination of Bennett’s husband Robert Guza, Jr., who Wolf replaced back in May.

Before joining “One Life to Live” in 1999 as an Associate Head Writer, Altman worked at NBC’s “Another World” from 1995-1999 in the same position. She received five Daytime Emmy Award nominations in the category of Outstanding Writing Team. Her last four nominations being at “OLTL” (2002, 2006, 2008 and 2009) and her first at “AW” (1996). Altman won the award in 2008 while at “OLTL” under the writing team headed up by Ron Carlivati and Dena Higley.

In July 2010, Altman wrote a blog for The Writers Guild of America East which can be viewed here.

As Soap Opera Network went to press, a “GH” representative was unavailable for comment.



Disney/ABC Television Group

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With the cancellations of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” back in April it was unclear at the time as to where their replacement shows “The Chew” and “The Revolution” would film their daily episodes. Now with “Chew” filming in New York and soon “The Revolution” set to begin filming in New York as well, Soap Opera Network has learned that ABC Daytime is shifting much of its operations to New York City including talent management and media relations.

Along with the behind the scenes shift to New York, look for Katie Couric‘s new syndicated talk show to be filmed there as well. As previously reported, Couric’s new show will replace “General Hospital” in the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM CT/PT timeslot as ABC is set to hand over the hour back to its affiliates beginning in September 2012 in hopes that their affiliates will choose to pick up what the company deems to be a more profit sharing program.

With just three hours left available to program effective September 2012, “General Hospital,” which will be the last remaining regularly scheduled daytime soap still airing on ABC and the last daytime series (scripted or otherwise) produced by ABC filming in Los Angeles, will be fighting for its survival in the coming months as it goes head-to-head with “The Chew” and “The Revolution” when it comes to the almighty dollar (ie. which show brings in enough income relative to cost). Upon announcing the timeslot shift for “GH” back in June, Jori Petersen, Vice President, Publicity, ABC Daytime/SOAPnet stated via a company press release that “The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of ‘General Hospital.’ Rather it means that in September 2012, we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows. We’ll have options for the daytime daypart just like we do each year with prime-time. We believe in all of our shows and the ones that our viewers want will be the ones that continue. There are many options that could happen … only time will tell. We are simply giving ourselves options for the future, which is a smart way to do business. The best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it.”

New York’s last remaining regularly scheduled daytime soap opera, “One Life to Live,” is set to film its final episode on the afternoon of Friday, November 18 and air its series finale in January 2012. “All My Children,” “As The World Turns,” “Guiding Light,” “Another World,” “The City” and “Loving” were the last regularly scheduled daytime soaps to film in New York City. In the case of “AMC,” the soap moved to Los Angeles in January 2010 in a cost saving move after nearly 40 years on television. The soap was later canceled along with “One Life to Live” in April 2011, four months after celebrating its 41st anniversary.



Former ‘One Life’ Star Doris Belack Dies

NBCUniversial Television Group

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Original “One Life to Live” cast member Doris Belack passed away Monday of natural causes in Manhattan. Belack potrayed Anna Wolek Craig on the show from 1968-77. She was 85 years old.

Belack had a lengthy television and film career spanning nearly 50 years. Her first TV appearance was in 1951 in the series “Treasury Men in Action.” Four years later she performed alongside Sidney Poitier on the record “Poetry of the Negro,” which was produced by her husband of 65 years, Philip Rose (who passed away on May 31).

In the early 1960s, Belack appeared in “East Side/West Side,” and later guest starred in two episodes of “The Patty Duke Show.”  She joined the cast of the new soap “One Life to Live” when it premiered in July 1968, playing Anna Wolek, a member of daytime’s first Polish-American middle class family. Belack would stay with the show until 1977, at which time the role of Anna was recast with Kathleen Maguire from 1977-78, and Phyllis Behar from 1978-82, when the Anna was written off the show. In 1970, Belack made a guest appearance as Anna on “All My Children.” Other soap roles included “Another World,” “The Edge of Night,” and “The Doctors.”

After leaving “One Life to Live,” Belack appeared in an episode of “Barney Miller” as Fish’s wife Bernice,  Libby Levine in the 1977 feature film “Looking Up,” which also starred her former “OLTL” co-star and onscreen sister-in-law Marilyn Chris, ex-Wanda Wolek.

Following roles in TV movies “The Last Tenant,” The Jilting of Granny Weatherall,” and “The Black Marble” (again alongside Chris), s”We’re Fighting Back” and “Hanky Panky,” she landed one of her most memorable film roles, playing soap opera producer Rita Marshall in “Tootsie.” Around the same time, she had a starring role on the short-lived CBS comedy series “Baker’s Dozen.”

Through the 1980s, Belack’s career continued to flourish with parts in the films “The Cradle Will Fall,” “Sessions,” “The Hearst and Davis Affair,” “Almost Partners,” “*batteries not included,” “She-Devil,” “Fast Forward,” “Hostage,” “Splash, Too,” and “The Luckiest Man in the World.” She also guest starred in numerous television series, including “Family Ties,” “The Cosby Show,” “Cagney and Lacey,” “Remington Steele,” “The Golden Girls,” “Mr. Belvedere,” “Off the Rack,” “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” “Mary,” “Emerald Point N.A.S.,” “Hometown,” “The Equalizer,” “Baby Boom,” and “Anything But Love.”

Belack stayed action in television and film even into the 1990s, starring in the  short-lived ABC primetime series “Laurie Hill,” and equally brief CBS comedy “Family Album.” She also co-starred as Dr. Catherine Tomsky in the 1991 Bill Murray feature film “What About Bob?,” and as Dr. Roberts in 1994′s “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.” Other film appearances include “Opportunity Knocks,” “Absolute Strangers,” “What’s Your Sign?,” “Krippendorf’s Tribe,” “The Odd Couple II,” and “Fail Safe.” Belack also guest-starred in a number of TV series during the ’90s including “Mathnet,” “Lifestories: Families in Crisis,” “Picket Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “Ellen,” “Public Morals,” “Prince Street,” “Dellaventura,” “Touched By an Angel,” “Cosby,” and “New York Undercover.”

In 1999, she provided the voices of Mayor Tippi Dink and teacher Ms. Wingo in “Doug’s 1st Movie,” after having voiced the characters throughout the animated series’ television run. Also, between 1990 and 2001, she played Judge Margaret Barry in ten episodes of “Law & Order” and two episodes of “Law & Order: SVU” from 2000-01.

Other TV and film credits include the short film “The Lovers” and the television series “Now & Again,” “Madigan Men,”  and “Everwood.” Belack’s last television appearance was in a 2003 episode of “Sex and the City,” and her final film roles were in “Prime” (2005), which starred Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep; “Delirious” (2006 ), starring Steve Buscemi, and “Arranged” (2008).

Belack was also voiced characters in the video games “True Crime: New York City” and “Grand Theft Auto IV,” where she voiced the character of Maureen McReary. And between 1960 and 1990 she appeared on stage in productions of “The Cemetery Club,” “Cheaters,” “The Trip Back Down,” “Bad Habits,” “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “The Ninety Day Mistress,” “Nathan Weinstein, Mystic, Connecticut,” “The Heroine,” and “Semi-Detached.”

A joint public memorial for both Belack and Rose will be held on Monday, October 17, at Noon ET at the Ambassador Theater in New York City.



‘OLTL’ Pays Tribute to David Pressman

Disney/ABC Television Group

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” remembered the recent passing of the show’s long-time director David Pressman by dedicating the Tuesday, September 27 episode of the soap in his memory.

Pressman, who died on Monday, August 29 at the age of 97, served as director for “One Life” from 1970-1998. Upon retiring, he was soon asked to return for a time to help train the soap’s younger actors. Also in 1998, Pressman returned to his acting roots when he played the Shakespeare-quoting homeless man Bernie Hopper on “OLTL.” He later reprised the role in 2003.

Nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards, Pressman won for Best Directing in 1976, 1983, and 1984. Prior to joining “One Life to Live,” he also directed several episode of “Another World.”

You can watch the short tribute to him in the clip at the link below:

In Loving Memory of David Pressman



Disney/ABC Television Group

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Daytime Emmy Award winning television and stage director, actor, and teacher David Pressman died of natural causes on Monday in New York City at the age of 97. Pressman is best remembered by soap fans for his three decades of directing daytime dramas, including “Another World” and “One Life to Live.”

According to Variety, Pressman began his long career as child after receiving a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, where he studied acting alongside Sanford Mesiner. It was during this time that Pressman made his acting debut in 1941 in a stage production of “Brooklyn, U.S.A.” He later also appeared on stage in “The Eve of St. Mark” and “Dream Girl.”

After graduating, Mesiner asked him to return as his teaching assistant, where he mentored several young actors, including Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck and Tony Randall.

After serving in World War II, where he earned two Purple Hearts, Pressman pursued a career in the new medium of television. In the early 1950s he won a Peabody for his work directing a live action “Actors Studio” TV program. Before directing the series, Pressman starred in the first episode opposite Jessica Tandy, in an adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play “Portrait of a Madonna.” He then earned widespread recognition for his work directing Molnar’s “The Swan” as a segment on “Studio One in Hollywood” starring Grace Kelly in 1951, which later remade into a feature film.

Blacklisted during the 1950s for being a member of the Communist Party, the Soviet-born Pressman founded the acting department at Boston University, where he a number of future Hollywood stars, including Olympia Dukakis. From there, he moved to Broadway, where he directed a number of stage productions, including “The Disenchanted,” “Roman Candle,” and “Summertree.” He then returned to the Neighborhood Playhouse, where he took over the school for the next decade.

By the 1960s, Pressman returned to television, and directed episodes of the primetime dramas “The Defenders,” “The Doctors and the Nurses,” and “N.Y.P.D.,” including a 1968 episode featuring future Hollywood icons Al Pacino and Jill Claybaugh. After a stint of directing on the NBC soap “Another World,” Pressman joined rival ABC soap “One Life to Live”  in 1970 at the request of then Executive Producer Doris Quinlin. After directing countless episodes of “OLTL” during the next twenty-eight years, and earning several Daytime Emmy nominations (winning in 1976, 1983, and 1984), Pressman retired from the show in 1998. However, he was soon asked to return for a time to help train the soap’s younger actors.

Also in 1998, Pressman returned to his acting roots when he played the  Shakespeare-quoting homeless man Bernie Hopper on “OLTL.” He later reprised the role in 2003. In 2004 he was interviewed as part of the Archive of American Television’s TV Legends Series, which you can watch here.

Pressman is survived by his wife, two sons, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.



Weary (far left), pictured with sons and wife Zimmer BroadwayWorld.com

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — When Rex (John-Paul Lavoisier) and Natalie (Melissa Archer) arrive in Kentucky at the Spotted Pony Strip Club later this week, fans may recognize the face of the man tending bar behind the counter. A.C. Weary, the husband of Kim Zimmer, who returned to the role of Echo Di Savoy last October after a nearly thirty year absence from the show, has been cast in the recurring role of Theo, the club’s manager. But don’t expect husband and wife to be sharing screen time anytime soon, however.

Weary first airs on Friday, August 19, when he gets the wrong impression about the Buchanan heiress and has a run-in with the young Mr. Balsom. But that’s not all, look for Theo to also have a Buchanan ex-wife on the payroll of his shady establishment.

This is not Weary’s first stint on “One Life to Live.” In 1978 (and again briefly in 1983) he played Dick Grant, the producer of Pat Ashley’s (played by the late Jacqueline Courtney) TV talk show “The View on Llanview,” whom she turned to after learning of her new husband Adam Brewster’s (John Mansfield) shady financial dealings. In true soap fashion, the personable Dick became obsessed with Pat, going as far as kidnapping her as well as her twin sister Maggie (also played by Courtney).

In addition to “OLTL,” he has also directed episodes of “Another World” and appeared as a paramedic on “Ryan’s Hope” in 1978 and as Gary Shaw in “The Edge of Night” in 1984. Other television credits include appearances on “L.A. Law,” “Jake and the Fatman,” and “Father Dowling Mysteries.”



Aaron Montgomery/JPI

After a week of unconfirmed (by the show) firings of numerous actors, NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has now fired its co-executive producer, Gary Tomlin. The news was first reported by TV Guide Canada‘s Nelson Branco on Twitter. News of Tomlin’s firing comes on the heels of last months firing of head writer Dena Higley and the recent firings of actors Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), and Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker).

It was in August 2008 when Executive Producer Ken Corday announced the hiring of Tomlin after confirming the ouster of Ed Scott.

“I have decided that it’s in the best interest of the show’s future to make this change in order to improve ‘Days’ both visually and emotionally,” said Corday at the time. “We at ‘Days’ are grateful to Ed Scott for all of his contributions and amazing energy over the past year. Gary Tomlin brings a long successful history of being an actor’s producer and a writer’s producer to our cast and crew and I know the viewers will see the immediate results of this change for the better.” Unfortunately for Tomlin his services were deemed no longer necessary.

At this time no replacement had been named nor was it clear whether or not Corday would take on all executive producer responsibilities himself.

Prior to joining “DAYS,” Tomlin began his career in daytime in 1973, when he was cast in the contract role of Bruce Carson on “Search for Tomorrow.” He later appeared as Morgan Simpson on NBC’s “Another World” in 1979. From 1980-1981, he was co-head writer of “DAYS” with Michelle Poteet-Lisanti. Later, he went on to co-head write at his old stomping ground, “Another World” for two years starting in 1984. In the late 1980′s/early 1990′s, Tomlin began writing scripts for “Santa Barbara” and directing episodes for both “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” In 1995 he joined “All My Children” as a producer. Upon the debut of NBC’s “Sunset Beach” in 1997 through its last airing in 1999, Tomlin was credited as the shows Executive Producer. He served as a director at NBC’s “Passions” from 2000-2001 and again from April 25, 2003 – April 2, 2008. He joined “One Life to Live” as its Executive Producer in November 2000, but his first credited episodes did not air until January 2001. He left the ABC soap in August 2003. He was immediately replaced by current “One Life” Executive Producer, Frank Valentini. Tomlin won the soap its one and only Outstanding Drama Series Daytime Emmy Award in 2003.

Due to its advanced filming schedule, Tomlin will be credited as EP until episodes scheduled to air in late August/early September.

A “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment at press time.



JPI

Today “Young and the Restless” co-executive producer Paul Rauch announced that he will be stepping down from the drama series as of Friday, April 1, which ironically enough is April Fool’s Day. This of course is no joke.

“My collaboration with Steve Kent, and Maria [Arena Bell] and Bill Bell [Jr.] has been very rewarding,” said Rauch in a statement. “I had great pleasure working with ‘Y&R’s’ magnificent cast and crew. I feel that I’ve accomplished everything that I set out to achieve, and it’s now time for me to return to New York.”

Rauch was named co-executive producer in October 2008 alongside executive producer/head writer Arena Bell. Prior to joining “Y&R,” he served time as executive producer at “Another World,” “Guiding Light,” “One Life to Live,” and “Santa Barbara.”



TeleNext Media, Inc.

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After 72 years on air between radio and television, CBS’s “Guiding Light” will cease broadcasting on the CBS Television Network due to low ratings. Love may save the world, but apparently it wasn’t enough to save television’s longest running daytime drama. Even with having its name published in the Guinness World Record Book and winning three Daytime Emmy’s for Best Drama Series (the most recent being in 2007), “GL” found itself unable to withstand the mass exodus of viewers from the traditional daytime soap format in recent years.

Consistently finding itself in the ratings cellar for the past few years, many sensed that the dimming ‘Light” would soon burn out on the long-running daytime drama.

According to published reports, Proctor & Gamble, the company responsible for producing both “Guiding Light” and sister soap “As the World Turns,” sat down with cast and crew members at their studios in New York and New Jersey on Wednesday morning to break the news that “GL” would be ceasing production this fall, with the last episode airing on Friday, September 18th after more than 15,700 episodes.

The news was met with mixed emotion by fans and cast alike. Long running “GL” castmember Ron Raines, who portrays the villainous Alan Spaulding stated that the “The numbers are really tough for all these old dramas. I don’t think any of the other shows want any of us to go off. We’re all in this together. What was it? 72 years continuous? That will never be touched. It is a very sad thing, but these are the times we live in. It’s very tough out there.”

“Being on the air for more than seven decades is truly remarkable, and it will be difficult for all of us at the show to say goodbye,” said Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler. “I’m proud of everything we’ve been able to do, including outstanding storytelling, our community service around the country with ‘Find Your Light’ and the launch of our new production model. This show has such a rich history, wonderful fans, and I’m honored to have been a part of the ‘GL’ legacy.”

This afternoon’s sudden announcement has sent shockwaves that have reverberated around the nation, as news of “GL’s” demise has dominated media outlets and online soap message boards. Lynn Leahey, Soap Opera Digest editorial director, calls the cancellation “heartbreaking” and said that “it was a constant in people’s lives” that hung around, unlike its prime-time counterparts that came and went. “For many of us, it was the first show we ever watched.”

Former “GL” Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps summed up her fondness for the years she spend at the helm of the long-running daytime drama “‘Guiding Light’ has a very special place in my heart. I began my career in daytime there as a production assistant and later returned as executive producer. It was a privilege (both times) to be a part of such a fabulous group of people who did such outstanding work. Some of the most talented actors, writers, and directors have walked through the doors of ‘Guiding Light.’ The industry will mourn the loss of this beloved show, but ‘Guiding Light’ leaves a rich legacy for all of us in daytime to treasure. I wish all my dear friends a gentle landing.”

Nancy Tellem, President of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, had this to say about the the show’s rich legacy, “‘Guiding Light’ has achieved a piece of television history that will never be matched, it has crossed mediums, adapted its stories to decades of social change, and woven its way through generations of audiences like no other. This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS’s history, with a legacy of innovation and reputation for quality and excellence at every step of the way. While its presence will be missed, its contributions will always be celebrated and will never be forgotten.”

And, according to Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President of Daytime Programs at CBS, “No show in daytime or prime time, or anytime, has touched so many millions of viewers across so many years as ‘Guiding Light.’ We thank the cast, crew, and producers — past and present — who delivered this entertainment institution, the beloved characters, and the time-honored stories to our audience every day for seven decades. It’s been a privilege to work with such an extraordinarily talented group of people.”

Adding to “GL’s” woes within the past decade is the fact that several prominent CBS affiliates from around the country have either moved the soap to early morning or late night time slots, or removed it from their programming schedule entirely (such as KOVR-TV in Sacramento, California and WNEW-TV in Flint City, Michigan).

With sagging ratings, “Guiding Light” began to experiment with several different approaches to the traditional daytime model of storytelling within the past year. The sudser scrapped the familiar three stationary camera set-up in favor of portable cameras, which allowed producers to film cast members in various settings and locations outside the studio. Unfortunately, however, the changes did little to re-energize ‘GL,’ and largely had the opposite effect, resulting in turning off veteran fans and losing such popular cast members such as Beth Elhers and Ricky Paull Goldin (who have since moved on to ABC’s “All My Children”).

According to CBS, in 2008, the soap “premiered a brand-new daytime production model, featuring permanent sets inside its New York City studio and approximately 20% of the production shot in exterior scenes in the town of Peapack, N.J. In addition, directing and editing were changed to be done digitally and almost simultaneously, giving the sets a more realistic feeling and eliminating the need for production suites.”

In a press release issued by TeleNext Media, Inc., which oversees production of “GL” for Proctor & Gamble, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Brian T. Cahill thanked fans for their loyalty over the years and said that “We are honored to have been welcomed into the homes of multiple generations of ‘Guiding Light’ viewers. Cahill also gave “GL” fans a glimmer of soap by announcing that he and his staff are “working hard to find the show a new home, and we are exploring all our options to continue to bring loyal fans the characters and stories they love.” That ‘new home’ could come in the form of online episodes or moving ‘GL’ to a cable or satellite network following the soap’s departure from the CBS Daytime schedule this fall. However, given the recent failure of the now-defunct NBC soap “Passions,” which moved to DirecTV near the end of its run after being cancelled by the Peacock Network, the outlook for a new venue for “Guiding Light” appears bleak at best.

The demise of “Guiding Light” leaves only seven daytime soaps still airing on the Big Three Networks. ABC and CBS will each have three and NBC one. In terms of longevity, fellow P&G soap “As the World Turns” is daytime’s second oldest drama, celebrating its 53rd anniversary on April 2nd. The other six soaps (with the year they premiered in parenthesis) are “General Hospital” (1963), “Days of Our Lives” (1965), “One Life to Live” (1968), “All My Children” (1970), “The Young & the Restless” (1973), and “The Bold & the Beautiful” (1987). “GL” becomes the eighth daytime drama to be cancelled in the past twenty years, placing it with the likes of “Another World,” “Santa Barbara,” “Sunset Beach,” “Loving,” “The City,” “Port Charles,” and “Passions.”

“Guiding Light” was created nearly seventy-five years ago by the talented soap writer Irna Phillips (1901-1973). Long recognized as a daytime pioneer, Phillips created or co-created nearly a dozen soaps, three of which (“As the World Turns” and “Days of Our Lives,” which she helped Tim and Betty Corday develop) were still on the air at the beginning of 2009. Phillips has either direct or indirect ties to all but one of the eight present daytime dramas. Agnes Nixon (creator of “One Life to Live” and “All My Children”) and William J. Bell, who developed the concepts for “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” were at one time writers for Phillips on several of her soaps. This leaves “General Hospital” as the only remaining soap not either created by the late soap icon, or one of her protégés. “Guiding Light” paid homage to Phillips in a special 70th anniversary episode in 2007, which featured past and present cast members portraying Phillips, her crew, and some of the original “GL” characters while recording a radio broadcast of the show in the late 1930s.

Launched as a 15-minute NBC radio serial on January 25, 1937, “Guiding Light” would later make the transition to television, premiering on CBS on June 30th, 1952. The radio broadcast ran concurrently with its TV counterpart (and featured the same actors and characters) before coming to an end in 1956. “GL” first aired in color on September 11th, 1967, and expanded to thirty minutes the following year. In November 1977, it expanded once more, this time to sixty minutes. Ratings peaked in late 1981, but have steadily declined in the years that have followed.

Set in the fictional town of Springfield and focusing primarily on the Spaulding, Lewis, and Cooper families, “Guiding Light” has won an impressive 69 Daytime Emmy Awards and 12 Soap Opera Digest Awards during the soap’s long, record-setting history. “GL” has also broken ground over the years by tackling numerous controversial issues including teen pregnancy, cancer, alcoholism, sexual harrasement, abuse, Down Syndrome, and post-partum depression. It was also the first daytime drama to prominently feature African-Americans in frontburner storylines in 1966. ‘GL’ became the first soap to podcast audio only episodes in 2005. Veteran cast members include Kim Zimmer, Jordan Clarke, Robert Newman, Michael O’Leary, Grant Alexander, and Tina Sloan. “GL” also boasts a long list of distinguished alumni, including Justin Deas (who is tied with “One Life to Live’s” Erika Slezak and “General Hospital’s Anthony Geary for most Daytime Emmy wins, and remains a part of the cast), Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Taye Diggs, Hayden Panettiere, and Brittany Snow.

Originally known as “The Guiding Light” (‘the’ was dropped in 1975), the show focused around the character of the Rev. John Ruthledge, and his parishioners in the Chicago suburb of Five Points (the setting later moved to Selby Flats, before finally settling in Springfield). A continuously lit lamp in the Reverend’s study assured his flock that he was there for them whenever they needed him.

Even though the ‘Light’ will soon be extinguished, its legacy and rich history will continue to live on in future generations of soap fans. Thank you, “Guiding Light,” for your contributions to the daytime drama, and God speed. You will be missed.

Stay connected to SON as we continue to follow this story.

“Guiding Light” airs Weekdays on CBS. Anytime on CBS.com. Check local listings.









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