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News, Cast Updates and Scoop(News section last updated May 24, 2013)
Ron Raines, Paolo Seganti Among OLTL HiresOLTL has announced five new hires. GL vet Ron Raines (ex-Alan) will join the cast as Carl Petersen, the mysterious benefactor of Corbin Bleu's Jeffrey. ATWT alum Paolo Seganti (ex-Damian) will play Arturo Bandini, a wealthy member of a family who is influential in the art world. Another former Oakdale citizen, Marnie Schulenberg (ex-Alison) will play Jo Sullivan, the producer of David's reality show; Jack's summer school teacher will be played by Alice Callahan. Seganti and Callahan debut on June 27; Schulenberg arrives on July 23; and August 20 will mark the first appearance of Raines.
Catch Dano On QVC!Daytime veteran/interior designer Linda Dano (ex-Felicia, Another World/ex-Cynthia, As The World Turns/ex-Lena, Guiding Light/ex-Rae, GENERAL HOSPITAL/ALL MY CHILDREN/ONE LIFE TO LIVE/Port Charles) has some exciting new pieces in her Linda Dano Home Collection for QVC that she will be unveiling on the shopping channel on Tuesday, May 28!
The 2013 spring collection features Dano's signature storage trunks, a show-stopping animal print chest and throw pillows, versatile bamboo rugs and easel, richly colored linens, and other stylish accessories including the return of her beveled mirror centerpieces in new sizes. "As hard as it is to believe that I'm celebrating 20 years with QVC, it's been the perfect way for me to reach so many more people than I could have imagined," she says. "It is a collaboration that allows me to be passionate about good taste, style, versatility and craftsmanship and for me to show them how each piece works in any style home decor: traditional, modern or eclectic."
Let Dano help you make your home a sanctuary! Tune in to QVC on Tuesday, May 28, from 3-4 p.m. EST. The pieces (as well as others from her collection) will also be available on-line at www.qvc.com.
It's Sloan's Turn To Shine!The wait is over! Happy New Year, the poignant, film-festival favorite featuring GUIDING LIGHT's Tina Sloan (Lillian) as the mother of a struggling, injured war veteran (played by Michael Cuomo), is finally coming to your screen. The picture will be available via cable-on-demand and broadband digital platforms beginning Tuesday, May 21, with DVD and subscription-based streaming options to follow this summer. Fans will remember that Sloan made this picture shortly after the conclusion of GL and drew from her experience being a military mom herself! "It's just an absolutely amazing, amazing movie," Sloan enthuses. "Nobody's a star in it, but a lot of people came and did cameos because the script was so good." For more on the film, visit happynewyearfilm.com.
GL Alum Cast In Cable Dramaedy!Hunky GUIDING LIGHT Aussie Murray Bartlett (Cyrus) will be back on the small screen next year! The actor has been cast in one of the lead roles in an untitled HBO dramedy about a trio of gay friends living in San Francisco. The eight-episode series will also star GLEE and ONE LIFE TO LIVE alum Jonathan Groff (ex-Henry) and SMASH's Frankie J. Alvarez.
Soap Stars Hit PrimetimeThe networks recently revealed their upcoming primetime plans, and there are quite a few daytime alums who will be gracing our TV screens in these new series!
Natalie Hall (ex-Colby, ALL MY CHILDREN) will be featured in STAR-CROSSED, a new CW drama set in a world where an alien race have landed on Earth and been forced to live in an internment camp. But things get interesting when an alien boy and eight others of his kind are integrated in a suburban high school, and a romance develops between him and a human girl.
AMC's Sarah Michelle Gellar (ex-Kendall) and ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Amanda Setton (ex-Kimberly) will be appearing in CRAZY ONES, a new CBS comedy set in the world of advertising and starring Robin Williams.
Wendy Moniz (ex-Mayor Finn, OLTL; Dinah, GUIDING LIGHT) is in the cast of BETRAYAL, a sudsy-sounding drama that also stars James Cromwell and Henry Thomas.
And two of AS THE WORLD TURNS' former Lucys have new primetime gigs: Spencer Grammer will be in NBC's crime-drama IRONSIDE, based on the '60s series, and Peyton List will be starring in The CW's THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, a sci-fi adventure based on a UK series from the '70s about teenagers with powerful psychic powers.
Soap star Jordi Vilasuso 'flips the script' and creates a 'Perfect Day' for fans(wnypapers.com) Actor, producer, founder and father. These are just a few of the many accomplishments soap star Jordi Vilasuso has achieved.
"All My Children's" Dr. Griffin Castillo is back in Pine Valley after the recent re-launch of the soap opera. On this day, however, Vilasuso is in Atlanta - and it's sort of to treat a patient like his character would on "AMC."
But Vilasuso won't be acting. Rather, the actor is introducing his newest venture: Creating a "Perfect Day" for soap fans. "Perfect Day," a new Web series, profiles soap actors and their biggest fans.
"We saw what was happening to the genre of daytime television. We came up with this idea ... to cater to the fans. Our whole motto is to flip the script. With everything that has happened with the fans, it's the reason 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' came back to the air. The fans were the reason with the campaigns. We want to give back," Vilasuso said.
"Perfect Day" also helps support local charities. It raises awareness of learning disabilities, genetic disorder and illnesses such as autism, Down syndrome and breast cancer.
Jeff Dockweiler, on-set coach for "AMC," John Homa, on-set coach for "General Hospital," and Vilasuso created a production company called Paos Revolution (literally soap spelled backwards). After extensive researching and planning, Vilasuso and Paos Revolution launched "Perfect Day."
"We get a daytime star and a charity they believe in, and why this charity story needs to be told, and how it contributes to society and to making life better. Then you have a fan, and them giving the fan a perfect day," said an enthusiastic Vilasuso. "The fans will get to see another side of the daytime stars they haven't seen before."
What made Vilasuso create such an inspiring idea? In conjunction with acting and spending time with his newlywed and daughter, he enjoys giving back. In his spare time, the actor attends many charities and various events that give back to society. One of his main goals is to contribute and make a difference in the world.
"When I started getting some kind of exposure, I started getting all these events and fundraisers and what have you. They were great; have some drinks, dance. But I never felt like me, myself, I made a difference and contributed," Vilasuso said. "If I can make it to charities, I try to go. I love to help out and there's so many. As a person who has some sort of privilege of influence, I feel I should do that. So I felt like this model, this show, will excite and inspire the audience.
"If I watch movies, I like it to be intriguing. When I watch something, I know I've got my money's worth when I laugh and cry. When the idea for 'Perfect Day' came up, I thought, 'Wow, this is something worth perusing,' rather than just showing up to charities. I feel like this kind of vehicle puts exposure on a whole other level."
The pilot episode features the actors giving fan Jane Rosko (Dockweiler's sister) a perfect day for her son, who has autism. Vilasuso's focus for the pilot was Jacob's Ladder Center for Autism in Atlanta. His goal was to give super mom Rosko a perfect day, and flip the script to indicate she is the star of the show. Vilasuso said Rosko is a huge fan of "AMC," and was thrilled to hear of the webisode.
"Whether it's a great restaurant, spa or local attraction, we will highlight the local charity. We're interested on shining light on smaller charities. Jacob's Ladder Center is a great one," Vilasuso said. "Jane was a great choice, because she is our partner's sister and she is a huge fan of mine. I've had some phone conversation, and she's been a fan of mine since I starred in 'Guiding Light.' Jeff has seen what she's gone through and he thought it was the perfect match. We feel, for this episode, it worked out perfectly. We're giving back, and it's something she has a very intimate relationship with."
According to Vilasuso, fans can expect the show to have an "Extreme Makeover" feel to it. Both shows focus on giving back to society and charities while utilizing a few celebrities in the process.
In this case, whether it is go-cart racing, playing baseball, etc., fans can anticipate to laugh, cry and learn more about their favorite soap stars.
"It's a feel-good reality show," Vilasuso said. "We're going to use somebody who had some sort of celebrity status. We're going after the soap fans. Soap fans are very loyal. We want to engage it and let the story be told and how it contributes to society and making life better. I'm so passionate about it, because there's a lot of good reality TV, and we want to promote a good product fans will enjoy to watch."
Paos Revolution anticipates great results and fan responses from the production and the pilot episode. Vilasuso expressed his excitement about highlighting autism, because May is Autism Awareness month.
In each webisode, 10 percent of the funds raised will go directly to the charity of choice.
"It will exist for all the right reasons. It's not just some reality show. People ask 'What are you doing in your down time when you're not acting?' It took me years to figure out what am I doing. I am so passionate about this project. ... It's fulfilled me," Vilasuso said. "I contacted everyone on my Facebook and Twitter and said, 'Hey, please check this out.' I've never spent the amount of work doing this. The replies and messages I got back on Facebook amazes me and made me think, 'Wow, this is really relevant to our society. It's going to make a difference.' "
"Perfect Day" will air this summer. Fans can watch the pilot episode and purchase DVDs at paosrevolution.com. To help contribute and make a difference, visit indiegogo.com and click "make a contribution." The set goal for the summer is $25,000.
To watch Vilasuso on "All My Children," visit hulu.com.
Stringfield's Confession!This weekend, Sherry Stringfield, the actress who portrayed Blake Bauer's crazy youth on GUIDING LIGHT, returns to television in a much more maternal role. She's starring in the Hallmark Channel Original, Beverly Lewis' The Confession as the terminally ill birth mother of a young Amish woman (SWITCHED AT BIRTH's Katie Leclerc) who wants desperately to be reunited. "It's a sequel to Beverly Lewis' The Shunning, and both stories are based on these insanely popular books," Stringfield explains. "It's something that you don't see a lot: a young woman's story of innocence, growing up, and learning about the world. I thought it was beautifully told."
Executive produced and directed by Michael Landon Jr. (the half-brother of Jennifer Landon, ex-Heather, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS; Gwen, AS THE WORLD TURNS), the intriguing tale delves deep into relationships, but it's definitely not all hearts and flowers. "My character [a wealthy socialite] has a husband, and they're going through some things — he's been a total dirt bag," she previews. "As it's turns out, he's tricking her and it's really interesting." For more about the film, which premieres on Saturday, May 11, at 9 p.m. EST, and to hear about what else the popular actress has been up to, check out her Keeping Track feature in the next issue of Soaps In Depth.
O'Leary's STEAMBOAT Keeps Rolling!Remember the Web series STEAMBOAT, the comedy about the last days of a dying soap opera that featured GUIDING LIGHT's Michael O'Leary (Rick) and AS THE WORLD TURNS' Michael Park (Jack) among other familiar faces from daytime dramas? Well, Studio 47 Productions and ConvergTV's The Venture Channel have announced that STEAMBOAT will now be available on Roku and NetTalk TV as phase one of a global rollout for the network and the show.
Studio 47 Productions is headed up by O'Leary and Scott Bryce (Craig, ATWT), and also has three more comedies in development and a reality show set to begin production this summer. There are currently 2 episodes of STEAMBOAT with 11 more in pre-production.
Ian Ziering -- I'm Ready to Be a Male Stripper!(tmz.com) (Photo) Attention West Beverly High alumni: Steve Sanders is jacked.
Former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Ian Ziering (ex-Cam, Guiding Light) is getting pumped for his upcoming gig stripping with the yoked man panty crew of Chippendales ... by working out -- with a photographer on hand -- in Studio City on Thursday.
While the 49-year-old's shirtless Vegas stint doesn't start until June ... he's already showing off his peach pits.
Ian Ziering Welcomes Daughter Penna MaeAfter becoming a father in 2011, Ian Ziering (ex-Cam, Guiding Light) has welcomed his second daughter two years to the day later.
The actor and his wife Erin welcomed Penna Mae Ziering on Thursday, April 25 in Los Angeles, they tell PEOPLE exclusively. Arriving at 9:21 a.m. and weighing in at 6 lbs., 9 oz., their daughter arrived on big sister Mia Loren‘s second birthday.
“We didn’t plan it!” Ziering, 49, tells PEOPLE. “Mia was born a week late and Penna was a week early.”
Mia was introduced to her new sibling last night, the dad of two says. “She couldn’t wait to meet her. When she saw Penna she said, ‘Baby sister!’”
As with Mia’s moniker, the new baby’s name draws inspiration from family. Penna is in honor of Ian’s late father, Paul, while Mae makes her the fourth generation of women on Erin’s side to use the middle name. Erin’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all share it with the newborn.
“We are ecstatic,” says Ziering, who will join the Chippendales revue in Vegas this June. “Having a family is the realization of a dream for us both.”
The Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dancing with the Stars alum brought his wife, a nurse, home from the hospital on Friday afternoon — and Mia was prepared to welcome them. “She had all her toys lined up and ready to show Penna,” Ziering tells PEOPLE with a laugh.
Pitch Perfect Star Brittany Snow: I Found Out About Sequel on Twitter!Brittany Snow (ex-Susan, Guiding Light) says she had heard some talk about a Pitch Perfect sequel being developed, but there was never anything nothing official—until she checked Twitter the other day!
Universal announced earlier this week that a follow-up to the college musical was a go and set for a release in 2015.
"I literally found out through Twitter," Snow, who played Chloe in Pitch Perfect, said at the premiere of Call Me Crazy, her new Lifetime movie (airing April 20) about mental illness. "I had my little secrets that people were telling me, but I didn't really know until...somebody tweeted me that it was happening."
If she is in talks to reprise her role, Snow isn't saying. "I hope I'm in it," she said. "Maybe people should rally together to get me in it!"
Ian Ziering -- 9021-Oh Damn ... I'm a Stripper Now!(tmz.com) In the world of 90210 ... if Tori Spelling were a stripper, Ian Ziering (ex-Cam, Guiding Light) would be her male counterpart ... and this scary fantasy has become real because he's heading to Vegas baby!
Ian is the latest celeb to join the infamous Las Vegas Chippendales revue for a guest dancing stint -- following in the footsteps of Joey Lawrence, Jake Pavelka and 98 Degrees star Jeff Timmons.
Ian will be taking most of it off at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino during most of June ... allowing hoards of 30-something women to feebly cling to their Steve Sanders fantasy.
And lest you forget, Ian CAN dance -- he made it to the semi-finals on "Dancing with the Stars" back in season 4.
Waltzing, stripping ... it's all the same right?
Interview: GL Alum Tackles Sinatra!(cbs.soapsindepth.com) Did you know that Frank Sinatra was behind JFK's presidency? Or that the beloved president's assassination was really a Mob retaliation? And it all happened because the crooner introduced his girlfriend to a young senator, who simultaneously had an affair with the presidential hopeful and the head of the Chicago Mafia!
That's the theory behind the play Ride The Tiger -- currently being staged at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, until Sunday, April 21, and starring GUIDING LIGHT alum Paul Anthony Stewart (Danny) as Frank and ALL MY CHILDREN's Christina Bennett Lind (ex-Bianca) as the above-mentioned mistress, Judy Exner. Written by William Mastrosimone -- who spent a year interviewing the beloved singer to write the Golden Globe-winning television series SINATRA -- the play is based on a revelation made during one of their conversations. "The play takes specific plot elements that Sinatra told Bill, who then creates a scenario of what happened in these rooms when no one else was listening," explains Stewart.
History's Untold Tale
But when Bobby Kennedy went after the Mafia instead, the gangsters retaliated. "That's the basic story, and then Bill created this really salacious, fun, political thriller of a play," says Stewart. "The show almost entirely consists of two-person scenes, imagining what the conversations were like between all of these characters as they bounced around from meeting to meeting."
His Take On Old Blue Eyes
Stewart says that it was important to him that Sinatra's private persona come across in his portrayal, not the public one that we know from his recordings and movies. "When I was first approached with this project, I said, 'I am not interested in being an impersonator. I want to hook into the essence of this guy and create a true, real person, to tell this incredible story,'" he confesses. "I feel like I'm making good strides in that direction."
To prepare, Stewart read a lot of Sinatra biographies and watched his short-lived 1950s television series. "It helped give me a good idea of his speech patterns and physical mannerisms, because he was himself hosting the show. Not playing a character." And then there's the Jersey accent! "He was a real Hoboken street thug!" Stewart says with a laugh. "When he sang or did movies, he changed his speech and removed his accent. But when he spoke, he had a very thick accent." So does that mean that Stewart spends his time in Ride The Tiger talking like a real "Joisey" goomba? "Ah... pretty much!"
What The Heck Does The Play's Title Mean?
"It's really a wonderful play," he concludes. "The writing is fantastic, we're all having a great time, and I feel so honored to be a part of it."
For tickets and more information on Ride The Tiger, visit www.longwharf.org.
Paula Garces Joins AMCPaula Garces, best known to daytime fans as GL's Pilar Santos, will appear on Prospect Park's relaunch of AMC as Lea Marquez, described by the show as "a smart, savvy, beautiful woman who's devoted her life to a career of fighting crime and bringing down the bad guys. Lea’s career takes up most of her days and nights, which leaves little time for a personal life. That is, until a man challenges her safe, controlled existence and threatens to open up the part of her she'd long since put to rest, her heart." The actress, who has appeared in the Harold & Kumar films, will also be seen on Lifetime's upcoming DEVIOUS MAIDS, co-starring AMC vet Susan Lucci (ex-Erica).
Hayden Panettiere Talks Parenthood to Glamour: "I Was Born to Be a Mother"She may already be engaged. Could parenthood be the next step for Hayden Panettiere?
The 23-year-old Nashville star—who has yet to confirm reports that her on-again beau, Wladimir Klitschko, popped the question late last month—has opened up to Glamour magazine about both marriage and family, weighing in on tying the knot at a young age and whether motherhood is in the cards for her.
And when it comes to answers, she's holding certain cards close to her chest while putting the rest on the table.
"I don't really have a plan," the petite blond stunner tells the magazine about marriage—an interesting revelation given all the subsequent talk about her supposed engagement.
Panettiere, however, is much more definitive about the possibility of children.
"I've lived a very big life, and I don't feel my age, and I feel like I was born to be a mother," she explains. "Sometimes people speak about [having kids] like, 'Your life ends—you're never going to be able to do anything again!' And I'm like, 'What are you talking about?'"
Motherhood, Panettiere contends, "is the most beautiful, exciting thing, and there's nothing that I feel like I can't accomplish while having children in my life."
As for whether her heavyweight-boxer beau could be the father of her children?
"It wouldn't shock me!" the actress exclaims.
Something tells us it wouldn't shock Klitschko, either.
Hayden Panettiere & Wladimir Klitschko -- Bikini Makeout Time!(Photo1, Photo2) After recently getting back together, Hayden Panettiere and her giant boyfriend Wladimir Klitschko continued on their face sucking PDA tour by soaking up the sun -- and each other -- on the beach in Hollywood, Florida on Tuesday.
With rumors speculating they are already engaged, a ringless Hayden showed off her lady curves in a sexy purple fringe bikini, while Wlad bronzed his jacked up boxer's physique by going shirtless.
Whether engaged or not, their lips are definitely not sealed.
Hayden Panettiere's new ring fuels engagement rumors(Photo) Hayden Panettiere’s new sparkler is fueling rumors that she’s secretly engaged to her beau Wladimir Klitschko.
As she frolicked around the Florida beaches in a lavender string bikini, she flaunted a bauble coated with tiny diamonds on her ring finger.
Panettiere’s musician friend Kate York also posted a photo of Panettiere wrapping her legs around her heavyweight hunk, putting the jewel in full display.
Last week, a new report surfaced that the rekindled pair are set to wed. A source told Us Weekly that the 26-year-old “Nashville” star and the 37-year-old Ukrainian boxer might even tie the knot by this summer.
Although they have not publicly acknowledged their romance, the two have been hot and heavy since reuniting earlier this year.
Hayden Panettiere Celebrates Easter on the Beach(Photo) Don't hide that body in Nashville.
Hayden Panettiere celebrated Easter Miami style – in a bikini on the beach!
Wearing a purple triangle top bikini with turquoise and gold details, the 23-year-old smiled as she waded in the warm Florida water.
The actress – who is staying at the beach with friends – has been enjoying her time off, Tweeting photos with captions like "Love my friends!"
But the Florida trip hasn't been all fun in the sun for Panettiere. Tweeting a photo on Saturday of herself sitting on an ice pack, she wrote "Sun burn remedy #bagofice #dontrunoutofsunscreen."
Although she recently reconciled with former flame Wladimir Klitschko, he was visibly absent from photos.
Report: Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko EngagedIs Hayden Panettiere engaged?
According to Us Weekly, the Nashville star is secretly engaged to her on-again, off-again boyfriend, boxer Wladimir Klitschko.
Panettiere, 23, and Klitcshko, 37, dated for two years before splitting in May 2011. While they haven't confirmed their reconciliation, the pair was spotted kissing at Sunday's Miami Heat game.
An email to the actress' rep has not been returned.
Amanda Knox Retrial: Will Hayden Panettiere Reprise Her Role in a Lifetime TV Movie Sequel? Get the DetailsHayden Panettiere won't have to go back to being a brunette (at least, not for this role).
After drawing in 2.8 million viewers with Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy in 2011, it only makes sense that Lifetime would jump at the chance of shooting a sequel now that Amanda Knox is facing a retrial.
Right?! Nope, the network doesn't see it that way, anyway.
A source tells E! News that Lifetime has no plans on shooting a sequel to the TV movie and left it at that.
The flick, which debuted in February 2011 and starred Panettiere and Marcia Gay Harden, depicted the events surrounding Knox's trial for the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.
Earlier today, it was announced that the Court of Cassation, Italy's final court of appeal, overturned the acquittals of both Knox and then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, ordering her to stand trial again for the 2007 death of her roommate.
"No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity," Knox said in a statement.
Hayden Panettiere & Wladimir Klitschko Kiss -- Back to Face Sucking!(Photo) They've been spotted out getting cozy again lately, but last night Hayden Panettiere and her ex-boyfriend Wladimir Klitschko put all those dating rumors to rest ... by gorging on their tongues in public.
With the entire American Airlines Arena watching, the itty bitty 23-year-old babe and her 6'6" Ukrainian boxing champ lover inhaled each other's mouths at the Miami Heat game in Florida on Sunday.
After previously dating for about two years, Hayden and Wlad ended their relationship back in 2011.
Glad to see they've kissed and made up.
Bethany Joy Lenz Moves In On Dexter!One Tree Hill fans, rejoice! And be a little scared. TV Guide Magazine has learned exclusively that the fabulous OTH vet Bethany Joy Lenz will be recurring on Dexter's eighth season, which is set to premiere on June 30 at 9/8c.
Described as "an attractive former finance executive looking for a quieter life," Lenz's character, Cassie, is slated to debut in the season's fourth episode and will wind up moving in next door to Dexter. While it's doubtful she will actually find life so close to a serial killer to be peaceful, we have a sneaking suspicion that her arrival will shake things up for Dex as he and Deb continue to pass themselves off as normal, non-homicidal, slightly-incestuous siblings.
Daytime Collection Headed To The Smithsonian!The Smithsonian Institute has partnered with the National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) to bring some of the most iconic daytime television memorabilia to the national museum! A rep for the museum tells Soaps In Depth that it is still in the planning stages, but the Smithsonian hopes to eventually showcase a collection that features costumes, props, scripts, awards and much more!
Ricky Paull Goldin Joins The Bold and the Beautiful(tvguide.com) Here comes trouble! TV Guide Magazine has exclusively learned that former All My Children and Guiding Light great Ricky Paull Goldin will hit The Bold and the Beautiful May 15 as Jesse, the badass dude who fathered Maya's child. According to a B&B rep, the baby daddy "will arrive on the scene, see Maya with Rick and immediately get jealous." The hyper-busy Goldin, who is exec producer and host of the new HGTV series Spontaneous Construction, reports for work at the CBS soap this week. The gig, while non-contract, could have serious potential.
"I've pretty much put acting on hold but when the Bell family asks you to do a role, it's not that easy to say no!" Goldin tells us. "I worked for them many years ago on The Young and the Restless and it was a wonderful experience. I'm so honored to be back with them."
Truth be told, Goldin also jumped at the chance to play a villain. "I've always been cast as the hero with a few flaws," he says. "Jesse is a really dark guy with a lot of potential layers and that's very attractive to me. How long will he be around? That Fifth Harmony song from The X Factor keeps going through my head — 'Anything Can Happen!'"
Goldin, who declined an opportunity to revive his Jake Martin role in the upcoming AMC reboot, has established his own TV production company, GoldLine Entertainment, and has recently sold projects to MTV, TLC and the Style Network. Spontaneous Construction, a delightfully dizzy concept that mixes social networking, flash mobs and extreme home makeovers, had a soft launch on HGTV in February and will officially premiere on the cable channel in April. (Check out the sizzle reel here.
"It's a show that's all about love," Goldin says. "People have been smashed so hard by the economy and one weather crisis after another, so we're putting a hand over the picket fence and helping out our neighbors. There are a lot of tears and a lot of laughs and a whole lot of learning. It's been a beautiful experience."
Jack Coleman & Stephen Martines Join USA's 'Burn Notice' As RecurringUSA’s Burn Notice is beefing up the cast for the upcoming seventh and potentially final season. Jack Coleman (ex-Jake, Days Of Our Lives) and Stephen Martines (ex-Nikolas, GH/ex-Tony, GL) have been cast as recurring, while Nick Tarabay is set for a two-episode arc. Production on Season 7, which will mark the series’ 100th episode, begins on Monday in Miami. Coleman, who recurred on The Office for the past two seasons, will play Andrew Strong, a ranking CIA officer who has seen it all. Noble, but also obsessive at times, Strong is a relentless taskmaster who pushes Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) to do whatever it takes to complete the mission. He is with Domain and Framework. Martines plays Carlos Cruz, a swashbuckling bounty hunter and Fiona’s (Gabrielle Anwar) charming new boyfriend. Tarabay, repped by Domain and Medavoy Management, will play Dexter Gamble, a cold-blooded freelance operative.
GL's Chamberlin Has "No Regrets"GUIDING LIGHT alum Beth Chamberlin (Beth) admits that her guest-starring role in tomorrow night's episode of BLUE BLOODS is "very small," but adds that "it was a fantastic experience. It was just a dream."
While her character is married to an old friend of Tom Selleck's police commissioner character played by ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Brian Kerwin (Charlie), Chamberlin is hesitant to reveal much more about the episode's story. "Obviously, I was close as well, through my husband," she says in character of her character's relationship with Selleck's. "But we've, in recent years, lost touch. And so we're sort of meeting up again."
The actress was so impressed with Selleck as a scene partner she even compares him to one of her closest GL co-stars! "It actually reminded me a little of working with Grant Aleksander (Phillip)," Chamberlin confides, "because he had such a level of caring about this scene that we had. For me, there's nothing more satisfying than working with somebody that has that deep level of caring for the whole product. Not just his part of the product — the whole product."
The episode of BLUE BLOODS titled "No Regrets" airs Friday, March 15, at 10:00 pm EST on CBS.
Brittany Snow's Glow-in-the-Dark, Rave-Themed Birthday Bash(Photo) Brittany Snow's 27th birthday was Pitcher Perfect!
The actress, joined by beau Tyler Hoechlin, rounded up a slew of her former big-screen costars on Saturday to help her celebrate another year.
Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Kelley Jakle, Alexis Knapp and Adam DeVine were among the musical comedy's actors to attend Snow's glow-in-the-dark, rave-themed bash at the Mack Sennett Studios in Hollywood.
Other celebrities who showed up for the festivities included Nikki Reed and hubby Paul McDonald, Julianne Hough, Nina Dobrev and Rumer Willis.
"There was a deejay, soundstage, fog blowers and all," a partygoer tells PEOPLE. "Guests danced the night away while tossing their glow sticks in the air. Brittany was in great spirits and mentioned that she wished Anna Kendrick could have been there, but she was at SXSW."
During the party, which went from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., guests sipped on drinks by Voli light vodka and watched a reel on the birthday girl's Love Is Louder charity. And the night didn't end without a special mini chocolate cake.
@Brittanysnow Thank you all for the sweet birthday messages. So honored & grateful. So funny #HappyBirthdayDJSnow is a thing. Haha.
Tiny Hayden Panettiere Playfully Poses With a Gigantic SUV-See the Hilarious Photo!(Photo1, Photo2) They say big things come in small packages. Well, Hayden Panettiere is proof that sometimes funny things can be found there as well.
The pint-sized Nashville star playfully tweeted a hilarious photo of herself standing next to an enormous SUV on Tuesday.
"I know I'm small, but COME ON! I think this should be my new ride. #Napoleonsyndrome," Panettiere wrote.
The 23-year-old actress then proceeded to show off her, um, tough side by posting a pic of herself sitting on the hood of the huge vehicle.
Of course, given Panettiere's tiny stature, it's hard to know for sure just how big the SUV actually is here.
Regardless, it's a pretty awesome Kodak moment nevertheless.
Another Girl on the Way for Ian ZieringIan Ziering (ex-Cam, Guiding Light) is quickly becoming outnumbered at home.
The actor and wife Erin are set to welcome a second daughter in early May, he tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“I’m so excited about having another girl, and I’m at this crazy point in the pregnancy where Erin is so magnificent to me in every way,” says the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star, 48. “I am so in love with my love.”
This also means that daughter Mia Loren, who turns two on April 25, is getting ready for her new role.
“Mia is so excited. She lays her head on my stomach and says, ‘Baby come out now,’” Erin tells PEOPLE. “Every time we see a baby she says, ‘I am having a baby sister’ and talks about how she’s going to be her new friend.”
After a high-risk first pregnancy that found her struggling with gestational diabetes and an elevated heartbeat, Erin underwent additional monitoring this time around, leading to the discovery at just 11 weeks along that she was expecting another girl.
“Ian didn’t want to know,” Erin explains, but he ended up finding out only three weeks after she did. Thankfully, this pregnancy has had no complications. “Everything is fine, thank God,” Ian tells PEOPLE.
Ian, the youngest of three brothers, was hoping for a son so that he could “teach him how to be a good guy and a great man. At the moment I found out what sex the baby was, there was a little time of disappointment but there are just as many reasons to have a girl as to have a boy. Spending two years with Mia showed me that.”
Will they keep trying for a boy? “We’ll see where we’re at two,” the actor notes.
As Mia was named for Ian’s late mother Mickie, this baby’s moniker will honor the actor’s father Paul, who passed away in 2008. Until they decide on a name, “she’s baby P for now,” Ian says.
'Bad Management' Adds To CastEJ Bonilla (ex-Rafe, Guiding Light/Marco, Revenge) has joined Sharon Horgan’s ABC single-camera comedy pilot Bad Management. Written by Horgan and Holly Walsh and executive produced by Aaron Kaplan, Bad Management centers on a slightly self-centered female boss (Horgan) at a high-end luxury goods department store who finds her ways challenged when the boss’ son, Tobias Jr. (David Spade), comes to town and makes youth and sex the new company focus. Bonilla will play Ramon, a vain guy working at the store who had implants on his butt cheeks.
Reunited, maybeCould Hayden Panettiere and Scotty McKnight be reconciling after their recent split? Sources said the “Nashville” star and the former New York Jet are “talking again, and spending a bit of time together again. He hopes they’ll get back together.” They split amicably in December after a year and a half as a couple. Panettiere has since been linked with her ex, heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, whom she dated for nearly two years. Her rep didn’t get back to us.
GL Star Tortures THE AMERICANS!GUIDING LIGHT alum Robert Bogue (Mallet) is about to make a memorable appearance in the high-profile primetime series THE AMERICANS, where he will be playing a CIA agent. "But there's a twist at the end, which I can't divulge," he teases. "The character's not who you think he is."
The actor had a great time working with series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, even in the somewhat less-than-ideal shooting conditions! "I think it was 11 degrees that day," Bogue recalls, and [the scenes] involved me torturing them with cold water. So the physical challenges were there that day. It was brutal! But a great, spooky character."
Bogue's episode of THE AMERICANS episode, entitled "Trust Me" airs tonight, Wednesday, March 6, at 10:00 pm EST on FX.
Trio Added To ABC’s ‘Betrayal’Wendy Moniz (ex-Dinah, Guiding Light/ex-Mayor Finn, One Life To Live) has been cast in ABC‘s drama pilot Betrayal. Written by David Zabel and directed by Patty Jenkins, Betrayal centers on Sara (Hannah Ware), a beautiful but unhappily married female photographer who begins a torrid affair with Jack, a lawyer for a powerful family. Moniz, repped by Sanders.Armstrong.Caserta and Innovative, plays Jack’s wife Elaine, the daughter of the powerful Terence Karsten (James Cromwell). Also cast in the pilot are Elizabeth McLaughlin and Braeden Lamasters as Elaine and Jack’s 16-year-old twins.
Rylan Leaves Y&R For GH!Soap Opera Digest can confirm that Emme Rylan (previously known as Marcy), who recently returned to Y&R as Abby, has been cast as GH's new Lulu, replacing Julie Marie Berman, who announced her departure last week. The first airdate for the popular star, who had been let go from Y&R, then brought back on a recurring basis, is unknown at this time.
Moves & groovesHayden Panettiere (ex-Lizzie, Guiding Light/ex-Sarah, One Life To Live) showed off her moves at Susanne Bartsch’s “Catwalk” party at Marquee on Thursday. “She got on top of the dancer’s box and started to dance jokingly for her friends,” says a spy. Another witness tells us it wasn’t all fun for the “Nashville” star. “Later, it looked like Hayden was taking care of her girlfriend, who seemed really wasted and was trying to bum cigarettes,” says our source. Earlier, Panettiere was spotted at the One Group’s STK Downtown.
Paul Wesley on early acting struggles: 'That time was very rewarding'Paul Wesley has opened up about the struggles of his early acting career.
The Vampire Diaries star spent his teen years juggling school and work on the soap opera Guiding Light, a situation which he said helped him become a better actor.
"It was both stressful and unbelievably rewarding," Wesley explained to August Man. "For me, going into Manhattan three or four times a week to film during high school was an escape from the typical New Jersey suburban life."
He further commented: "I was exposed to a lot at a young age that really helped shape who I am today. At the same time, schools were kicking me out for poor attendance."
Wesley also revealed that he has learned not to covet any single role as his dream job.
"Every time I read a great script, I fall in love with a character and get lost in the idea of playing him," he said. "I don't think there's one particular role I dream about."
The Vampire Diaries airs on Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW. The show is broadcast on ITV2 in the UK.
Brittany Snow To Star In Fox Pilot 'To My Assistant'Brittany Snow (ex-Susan, Guiding Light/ex-Meg, American Dreams) has been cast as a lead in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot To My Future Assistant. Written by Sherry Bilsing-Graham & Ellen Kreamer and directed by Peyton Reed, Assistant revolves around the assistants at a big New York law firm who band together as a family to help each other cope with the obnoxious overbearing bosses who test their sanity on a daily basis. Snow, repped by ICM Partners and attorney PJ Shapiro, will play Jen, a super-ambitious young woman who can’t stand being a legal assistant for another day and hopes to snag an associate lawyer position at her firm now that she’s passed the bar. The actress, who recently recurred on Fox’s Ben & Kate, joins Catherine O’Hara, Joe Egender and Melissa Tang.
Ian Ziering: Why My Pregnant Wife Pole DancesPregnancy does a body good. Then again, for Ian Ziering‘s (ex-Cam, Guiding Light) expectant wife Erin, so does pole dancing.
The mom-to-be took up the sport following the birth of daughter Mia Loren, 22 months, when she found herself searching for a balance to all things baby.
“I think I got so wrapped up in the motherly world, I was looking for something to make me feel more womanly, more myself,” Erin tells The Bump.
After a night out with her friends, among them a pole dance instructor, the first-time mom — who was already pregnant with the couple’s second child — had her answer.
“She was telling us that it will make you feel better about your body. It makes you feel more self-aware, and more confident, and that it helps with a lot of issues that happen after you have a baby,” Erin says, adding that while safe, she was still advised to check with her doctor first.
“It’s great exercise. I go once or twice a week, and it’s girl time with my friends. We go out to dinner afterwards,” she shares. “It’s been a great experience, and it kept me in great shape during my pregnancy with a lot of extra energy.”
But she’s not the only one seeing the results of her new talent; Former 90210 actor Ziering is also benefiting from the mama-to-be’s latest moves.
“I had some apprehension for Erin to be involved with that because, um, somehow in my past I’ve seen pole dancing, and I was concerned that a pregnant woman shouldn’t be doing those kinds of things,” he jokes.
Noting that her approach to the pole is “really from the workout perspective,” Ziering admits the pay off has been big in other areas as well. “It helps her get in touch with her sensuality, with her femininity, and with her sexuality, and this is great!” he explains.
“It helps her stay positive when she starts to feel [bad about her body]. Being like, ‘Yeah, I might be pregnant, but I’m making it look good!’ And on top of that, she just gets a little sexier! I think it’s great, and I’m really benefiting.”
With the couple’s second child due in May, Erin is ready for round two of baby bliss, determined to not let the anxiety of life with a newborn deter her from enjoying the experience.
“I felt like with Mia, I was always so nervous about everything, making sure I was doing everything perfectly and reading every book,” she says. “I think this time will be nice because I know what’s going on and I will be more relaxed.”
Ziering and Erin’s own childhoods allows the pair to be the perfect tag-team, although her medical background often tips the scale when it comes to making final decisions.
“We both benefit from growing up in very loving, nurturing environments. We come from similar upbringings,” he says. “Because Erin is a nurse, there’s a lot of credibility to her perspective of raising the baby that I really can’t argue with.”
He continues: “She’ll say, ‘I have looked into this,’ and explain it and I say, ‘Okay! You really have your finger on the heartbeat of child rearing,’ because she does. We go with it.”
Although he cherishes his recent role of a lifetime — dad! — fatherhood comes with its fair share of hardships. “I think the most challenging thing is keeping the stress level down during the times when the baby is inconsolable,” Ziering, 48, admits.
“But I understand that this is all a part of the work, and this is what I signed up for, and that it’s bond-building. I know that the view from the top is worth the climb.”
Joking that life with a toddler has left her less than prepared for the big arrival — “I could be pregnant longer, and it would be okay!” Erin says — she’s anticipating plenty of one-on-one time with baby after the birth.
“Mia will go to school for a couple of hours in the morning, and it will be a nice transition for her,” she explains. “She’ll be able to socialize, learn and be in a safe environment while I’m having bonding time with the new baby. We’re looking forward to that.”
Hayden Panettiere & Wladimir Klitschko Reunite Over Tacos!(Photo) Are Hayden Panettiere (ex-Lizzie, Guiding Light/ex-Sarah, One Life To Live) and former flame Wladimir Klitschko back on?
The duo was spotted together enjoying lunch at Taco Beach Shack in Hollywood, Fla., on Monday, an onlooker tells PEOPLE.
"Hayden had two grilled mahi mahi tacos and a margarita while Wladimir had six mahi mahi tacos and a coke," the source says.
After lunch, the Nashville star – who was dressed casually – removed her brown leather jacket to play table tennis on the restaurant's ping pong table.
Champion boxer Klitschko gave Panettiere a few pointers and "wrapped his arms around her from behind to show her his own style of hand and eye coordination," the source adds.
As the pair exited the restaurant, a generous Klitschko left a "$20 tip on a $20 tab."
Kevin Bacon Dishes GL PastOn the February 18 edition of THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO, Kevin Bacon stopped by to talk about his new FOX series THE FOLLOWING (which also features Natalie Zea, ex-Gwen, PASSIONS), and recalled his days of playing GUIDING LIGHT's Tim from 1980-81. "I was Tim The Teenage Alcoholic for pretty much the entire year and then I learned something which was very important about soap operas," he explained. "There was a guy who had been on the show for years and he took me aside and he said, 'Ya gotta be careful about doing anything too well because they will write that for you again and again and again.' In this guy's case, he was an amazing crier, like at the drop of a hat, full-on waterworks. And he was kind of like the patriarch on the show and yet, because they saw him cry so well, they had him crying every week, crying, cying, crying all the time and he was like, 'Don't get yourself stuck in that.' So, I was doing a scene where the pressure was building up on Tim again and I was getting more and more angry and I said to the director, 'Hey, I'm thinking about maybe just punching this locker, just out of frustration, punching this locker,' and he said 'Yeah, that's a great idea. Punch the locker.' So, they said action and I punched the locker and the next week, I got a script where I was punching the desk and then I was punching that and punching that. Every week, I was punching something and I became Tim The Teenage Alcoholic Puncher with a swollen hand. This is my first chance to be on television again since then."
Chappell's Frightfully Good Show!Soap opera veteran and two-time Emmy winner Crystal Chappell (Danielle, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL; ex-Carly, DAYS OF OUR LIVES; Olivia, GUIDING LIGHT) now stars in the entertaining new Web series, THE INN. Part ghost story and part psychological thriller, THE INN tells the tale of a woman (Chappell) for whom getting stranded in a remote town results in a journey of self-discovery.
"It's about how new people come in and teach you lessons that you need to learn and ultimately resolving some underlying demons," Chappell previews. "Steve Silverman (the show runner behind the award winning web comedy, PRETTY) is a wonderful writer and director. He really put a lot into this show -- the script is spooky fun!"
Also in the series is Denise Alexander (Lesley, GENERAL HOSPITAL; Mary, ANOTHER WORLD), whose real-life property was used as the location for the show. "She plays a resident of the neighborhood, and our characters end up bonding," Chappell explains. "It was really fun to [work with] her." Posting at www.theinntheseries.com beginning Monday, February 4, the weekly series will air over the course of three seasons in 2013, all of which have already been shot.
"It has so many twists and turns and symbolism in it," Chappell enthuses. "It's not a gory thing or a scary, 'boo' thing... you just really have to think about it -- the soap fans will enjoy it." For more about the actress and news about her other Internet-based dramas, VENICE and THE GROVE, check out her interview in the next CBS issue of Soaps in Depth.
Join Ricky Paull Goldin At His Premiere!Ricky Paull Goldin (ex-Jake, AMC/ex-Gus, GL/ex-Dean, AW/ex-Gary, Y&R) has a new show coming out on HGTV on February 15 — SPONTANEOUS CONSTRUCTION — and you can celebrate the premiere with him and his soap pals. On February 10, from noon-2:30 p.m., the actor is hosting a premiere party/fundraiser at Guy's American in NYC and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to ASPCA in Hurricane Sandy Zone and Operation Smile. Scheduled to attend the bash are Rebecca Budig (ex-Greenlee, AMC), Beth Ehlers (ex-Harley, GL), Thorsten Kaye (ex-Zach, AMC), Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall, AMC), Debbi Morgan (Angie, AMC), Ron Raines (ex-Alan, GL), Gina Tognoni (ex-Dinah, GL) and more. For all of the details, go to www.rpgeventsonline.com.
Jordi Vilasuso Joins The New AMCJordi Vilasuso will reprise the role of Griffin, on-screen brother of previous Prospect Park signee Lindsay Hartley (Cara), on the online version of ALL MY CHILDREN. "Can't wait to start AMC reboot! Looking forward to getting Castillos back in action. Thx WGA for joining. Thx for all your love and support!" he posted on Twitter.
Jerry verDorn Signs With PPJerry verDorn (Clint, OLTL/ex-Ross, Guiding Light) has inked a deal to join Prospect Park's OLTL relaunch. He made the announcement on Facebook on January 7, telling fans, "One Life lives. And good things come ot those who wait. Or so it is said. About an hour ago I agreed to be part of the OLTL revival and I'm thrilled to be involved in entertainment history as the show we love moves to other formats. The fans consistent drum beat of support played a large part in Prospect Park never giving up trying to find a solution. And today they announced it to the world. With the cherry-on-top news that Agnes Nixon has been hired as a consultant! For those who doubted, I don't blame you as this has never been done before. For those who never lost hope and never stopped writing and calling, well, good things come to those who wait. Congratulations to you all. Welcome back to Llanview. Love, jerry verDorn."
Thomas Gibson Arrested for DUIThomas Gibson (ex-Peter, Guiding Light/ex-Derek, As The World Turns/ex-Sam, Another World) -- best known for his roles on "Criminal Minds" and "Dharma & Greg" -- was arrested early this morning for suspicion of DUI ... TMZ has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Gibson was driving in downtown Los Angeles at around 1:00 AM when he attempted to drive through a part of town that had been sectioned off for a half marathon. The race had already gone through that part of town (it started at 9:00 PM) but the area was still blocked off.
We're told Gibson was stopped and told he couldn't drive through ... but he proceeded to anyway.
According to our sources, police eventually stopped Gibson and detected an odor of alcohol. We're told Gibson refused to take a breathalyzer test. He was then arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI and taken into custody at 1:37 AM.
His bail is set at $15,000 and, as of this posting, is still in custody.
Matt Bomer to Star in Ryan Murphy's Normal Heart Adaptation for HBORyan Murphy is heading to HBO.
The co-creator behind Glee, American Horror Story and The New Normal — who also just became a first-time father — will direct an adaptation of The Normal Heart for HBO, the cable network announced Friday.
Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer (ex-Ben, Guiding Light) will star in the TV film, which is being adapted by original playwright Larry Kramer, who helped form one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care. The Normal Heart centers on the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis of the early 1980s in New York City. Roberts will play Dr. Emma Brookner, paraplegic physician who treats some earlier victims. Ruffalo will portray Ned Weeks, who witnesses the disease and its effects first-hand in his gay community and starts asking questions. Bomer takes on the role of Felix, a reporter who enters into a relationship with Ned.
The project marks Murphy's second collaboration with Roberts, who starred in his 2010 drama Eat Pray Love, and his third with Bomer, who guest-starred on Glee and will also appear on Tuesday's episode of The New Normal. The project will mark a rare small-screen turn for Oscar winner Roberts, who last guest-starred on Law & Order back in 1999.
Murphy will executive-produce the project with Glee executive producer Dante Di Loreto, Jason Blum (The Reader) and Dede Gardner (Eat Pray Love).
The Normal Heart debuted at New York's Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles, London and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival won three Tony nominations, including Best Revival, Best Featured actor and Best Featured Actress for The New Normal's Ellen Barkin.
The Normal Heart will premiere on HBO sometime in 2014.
Crystal Chappell's The Grove The SeriesThe cast includes Beth Maitland, Bobbie Eakes, Christian Leblanc, Harrison White, Jessica Leccia, Jordan Clarke, Judi Evans, Linsey Godfrey, Mark Hapka, Michelle Stafford, Nadia Bjorlin, Peter Reckell, Robert S. Woods.
Irna Phillips: Brief life of soap opera's single mother: 1901-1973(harvardmagazine.com ) If ever a writer embodied Thornton Wilder’s observation that “art is not only the desire to tell one’s secret; it is the desire to tell it and hide it at the same time,” it was Irna Phillips.
In 1930, Phillips—a 29-year-old, unemployed Chicago schoolteacher and part-time radio actress—was asked to write and act in radio’s first serial drama, Painted Dreams. She jumped at the chance. In the next 43 years, she would create or co-create 18 radio and television serials; four were still on the air when she died, including Guiding Light and As the World Turns, the two longest-running daytime dramas on television. Acting out the parts, she dictated her stories to secretaries for six to eight hours a day, producing an estimated two million words a year and earning more than $250,000 annually in the 1940s, when she had five programs on the air. She knew the role soap played in “soap operas,” and had a decades-long relationship with Procter & Gamble, but she focused on content: her innovations included adding doctors, lawyers, and other professionals as characters and cliff-hanger endings for episodes.
Soap-opera historians have long acknowledged the impact on the genre of As the World Turns in particular. When it premiered in 1956, serial dramas were all 15 minutes long; ATWT doubled that. Phillips believed “better story and characterization could be developed in a half-hour format”; when Procter & Gamble initially resisted, she took action. Aided by her longtime colleagues Agnes Nixon and Ted Corday, she wrote and taped a pilot at her own expense, and changed the face of daytime drama forever. ATWT also departed radically from its predecessors in style: for the first year, there was virtually no plot. Critic Robert LaGuardia has noted that “story to Irna was simply a vehicle; it was from the moment-to-moment emotions of her characters, expressed to each other in quiet scenes, that viewers derived vicarious pleasure.” Phillips knew that viewers would need time to get used to this format, and nothing illustrates her industry clout more than the licensing-agreement clause requiring CBS to air the show for a full year regardless of ratings. Fans expressed their pleasure by keeping ATWT at the top of the daytime ratings for 20 years, making it the first soap opera to fully penetrate the cultural landscape: an episode of the current television hit Mad Men showed secretary Joan Holloway engrossed by an “unmissable” ATWT episode from 1962—the end of the genre’s first super couple, Penny Hughes and Jeff Baker.
Phillips shared viewers’ vicarious pleasure. In her unfinished memoir, she acknowledged that she “had generally fictionalized my own life,” but it was in ATWT that she “fantasized as well as fictionalized” her life. LaGuardia suggests, “It was quite as if for Irna, Oakdale [ATWT’s fictional Midwestern setting] was a real place—far more real than New York or Chicago, and far better.” One likely reason was the patriarch she created for Oakdale, attorney Chris Hughes: the loving husband she never found for herself, the devoted father she never found for the two children she adopted as a single mother.
Her need for Oakdale began in the mid 1920s when Phillips, who never had a date in high school or college, met an English doctor, “not handsome,” but “with charm and intelligence,” and decided he was the man she would marry. Things didn’t work out as she hoped. She became pregnant but the doctor abandoned her, and she then lost not only the baby but any chance for another. The resulting sterility led her to decide “to never become involved with an unmarried man,” thus sparing herself “the pain and embarrassment of telling a man I couldn’t have children.” That vow played out through characters like ATWT’s jilted Edith Hughes, who later fell in love with her brother’s unhappily married law partner. Phillips presented the story through characters neither all black nor all white, forcing viewers, writes La Guardia, “to grieve over the heartbreak of the human condition rather than hang on to a fixed value judgment.”
In 1964, Phillips created Another World, and the character through whom she would both tell and hide her own story: Pat Matthews, who would murder the man who impregnated her and then coerced her into an illegal, botched abortion that left her sterile. In her memoir, Phillips wrote that her own pregnancy ended with a stillbirth, followed by an infection. What really happened will likely remain a mystery, but her efforts to exorcise her demons through Pat’s story took its toll on Pat’s portrayer; after 18 exhausting months, the actress asked to be released from her contract.
Phillips herself was never able to provide a sense of warmth and family involvement for her children; in the end, she described feeling “as unhappy in adopting them as they were in being adopted by me.” Haunted by her lost pregnancy, in 1972 she created ATWT’s beautiful and independent Kim Reynolds, who was meant to have a baby of her own. Of course, to conceive that baby, Kim seduced her sister’s husband. Sponsor Procter & Gamble, unwilling to reward adultery, chose to veto that happy ending; when Phillips—increasingly difficult to work with and unwilling to sensationalize her plots to compete with rival shows—was fired, Kim’s pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It’s hard to say what caused Phillips more pain—losing the show that was so real to her, or reliving the loss of her baby as Kim lost hers. A few months later, she died of a heart attack, or perhaps of a broken heart.
It's A Girl For AMC/GL AlumCongratulations are in order for Jordi Vilasuso (ex-Griffin, AMC; ex-Tony, GL) and wife Kaitlin, who became proud first-time parents to daughter Riley Grace Vilasuso on November 26 at 5:11am. "We've never felt more in aww [sic] about the miracle of life," the actor tweeted.
All My Children Star Jordi Vilasusa Works To Revive Cancelled Soaps(celebdirtylaundry.com) GLOBE presents a report in this week’s November 26th print edition about All My Children (AMC) star, actor Jordi Vilasusa, who played Griffin Castillo on AMC, and two acting coaches who are trying ‘To Bring Soaps Back From Dead.’ It’s good to see GLOBE working hard again to fight the battle against the demise of the struggling soap opera genre. I know that many people enjoy the gripping drama that soaps traditionally offer and are not satisfied with the networks’ substitute programming.
General Hospital coach John Homa, AMC advisor Jeff Dockweiller and actor Jordi Valassis, who played Griffin Castillo on AMC, have formed a production company, Paos Revolution, dedicated to giving new life to daytime dramas.
Paos, which is “soap” spelled backward, has decided its first project is the movie, On Air. Says Vilasusa, the flick tells “the story behind the demise of the soap genre from an insider’s perspective.” He adds that the story line will use “many of the real-life experiences we went through the shows were canceled.”
The trio hoped to begin shooting in 2013. They expect the film to be released in theaters or air as a TV movie. Either way, they say the production will be available as a DVD. They’re also putting together a reality show, Perfect Day, that gives a “special fan” a chance to spend time with their favorite soap star. That program will run on their website www.paosrevolution.com until they can find it a slot on television.
Vilasusa says the company hopes it can show the networks “the daytime fan base does matter and is as strong as ever.”
“In a perfect world that could be the start of getting those canceled soaps another chance.”
Soaps sometimes get labeled for being trite and melodramatic but this unfair criticism is nothing more than ignorant stereotyping on the part of non-fans. Due to the daily episodic format soaps allow a complex story to be told in all its glorious detail. In fact, the most innovative and successful shows on television have been based on the soap format. Whether you choose the incomparable Rich Man, Poor Man, Dallas, Dynasty, The Sopranos, or Boardwalk Empire you’ll realize that these classic TV shows closely followed the basic soap format. Because soap operas don’t use expensive sets, expensive actors, and rely upon practical production values does not mean that they are incapable of providing quality entertainment. They deal with the same critical issues that produce top quality big-money TV drama: life and death, romance, crime, betrayal, and greed. If you allow yourself to appreciate the wonderful acting and writing you’ll find that soaps can be a veritable delight.
That’s why at Celeb Dirty Laundry we always offer our support for such American classics as AMC and One Life to Live. It’s important that fans let the networks know that they will support these shows because in the end it’s all about money. If soaps can get adequate viewership in those demographics desired by advertisers then the networks will support soaps. Remember, this is the entertainment BUSINESS!
Emmy-Winning Soap Writer DiesEmmy-winner Barbara Esensten, who created LOVING/THE CITY with James Harmon Brown and wrote for a slew of soaps including GUIDING LIGHT, PORT CHARLES, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, DYNASTY and ALL MY CHILDREN, passed away on November 14. Former GL writer Jill Lorie Hurst tweeted, "The wonderful GL headwriter Barbara Esensten died last night. Great boss, great girlfriend. Miss her already."
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Gets Its Villain CrossbonesCaptain America's latest foe has been named.
The Grey and End of Watch actor Frank Grillo (ex-Hart, Guiding Light) was cast as Crossbones for the anticipated Chris Evans flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Variety confirms.
"Thanks all!! Couldn't be happier to join the Marvel family," Grillo tweeted. "Great people. Great character and. My kids will freak out best of all #grateful"
Grillo recently dropped hints to his Twitter followers about eyeing this specific role, but deleted the clue shortly afterward.
"WOW. Badass fans that Marvel has," Grillo tweeted regarding the positive response to his possible involvement with Marvel Studios. "Fierce muthas. #bones"
His character debuted in 1989 as Brock Rumlow, according to Variety, a leader of the Savage Crims gang in New York's lower East Side before joining a school for criminals and later becoming a henchman of the Red Skull under the code name Crossbones. The Captain America sequel is set to hit theaters in 2014.
Are you excited about the film's new addition?
Canterbury Choral Society welcomes Tony Award nominee for its season opener(newsok.com) Broadway audiences are cheering him nightly as Joseph Pulitzer in “Newsies.” In May, he earned a Tony Award nomination for his role as Ben Stone in “Follies.” From 1994 to 2009, he portrayed the villainous Alan Spaulding on the television soap opera “Guiding Light.” It's a rogue's gallery of characters all played by Ron Raines.
A Texas native who earned a degree in music from Oklahoma City University, Raines has devoted 40 years to performing in concert halls, on theatrical stages and television. This week, he returns to Oklahoma as the featured soloist in Canterbury Choral Society's season opener.
Titled “Broadway to Bricktown,” the concert will feature the 110 voices of Canterbury accompanied by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Randi Von Ellefson, Canterbury's artistic director and an OCU professor of choral music, will conduct.
“We came up with the ‘Broadway to Bricktown' title when we brought (OCU alumna and Broadway favorite) Kelli O'Hara back to perform with Canterbury a few years ago,” Ellefson said. “These concerts celebrate the idea of bringing Broadway to Oklahoma City.”
Raines will perform selections from “Guys and Dolls,” “Chicago,” “Carnival,” “Chess” and “Man of La Mancha.” The Canterbury singers will be featured in choruses from “State Fair,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “The Music Man” and “Children of Eden.”
During the 1980s, Raines launched his Broadway career playing two leading men, the gambler Gaylord Ravenal in “Show Boat” and Nick Longworth, son-in-law of Theodore Roosevelt, in “Teddy and Alice.”
Raines' resonant baritone and commanding stage presence led to appearances in musicals ranging from “Man of La Mancha” (playing Don Quixote), “South Pacific” (Emile de Becque), “Kiss Me, Kate” (Fred Graham/Petruchio), “Carousel” (Billy Bigelow) and “Chicago” (Billy Flynn).
“I made my living doing theater for 19 years and I got to play all the roles I wanted and was right for,” Raines said recently. “After traveling all over the country, ‘Guiding Light' came along which kept me in New York.
Excuse Me For Living(Trailer) Hey soap fans! Don't forget to check out the charming new indie film, Excuse Me For Living, which stars a slew of daytimers including Tom Pelphrey (ex-Jonathan, GL), Melissa Archer (ex-Natalie, OLTL), Ewa da Cruz (ex-Vienna, ATWT), David Gregory (ex-Ford, OLTL) and Shenaz Treasury (ex-Rama, OLTL). The film opens today in 14 cities across the country and is now available for viewing on iTunes and on-demand. For tickets and additional info about the movie, visit excusemeforliving.net and don't forget to check out the trailer.
'Guiding Light' Actress Maureen Garrett Comes Out Publicly(www.out.com) After virtually disappearing from the public eye after playing the role of Holly Lindsey for 35 years, the actress is ready to share her personal life with her fans
Anyone who tuned into Guiding Light over the last 35 years knows the name of actress Maureen Garrett. Viewers remember her as Holly Lindsey, one of daytime’s most conflicted and complex characters, and half of the Holly/Roger power-couple that took GL by storm.
Much to her fans’ dismay, Garrett was one of daytime’s most private actresses, remaining decidedly out of the limelight. When she did grant the occasional interview, it was always related to the show. Unlike many of her former costars, she has no memoir, no fan page, and no Facebook or Twitter. Internet searches reveal little more about her than was available in print 20 years ago: She speaks German and French and enjoys swimming and yoga.
With the end of Guiding Light in 2009, the elusive actress, now 64, seemed to disappear altogether. In the 60 Minutes episode profiling Guiding Light’s cancellation (which included several interviews with GL veterans) Garrett was notably absent. It was intentional. When the GL lighthouse went dark for good, she no longer felt the desire to pursue acting. She left New York and quietly disappeared from television.
But now she's back, ready to let her fans know more about her personal life. And she’s starting by revealing her 20-year relationship with her partner, Janet Morgan (pictured second from left).
Together the couple has raised three sons who are now happy and worldly young adults. Their eldest son is living in Stockholm and working on environmental issues. Their second son is an agro-forester in Costa Rica, where he’s working on using breadfruit for poverty alleviation. Their youngest recently graduated from college and is currently leading wilderness treks in the U.S. and Canada.
Garrett and Morgan also opened their home to one of Garrett’s nieces, which the actress says gave her the opportunity to raise a "fine young woman."
As for the contrast of having a relationship with a woman while playing one of the straightest super-couples that ever graced daytime TV, Garrett simply says, “It was acting.”
Garrett admits she didn’t have a whole lot in common with Holly. While she says she shared some traits with the character, namely “the chase” and various forms of escape, their similarities ended there.
“She wore far too much makeup,” Garrett says, noting that her friends and family were entertained by her glamorous appearance on television: she’d arrive on the GL set straight from her cabin, clad in jeans and boots, and was completely made over. The daily transformation remained temporary, of course. “At the end of the day I almost always washed off the make-up, and with it, Holly’s brand of crazy.”
So why let fans get to know details of her life now? Garrett says, quite simply, that she’s no longer concerned with what people know about her.
While Garrett’s Guiding Light costars knew of her relationship with Morgan, fans of the Holly/Roger saga never had a clue. Several reasons the actress never shared her family story publicly. The first was Garrett’s predilection for privacy. The other reason is even more obvious: when she was center stage on GL, it was simply a different time in history. In the early '90s—often considered by viewers to be the Holly/Roger heyday—very few celebrities publicly deviated from the socially prescribed norms. Ellen was on TV, but she didn’t reveal her sexuality until 1997; the result was a deluge of negative publicity that resulted in her show’s cancellation. Rosie O’Donnell’s popular talk show was on in the same years that Holly and Roger were creating storms on Guiding Light, but O’Donnell didn’t come out until 2002.
Matt Bomer Opens Up About Growing Up GayMatt Bomer (ex-Ben, Guiding Light) knew he was gay when he was a teenager, but coming out wasn't in option.
"When I was in high school, there was no safe haven, there was no outlet for you to speaking your mind," the 34-year-old White Collar star said last night at gay student advocacy group GLSEN's Respect Awards, where he and his partner, Simon Halls, were honored with the Inspiration Award. "So I did what any self-preserving 14-year-old would do—I signed up for the school play and also the football team to cover my tracks.
"When that happens, when you aren't allowed to speak about who you are, one of the most authentic parts of who you are, which is who you love or is who you're attracted to, feels invisible," said Bomer, who publicly came out in February. "GLSEN gives visibility and authenticity to kids all across the country."
Halls, one of Hollywood's most powerful publicists, spoke of his and Bomer's three sons.
"Having kids teaches you so many things, and one of the things we both have learned in our parenting journey is how loving and accepting and open children's minds and hearts are," he said. "Unfortunately, in some parts of the country, some kids are taught at an early age that being different is somehow bad or wrong or worthy of ridicule…Kids aren't born to be bullies, they're taught to be bullies."
True Blood star and Bomer's Magic Mike costar, Joe Manganiello, presented the couple with the award.
"You are the example that the rest of our country needs to wake up and see in terms of equality and putting and end to the bullying epidemic and making sure that every family is respected in our schools and our society," said Manganiello, who also went to college with Bomer.
Also at the gala, which took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel, were Oscar winner Octavia Spencer; Amy Adams; directors Brett Ratner, Jason Moore and Bryan Singer; Jim Parsons; out country singer Chely Wright; Wilson Cruz; Ross Matthews; White Collar's Tim DeKay and Willie Garson; and fellow honorees Bob Weinstein and Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg.
Real Actors Read Yelp #12After 37 years of working on soap operas, actress Tina Sloan (Guiding Light, Another World) was destined to perform a Yelp review: Video
Raines Gets A Pulitzer!GUIDING LIGHT alum Ron Raines (Alan) has established quite a theatrical career for himself since the soap's demise, and now adds another notch to his belt by joining the cast of the hit musical Newsies!
"I'm thrilled to be going into the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Newsies," Raines says. "It's an exciting show filled with hope and dreams of a better tomorrow. It's a wonderful family event. Come see us!"
A Tony nominee himself for his role in last year's Follies, Raines will be temporarily stepping into the role of Joseph Pulitzer while actor John Dossett stars in Giant. Raines will play the role from Tuesday, October 9, through Sunday, December 16, so if you want to see him on stage, you'll need to act quickly! Visit the show's Web site for more information and tickets!
Soap Star Enlists!According to the official fan page of John Driscoll (ex-Chance, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS; Coop, GUIDING LIGHT), the actor has recently joined the military! The runners of the fan club Web site have announced that they will be putting the fan page on hiatus for the time being as Driscoll goes through training, which they expect will last for a year. Our best wishes to Driscoll as he serves his country.
Beth Chamberlin's Empowerment ProjectGL alum, fitness buff and kettlebell expert Beth Chamberlin (ex-Beth) has launched a new online campaign to help raise funds for her Women's Fitness Empowerment Project, her newest workout program which she hopes to share via a series of training DVDs specially designed by her. "When I began to get these letters from women all over the world thanking me for my workouts, I was taken aback by the response. My goal had been to get the word out to women that they could get their fitness back by doing this training. What women told me was that this workout changed their lives, restored their health, empowered them," she shares. To donate or learn more about the project, visit www.indiegogo.com/WomensEmpowermentProject and read an upcoming issue of Digest about what other things the actress has been up to.
Who's The Boss?There's nothing Nicole Forester likes better than a challenge, and she proved it by taking over the role of GUIDING LIGHT's beloved Cassie. Now, she's dropping jaws as Maggie Zajac, the icy, ambitious wife of a gubernatorial candidate in STARZ' hit drama, BOSS. "I'd be interested to see what the GL fans think of this role -- Cassie and Maggie are very different," Forester says (tweet your answer to her at @nicoleforester). "Cassie tried to do things more for herself as a result of years of putting others first and kind of being victim; however, I don't believe Maggie has ever been a victim. She just takes the bull by the horns and either openly or behind the scenes, she is in control!"
The riveting drama, which debuted to rave reviews last year, is currently in its second season, during which Maggie's revealed to have her eye on the governor's mansion. "You'll see Maggie and Chicago's Mayor Kane (Kelsey Grammer) have direct interaction," she offers. "Kane becomes aware that Maggie is really calling the shots with her husband and that Kane's dealing with her more than he ever realized." Don't miss the next episode of BOSS, airing Friday, September 14, at 9 p.m. on STARZ. For more on Forester's post-daytime career, including details about her role in the Tom Cruise film, Jack Reacher, this Christmas, don't miss her upcoming Keeping Track feature in Soaps In Depth.
Bethany Joy Lenz lands 'Men At Work' Season 2 roleWe're still mourning "One Tree Hill" here at Zap2it, but elsewhere, the cast members are moving on. Sophia Bush will soon be seen on CBS's "Partners," Rob Buckley has a key role on ABC's "666 Park Avenue"... and now fan favorite star Bethany Joy Lenz (ex-Michelle, Guiding Light) has booked her first post-"OTH" television role.
Zap2it has learned exclusively that Lenz, who played Haley James Scott for nine seasons, will guest star on TBS's "Men At Work" as a hot mom. (It's a role she's pretty familiar with -- both from "OTH" and, you know... life.)
Tyler -- played by Michael Cassidy of "The O.C." fame -- is entering the "new frontier" of dating moms, so he takes interest in the recently divorced Meg (Lenz), who has two very young kids. He's totally digging her... but unfortunately for Meg, she quickly realizes that dating Tyler is a lot like having a third child on her hands.
Lenz begins filming on Thursday, and her episode will air in 2013. We can't wait to see her back on the small screen!
Linda Dano ArticleFelicia Gallant of 'Another World' Fame Lives Among Us; She's Linda Dano of Washington. Read the article here.
'Guiding Light' star 'Discovers' new career(www.dailyrecord.com) For 22 years, Frank Dicopoulos had what he calls “the greatest gig on the face of the Earth” — a regular role playing Frank Cooper Jr. on TV’s “Guiding Light.” But the tough economy took its toll on the long-running soap opera and on Dicopoulos too.
“These days, both people in the family have to work to pay the bills, and so no one is home to watch soaps,” says Monmouth Beach resident Dicopoulos, who found himself unemployed in September 2009 when “Guiding Light” was canceled. “The second a show goes off the air, your income goes down to zero. I have a wife and kids and a mortgage and bills like everyone else.”
Unable to find many acting jobs and concerned about providing for his family, which includes his wife, Teja Anderson, and children Jaden, 18, and Olivia, 15, Dicopoulos, 55, decided it was time for a career change.
“I had to reinvent myself,” he says.
So he contacted Curt Ciumei of Marboro, the owner of NJ Discover, a production company focused on promoting local businesses in the Garden State. Dicopoulos had worked with NJ Discover throughout the years, but now unemployed and looking for a fresh start, he had much more time to dedicate to the company.
Quickly, Dicopoulos began to take on more roles within NJ Discover, working as a co-producer, director and host on many of the company’s television shows. Today he serves as the host of “Artists Against the Odds,” a show about local artists facing tough obstacles, and “Earth Treasures,” a reality show set at the Earth Treasures jewelry store in Eatontown, which Dicopoulos describes as “Antique Road Show” meets “Pawn Stars.”
Several other television pilots he hosted are in production, including an ongoing series about the New Jersey Wine Growers Association.
Dicopoulos also is working as producer for the upcoming shows “Culinary Freak” and “Pay it Forward” and has served as a host for the production company’s video coverage of several New Jersey special events, including the Red Bank Wedding Walk, the New Jersey Marathon and opening day at Monmouth Park Racetrack. NJ Discover was the first production company to film and stream live video all over the world of the Monmouth Park event.
But Dicopoulos’ career change didn’t come without challenges.
While he feels that hosting is a natural fit for him, the producing, directing and business aspects of his job at NJ Discover were initially unfamiliar territory.
“I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” he says. “I’m all over the place, hustling 24-7, looking into this and that. But it is extremely rewarding.”
A Garden State of mind
One of the reasons Dicopoulos finds his work so rewarding is because of his love for promoting the many treasures of New Jersey, his home for the past 14 years. NJ Discover productions are set in New Jersey and run on channel 190 in Monmouth and Middlesex counties or 19 in most of Ocean county for those with Comcast or online at njdiscover.com
“I love New Jersey,” Dicopoulos says. “It has really come into its own. The great thing about New Jersey is that you can travel 30 minutes and be in a totally different situation and environment. There are people from all walks of life here.”
He also loves the opportunity he has to meet so many people and help them get the word out about what they are doing for the Garden State.
“I want to help businesses strive and survive in this economy,” he says. “We want to bring awareness of how great New Jersey is to everyone. I am really passionate about this.”
Along with supporting New Jersey, Dicopoulos is also passionate about several organizations for which he is a spokesman. These include the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Foundation and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. He has a personal connection to both organizations, as nearly every woman in his family has had breast cancer and he, his wife and daughter all are allergic to shrimp.
He also is spokeman for and has a personal connection to Eco Fuel, a Canadian organization that sells a fuel additive meant to reduce emissions and increases efficiency. Dicopoulos says his wife, an environmentalist and a longtime wildlife rehabilitator in Marlboro, inspired him to get involved with the company.
“I have tested it myself, and it really works, and now I am testing it with different companies throughout New Jersey and filming it,” he says. “I am trying to bring it to the United States. I think New Jersey could really get behind this.”
His future plans include continuing to work with NJ Discover in hopes of making the production company “a household name” and continuing to be a spokesman for causes important to him. If an acting opportunity came up, he would be open to that, he says, but for now, he is focused on his new career as host and producer.
In that field, he is dreaming big, with ambitions to one day serve as a co-host on “Live with Kelly.”
Dicopoulos says he never lost faith that his career would continue to flourish after “Guiding Light” was canceled.
“The real lesson of all of this is that you can never give up,” he says. “If you believe in something you are doing, stick to your guns, and put your eye on the prize and go after it. I try and live my life by that.”
Soap Alum Is Engaged!Another soap hunk will soon be off the market! Brody Hutzler (ex-Cody, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS; Zachary, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Patrick, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) tells Soaps In Depth that he will be tying the knot later this month with his fiancée, Judith. ""We met at a friend's birthday party almost three years ago," he reveals. "I proposed between Christmas and New Year's Eve last year."
The guest list will be small, but Kristian Alfonso (Hope, DAYS), Hutzler's pal - and landlady - is set to attend. The newlyweds will hold off on having their honeymoon until the spring. "We're going to go to London and Paris," Hutzler shares. "Judith has a sister in London."
The actor can be currently seen on Web soap THE BAY as Kenneth, the press secretary to Nicholas Coster's mayor character. "I have a few episodes coming up," says the actor, who notes that Kenneth is THE BAY's first gay character. "I like it. It brings a different dynamic to the show." To view episodes of the Emmy-nominated Web soap, visit www.thebaytheseries.com.
Actor graduates from Washington and Lee 30 years later than originally plannedIt makes for an impressive storyline, but in this case, it's a real-life scenario. A man leaves college more than 30 years ago for the bright lights of Hollywood, but returns three decades later to fulfill his lifelong dream of earning a college degree.
Today was graduation day for Washington and Lee student Grant Aleksander Kunkowski (ex-Phillip, Guiding Light/ex-Alec, All My Children). If he looks familiar, that’s because he’s starred in the CBS daytime drama “The Guiding Light.” The Theater major left W and L after his sophomore year to pursue an acting career but says his parents always wanted him to graduate from college. "I always planned to get back and finish. I just didn't know it would take 30 years to get back and do it but my life has been unsual in that way and fantastic. I don't think I would change any of it," he said.
Kunkowski is married to Sherry Ramsey. The two met at W and L when they starred in Hamlet. He played the role of Hamlet, and she played Ophelia. His wife is now an attorney.
Tell-All Tome About Y&R And B&B!Soaps In Depth editor Michael Maloney, along with Lee Phillip Bell, has written an authorized biography of Bell's late husband, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL creator William J. Bell. The Young and Restless Life Of William J. Bell is set to hit bookstores on June 1 and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.
The book details the Chicago native's pre-soap opera life as an advertising executive in the era just before MAD MEN to his unparalleled career as television's most prolific writer. Bell not only is the mastermind behind the two surviving CBS soaps, but he also wrote for suders GUIDING LIGHT, AS THE WORLD TURNS (for nine years), and ANOTHER WORLD, which he co-created along with his mentor, soap opera legend Irna Phillips. In 1966, Bell left Phillips and took over as headwriter of DAYS OF OUR LIVES, saving the show from cancelation.
The Young And Restless Life Of William J. Bell offers insights into Bill's creative process -- how he felt about recasting, publicity, spoilers, sweeps, stunt casting and, of course, storytelling! The tome contains backstage dish and never-before-seen photos from the Bell family's personal albums. Lee's successful career as a broadcast journalist in the days of live television in Chicago is also covered, and the book contains information from the "bibles" for AW, Y&R and B&B that any soap fan will want to read!
Over 65 people -- including family members, actors, writers, producers, network executives and other notables from the soap opera world -- were interviewed for this book that every soap fan will want to have! So pre-order your copy today!
Fun Horror Movie FactBefore inking Friday the 13th, Victor Miller wrote for soap operas “All My Children,” “Guiding Light,” and “One Life to Live.”
One Tree Splitsville: Bethany Joy Galeotti DivorcingOne Tree Hill is coming to an end, and so is star Bethany Joy Galeotti's marriage, unfortunately.
The tube star, who plays Haley James Scott on the CW series, announced on her blog on Monday that she and her musician hubby, Michael Galeotti, are getting a divorce and she plans to take her maiden name again.
"As most of you know, as much as I love to share with you the magic of ordinary days, I am also very private about my personal life. In fact, the only reason I'm saying anything about this at all is because you'll all be wondering soon why everyone is calling me 'Bethany Joy Lenz' again," she wrote. "I'm sorry to say that Michael and I have decided to divorce."
The split, according to Galeotti, is an amicable one.
"We remain friendly and dedicated to raising our beautiful girl in love and we appreciate your prayers and support during this difficult time. I feel immensely humbled and grateful that God works all things for the good of those who love Him," the 30-year-old actress-singer added.
The couple tied the knot in December 2005 and welcomed their first child, daughter Maria Rose Galeotti, a year ago.
Meanwhile, after nine seasons, One Tree Hill will wrap up with a two-hour series finale set to air April 4.
'The Notebook' musical headed to BroadwayGet ready to weep, theater fans: "The Notebook" is heading to Broadway in the form of a musical by "One Tree Hill" star Bethany Joy Galeotti (ex-Michelle, Guiding Light).
Galeotti has been working on the show with her writing partner Ron Aniello for years, and the pair even staged a reading in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2009. But they got a vote of confidence from Nicholas Sparks himself, who said on "The Early Show" Dec. 14 that a musical version of his book would hit the Great White Way at some point in the future.
The bad news: We don't think Ryan Gosling is involved in any way. He's too busy being nominated for Golden Globes and being the unofficial Sexiest Man of the Year.
The good news: It's "The Notebook." You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to fall hopelessly in love. Gosling or no, if you're a lady, you're genetically predisposed to love the crap outta this.
Order Kim Zimmer's New Tell-AllI'm Just Sayin'!: Three Deaths, Seven Husbands, and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva by Kim Zimmer - Order Here!
Mindy's Twitter Tales of Life in SpringfieldGuiding Light's Mindy Lewis Bauer has has new twitter account, follow her and read about all of the latest happenings in Springfield at this address: twitter.com/#!/MindyLewisBauer
Procter & Gamble moves from soap operas to tweetsGoodbye, "Guiding Light." Hello, YouTube.
Procter & Gamble Co., whose sponsorship and production of daytime TV dramas helped coin the term "soap operas," has pulled the plug after 77 years. Instead, the maker of Tide detergent, Ivory soap and Olay skincare is following its customers online with a big push on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
"The digital media has pretty much exploded," marketing chief Marc Pritchard said in an interview. "It's become very integrated with how we operate, it's become part of the way we do marketing."
The last P&G-produced soap opera, "As The World Turns," went off the air in September. The show was the leading daytime soap for decades, but had lost some two-thirds of its audience at the end.
Over the years, P&G produced 20 soap operas for radio and TV. But ratings for daytime dramas have been sinking for years, as women, their target audience, increasingly moved into the workplace, switched to talk and reality shows, and spent more time using online media and social networking sites.
P&G, the world's biggest advertiser, still buys individual commercials on daytime dramas. But the dollar amount has shrunk. P&G won't say by how much.
Dori Molitor, whose WomanWise LLC agency specializes in marketing brands to women, says big companies are realizing that social media is an efficient way to connect with customers.
"Social media has become mass media, and for women especially," she said. "I think for all marketers, these one-way, 30-second (TV) spots are very expensive, and are less effective for the way that women make decisions."
Marketing experts say the biggest companies were generally slow to adapt to the rapid rise of social networks, but that beverage rivals Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsico Inc., and P&G and fellow consumer products makers Unilever PLC and Johnson & Johnson are among those quickly making up for lost time.
In recent months, P&G began selling Pampers diapers on Facebook, offering an iPhone application for Always feminine products that allows women to track menstrual cycles and ask experts questions, and using social media to turn a campaign for the venerable Old Spice brand into a pop-culture icon.
The "Smell like a Man, Man" commercials starring hunky former football player Isaiah Mustafa became a YouTube sensation, drawing tens of millions of views and spawning parodies such as one with Sesame Street's Grover, and generated another round of attention with Twitter questions that Mustafa answered in videos — such as on ABC's Good Morning America when he suggested that President Barack Obama could improve standing with female voters by wearing only a towel and beginning speeches with "Hello, Ladies!"
The echo effect gives P&G a bigger bang for its nearly 9 billion bucks a year spent on advertising.
"It is such an effective advertising campaign that we are getting impressions that we did not pay for," CEO Bob McDonald told investors recently, recounting that he saw an editorial cartoon showing Obama on horseback, a takeoff on Mustafa's "I'm on a horse" Old Spice catch-phrase.
For a company known for measuring just about everything, P&G touts big numbers from Old Spice tracking:
• Number of impressions (people who saw, read, or heard about commercials): 1.8 billion.
• Number of YouTube views for Old Spice and related videos: 140 million and counting.
• Increase in Twitter followers for Old Spice: 2,700 percent.
P&G also said Old Spice sales are growing at double digits, taking more of the market for body washes and deodorant.
Just 20 months ago, P&G hosted "digital night" at its Cincinnati headquarters by inviting Google, Facebook, Twitter and other online experts to help test ways online and digital media could be used in marketing. By the Vancouver Winter Olympics last February, P&G was coordinating TV commercials with Facebook messages and tracking instant reactions to new commercials on Twitter.
P&G, which sponsored Team USA, unveiled sentimental "Thank you, Mom!" commercials at the Olympics that it estimates added $100 million in sales. The campaign has included Facebook essay contests and e-Cards for mothers.
P&G says it's still exploring new uses for social media.
"It's kind of the oldest form of marketing — word of mouth — with the newest form of technology," Pritchard said.
You TubeThere are several Guiding Light episodes on Youtube.com, be sure to check them out here!
WORLD WIDE DISTRIBUTIONMetan Development Group has firmed up a deal with Power for the exclusive distribution rights in China for Guiding Light and As The World Turns.
Metan will be the exclusive representative in China for 130 episodes of each series, both produced by TeleNext Media for Procter & Gamble Productions. MIPCOM marks the first time the shows will be available for China.
Metan’s president, CEO and founding partner, Larry Namer, said, “GL and World Turns, two of the most successful TV programs ever produced in the U.S., have captured the hearts of North American audiences for decades. We’re delighted to be the first to introduce these award-winning programs to audiences in China. We feel strongly that the series’ compelling storylines, relatable characters and program quality will have great appeal to audiences in China.”
Power’s VP of Asia and the Middle East, George Sakkalli, commented, “China's vast television and new media market has great potential. Metan's unique approach and commitment will ensure that Power's content reaches many millions of Chinese viewers. I am delighted that Power has been able to introduce these much loved soaps to China.”
Brian T. Cahill, the senior VP, managing director for TeleNext Media, added, “For a combined 123 years, GL and World Turns have been the gold standard of contemporary serial entertainment. We proudly support the partnership between Power and Metan that will make this perennially engaging entertainment available to the Chinese audience for the first time.”
Kiss TapedAccording to a tweet from Crystal Chappell, GL did indeed tape a kiss between Olivia and Natalia for the finale but it was cut. Chappell wrote, “Nat and O send Rafe off to Army. I kissed her cheek, [but] the scene never made the show.”
Chappell On GL's Final Episode"Oddly enough, I was here [at DAYS] and watched it in my dressing room," says Crystal Chappell (Carly, DAYS; ex-Olivia, GL) of the final airing of the 72-year-old soap on September 18. "It was heartbreaking. The whole week was heavy, though, but a very good week. You knew the show was coming to an end. Even though I knew it was coming, I wept when Alan died in such a noble way. I like that people had their happy endings. When Josh and Reva drove off in their pickup truck and they scrolled the end, it was like, 'Oh my God!' It was just devastating. So sad!"
Mindy Sue Got Married!Missing GUIDING LIGHT? Well, don't worry, the happy family moments aren't quite over yet. There's still some celebrating to be done. Check out Mindy's official Twitter feed, for the inside scoop on her wedding to Rick. (Remember to read from the bottom of the page up, to get her tweets in order!)
Guiding Light Goodbye: Final ThoughtsGuiding Light Goodbye: Final Thoughts: Grant Aleksander, Michael O’Leary and others. Read here!
Dying of the LightNothing is quite as rare in television than the ending of a soap opera. Show runners have to wrestle with questions they never normally worry about, since soaps are intended to last indefinitely. Do they just let storylines go unresolved, or do they try to wrap them up?
The series finale of Guiding Light, after 15,000 episodes, opted to grant the long-suffering citizens of the fictional town of Springfield happy endings. After a little suspense, leading character Reva Shayne tearfully agreed to marry beau Josh Lewis for the fourth time. Two other marriages took place. Two of the show's teens drove off to university. "It's just too many goodbyes," says one character.
For fans around the world, last Friday's end of The Guiding Light was the end of an era. The question on most devotees' minds now is whether it also signals the end of an entire genre.
The soap opera that became the longest running drama in TV history debuted as an NBC radio show in 1937, and then as a CBS TV program in 1952. Back then, companies like Procter & Gamble invented the genre to sell the soaps that sponsored the shows.
The soap opera rose to a ratings peak in the 1960s and 1970s, buoyed by automobile advertising and a large, stay-at-home daytime audience. The soaps invented what television scholars have called "immersive story worlds" – long-running narratives that aren't expected to end, ever.
Until now, that is. The soap may have had its day. Dwindling advertising dollars, and the aging of soaps' core viewership out of the coveted 18-49 advertising demographic have been blamed for the genre's decline.
So with Guiding Light finally over, what measures are the remaining seven daytime soaps taking to make sure they remain on the air? On Feb. 16, 2009, All My Children featured a same-sex wedding, the first soap to do so. It's not clear that such attempts to keep plots relevant will work in the long run.
"There are so many entertainment options, lifestyle options competing with soap operas now," says C. Lee Harrington, professor of sociology at Miami University. She is co-editing a forthcoming book, The Survival of Soap Opera, which will discuss how soaps' producers can save the medium.
"Soaps are routines, and if you break those for many months, it can be hard to get back into it," explains Nancy Baym, author of Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom, and Online Community. After coverage of O.J. Simpson's murder knocked some soaps off the air for months, "it spiralled. Once the viewers were gone and not as many of them came back, the producers got interested in younger, sexier storylines to bring in younger viewers."
Devotees to Guiding Light have been voicing their anger and sadness about the show's end online. "I can barely keep it together," wrote one fan on the Guiding Light's fan forum at SoapCentral.com.
Seventy-two years and 20,000 episodes later, however, some producers and fans were admitting the show had gone stale. The show's declining ratings – just 2.1 million viewers per episode this year, down from 3 million five years ago – had led producers to dramatically change production values to save money. Many fans voiced adislike of the show's experimentation with shaky handheld digital cameras and less grandiose sets.
Others didn't take well to attempts on the show's part to introduce storylines aimed at a younger demographic, particularly a recent plot about cloning. Yet although the show's demographics are aging, the book's authors also point out that they are incredibly active online – something soaps' producers could be doing more to engage.
"Fans are using YouTube to do personal archiving" of the show, says Harrington. "They'll repackage the whole history of a couple, for example. They haven't offered interactive opportunities to viewers the way other shows have done."
Some believe that this online activity means reports of the soaps' demise are exaggerated. The three major networks all broadcast some TV content on their own websites, and "the industry has not found a way to monetize those viewers," argues Sam Ford, a co-editor of The Survival of Soap Opera. "There's no metric of engagement." Ford, a research affiliate of M.I.T.'s Convergence Culture Consortium and a longtime soap opera fan, has compared soaps to long-running programming like pro wrestling
No matter how many storylines are wrapped up, however, longtime fans have logged on to online discussion forums to list countless loose threads Guiding Light left hanging – and will now go unresolved for good.
"I have been with you for the whole 72 years," one fan posted in all-caps on the comments thread of a CBS news story on Guiding Light's cancellation. "Your show and your town are like so many nice, beautiful and happy places I have been ... Please take care and you all will be in my heart forever. Your faithful viewer an old sad women (sic)."
Lights officially out for iconic CBS soap operaThe longest-running drama in broadcast history, CBS' "Guiding Light," wrapped up its 72-year run this afternoon.
The show went out on a high note, with many of the characters gathering for a picnic in a park on a bright sunny day. The show's most famous on-again-off-again couple, Reva (Kim Zimmer) and Josh (Robert Newman), met at the light house, reaffirmed their love for each other and drove off together in Josh's pick-up truck.
CBS in April decided to pull the plug on the program because of its high cost of production and flagging ratings. This past year, the show mustered an average 2.1 million viewers an episode -- a far cry from the more than 5 million viewers it attracted a decade ago. CBS plans to replace the soap opera on Oct. 5 with a remake of "Let's Make a Deal," hosted by Wayne Brady.
"Guiding Light" was created in the depths of the Depression, in 1937, as a 15-minute radio program aimed at selling soap and other products to housewives -- thus earning it the moniker of "soap opera." In 1952, the show moved to television, where it has been a mainstay ever since. It is owned by packaged products giant Procter & Gamble, the maker of Ivory, Tide, Mr. Clean and Crest toothpaste. Legions of the show's fans protested the cancellation, saying they had a special place in their hearts for the program about the families of the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield. Some begged CBS to reconsider its decision. But the network said that neither it nor P&G could make the finances work, and they joined those who mourned the death of the history-making serial. Beyond entertaining millions of viewers with the love lives of the characters, the show explored themes that were once taboo for television: rape, abortion, adultery and AIDS.It was produced in New York and provided jobs for thousands of people over the years.
"This ground-breaking program has provided steady employment, wages and benefits for thousands of AFTRA performers and other union members working in the entertainment and media industries," the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said in a statement today.When CBS made its decision, the show's executive producer, Ellen Wheeler, was philosophical."This show has been here since before World War II," Wheeler said in early April. "It has gone through wars and tragedies and triumphs -- man walking on the moon, and the dawn of the computer age. This show chronicled all these changes in society. It has been our mirror on society for generations, and when you lose something that is part of the fabric of society you lose something precious."
World's longest running soap endsThe world's longest running soap opera has been screened for the last time, having been on air in the US for more than 70 years.
Guiding Light first appeared on NBC radio before moving to television in the 1950s, but viewing figures had declined in recent years.
It featured many actors who went on to be major stars, including Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart and James Earl Jones.
The final episode ended on an upbeat note before the screen faded to black.
All the characters were gathered together in a park for a picnic before the show's long-running on-off couple, Josh and Reva, finally declared their undying love and drove off in a pick-up truck.
The actors playing the characters, Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman, had both been in the show for more than 25 years.
Guiding Light began life as a 15-minute daily drama on NBC radio in 1937 before moving to television in 1952.
It initially focused on Rev John Ruthledge and the community in a fictional suburb of Chicago called Five Points, but the recent show revolved around the lives and loves of three families in the fictional mid-western town of Springfield.
The show won dozens of awards in its seven-decade span and ran up more 15,700 episodes, each ending in a cliffhanger.
CBS said it had broken new ground with its coverage of social issues such as cancer, alcoholism and teenage pregnancy.
"No show in daytime or prime time, or anytime, has touched so many millions of viewers across so many years as Guiding Light," said CBS Senior Vice President Barbara Bloom.
But the BBC's Los Angeles correspondent Peter Bowes said that in the increasingly competitive world of daytime TV, Guiding Light had struggled to win an audience.
InterviewsGuiding Light Goodbye: Ellen Wheeler, From the TV Guide Archives: Beverlee McKinsey
Tina Sloan Says Goodbye to Guiding LightAfter 72 years on radio and television, Guiding Light is going dim.
Veteran cast member Tina Sloan sympathizes with viewers she expects to be devastated by the show's airing of its final episode Friday. But she thinks fans will share her thrill about how the show told its final stories.
"I think the fans are going to be ecstatic," Sloan tells TVGuide.com. Sloan uses the same word to describe her feelings about the marriage of her character, Lillian Raines, who somehow remained single for nearly all of her 26 years on the show.
"She fell in love with Buzz (Justin Deas) two years ago and started having fun," Sloan says. "It was a different note for her; she's always been the caregiver, the generous nurse, the loving mother and grandmother. When she met Buzz, he just made her laugh, and there was a different note in her personality. And she embraced it, and I think they celebrated that in the wedding.
"These marriages were just lovely," she continues. "We're all having these happily-ever-after, Cinderella endings, which is a real treat for everybody, including the actors. We're all going off happy to be happy, and I would hate to go off not happy."
Head writer Jill Lorie Hurst says the writing staff's major goal was to wrap up the show's immense history in a way that gave closure, but not too much. "We knew right away that we couldn't — and shouldn't — wrap everything up too tightly. We didn't want to tie it with a bow and not leave any room for the audience to wonder. But [the audience] was our top priority. We wanted them to be as satisfied as possible. We had some reunions, some new couples — we tried to have a little something for everyone."
Hurst said it was also "extraordinarily important" to honor the history of the show within the present storylines. Sloan's character, for example, visited the grave of her friend Maureen (Ellen Parker) in one of the final episodes. Maureen died in a car accident after learning her husband had an affair with Lillian.
"We tried to touch on history as often as was appropriate without hitting our audience over the head with it," Hurst says. "We can just mention a place or a time or a character name, and as long as they know that we remember where these people come from, they know we're all aware of how the past affects how we move forward."
Sloan says the final episodes also paid tribute to the previous generations of actors on the show. "[Maureen] was a very important character on the show, and a lot of the old fans loved her. So it was a way to give her back at the end. I think the writers tried to give everyone their old favorites, for a glimpse at least."
One of the toughest parts of ending the show is saying goodbye to some characters for good, including Alan Spaulding (Ron Raines). He died, perhaps as a result of giving his bone marrow to his son, Phillip (Grant Aleksander).
"Alan died, and that's a really sad thing, but he died making a sacrifice, which is a beautiful thing," Sloan says. "He had hurt a lot of people in his heyday, so in a sense, if anyone had to die, it sort of had to be him. There had to be a sacrifice of some kind."
"That was hard," Hurst adds, noting that Alan's death was on their must-do list before the show wrapped up. "We talked a lot about everyone's love stories, and what issue or relationship a lot of these characters had to resolve," Hurst says. "Phillip and Alan, in our minds, was a big story, and ... that was one of the first things we talked about. It was very important to us to find some redemption for Alan and to get that relationship to a good place."
Hurst says the happiness that Lillian finds is a nice balance to Alan's death. "It was very important to me that Lillian get to be a bride," she says. "She never had that fairy tale moment that a lot of women get to have, with all the hope of starting a new life. But it's never too late, so we really felt she deserved it."
Sloan says Guiding Light's cancellation reflects the turbulent daytime television industry.
"We are the emotional consciousness of our country, and I think we also stand for generational family values," Sloan says. "And the fact that those family values are being taken off the air worries me for our country. Our show has so much history, and I think it's something you treasure. I don't think it's something you throw over for a game show." (CBS announced in August that a new version of Let's Make a Deal will fill Guiding Light's timeslot.)
Hurst, however, remains optimistic about daytime's future. "I think there'll be changes — maybe we'll go back to half-hour soaps or maybe cable will branch out and take on daytime storytelling," she says. "Then there's the Internet. There are so many places to tell stories, and I believe we will continue to tell them. I believe the audience counts on us, the daytime community, to do that. We're going through a rocky period, but I really believe that we'll survive. It will be different, but there will be storytelling."
It's those stories and the characters in them that Hurst hope fans take with them once the show is gone. "I hope we brought the audience some joy and some comfort more than anything else," Hurst says. "I hope they'll remember Tom Pelphrey's laugh, Buzz and Lillian, the Cooper family poker games. I hope they will carry some sort of comfort with them. I grew up as a viewer, and I understand what that means to tune in during the day and have company. Sometimes you just need the company of people you like and care about during the day."
Sloan says she's just happy to be a part of Guiding Light's place in history. "It is soap opera," she says. "It's the first, the longest, and nobody will ever outlive it.
"We believe in love," Sloan says. "We're going to have bad, naughty things going on, but that's the spice of life. Of course we're going to have all these things — we're a soap opera. But we also, underneath it all, had this core value system that was quite extraordinary. I know it's a soap opera, but we were extraordinary."
'Guiding Light' goes out in style; storied soap opera ends, appropriately, on a light noteThere were plenty of hugs, stories about leaving home and coming back, and a happy ending for a longtime love story in Friday's finale of "Guiding Light."
Producers had said the finale would give viewers a sense of transition, and it did.
There were on-again, off-again relationships rekindled, closure in some, and new beginnings for others.
In the end, though, the love story between Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) and Josh Lewis (Robert Newman) was a common thread that held the episode together.
Early on, Lewis told Shayne he loved her, and wanted to marry her - but not then. He wanted to wait a year later.
Just past the midpoint of the hour-long show, the story was fast forwarded a year.
"You knew I was going to show up - what you didn't know is what I'm going to say," Shayne said when they met again at the foot of a lighthouse, with her son, Colin, in tow.
She said the year away helped her find the old Reva, the character she's played since 1983.
He said he loved her, she said she loved him. They kissed.
"We're going to go on an adventure, you, me, Colin," Lewis said.
In a true daytime moment, before the Josh and Reva storyline finished, the show cut to an extended montage of scenes showing other cast members tying up their stories to a musical backdrop.
Then, Reva, Josh and Colin (played by Nicholas Curzio) got into an old green Ford pickup.
"You ready?" Josh said.
"Always," Reva said.
They smiled and drove off, leaving the lighthouse (shot at New Jersey's Gateway National Park) on the screen, and the words "The End."
TV shows come and go in prime time all the time. However, in the daytime genre, the shows have a closer connection to the viewers, which makes endings like this harder.
In the case of "Guiding Light," that end hits roughly 1.2 million people. Not a large bunch by any measure, but a dedicated crowd.
Co-writer Jill Lorie Hurst told the Daily News earlier that the writers and producers were "really proud we were able to leave the characters in a good place - a good place the audience and the characters deserve."
As finales go, there wasn't any big bang, or gripping dramatic moment people will talk about for years to come.
Instead, "Guiding Light" went out on a light note. No catastrophes, just a bunch of scenes - a quickie wedding or two, a day in the park, and a shot near a lighthouse - all designed to bring people together for a final glimpse at the characters, and then send the viewers away forever satisfied that, at the very least, Josh and Reva were back in each others arms.
Lights out for 'Guiding Light'Friday marked the final flicker of CBS' "Guiding Light," as that venerable daytime drama logged its farewell hour after 72 years on the air.
The last episode took an upbeat, life-affirming tone, complete with a scene that gathered many of the characters at a picnic in the park on a beautiful day.
And the closing moments sealed the future of the show's signature on-and-off-again supercouple: Reva (Kim Zimmer, who created the role in 1983) and Josh (Robert Newman, who started on the show in 1981).
They rendezvoused, according to plan, at the local lighthouse and declared their undying love. Then these soul mates climbed into Josh's pickup truck.
"You ready?" asked Josh.
"Always," Reva said.
And they drove away, as the words "The End" flashed on the screen before a final fade-out.
"Guiding Light" began on radio in 1937, then moved to TV in 1952. In recent decades it was set in the midwestern town of Springfield, where it focused on the Spaulding, Lewis and Cooper clans.
Along with veteran cast members, the show also played host to many actors who left to find larger stardom elsewhere. These include Kevin Bacon, JoBeth Williams, James Earl Jones, Allison Janney, Brittany Snow, Hayden Panettiere and Melina Kanakaredes.
CBS issued word that the soap opera would be axed last April, and production of the show, which was taped in Manhattan and in nearby Peapack, New Jersey, wrapped in August.
"Guiding Light" now becomes the latest victim of the ratings collapse afflicting the entire soap-opera world. With an average 2.1 million viewers, it was the least-watched of all the network soaps, which after today (and some 15,700 past weekdays for "Light") will total only seven.
On Oct. 5, CBS will fill the slot "Guiding Light" is vacating with a new edition of the game show "Let's Make a Deal."
In this publicity image released by CBS, Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman from the daytime series "Guiding Light," are shown. The venerable weekday soap opera is airing its farewell hour, Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, after 72 years on the air. The words "The End" appear on the screen before its final fadeout.
Guiding Light Fades to BlackAfter 72 years on the air, Guiding Light is over. Longtime fans said goodbye to their favorite dramatic and dysfunctional families, the Spauldings and the Lewises, on Friday, when CBS aired the soap’s final episode after many seasons of marriages, divorces, remarriages, scandals, back-from-the-dead encounters and numerous miracles — seven! — that had paralyzed characters walking again. But beyond the melodrama, Guiding Light bolstered the careers of many of Hollywood’s most famous stars. Before Footloose, Kevin Bacon played alcoholic teen T. J. ‘Tim’ Werner in 1980. James Earl Jones was one of the first African-American actors to have a regular role on a soap, when he starred in the 1960s. Heroes star Hayden Panettiere played a young Lizzie Spaulding from 1996 to 2000. And die-hard fans will even remember when Calista Flockhart had a minor role as a babysitter in the late ’80s. As soap operas struggle to remain profitable and reality shows provide a heaping portion of heartache and backstabbing, the dimming of Guiding Light truly marks the end of an era. But before you put away your bonbons and that box of Kleenex, here is one last clip of the longest-running TV drama in history. In it, Josh and Reva (played by Robert Newman and Kim Zimmer), Springfield’s longtime on-again, off-again couple, finally reunite — presumably for good this time — in front of the town’s iconic lighthouse.
'Guiding Light' ends 72-year run amidst melancholy feelings from cast and crewActress Beth Chamberlin said getting through her final scene on CBS' soon-to-end soap "Guiding Light" was heartwrenching.
"There were a lot of different emotions going on for all of us," Chamberlin told the Daily News. "I think those emotions sort of surprised us at times."
Those emotions are sure to run high Friday, when at 10 a.m. CBS airs the final episode of "Guiding Light" after a 72-year run that spans radio and TV.
"I would feel fine, and then, when I shot my last scene, I just broke down and cried so hard," says Chamberlin, who plays Elizabeth (Beth) Ann Raines Spaulding. "It was like the death of a friend for me at that moment. As much as I was prepared, I was surprised at the death."
She's not alone.
Even though it has suffered audience declines like all daytime programs - and changes in story lines and casts along the way - "Guiding Light" means something to its 1.2 million daily viewers.
"Anytime we lose one of our shows, it's really a tragedy and it sobers everyone," said co-head writer Jill Lorie Hurst. "I remember when 'Port Charles' and even 'Passions' went off the air, we were all very sad."
There's talk of other daytime dramas going away, and CBS executives admit they're keeping an eye on "As the World Turns." The medium has changed, and audiences have fractured.
Still, Hurst believes there's a future in the format as long as producers adapt. "Guiding Light" tried changing over a year ago, when the show began shooting with hand-held cameras and went outdoors.
"I don't know the audience has time to invest in hour-long shows," she said. "The existing shows could go to a half-hour. I think the storytelling will exist, but I think we're going through a change."
For now, though, there will be some mourning.
Once the producers got word that the show was going to end, the plan was to tell stories that didn't wrap up the characters' stories, but rather suggested a transition.
"We didn't want to leave it open to speculation," she said. "We were a little more conventional. We didn't want to have a car crash or a bus crash, or anything like that. We wanted you to have an idea of where people were going."
The final days of shooting last month brought the cast together, said Chamberlin. She had her last scene with Grant Aleksander, who plays Phillip Spaulding, and got there earlier than usual. During the final days, the cast members were invited to watch others go through their last scenes, too.
"[Aleksander] remarked I was very quiet," Chamberlin said of the filming in mid-August. "And I said, I have to be quiet, I'm afraid once I start crying, I won't stop. I need to do my work. I had to go off in a corner, by myself."
She admitted the loss hasn't quite sunk in yet.
"When we finished the writing, we were kind of numb and exhausted," said Hurst, who was there for the final filming days.
"There was, strangely enough, a lot of joy along with the sorrow," Hurst said.
She also doesn't think there will be another show to span so many generations because the business has changed so much.
"It was a unique show about relationships that reflected the times as it was being shown," Chamberlin said. "This is a unique show in its relationships, not just in longevity, but with the fans and its characters."
60 MinutesVideo: 60 Minutes Guiding Light Story: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
GL cancelled three times!Did you know that this isn’t the first time that GL was cancelled? Procter & Gamble originally cancelled the NBC radio soap on Dec. 26, 1941 after it premièred Jan. 25, 1937. Fans protested by sending in 75,000 letters. Luckily, General Mills bought the serial in 1942, but later killed the show on Nov. 29, 1946. It was finally brought back by CBS radio on Jan. 2, 1947. On Sept. 18, 2009, GL will once again fade out. This time, however, permanently.
InterviewsInterviews: Lisa Brown (Nola, GL), Justin Deas (Buzz, GL)
1937-2009: Saying Goodbye to Guiding LightAt 60 Minutes we're pretty proud that we are now beginning our 42nd year on the air, but as broadcasts go, we're merely middle aged compared with the oldest established permanent floating soap opera ever broadcast.
"Guiding Light" is just finishing its 72nd year, and sadly, for its fans, Friday's broadcast will be its last.
Since Franklin Roosevelt's second term as president, Guiding Light has served up an endless menu of torrid love affairs, heartbreak, infidelities by the score, double crosses, kidnaps, suicides, sin, sex and salvation - in all, 20,000 of episodes of life on the precipice.
What pushed Guiding Light over the edge is that old grim reaper of all television shows, low ratings.
It's a bittersweet time, these last days, as hardcore fans and the show's entire staff turned up for the taping of the final scenes.
Guiding Light has always been a loving reflection of America's morals, manners and marital mayhem, where actress Tina Sloan and many others have worked together for over a quarter century.
Asked if they were surprised when the show was canceled, Sloan told correspondent Morley Safer, "The pink slips stunned us, all of us. Even though we were on life support and we knew we were on life support we just couldn't imagine anyone would pull the plug on their watch on a show that's been so historic."
It started on radio in 1937, and made the transition to television in 1952. And through the years and into a new century, Guiding Light chronicled family life in the mythical town of Springfield. Everybody, it seemed, had a dark secret.
It was a place where even the good guys often had a lurid past. Take the character of Josh Lewis, played by actor Robert Newman.
There was planting evidence, bribery and blackmail.
"And all this done by a former preacher?" Safer asked.
"Yes," Newman said. "And your point would be?"
For the better part of a quarter century, Newman and Kim Zimmer have played Springfield's star-crossed lovers Josh and Reva, marrying and divorcing each other three times. And that's just for starters.
"He married my sister, when I was dying of cancer," Zimmer explained.
"And she married my father and my brother. Are we really going to have this conversation now?" Newman joked.
Asked how many marriages she's had, Zimmer told Safer, "I believe I just had my ninth."
She once survived driving off a bridge in a fit of post-partum depression; he once had her cloned. On the soaps, the weird and the wonderful are routine and everyone has his or her very own miracle.
"I did a menopause story. And then four years later I was pregnant on the show," Zimmer recalled.
Also, her character was presumed dead three times, and even died once. "I flat-lined on a Friday. Woke up on a Monday. And walked out of the hospital on a Tuesday, yes," Zimmer explained.
In the surreal world of the soaps, missing characters presumed dead routinely turn up again.
And the medical help is somewhat dicey. Peter Simon and Michael O'Leary play the Bauers, father and son doctors.
"I started May first of 1983. Started the show on a Friday, I was an orderly, changing bedpans. Monday I was doing brain surgery with my father," O'Leary said.
"Was it successful?" Simon asked.
"No. The first of 38 deaths," O'Leary joked.
"You are renowned as a doctor who keeps losing these patients, yes?" Safer asked.
"Regardless of whether it was a strep throat or whatever it is. It doesn't matter, if they die, they die fast," O'Leary explained.
The very longevity of the show blurs the line between fiction and reality. To many fans, some of the crises may hit very close to home.
"What makes you people so real to so many people?" Safer asked.
"Because they've watched, oftentimes, our birth, our marriage…and then our deaths," actress Beth Chamberlin said.
"And rebirths," Tina Sloan added.
We got a crash course on the Byzantine history of Guiding Light from veteran actors Ron Raines, 15 years on the show; Beth Chamberlin, 20 years; Tina Sloan, 26 years; and Grant Aleksander, a 27-year soap veteran.
"There are these great stretches that the audience will grant you. You're allowed to send a child off at the age of 12 and bring them six months later fully grown…," Aleksander said.
"Or even the next day, possibly," Chamberlin joked.
"They will accept those things. They won't accept if you take a character and write it in a way that is completely inconsistent with what they have come to accept," Aleksander explained.
Tina Sloan's character, for instance, is the saint of Springfield who has survived breast cancer and countless other crises. And she slipped up just once.
"One time, in the entire history of my 26 years here, I slept with someone who was married to my best friend. And she died as a result of this because she was so upset she drove off a snowy cliff. And people have still not forgiven me. And this was 20 years ago," Sloan explained.
There are no minor crises in these families. "Something dramatic always happens at a big dinner," Raines explained. "Family sitting down. At a wedding. At a funeral."
Indeed, funeral scenes are commonplace on Guiding Light, with all the characters who've met mysterious deaths or been written out of the plot or simply succumbed to Dr. Bauer's ministrations.
For the actors, though, taping one memorial hit home: a requiem, in a way, for the program itself.
"I'm 54 years old. I will never have a job like this again, ever in my life. Nothing this steady and this stable and this wonderful," Zimmer said.
The backstage story of Guiding Light is a rich one. On the show's 70th anniversary, the actors recreated the radio version from the 1930s.
The original focus was inspirational, featuring a minister whose Guiding Light attracted the down and out, the lonely and the troubled.
In their heyday on radio, producing soaps was like printing money.
They got their name - "soaps" or "washboard weepers" - by delivering the soapmaker's dream, a captive audience: women across America, stuck at home with the laundry and the kids.
But times have been changing. "They've been going one by one. I worked on a show called 'The Doctors' once. Does anybody remember that?" says former network executive and television historian Tim Brooks.
Brooks says the soaps hit their peak in the 1970s, when the networks were running 16 of them; the passing of Guiding Light leaves just seven.
"It's that the world has changed," Brooks said. "The world has turned, so to speak."
Aside from women leaving home for the workplace, soaps are facing more competition from talk shows and reality TV. Also, despite the casting of many younger actors, the number of younger viewers willing to sit for an hour a day is dwindling.
"The audience has gotten older," Brooks explained. "And as the soap operas have attracted more and more 50-plus, 60-plus audience, they've become less attractive to the soap manufacturers."
Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Guiding Light's executive producer Ellen Wheeler did everything she could to postpone the inevitable.
She's a whirlwind on the set, where time is money, hustling cast and crew from scene to scene.
"It's great to work at that speed," Wheeler told Safer. "If it was really good, we don't have time to pat ourselves on the back. But if it was really bad, we don't have to think about it either, because we gotta move on to the next one."
She cut costs by using smaller crews and smaller sets. For instance, she turned a basement storage room at CBS into Springfield's mini-mart.
Though writer Jill Lorie Hurst and producer Wheeler knew the end was coming, accepting it was another matter.
"We still have so many stories we would love to tell," Lorie Hurst said.
"We have to say goodbye to the characters. And we have to say goodbye to the town, the whole town. We have to say goodbye to each other. Our working relationships are over," Wheeler added.
That means not just the actors, but the production staff responsible for sorting out the thousands of details involved in doing an hour show Monday through Friday, soldiering on through the last few episodes.
"It's sad. It is sad," said actor Frank Dicopoulos. "The thing I'm gonna miss the most are the people. This is a family. This is my family away from my family."
As Dicopoulos notes, it's a tight-knit group, on-screen and off. He has played the same character - a Springfield cop - for 22 years.
The thousands of actors who have passed through Springfield over the years include Calista Flockhart, Angela Bassett, Hayden Panettiere, Jimmy Smits,Taye Diggs, Allison Janney, and Kevin Bacon, a teen with a drinking problem.
"Some amazing people have worked at Guiding Light," Jill Lorie Hurst noted.
"Amazing. To be at the end of that amazing group of people is quite an honor," Ellen Wheeler said. "It puts a lot of fear in your heart. You want to be true to all the things they created. And all the love and hope that they gave to generations of people."
Asked what last show is going to be like for the cast and crew, Beth Chamberlin told Safer, "I think it won't sink in for maybe a month later that we're actually not going back. We're not just light on story right now, there is no story to be told."
"We're just all so lucky to have each other, all of us…," Sloan added.
And so they taped the final TV episode, number 15,762. Add to that roughly 4,000 radio shows, and you get, over the course of the program's life and death - 20,000 snapshots of Springfield.
And now, time to look for work.
"You go out there and do what actors do," Dicopoulos said. "They audition, a role has come up. And, you know, that's the nature of the beast."
Fans bid farewell to beloved 'Guiding Light'If you need something from Luetta Feekes, check the clock before asking. If it's between 2 and 3 p.m. you probably better wait - at least on a weekday.
That's when Feekes sits down to watch "Guiding Light," a soap opera the 64-year-old Sioux Falls woman has been watching nearly all of her life. "My mom watched it, and I just carried on watching it," she says. "My family knows not to ask me to do anything until after it's over."
For an hour a day, five days a week, Feekes immerses herself into the world of the Spauldings, the Bauers and the Coopers.
"They're all my favorites. Well, not Alan Spaulding. But nobody likes him," she says. "He's a wealthy scoundrel who tries to make his children and grandchildren out to be like him and that's not good."
But Feekes and other "Guiding Light" fans only have another week before the citizens of the fictitious town of Springfield ride off into the proverbial television sunset. After 72 years, first on radio, and then on network television, "Guiding Light" ends its run Friday.
While soaps like "Guiding Light" are routinely dismissed in popular culture, stereotyped as programs with preposterous storylines and pitiful acting, the stories told on daytime television also present some entertaining, occasionally inventive work that doesn't always get the attention it deserves, says Roger Newcomb, editor of welovesoaps.net.
But for the fans, it's all about the characters and the relatable human emotions they convey to their television audience day after day.
"The stories are really about people communicating, sharing their feelings," Newcomb says. "Soaps are never going to be able to tell an action adventure story as well as the prime-time shows or at the movies - they don't have the budgets. But what they can do better than anybody else is tell a story."
That's what's kept Kelly Waldner watching over the years. She started watching "Guiding Light" when she was 10.
"I know a lot of people think that soap operas are stupid and a waste of time, but a lot of the plots are so realistic," the 31-year-old Harrisburg woman says. "Just like Reva having cancer and fighting for the life of her and her baby. I cried through that whole ordeal just because I have been there myself. I had to make a decision years ago as to whether or not I would receive cancer treatment or carry a baby."
The occasional over-the-top plots are also a way to tell some pretty groundbreaking stories, Newcomb says. "Soap operas told AIDS stories before anyone else. They told breast cancer stories before anyone else," he says. "They brought social issues into people's lives."
It is, however, more than the storytelling and the drama that keeps soap fans tuned in. It's also the characters. The actors, many of whom have been playing the same part for decades, are like family.
"Because they're on every day - five days a week - people really feel they know the characters," Newcomb says. "You get to see them in a more in-depth way than you do in prime time or on a movie. And there's a sense of comfort with these recognizable faces, people you've watched all your life."
But it's not just the families on screen that make soaps like "Guiding Light" so special. It's the families at home that gather together to watch them.
"I remember my mother listening to it on the radio," says Marlys Nellermoe of Pierre. "That was something that was not done lightly. It was a battery powered radio, and you didn't waste the radio - you saved it for the news and the weather. But by gosh, she listened to 'Guiding Light.' "
Marylou Nagel started watching "Guiding Light" because of the women in her family, too. "My grandmother watched it. My mother watched it. My sisters watch it. It's a family affair," the 33-year-old Humboldt woman says.
All that, however, haven't been enough to draw in the viewers. As dedicated as soap operas fans are, ratings have been steadily declining over the years.
"The audience has eroded so much," Newcomb says. "Part of that is a natural erosion - there's a million options on TV for people these days. But the audience for soaps has eroded so much, there's not much room for air and multiple shows are currently under threat of cancellation."
It's particularly hard to get new viewers. Not as many people are home watching TV during the day - they're working, Newcomb says. "In some ways, watching with mom or grandma, as so many fans my age had done, has gone away."
It's also hard to appeal to everyone. "Think about it - with a show that's been on for 70 years like 'Guiding Light,' you have some fans that have been watching since the beginning, some who have been watching for 20 years and some who just started last year," Newcomb says. "How do you please everyone? I think it's hard."
Not to mention that watching a daily show is a huge time commitment. "It's like watching five prime-time shows," Newcomb says. "I don't know how many younger people are willing to invest that much time these days."
It's not always easy keep up with the storyline, Nagel admits. "I try to watch every day, but it's hard. Life happens." If she misses a day, or runs out of time to watch what she's recorded on her DVR, Nagel will catch up by reading a plot synopsis online.
For Nellermoe, however, the hour she spends watching "Guiding Light" every day is pure bliss.
"Before we had a VCR, I could only tune in on work holidays. So the day that I got a VCR to record it was really a luxury for me," she says. "Now it's my treat. I sit down with a cup of coffee, fast forward through the commercials and watch 'Guiding Light.' "
Waldner knows the feeling well. "I will miss just sitting and having my hour of quiet during the day."
But more than that, Waldner is going to miss the characters. "I grew up with this show. It's like letting go of a childhood friend."
Still, as "Guiding Light" wraps up its final storylines this week, some fans continue to hold on to the hope that the show will find a new home, either on a cable network or on the Internet.
"I hear online that someone is still trying to figure it out," Nagel says. "So there's a possibility. We're all praying for a miracle."
Because, as soap opera fans know all too well, if a popular character can return from the dead, anything can happen.
Irna Phillips, The Mother of Daytime DramaThe following biography was provided by Guiding Light:
At the time of her death in 1973, Irna Phillips was responsible for the creation of not only broadcasting's two longest-running shows, "Guiding Light" and "As The World Turns," but an additional dozen iconic radio and television dramas including "Another World" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," as well as, quite simply, the entire soap opera genre itself.
A Jewish schoolteacher from Dayton, Ohio, she was a script-writer for a daytime radio talk show before creating and starring in the Chicago-based "Painted Dreams," the first daytime serial specifically targeting women listeners. By 1932, "Painted Dreams" had become so successful that Phillips urged the local station, WGN, to sell the show to a national network. When they refused, Phillips took them to court claiming the show as her own property.
While the lawsuit was being settled (rights were eventually granted to CBS), Phillips went on to create several other soaps, including "Today’s Children," "Woman in White," "The Brighter Day" and "The Road to Happiness."
By the time she created "The Guiding Light" in 1937, Phillips was writing two million words a year, dictating all the scripts in their entirety for up to eight hours a day.
Originally an inspiration tract, "The Guiding Light" followed the travails of Reverend Dr. John Ruthledge and his often-troubled flock. Phillips reportedly based Five Points, the town it was originally set in, on her own childhood neighborhood. She wrote, "In the region lived Italian, German, Irish, Jewish and Swedish families. It is often popular today for the younger generation to dismiss as myth the melting pot story of American history. Those of us who grew up in the early years of this century, when cities were populated largely by first and second generation Americans, know the reality of the melting pot…. It certainly was real."
Though she never married, Phillips adopted two children, a son and a daughter, when she was in her forties. And though publicly she appeared to be a somewhat lonely figure, her unpublished memoir revealed that she actually had many love affairs, mostly with doctors and lawyers - not so coincidentally, the same professions that her shows glorified on screen.
Of marriage, Phillips is quoted as saying, "Why would I want to get married? If I want to pick a fight, I can always (fight about the shows)!"
And fight she did. Not just with her shows' sponsors, but with the actors, as well.
Phillips demanded that her actors stay in character at all times and was furious when her "As The World Turns" ingénue, Rosemary Prinz, took a role as a streetwalker in a theatrical production. Phillips’ constant browbeating and haranguing of Prinz drove the young actress to a nervous breakdown and quitting the show. In 1971, after actress Jane House did a nude scene in the Broadway play, Lenny, Phillips tried to kill off her character and drove House to quit, as well.
By 1973, Procter & Gamble could no longer put up with Phillips' tyranny and fired her from "As The World Turns." She died on Dec. 22 of the same year.
One of her protégées, Agnes Nixon, creator of "All My Children," didn't learn that Phillips had died until she called to wish her a Merry Christmas.
Phillips had not wanted anyone to know of her passing.
Actor loses guiding lightFrank Dicopoulos was out walking on a New Jersey beach near his home one weekday morning not long ago, chatting with a reporter by cell phone.
''It's strange,'' he said. ''It's very strange.''
Strange because, for the first time in more than 20 years, Dicopoulos was not preparing for work.
Since 1987, the Firestone High alum has played Frank Cooper, a role created for him, on the CBS soap Guiding Light. But the network has decided that Friday's telecast will be the soap's last. Production has been completed. A new version of the game show Let's Make a Deal will succeed it in October.
Dicopoulos still can't quite believe it.
''It's very difficult, very sad,'' said Dicopoulos, who grew up as Frank Dickos before changing his name from its Americanized version to the Greek original. He got the bad news when executive producer Ellen Wheeler called on April Fool's Day.
''It made no sense to me whatsoever,'' he said. ''I'm kinda frustrated and kinda angry and kinda upset.''
The show was still drawing about 2 million viewers a day, he said. And its 72-year history on radio and, since 1952, on television made Guiding Light the longest-running broadcast series ever.
''We have four and five generations of watchers,'' Dicopoulos said. ''Can you imagine — to be seen in all those homes for all those decades?''
One of those long-ago viewers was Akron's Areti Temo, a Greek immigrant who learned English from listening to Guiding Light on the radio and later watching it on TV.
Mrs. Temo's granddaughter, Melina Kanakaredes, went on to become an actress — and, as Eleni Andros Cooper, part of the Guiding Light ensemble Please see 'Light', from 1991 to 1995, as well as Dicopoulos's wife on the show. Dicopoulos still refers to the years working with Kanakaredes as one of the high points in his Guiding Light tenure. ''I miss that connection,'' he said. ''When it works, it really, really works.''
Told of Dicopoulos' comments, Kanakaredes said, ''That's so sweet. . . . It was my first [acting] job out of college. I had done some commercials, but I was still new. . . . My grandmother was so excited.''
Kanakaredes, now starring on CSI: NY, would use the show as a shout-out to Akron-area friends of Mrs. Temo. (The widow of Temo's Candy founder Christ Temo, she died in 2004.) A list of customers for Eleni's catering business would often include local folks' names, Kanakaredes said.
While Kanakaredes and Dicopoulos did not know each other well before Guiding Light — there's about a 10-year age difference — she still marvels that they ended up working together.
''The odds of two people from the same town ending up, not only on the same show, but as love interests — it's so weird, so random,'' she said.
But if you talk to people from Guiding Light for long, the sense of community and family is evident. Besides working with Kanakaredes, Dicopoulos's favorite moments include times he acted with his real wife, Teja Anderson, and their daughter, Olivia.
Anderson appeared on the show in several roles, but the one that stands out for Frank is ''when she came on as a blind date for me. We had an absolute complete blast and got in a kind of food fight, and she did a great, great job.''
Then there's Olivia, who played Maureen Reardon on the show. ''It was an absolute thrill to work with my daughter,'' he said. ''It's, like, the old man's going off and the new blood's coming on.''
So you can see why the likely end of Guiding Light stings so much, not only for fans, but for actors like Dicopoulos. It's not only business. It's painfully personal.
''When you see some of the crap that's airing . . . this is definitely a medium and a vehicle that is needed,'' he said. ''How many reality shows and game shows can you possibly have? They're going to wear themselves out. . . . You need a blend, you need a mixture.''
Dicopoulos continues to believe that Procter & Gamble, which owns the program, has a ''very realistic'' chance of finding it a new home, although it might include some format changes. He believes daytime soaps, though an endangered TV form, still belong: that soaps provide a way of seeing others working out their differences, as well as providing viewers with difficult lives of their own some relief by seeing others suffer. ''You know, misery loves company,'' he said.
Guiding Light has endured decades of adjustments, a less-than-prime-time budget — which was then cut — and a possibly lethal time-slot change.
Although WOIO (Channel 19) carries Guiding Light at 3 p.m. weekdays, CBS offers it for 10 a.m. — when many potential viewers are not at home, he said. ''Guiding Light could have survived if we had been in a 3 o'clock time slot.''
Still, he said, ''we were able to pull off a miracle for years.'' Although Wheeler has made some controversial changes (such as using hand-held cameras) since joining GL in 2008, Dicopoulos considers those part of the miracle.
''I'm just so proud of the show,'' he said. ''Ellen Wheeler did a phenomenal job reinventing the show, even with budget cuts. She bought us an extra year and a half. . . . The saddest thing is, we were all excited about some of the story lines that were planned. . . . We had arrived where we wanted to be.''
Only, as far as CBS is concerned, the next step won't be seen. And as hopeful as Dicopoulos remains, he knows that you can't eat hope. Asked what he would be doing if the show is in fact done, Dicopoulos cracked, ''Retail.'' Then, he said more seriously that he had shot a pilot (he couldn't say for what) and was meeting with an agent about jobs, including some possibilities in prime time.
''I'm back in the pool,'' he said.
Some familiar faces have graced 'Guiding Light'From the 1960s through the early '00s, more than a dozen now-recognizable names breezed through Springfield. Here are some you might remember.
In 1966, Cecily Tyson became the first female African-American contract player in daytime TV.
Also in 1966, the man who would lend his molasses pipes and embody Darth Vader, James Earl Jones, became the voice of reason on "Guiding Light" as Dr. Jim Frazier.
Billy Dee Williams stepped in to play Dr. Jim Frazier in 1966 when Jones left the role.
It's a whole new round of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon when you recall that from 1980-1981 the actor portrayed Tim, a teenage alcoholic.
Calista Flockhart has done businesswoman ("Ally McBeal") and needy, yet responsible sibling ("Brothers & Sisters"). But in 1989, she played Elise, a baby sitter who accidentally misplaces one of her charges.
After making waves on "Dynasty," Joan Collins played Baroness Alexandra Spaulding on "Guiding Light" in 2002.
'Guiding Light' Says Goodbye -- Will More Soaps Follow?In five days, the light goes out.
After 72 years -- beginning on radio -- the soap opera that Guinness World Records christened the longest-running drama in TV/radio history will leave its melodramatic plot lines (Teen drinking! Cancer! AIDS! Cloning?) in the CBS vaults, another victim of the shrinking ratings that are decimating the soaps industry.
This year, "Guiding Light" averaged 2.1 million viewers, continuing its steady decline from even five years ago, when it attracted about 3 million.
Replacing the soap on Oct. 5 is a revamped "Let's Make a Deal," the game show popularized by Monty Hall in the 1960s and '70s, with Wayne Brady as the new host.
Whether or not "Deal" attracts "Guiding Light" mourners is irrelevant because games shows are infinitely cheaper to produce than daily dramas -- and that in itself is a victory for CBS and Procter & Gamble, which owns the show.
"Guiding Light," like its chest-clutching, mock-fainting peers, certainly has a devoted flock.
But soap operas are a fizzling concept in a world where viewers can catch the latest HBO series on demand, flip among 200 cable channels or go online to watch an episode of "30 Rock" on their laptops.
Even "As the World Turns," the second-oldest soap, is on shaky ground, according to CBS President Nina Tassler.
All of daytime is a challenged time segment in the broadcast day, she told critics at this summer's annual Television Critics Association gathering.
Given the range of competition, it isn't so surprising that interest in Josh and Reva, the Bauers, the Spauldings, the Lewises and the Coopers waned to the point where it was no longer financially sensible to maintain production of "Guiding Light."
"It's fractionalization, but by and large, it's a generational thing," said Peter Maroney, general manager of WTVR, the local CBS affiliate that airs "Guiding Light" weekdays at 3 p.m. "It's not your grandmother's TV anymore. A lot of soap-like serialization drama has shifted to prime time and other [parts of the broadcast day] as well, along with reality shows. I can see the appeal of soaps to a certain demographic, but there are so many places now to get that same sort of thing."
Years ago, before Twitter was a verb and the Internet existed primarily as a platform to shuttle e-mail, soap operas were appointment TV.
College students who now spend between-class time zipping off text messages and updating their Facebook pages had another goal: to sit on the couch and follow the daily stories of people they didn't know, but with whom they had formed an inexplicable bond.
But now, with so many distractions and options, younger generations have no desire to develop these ersatz relationships.
"If you think about people who started listening to soaps on the radio, that's all they had," said Dr. Thomas Donohue, a mass communications professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who specializes in TV studies.
"There wasn't any competition for character identification. There's so much competition on so many other media outlets now that people don't get hooked as easily."
But how about the ones who are still captivated?
Even though ratings for "Guiding Light" and its sudsy brethren have diminished, for a couple of million people a day, that hour of escapism isn't something that can be easily replaced by Brady offering a deal behind Door No. 1.
Nearly 150 people from Richmond to Florida to Canada responded to a Richmond Times-Dispatch query seeking fans of the show. And with the exception of a disgruntled viewer who no longer likes Reva's clothes and the more progressive plot lines (the lesbian single moms, Olivia and Natalia, made many traditional viewers uncomfortable), all expressed the kind of remorse usually reserved for family funerals.
"My love affair with 'Guiding Light' began at birth. You see, we were born in the same year, nine months apart and my mother would rock me to sleep as she tuned in her favorite 15-minute soap," said Sandra Cheatham Nelson of Richmond. "As the clock moved forward, I had come full circle, for I sat in the same rocker cradling my own daughter while glued to the love life of Reva and Josh. . . . I am saddened by the demise of my dear soap. It will be like a death in the family. I suppose I will just have to sit in the same rocker, close my eyes and let the imagination years of radio take over once more in memories of what was and is no more."
Rhonda Harper, a Fortune 500 executive in Atlanta, e-mailed to say, "The show has been my mind candy. I shift into low gear and lose myself in another world. But more than that, it's been a stabilizing force. My world changes, people and places come and go, but the show was always there."
Indeed, psychologists and sociologists opine that an attraction to soaps is twofold: The fictional settings allow viewers to live vicariously through the characters and sometimes identify with real-life issues, while the plotlines offer an unabashed diversion from everyday life.
"It's cathartic for a lot of women [the main demographic of soap watchers] to look at the characters and say, 'See, I'm not the only one. My life has some real bumps as well,'" Donohue said. "Then there is the idea that people having affairs with each other's in-laws certainly is escapism given the forbidden fruit of that kind of illicit relationship. I'd never sleep with my brother-in-law, the woman said, but I like watching somebody who will."
That feeling is confirmed by third-generation "Guiding Light" fan Christina Saba of Glen Allen, who stopped watching the show several years ago when plot lines were altered to appeal to younger generations, and contained some dashes of mundane realism.
"They cut back on any story lines involving anyone over 30, it seemed to me, and were focused on twentysomethings and teenagers," Saba said in an e-mail. "[Then] they started filming outside, changed the introduction to the show and started including interviews of the actors. Do soap watchers really want reality?"
Most soap fans, it seems, are not only attracted to the ongoing drama but also addicted to the daily cliffhanger, a compelling tease to ensure viewers will return to learn the resolution.
Dr. Carole Lieberman, a media psychiatrist and former Emmy-winning psychiatric script consultant for "The Young and The Restless" and "The Bold and The Beautiful," said it becomes routine to tune in to see "if the secret will be revealed, if the mistress is pregnant, if the son will sabotage the family business, if two star-crossed lovers will finally fall into each other's arms.
"Losing a soap opera, after being a faithful fan for years, is very traumatic because to viewers these are not just 'characters,' they are 'real people.' So it's like losing one's best friends and losing the 'drama' that's otherwise lacking in their own lives."
The crumbling of the once-dynamic soap industry has been gradual, and the large numbers of women who returned to the work force during the past couple of decades certainly instigated the erosion of the genre's core viewership.
But, more specifically, some experts pinpoint the O.J. Simpson trial in 1994-95 as the beginning of the end for the genre -- partially because of the real-life drama the trial generated, but also because of simple TV logistics.
Interest in the Simpson case was so overwhelming, most networks pre-empted the soaps in favor of nonstop trial coverage.
"Everyone tuned in daily to watch O.J., and when -- many months later -- his trial was over and the soaps returned, many viewers did not, because they realized they could live very well without them," said Deborah Wilker, a veteran entertainment journalist and contributing editor at Moving Pictures magazine. "Like FM radio and other moribund forms of media, traditional soaps have been dead for years."
That's the heartbreaking reality that faced the "Guiding Light" cast the second week of August, when the show's final scenes in the fictional town of Springfield were filmed in Peapack-Gladstone, N.J.
The early symbol of the show -- and the inspiration for its title -- the Friendship Lamp that sat in the church window of the Rev. Dr. John Rutledge, acting as a beacon for family and friends who needed to find him for help, will always epitomize fans' devotion to something that lasted seven decades.
Even nonsoap-opera fans must recognize the rarity of "Guiding Light," if only for its astounding longevity.
It may be premature to pull out the bugle to sound taps for all daytime dramas, but an evolving media landscape dictates that the status quo is rapidly changing.
"Remember the premise from which soaps came: in the middle of the last century, they evolved from radio to become a midday distraction for stay-at-home wives," Wilker said. "Now there are so many other ways that housewives and college students can fritter away their daytimes -- the least of which are 20 games shows like 'The Price is Right,' harmless talk shows like Ellen [DeGeneres] and Rachael Ray and the many courtroom/judge shows. All are worthy diversions. Soaps -- with their faux worlds and helmet-haired heroes, soaps are simply having a harder time than ever getting people to buy in."
Greatest moments of 'Guiding Light'On Friday, 72 years of television history will come to an end when “Guiding Light” airs its last episode on CBS. With audiences dwindling, the daytime’s grand dame had trouble justifying its existence despite recent, bold attempts at renovation.
Mama will level with you: “GL” was the soap on when she got home from school, and it’s been sporadic viewing ever since.
“Guiding Light” was never the hippest show — even in the ’50s it seemed like your grandma’s soap compared to faster, edgier fare like “As The World Turns” — but at its best it could seem more real and vivid than the lives of its audience. At its worst, it was pulpy and derivative, but that was generally when “GL” tried to imitate its competitors.
As fans prepare to say goodbye to this TV icon, let’s look back at some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the longest-running continuing saga in recorded history.
* Meta Kills Ted: Before the parents of people who vote for the next “American Idol” were conceived, “GL” invited its audience to decide the fate of Meta Bauer, who was on trial for killing her husband to retaliate for his role in her son’s death. Unsurprisingly, she was acquitted.
* Roger Rapes Holly: “GL” was the first soap to tackle the subject of marital rape when troubled executive Roger took out his frustrations on his wife, kicking off the show’s most complex love/hate story. The late Michael Zaslow and Maureen Garrett were superb.
* Reva Jumps in the Fountain: Every daytime soap sought to catch the “Dallas” gusher in the early ’80s, and “GL” was no exception when they introduced Oklahoma oil family the Lewises and the paramour of three of the men, sultry Reva Shayne, played to the everloving hilt by Kim Zimmer. Anticipating the advent of YouTube, Reva made a big scene in front of true love Josh Lewis (Robert Newman), declaring herself the “slut of Springfield.”
* Bert Comforts Josh: Like nearly all soap characters before and after him, Josh Lewis suffered a bout of paralysis that would eventually pass. But before it did, the depressed hero had a heart-to-heart with the show’s matriarch, Bert, who in real life was herself wheelchair-bound following a leg amputation. The moving scene was a classic example of what “GL” did best: heartfelt, multi-generational storytelling.
* Maureen Dies: Following the death of Charita Bauer, who played Bert, the mantle of soap mom went to Bert’s daughter-in-law Maureen, who subsequently was deemed boring by a focus group and met her end in a car accident. This decision altered the dynamic of the show, and many argue it never recovered.
* Born Again: “GL” used the occasion of its 70th anniversary to offer a mini-history of the show’s early days with current cast members playing their predecessors. It was perhaps the most earnest tribute to its past that a daytime soap has aired.
* Otalia: The stripped-down, digitally shot “GL” of the last couple of years failed to engage viewers until it introduced the lesbian love story of Olivia and Natalia, both older single moms who slowly discovered they were falling for each other. The tale has sparked the interest of a legion of new and lapsed fans, leading all of us to wonder whether the pair will finally kiss by the final episode.
InterviewsInterviews: Kim Zimmer (Reva), Tina Sloan (Lillian), Kim Zimmer (Reva)
After 72 Years, Springfield Gets a Stop SignVideos- Seven Decades in Springfield (Watch here!)
MOTIONS are an actor’s currency, but on this day in early August, Robert Newman was coming up empty. He sat slumped in a chair in his nearly vacant dressing room at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in Manhattan. Cartons with his name scrawled on them were stacked in the corridor. His colleagues, some of whom he had worked with for decades, were all packing up as well. “I shot my last scene in the studio an hour ago,” he said, then paused and studied his hands, clasped in his lap. “I don’t know how I feel.”
For most of the last 28 years Mr. Newman has been known to millions of “Guiding Light” viewers as Josh Lewis, half of one of the soap opera’s most popular couples. But on Sept. 18 he will be out of his longtime gig, along with more than 150 other cast and crew members. Their jobs may be more glamorous than most, but ultimately they are not much different from millions of other workers who have recently watched their employers go bust. “What it really comes down to is the people I’ve worked with. We’ve shared so much for so long,” Mr. Newman said, “and we’re all going in different directions.”
“Guiding Light,” broadcasting’s longest-running scripted program, will go dark after 72 years, 15,762 televised episodes and what will undoubtedly be a tearful end. (The final scenes are a closely held secret.) Although ratings have been sliding for years, fans were still shocked when CBS announced in April that it was canceling the show. Angry callers threatened to boycott CBS and Procter & Gamble, which owns “Guiding Light,” despite P.&G.’s claim at the time that it would try to find another home for the show. That reprieve never materialized.
The truly shocking fact is not that “Guiding Light” was canceled, but that it survived for so long. In the 1960s and ’70s, generally considered the heyday of television soaps, the daytime schedule was dominated by as many as 19 daytime dramas. Through much of this period “Guiding Light” was among the Top 5 in ratings, Nielsen reported. The audience was overwhelmingly female. Grandmothers, mothers and daughters often watched together.
But by the end of the ’80s many of those women were in the work force, dramatically cutting the size of that audience. Once dominant shows began to fail. “The Edge of Night” shut down in 1984, followed by “Ryan’s Hope” in 1989, “Santa Barbara” in 1993 and “Another World” in 1999.
The rise of reality TV since the early 1990s has lured away much of the next generation of potential fans, who now get their fix of melodrama from a wide range of cable channels. There they can follow the travails of characters like Jon and Kate, or Lauren and Heidi. Slowly, “Guiding Light” slid to the bottom of the ratings.
In the last decade viewers have kept up with soaps in increasingly diverse ways, sometimes by episodes recorded on DVR, sometimes through episodes streamed online. But that new technology didn’t help “Guiding Light,” at least not enough. In the past five years its audience declined to less than half that of “The Young and the Restless,” the top-rated daytime soap.
“Guiding Light” made its debut on NBC radio on Jan. 25, 1937, and moved to television on June 30, 1952. That means that at least five generations of listeners and viewers have followed the many marriages, divorces, affairs, murder trials, bizarre dream sequences and thousands of other creative plot twists that constitute the multidecade family histories of the Bauer, Spaulding, Chamberlain, Reardon, Cooper and Lewis families of Springfield, U.S.A. Fans have remained loyal through 12 presidents, one world war and even a dubious cloning story line.
But that devotion wasn’t enough. In recent years the executive producer, Ellen Wheeler, tried to resuscitate “Guiding Light” by experimenting with freehand cameras to break with the conventional soap-opera look. Ratings continued to decline, but Ms. Wheeler, an Emmy-winning former soap actress herself who came to “Guiding Light” in 2004, said she believes that without those changes the show might have died even sooner.
“We didn’t change the stories that we told or the relationships between the characters, all the good parts of what is soap opera that we brought with us,” she said. “We just tried to look at how we could make those stories even closer for the audience.” Reaction was mixed, but Ms. Wheeler said fans communicated to her that they liked the changes.
Stories are the heart of soaps; they create an emotional connection to the characters and their struggles, and that keeps fans coming back for more. Longtime viewers who welcome the shows into their homes every day often say they feel they know these people, sometimes even more intimately than they do the members of their own families.
And “Guiding Light” was able to sustain that bond longer than anyone else. It was created by Irna Phillips, who pretty much invented the soap genre during the Depression and also created “As the World Turns” and “Days of Our Lives,” both still being broadcast. Her decision to create central characters who were often professionals — doctors, lawyers, ministers — became a convention that most soaps have followed, with emotional scenes often taking place in hospitals and courtrooms.
“Guiding Light” brandished a socially conscious streak from the start; its name comes from the reading lamp in the window of the show’s original main character, the Rev. Dr. John Ruthledge, who preached racial tolerance and spoke out against war and the injustice of poverty. In the early days the show began with a poem that represented his philosophy:
There is a destiny that makes us brothers
None goes his way alone.
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own.
Later “Guiding Light” was one of the first soaps to feature African-American actors in regular roles. In the mid-1960s James Earl Jones and Billy Dee Williams had turns portraying Dr. Jim Frazier, while Cicely Tyson and Ruby Dee had runs as that character’s wife, Martha. Jill Lorie Hurst, one of four current head writers, ticks off some other firsts: stories about characters struggling with cancer, marital rape and teenage alcoholism (one of Kevin Bacon’s first professional roles).
Some ideas were inspired by the actors. Early in her time at the show, Ms. Hurst said, she worked on a story about cochlear implants featuring a hearing-impaired actress who had gone through that surgery. “I loved working with her, being able to absorb the actor’s real story and then translating that into the character,” she said.
A more unconventional episode took place two years after Hurricane Katrina, when the cast trooped down to Biloxi, Miss., to highlight the plight of residents whose homes still hadn’t been rebuilt. Cast members like Kim Zimmer, a fan favorite who plays Reva Shayne (three times married to and divorced from Josh Lewis), climbed ladders, hammers in hand, to volunteer before taping an episode marking the show’s 70th anniversary. It’s an event that many cast members, including Mr. Newman, recall with pride.
But the show didn’t always hew so close to reality. Some plots were funny, others ridiculous — lost loves, time travel.
During a celebration of the show last month at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan, the actor Michael O’Leary (Dr. Rick Bauer) recalled his least favorite moment on the show, when he was supposed to give another character, Phillip Spaulding, a stuffed lamb as Phillip left town. The script called for Mr. O’Leary to throw the lamb against the wall so that the stuffing would come out of it. But that was not meant to be: the lamb remained intact, bouncing around on rubber feet, creating hilarity on the set.
Then there are the many incarnations of Ms. Zimmer’s Reva, probably the most beloved character on the show (whose multiple marriages and divorces, sometimes to the same man, make her name Reva Shayne Lewis Lewis Spaulding Lewis Winslow Cooper Lewis Lewis O’Neill). In a 1984 episode she jumped into a fountain and declared herself baptized as the Slut of Springfield, a scene that is considered one of the show’s classics. At points in the show her character was Amish, a clone, the princess of an island nation, a time traveler, a psychic and a talk-show host.
Many fans say Reva’s strenuous though improbable journey inspired them to be better people. At the Paley Center event one woman in the audience said that watching Reva mourn the loss of her husband Jeffrey gave her the courage to move forward when she lost her own spouse. At a reception afterward fans crowded around Ms. Zimmer, begging her to pose for photographs with them. One gave her a Tiffany necklace and helped put it on.
Watching the throng around Ms. Zimmer, Toya Booth, a 33-year-old associate minister at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y., recalled how she used to rush home from school in Louisville, Ky., to watch the last 10 or 15 minutes of the show with her mother and two grandmothers. “I loved the story of Reva and Josh,” Ms. Booth said. “She could do everything I couldn’t do. I just loved her passion.”
Eight years ago Ms. Booth moved to New York. While she was homesick, she said, watching “Guiding Light,” made her feel close to her family.
The last day in the New York studio was as nostalgic as the Paley Center gathering of fans. There was a constant taking of and posing for photos; family members videotaped husbands and wives as they worked; final scripts were being passed around and signed; cast and crew members angled for props they might take home. Raul Reyes, who worked as an extra since 1983, clutched the shirt he wore as an orderly at Cedars Hospital. “I’ve always played orderlies,” he said. “Anyone who has died in this hospital in the last quarter-century, I have wheeled them away.”
Ms. Wheeler, the executive producer, said the cast and crew were equally emotional at the last shoot in Peapack, N.J., a few days later, when their names were read aloud along with the number of years they had been on the job. “Hundreds of years of people’s lives were represented there on that day,” she said.
But even as she mourned the show’s demise, Ms. Wheeler said: “Serial storytelling has gone on since people sat around the campfire. Sharing all those characters in common binds us together” — even if it’s only for an hour, five days a week.
An institution ends when 'Guiding Light' turns offUntil not so long ago, Stage 42 at CBS' Broadcast Center held a honeycomb of chambers where "Guiding Light" was shot.
Here stood a life-size dollhouse whose rooms (the Spaulding study; the Company restaurant; the Beacon hotel) fit together, snug as a Rubik's Cube, providing multiple locations and ease of production.
Except that, by a Friday in early August, half of Stage 42 was a void. Roughly half of the set had already been dismantled. This was the last day shooting here at West 57th Street. Then two final days on location in New Jersey. Then lights out for "Guiding Light."
You don't have to be a fan of the show, or of the soap opera genre it pioneered, to feel a sense of gravity at the demise of "Guiding Light."
"It's been reflecting American life back at America since before World War II," said "Guiding Light" executive producer Ellen Wheeler.
"We are the history of so many people," added veteran leading lady Tina Sloan. "They watched it for so long."
But Friday, Sept. 18 (check local listings for time), they will watch its final hour, after 72 years and more than 15,700 weekdays on television and radio. It's a run, an institution, that has never been matched and never will.
"I was just packing up my dressing room," said a wistful Robert Newman, who began on the show 28 years ago, and, with only a couple of sabbaticals, has played colorful, oft-wed Josh Lewis ever since.
"I've got a lot of junk in there," he mused.
As he spoke, a corridor outside the dressing rooms was jammed with racks of clothes and other costumes being put up for sale to the "Guiding Light" troupe.
"I took my nurse's uniform," said Tina Sloan, who began her run as nurturing Lillian Raines in 1983.
She made a joke about wearing the uniform at home and waiting for emergencies to handle, like she did at Cedars Hospital as Lillian.
"I'm mourning her," Sloan said, turning serious. "They're putting 'Let's Make a Deal' in our place. All I can say is: BIG deal!"
Yes, a revival of the what's-behind-the-curtain game show, this time hosted by Wayne Brady, will inherit the slot left by "Guiding Light" beginning Oct. 5. (Repeats of "The Price Is Right" will air in the interim.)
It's the latest chapter in the doomsday scenario that has plagued soaps for decades and has now claimed "Guiding Light."
Used to be, at any given time there were a dozen-odd daytime dramas on the schedule. Soon there will be only seven. The oldest now becomes CBS' "As the World Turns," which began in 1956 (and, like "Light," is owned by Procter & Gamble, whose line of household cleaning products inspired the "soap opera" term).
"Light" was created by soap matriarch Irna Phillips (who also masterminded "As the World Turns" and "Days of Our Lives," now NBC's lone daytime drama). It debuted on NBC radio in 1937 as a 15-minute serial, then came to CBS television on June 30, 1952. (Yet another Phillips creation, "The Brighter Day," began on radio in 1948, then began its eight-year TV run in 1954.)
In 1968, "Guiding Light" expanded to 30 minutes and, in 1977, it became a full hour.
Those were the glory days of "Light" and daytime drama overall. Huge, faithful audiences flocked to their TVs at the appointed time each day, knowing each installment of their chosen soaps was a now-or-never proposition - thus not to be missed.
The genre was a cash cow. Time magazine in a 1976 cover story noted that the networks relied on profits from daytime to bail out their costly, deficit-financed prime-time shows.
Then, within a few years, soaps had peaked.
If the power of the soap has been its knack for reflecting changes in the culture, it painfully exhibited a range of cultural changes with its own steady loss of viewer support.
More women had jobs out of the home, away from TV sets, during daytime hours. Meanwhile, other TV genres were stealing soaps' thunder as rival showcases for racy behavior and emerging social issues. How was even the scrappiest soap supposed to outpace the anything-goes world of daytime talk, reality shows or premium-cable dramas?
In the 1991-92 season, top-ranked soap "The Young and the Restless" was drawing 10.3 million viewers, with "Guiding Light" seen by 6.5 million.
By the 2006-2007 season, "Y&R" was still No. 1 - but with roughly half as many viewers. "GL," in the cellar, had 2.75 million viewers.
But "Light" wasn't going down without a fight, and a couple of years ago, it launched a do-or-die effort to save itself.
"We were given the directive to save money and be innovative," Wheeler said. "We held onto the characters and the story and the history and the relationships. But we tried to change the style. It was time to deliver the stories in a more intimate way."
By then, the narrative had gone through decades of evolution, leaving far behind the Chicago suburb of Five Points (where "Light" was first set) and its protagonist, the Rev. John Ruthledge, who placed a lamp in his window to welcome parishioners.
Now it takes place in the bucolic midwestern town of Springfield, and revolves around the sprawling, commingling Spaulding, Lewis and Cooper clans.
Their world was abruptly transformed in February 2008. Production changes for the show included ditching pedestal studio cameras and three-walled interior sets.
Hand-held video and realistic four-walled, ceilinged sets were suddenly the rule. And the whole production company began spending part of every week - a two-hour bus ride from West 57th Street - in leafy Peapack, N.J., which was cast in the role of the program's Springfield hometown.
The show looked better than ever - more cinematic and contemporary. Still, its ratings continued to slide (this season, "Guiding Light" has logged an average viewership of less than 2.1 million).
Last April, the word was handed down: "Guiding Light" was axed.
"It's sad," Newman said, "but not entirely unexpected. I'm worried about the other shows right now. The economics of trying to produce 250 episodes a year, with 25 contract players full-time - it's a difficult thing."
But Newman's cast mate Frank Dicopolous said he was caught off-guard by the bad news.
"I think the show had reinvented itself and we were on fire," he said. "I think it was working again."
Dicopolous, a regular on the show continuously since 1987, plays family man and law-enforcement officer Frank Cooper.
He started with a three-year contract, but said he loved the work and the stability, even as he reeled off a few "Light" departees: Kevin Bacon, JoBeth Williams, James Earl Jones, Allison Janney, Brittany Snow, Hayden Panettiere and Melina Kanakaredes (whose character, he noted, had been married to Frank Cooper).
Dicopolous acknowledged twinges of sadness in recent weeks.
"When will I have a full blown-out reaction? I can't answer that." But as he spoke of the "Guiding Light" company, he said, "It's such a cohesive group, and we're all realizing that we pretty much will never have this again." His eyes moistened.
So what would he like to do next?
"Host a game show," he said, and burst out laughing.
A few days after that, production wrapped forever. Speaking by phone from her receptionist's desk (her own office already vacated) executive producer Wheeler described the challenge of bringing in this saga for a landing.
"We wanted to be sure we tied up both the characters' current stories and their history," she said. "And yet we wanted to leave them in a place where they weren't finished. We want to let the fans know that, while they may not be able to tune in, the lives of these people in Springfield will continue."
But how much longer can the soap opera genre that "Light" championed evade extinction?
"What we call soap operas is actually serial storytelling," Wheeler said, "and it existed way before the term 'soap opera.' Serial storytelling will go on. And since I consider that to be what soap operas are, I don't think they'll ever die."
Paley Center TributeDuring the GL Paley Center tribute, executive producer Ellen Wheeler admitted that she came up with the Otalia love story. Watch a clip here!
Dean the DogFRANK DICOPOULOS (Frank) is featured as the voice of “Dean the Dog” in the companion CD to the children’s book “Loukoumi's Good Deeds.” Other celebrities featured include Jennifer Aniston, Olympia Dukakis, and Gloria Gaynor. The book will be on sale April 1 and a portion of the proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For more information, go to www.Loukoumi.com.
Only Love VideoCan't get enough of GL's theme song? Be sure to check out this link to Kati Mac's "Only Love" music video, which features GL stars and footage from the soap, as well as Mac, who takes a singing stroll through — you guessed it — Peapack, NJ! Click here to check out the video.
Kettlebell pro Beth ChamberlinKettlebell pro Beth Chamberlin (Beth, GL) takes her beloved fitness routine to the next level with the release of her second workout DVD, Kettlebell Way to Your Perfect Body Vol II: The Empire State, which can now be purchased online at www.beacon-fitness.com. "I'm really psyched about it," Chamberlin shares. "We shot [the video] from this amazing penthouse, so we have the entire New York City skyline. Beginners can use it, but in every round there's an alternative round that's more advanced. Every round is also three minutes: It's a minute each of upper body, core, and lower body. There's also a shuffle feature so it mixes it up," she smiles. Be sure to check out an upcoming issue of Digest for more scoop on Chamberlin's love for kettlebells.
Buy Only LoveGuiding Light’s new theme song, "Only Love," written and performed by Kati Mac, is available for purchase on her website, www.KatiMac.com.
Jonathan's StoryPocket Books celebrates the 70th anniversary of America’s longest running daytime drama, Emmy Award-winning Guiding Light with an original novel, GUIDING LIGHT: JONATHAN’S STORY (Pocket Books; September 18, 2007; $21.00), which features the popular character Jonathan Randall in an all-new passionate and adventure-filled love story, that provides crucial information not revealed on the show. The book will also feature his illustrious mother Reva Shayne, his beloved deceased Tammy Winslow and Jonathan’s arch-enemy Alan Spaulding. Jonathan's Story was conceived by Guiding Light’s Emmy-nominated Head Writer David Kreizman.
Stars of Guiding Light will promote the publication of Guiding Light: Jonathan's Story at two live appearances at shopping malls where they will autograph copies of the novel.
Thank You Guiding LightLet's Make A Deal. Terrible title. CBS really should change it to Let's Plunge A Dagger In Your Heart. Yep. That sounds right. That sounds like a talentless game show about dunces in costumes replacing a drama with heart and soul and Coopers and Spauldings and Bauers and Reva Shayne. This feels like I'm writing an obituary. Seventy-two years, that's a very long life in radio and television (especially now when people seem to have misplaced their attention spans, the era of fifteen minute soaps may need to be revived), but as far as I'm concerned, seventy-two years wasn't nearly long enough for Guiding Light, there was still so much life left to live vicariously through. If there's anyone out there who was lucky enough to have listened and watched for the entire run, I so envy you, my devotion to Guiding Light only began twenty-two years ago when finally a local station picked up GL. I was ten years old and immediately fell for a certain dreamy Greek mechanic and his feisty teenage sister. The down-to-earth Coopers hooked me on life in Springfield, and right up to the end they held a special place in my heart, though most every character who ever walked into Company, visited Cross Creek, or trespassed into the Spaulding mansion was truly something special, brought to vivid life by some of the most talented people on the planet, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. They gave us unforgettable matriarchs and patriarchs like Bert, Maureen, H.B., Hawk, Sarah, Henry, and Ross. They gave us an incomparably complex villian named Roger Thorpe. They gave us so many serious well-told stories such as childhood cancer, body image, addiction, paralysis, teenage pregnancy, marital rape, racism, death, and Vietnam. They gave us humor with Nola, Nadine, Billy, Fletcher, Dinah, Alexandra, Rick, and so many more. They gave us some of the all-time great love stories in Frank and Eleni, Olivia and Natalia, Lucy and Alan-Michael, Dylan and Bridget, Phillip and Beth, Harley and Mallet, Cyrus and Marina, Harley and Gus, David and Kat, Rick and Abby, Matt and Vanessa, Ross and Blake, Remy and Cristina, Bill and Lizzie, Jonathan and Tammy, Quint and Nola, Billy and Vanessa, Buzz and Nadine, Buzz and Jenna, Ed and Maureen, Fletcher and Alexandra, Alan and Hope, Danny and Michelle, Mallet and Dinah, and Josh and Reva (sorry if I forgot your favorite). Not surprisingly, a soap that even in its worst moments was always one of the finest shows on television, went out in lovely fashion, doing their best to give each of our beloveds their own version of a happily ever after, still there won't be a Thanksgiving (at Bill and Lizzie's house this year but hey we can watch a game show instead. Yippee.), a Christmas, or a Fourth of July, and probably a lot of the days in between when I won't wonder where all of these characters are, how life is working out for them, did Rick burn the burgers this year, who's dressing up as Santa, have Natalia and Olivia shared a real kiss yet, did Alan really, truly die, and which Spaulding offspring is having the latest Romeo and Juliet moment with which Cooper offspring. I'll always wonder. I'll miss them all.
Recaps: The Last Weeks
August 31, 2009Buzz was excited about his date with Lillian and greeted her with a big kiss, telling Josh that they haven't had a chance to, ahem, be together since he got back into town. Meanwhile, James distracted Daisy from showing up to her shift at Company on time. She told James about her new relationship with Cyrus and pointed out how it's shaken up her family. He agreed to chill with her at the restaurant for the day.
Olivia was out for a jog and saw Matt, who was snacking on some Pringles. He was bummed about Vanessa's wedding plans. Liv tried to comfort him. Then she got a call from Natalia, who was still upset over Rafe enlisting in the army. She invited Liv along for a shopping spree later that day. Liv was hesitant, but agreed to go. Meanwhile, Vanessa and Billy decided to visit their family and friends to tell them the news about their engagement. Later, Josh also tried to console Matt. They made plans to go to the bar later and lament Matt's loss.
At Cross Creek, Reva put away more photos of Jeffrey. "Your brother is right," she told Colin. "We do have to get back out in the world because that's what your daddy would want." She grabbed Colin and got in her car but couldn't bring herself to leave. Meanwhile, Josh saw Olivia, who admitted she wants to be Nat's friend but she's still in love with her and it's tough. Josh was sympathetic and pointed out that he feels the same about Reva. "Sometimes the line get blurry," he nodded. Liv told him about her plans to go shopping with Nat. "Now I have an image of you and Natalia in a dressing room together," he smiled.
Billy and Vanessa showed up at Company to share their happy news and pick up cake to bring to their friends/family when they tell them about the wedding plans. Later, Buzz tried to rush Daisy and James, who were helping him bake cakes for Vanessa and Billy's wedding. They teased Buzz about dating Lillian. "What are your intentions with my grandmother?" James grinned. Natalia arrived and was pleased to inform Buzz that she's going shopping with a "friend."
Bill and Lizzie decided to take a day off from working on the house. Lizzie suggested they visit Reva and explained that she's worried about La Shayne. Later, Reva was surprised to see them arrive Cross Creek. She assured them that she's feeling better and appreciates them stopping by to check in on her. After they departed, Lizzie noted, "Something's not right."
At Lewis, Billy and Vanessa shared their good news with Josh, who feigned surprise. Later, Bill and Lizzie told Josh they're worried about Reva. Meanwhile, Billy and Vanessa came to Cross Creek to tell Reva about their engagement. She reluctantly invited them inside to share some cake. Reva was stunned but thrilled for the couple. They invited her to the nups and were happy that she agreed to come. Later, Reva tried to work herself up to leave the house with Colin. "It's now or never!" she said and got into her car. She saw Josh at the market and told him that she's making progress. Josh declined to join her and the rest of the Lewis clan for a celebratory toast to Billy and Vanessa.
At the Quickmart, Lillian ran into Olivia and pointed out that everyone should be happy. Later, Liv went home and panicked about spending the day with Nat and stressed about what to wear to go shopping. So, she called Matt and invited him out. She told Nat she has to cancel their shopping date and admitted that it's too difficult for her to just hang out with Nat as a friend. Later, Liv met Matt at Towers for dinner. They were happy to cheer each other up. Nat interrupted and demanded that she have a chat with Liv, who said she needs to move on and begged Nat to give her that chance. Nat, however, refused to give up and said she'll fight until she wins Liv back — even if it takes a long time. "I'm a patient woman!" she said and left. Meanwhile, Matt retreated to Lewis, where he told Josh what happened. Josh confirmed Matt's suspicion that there's something going on between the two women. Matt was floored. "And I've been trying to flirt with those two for months!" he chuckled.
Lillian and Buzz flirted at Company and they decided to go out on a date. Lill was surprised when she saw he'd set up a nice table for the two of them and suggested dancing afterward. Bill joked to Lizzie that they need to have their first fight as newlyweds, adding that he wants makeup sex. Daisy and James showed up with a cake just as Billy and Vanessa arrived to tell Lizzie and Bill about their wedding plans. Bill offered to plan his parents' wedding; Lizzie told him it was a bad idea and pointed out how they messed up their own big day. Reva showed up.
September 1, 2009Lizzie, Bill and Josh came up with a silly tradition for Billy and Vanessa's wedding involving pots and pans and ruining their wedding night. Lizzie put a kibosh on the idea and reminded them that Vanessa wouldn't think it's funny. Later, Lizzie told Beth about the wedding and hinted that it would be cool if her parents could reunite as well.
At the mansion, Alan told Alexandra about how much he enjoys spending time with James. She teased him about playing Frisbee. Alan explained that James understands him more than anyone else in the family. Meanwhile, at Company, Phillip informed Ed and Lillian that he's finally ready to tell his family the truth about his condition. Later, Phil asked Alex about James's whereabouts and brought up the lack of time he has. Then he asked Alex to play a game of pinochle.
Reva assured Billy she's doing fine. He asked her to be a bridesmaid at the wedding. She feared he was just doing it to cheer her up, but he assured Reva that she's an important part of their life and they want her there. Later, Billy invited Alan to his wedding but Alan wasn't interested in attending. "Oh, you old sourpuss!" Billy grinned.
At the Beacon, Vanessa summoned Lizzie and Reva to discuss what they should wear at the wedding. They opened a bottle of bubbly and joked about getting tulle dresses with big floppy hats and dying some pumps. Vanessa wasn't amused and said she doesn't need any more surprises, adding that she is marrying Billy, after all. Meanwhile, the men gathered to play horseshoes. Bill joked that his dad needs some booze and strippers for his bachelor party. Billy was happy just hanging out with the guys in the backyard.
Lillian told Alan that Phil is planning to gather the family later to tell everyone he's dying and begged Alan to be supportive. Phil lost his cool at Beth after she told him that he needs to back off from pressuring James to spend time with him and reminded him that he left his family and that it's not all about him. "Yes, Beth it is," he said and stormed off. Later, Lillian had a heart-to-heart with James, who said the only thing his father ever taught him was how to disappear. Meanwhile, Phil tangled with Alan when the elder Spaulding accused Phil of not making an effort to spend time with him. "If I'm not mistaken, you told me to go off and die!" Phil yelled, amazed that Alan didn't realize all the efforts he'd made to mend their fractured relationship.
Billy and Vanessa had dinner with their wedding party at Towers. Lizzie and Josh both gave a toast and then Reva said seeing Billy and Vanessa happy makes her happy and she's glad to be a part of their big day. Billy told Vanessa that he blew it with her the first few times but he's glad that she's giving him yet another chance and can't wait to grow old with her in Springfield. Reva was overwhelmed and excused herself; Josh followed. Later, Reva told Josh he's right and she needs to pull herself together. After she hung up, she looked at a photo of Jeffrey.
Phil tried one last time to get James to hang out with him, suggesting sports or video games. James refused and walked out. "Not okay!" Phil angrily said and ran after him, then collapsed on the lawn. Meanwhile, Ed told Lill that the bone marrow transplant is far too risky for both Phil and the donor so he can't suggest it to Phillip an option.
September 2, 2009After he collapsed on the mansion lawn, Phillip called Lillian for help. She came to his rescue and they went to Cedars. Phil told Ed and Lillian that he wants to tell Beth the truth first before the rest of the family arrives so she can help comfort the kids.
Daisy ran into Beth at the Quick mart. She pointed out that the teen has been spending a lot of time with James lately and he approves. Daisy left to meet James. They flirted and made out. At Company, Josh told Buzz that things are looking good for the Lewis clan. Frank was bitter about the stability of the Coopers. Josh surmised it's just the storm before the calm for them. Later, Frank and Rick bonded over their online dating adventures. Frank told Rick he probably hasn't had any luck because he lied about his age. Frank admitted he's just looking for fun to distract him from all the craziness with his family.
Phil met up with Beth in the park. She was concerned about James. Phil told her to be quiet and calmly informed her that he's sick and only has a few weeks to live. She was understandably floored and began to sob. Phil held her, told her that he loves her and explained that he didn't want her to be sad.
Mallet arrived at the agency and received his assignment in Germany. Meanwhile, Shayne told Marina that there's an opening at family court today and they can get joint custody of Henry. They decided it's best to tell their families the truth about Henry's paternity before heading to court. Later, Josh approached and they broke the news. He was shocked and thrilled. They went to Cross Creek and told Reva as well. She was excited and wondered what it all means. Shayne assured them that Marina is still Henry's mom, no matter what. Later, Marina summoned the Coopers to the courthouse and told them as well. They were floored. Shayne explained that Dinah learned the truth while in Bosnia. He promised to be a good dad to Henry and not take him from Marina. Frank checked to make sure Marina was holding up okay. She was emotional and pointed out how lucky Henry is to have such a loving family, and two daddies. Later, Frank called Mallet and apologized for his behavior before he left town, adding that Marina just told everyone the truth and he understands why he left town now.
Lillian broke down in tears as she revealed to Buzz that Phil is dying. He consoled her and promised that she's not alone in dealing with this. Back at Cedars, Rick, Alan and Alex arrived at Phil's behest. They were confused. Ed ushered them all into a room. Lizzie and Bill frantically showed up, as did James. When everyone was there, Phil shared the heartbreaking news. James was upset that Phil didn't tell them before and stormed out. Alex tearfully tried to comfort Alan who quickly excused himself from the room. Beth tried to persuade Phil to stay at the hospital, but he said he'd rather just be with his family. Meanwhile, James angrily went into Ed's office and trashed it. He saw Phil's file, opened it up and was shocked by what he saw. He confronted Ed about why he's keeping his secret cure from Phillip.
Jonathan and Jeffrey met up. Jon gave an update, adding that there's still no sign of Edmund and that Reva is "whack." When Jon asked Jeffrey about why he hasn't found Eddie, Jeffrey cracked, "Well, there was a CSI marathon and I got hooked." Then they found a letter from Eddie threatening to kill all the children of Springfield if Jeffrey doesn't continue to play dead and stay away from Reva. Later, Jonathan called Jeffrey to hurry up the Eddie situation. Jeffrey was in his car and saw that Edmund was following him. They began a high-speed chase. Meanwhile, at Cross Creek, Josh held Colin. They marveled about Henry being their grandson, then went to the courthouse to watch Shayne and Marina get joint custody of Henry. Everyone cheered when the judged announced it's a done deal.
September 3, 2009James was outraged and confronted Ed about why he's keeping Phil's cure a secret. He rushed in and announced what he found to the rest of the Spaulding clan. They were understandably confused. Ed explained the procedure would be experimental and include a massive blood transfusion, bone marrow transplant and would jeopardize the lives of the patient and the donor. Phil added that the chance of survival is less than 50 percent, which is why he didn't bring it up. Lizzie suggested they test the entire family to find a donor match. James demanded that Ed test him; Phil refused to allow it and said it's too dangerous. James told Rick he wants to help his father, regardless of how dangerous it may be. So, Rick let James have his blood taken on the sly.
Natalia asked Olivia to accompany her to her first sonogram. Liv declined, saying it would be too weird. Meanwhile, Cyrus was frantic to finish Coop's book after he found out the bank was trying to foreclose on Company. Ashlee and Blake said there is one more chapter to write to meet the publisher's deadline. They worked together to complete the project in time. Natalia showed up and was surprised to see the depressed Cooper clan lounging around lamenting the impending loss of their family business. She asked Frank to come to her appointment; he agreed.
Frank had a mini meltdown about the state of his family's affairs in front of an uninterested Olivia. Later, at Cedars, Alan ran into Nat and told her about Phil, adding that she should know because Rafe is a Spaulding. She broke the news to Alan that Rafe enlisted in the Army. "What a brave young man he is!" Alan proudly said. Lillian reminded Alan about his cardio test. Alan wanted to skip out on it. Meanwhile, Phil met with Olivia in the park and told her that he's dying. She was overwhelmed and began to cry. Emma ran up to greet her father and they took a walk. Liv tearfully watched as Phil told his little daughter the news. After, Emma wanted to bake cookies at Nat's place to help make her daddy feel better. Olivia took Emma to Natalia's but didn't come in herself.
At the Beacon, Doris arrived to see Blake, Ash and Cyrus frantically writing the final chapter. She was surprised and said that Ash should think about writing a book about her someday. "I can't, Mom, I don't know anything about you," Ash responded. With two minutes to spare, they finished the book. Cyrus hacked into the publisher's computer to submit it on time. Blake called to have the book advance delivered today so they could give it to Buzz and save Company. It was a success.
Ed looked over Phil's records for a possible match and was stunned to see there's a match in the family. Meanwhile, Rick told James he is a match. Phil interrupted them, blasted Rick for testing James without his permission and refused again to let James risk his life to save him. James left while Rick and Phil fought. Rick pointed out to Phil that James needed to prove to Phil that he's brave and wants to be a good son but Phil ruined it before he had the chance. Phil realized he was in the wrong (and acting just like Alan). Daisy was happy to share her good news with James, who had to tell her that his wasn't so joyous.
Blake, Ash and Cyrus happily informed the Coopers that they finished the manuscript; they created a corporation in the family's name and the money would arrive shortly. Buzz was floored. "Coop and Jenna saved the day!" Marina laughed. On the other side of town, Doris lamented to Olivia about not telling her daughter the truth about her sexuality and said she thinks now's the time to take the risk.
Back at Cedars, Ed informed Alan that he's a match and pointed out that it's amazing, especially considering he's not Phil's biological father. Alan was stunned.
September 8, 2009As Reva got Colin ready for Henry's first birthday party, Josh arrived with a gift for Henry: a wooden rocking horse. Turns out Reva purchased the same thing. They were soon arguing about who would return their gift but reached a compromise.
Shayne was amused by Marina's zeal for the party and assured her that it wasn't weird to be having a party for his bio kid at Marina and Mallet's house. Marina went to retrieve something from the drawer and spotted a painful reminder of her husband's absence: Mallet's badge. Meanwhile, Mallet was receiving his new assignment outside Austria. Mallet phoned the house to check on Marina and say happy birthday to Henry. Marina passed the phone to Henry before he was even done talking. Josh arrived and asked Shayne what he should give as a second gift. Taking note of the baseball-themed decorations, Shayne suggested a mitt, since it's never too soon to start. Shayne looked at Henry with his grandpa and confessed to feeling complete for the first time in a long time.
After revealing himself as a potential donor match, Alan insisted to Phillip that he wants to save his son's life, but Phillip argued that it's not about what Alan wants. Meanwhile, Lillian expressed her concern for James to Daisy and indirectly asked her to check on her ex-boyfriend. Phil popped into Bill and Lizzie's and urged his daughter to go to the party. Lillian caught up with Alan in the park, and commended him for offering to be Phillip's marrow donor. Daisy delivered sandwiches to Bill and Lizzie, and ran into Phillip outside as he was staining a board. "I'm sorry you're dying," Daisy offered, revealing that James is upset, no matter how he appears.
Buzz explained to Cyrus that as a Cooper, he must attend the kiddie birthday party. As Josh and Reva were loading the car with gifts, some of the helium balloons for the party escaped. Alan caught sight of them on his walkabout. Bill and Lizzie noticed how strange he was acting and asked if he needed help but he insisted he has to keep walking. Alan headed to the cemetery and poured his heart out to Phillip's grave, unaware that Phil was leaning against the other side of it. He lamented their strained father/son relationship and admitted to feeling that once Phil became a stronger person, Alan was threatened that Phil would somehow take power away from his father. He begged Phillip's grave to let him take the risk and be the father and the man that he always wanted to be. Phillip suddenly revealed himself and assured Alan that he has nothing to prove. After Alan practically begged, Phillip agreed to let Alan undergo the risky procedure and Alan gratefully hugged his son.
Frank arrived early to the bash and complimented Shayne on stepping up and being a dad to Henry, despite the difficult circumstances, noting his own situation with Natalia's baby and Olivia. On her way into the party, Lillian revealed to Josh and Reva the news about Alan's condition. They all somberly walked up to the house, where a clown was entertaining the partygoers. Marina admitted that she didn't know things could be this good, and Shayne said he wishes for nothing more in life. After the party, Lillian tearfully confessed to Buzz that she wishes Phillip would live.
In Germany, Mallet stumbled upon a fair-haired beauty laboring over a steaming car and was pleasantly surprised to come face-to-face with Dinah. He explained that he's on an agency assignment and is no longer with Marina. Mallet credited Dinah's actions with putting everyone where they're supposed to be, like baby Henry. When Mallet announced that he includes himself in that category, Dinah smiled. Mallet helped Dinah with her radiator and asked where she was headed. Her path was undefined, she explained. After he said good-bye and walked away, Mallet suddenly turned around and called out her name.
September 9, 2009Natalia was excited to start picking out baby names with Frank and Olivia, who wanted to move slowly. Olivia told Nat that she loves her and that showing up to the sonogram was her way of saying she wants back in the game. "You are so far ahead of me, I'm going to have to just catch up," she explained as she felt the baby kick. Nat told her that she's happy their baby girl will have a family and joked that Liv better not back out again after she's born. Meanwhile, at Company, Frank looked at the sonogram picture. Blake told him he'll be a fantastic father and will do right by the baby. He was worried. Reva arrived and they talked about spoiling their children and grandchildren. Blake told Reva she's looking well. Reva said she's slowly getting over Jeffrey's death.
Josh was confused when a little girl entered his office at Lewis. Then Jonathan arrived, saying that the child is his granddaughter. Josh was stunned. Later, Jon asked Josh if he thinks it's safe for him and Sarah to live in Springfield now. Josh said Alan has relaxed a bit and that everyone in town will make sure Sarah is safe. Later, Reva was at home in Cross Creek and trying to act normal. Josh arrived and surprised her with Jon and Sarah. She was thrilled to be reunited with her granddaughter.
The Spauldings rushed to Cedars where Rick informed them that they found a donor for Phillip and he's being prepped for surgery. Alexandra told them that Alan volunteered to save his son. Meanwhile, Phil told Alan he can still back out if he wants and thanked him; Alan promised that it's what he wants to do and told Phil that he loves him. Before they were wheeled into surgery, the rest of the family came in to say good-bye. Lizzie called Alan a hero. James entered and Alan admitted to him that he's scared he'll die. James urged him to be strong. Next, Alex came by and shared a sweet moment with her brother. Phil summoned Bill and asked him to take care of his family if he and Alan don't survive the surgery. Later, Phillip told Beth that he loves her and apologized for all the mistakes he's made through the years. "If I get through this, I hope we can find our way back to each other," he added. Beth was overwhelmed. After, Beth told Lillian she's angry at her for not telling her before that Phil was sick. Lill apologized and said that lying to Beth is the hardest thing she's ever done but she had to abide by Phil's wishes. James admitted to Lizzie that he's miffed that Phil wouldn't let him be the donor, instead.
An armed Jeffrey tailed Edmund near a warehouse. He took aim and shot his gun but missed. Eddie taunted him. "I'm not stalking you, I'm hunting you and I plan to kill you," Jeffrey said. Edmund asked about Reva and wondered if Jeffrey had told her about their arrangement. Edmund said he's manipulating everyone in Springfield as they speak. Later, Jon covered when Jeffrey called, claiming it's Aubry (from Jonathan's Story!). Jeffrey explained that he's close to Eddie; Jon urged him to hurry up.
Olivia ran into Alex at the Quickmart and was stunned to hear about the surgery. Later, Josh informed Liv that he's a new grandpa and explained that Shayne is Henry's biological pop. They began talking about Nat. Josh urged Liv to get back together with her. Later, Frank also helped Nat with the baby names. Liv arrived and was excited to help. Nat was thrilled when Liv agreed to move back into the farmhouse. Frank felt like a third wheel. Then he informed the women that the Chief of Police just quit and he's going to go for the job.
Back at Cross Creek, Josh, Jon and Reva bonded with Colin, Henry and Sarah. Jon was stunned to learn that Henry is Shayne's. Jon said he's happy to be back in town. Meanwhile, the Spaulding clan anxiously awaited news about the operation.
September 10, 2009Josh and Reva bonded with Sarah, Colin and Henry at Cross Creek. They shared a few sweet moments with their grandchildren and were thrilled about Jon's decision to stay in town. Reva was excited and called Lizzie but was shocked to hear about the procedure. Jon agreed to wait until afterward to tell Lizzie he's back in town.... James was stressed out about Alan and Phillip's surgery; Daisy comforted him. James admitted he's still angry at Phil for not letting him donate instead.... Doris was upset that Ashlee hasn't talked to her since she learned the truth. Olivia told her to give her time.
Daisy was thrown for a loop when she saw Rafe and Ashlee bonding over the fact that their mothers are lesbians. Ash explained that she just found out about Doris and is a little upset that she didn't reveal it sooner. Ash agreed she should go talk to her mom and clear things up.
Olivia and Nat told Emma that they're moving back in with Nat. The girl was thrilled. Then Liv told her that she and Nat are going to be together because they love each other. "She's already like my mommy!" Emma said and wondered if the baby will be her little sister. The women were happy that Emma took the news so well. Later, Rafe and Frank offered to help Liv move.
Ash went to go see Doris, who was getting emotional looking at Ash's childhood photos. Ash said she's angry that Doris didn't tell her the truth sooner but isn't upset at her for being gay. They agreed to start getting to know each other better. They then went over to help Daisy and the rest of the crew move Liv into the farmhouse. Nat was elated for so much assistance and offered to cook everyone dinner. They all decided on a family softball game first. Josh arrived and was recruited for the game as well. "You made us a family," Liv told Nat.
At the Quickmart, Olivia was surprised to see Jon. He explained he's staying in town; Liv said she's moving in with her girlfriend. Later, Jon asked Reva to come with him to see Lizzie. When they pulled up to the house, Lizzie was shocked when she saw Jon and Sarah. Jon introduced Lizzie to her daughter (again) and they were happily reunited. She went off to show Sarah the barn while Jon told Bill that he's hoping they can all come up with a plan to share Sarah. They shook hands. "That's what we'll do, then!" Bill smiled.
Buzz helped Billy write his wedding vows. They marveled at how Alan stepped up to do the right thing for Phillip. Meanwhile, Rick informed the Spaulding clan that the surgery went well but they're still closely monitoring Phil and Alan's recoveries. Alex came to check on Alan. "Surprise! I'm still alive!" he laughed. Alex was relieved. Alan thanked her for looking out for him. Meanwhile, Lizzie went to see Phil. She tearfully told him that she knew he would make it through. Then Beth entered. Phil said he was afraid he'd never get to look in her eyes again. James brought his iPhone to Alan and showed him some important apps, like how to check the stock market rates. Alan said he needs to get well so they can play Frisbee again.
Lillian came to tell Buzz and Billy about Alan and Phil's recovery. "We're all just so lucky!" she said. Billy agreed. Later, Phil and Alan were wheeled into the same room. Phil thanked his father. James went to tell Daisy that her family is fine and everyone is recovering well.
September 14, 2009It's the day of Billy and Vanessa's wedding. At Cross Creek, Reva told Jonathan that he needs to come to attend the nups. He was hesitant to make his presence known but Reva encouraged him to get settled so Sarah can have a home and told him to face his fears. So, Jon called Mel and asked her for a favor.
At Company, James told Daisy he'd like to take her to the wedding. Meanwhile, Blake chatted on online with her dating site pal (Frank) who was inspired to ask her to attend the wedding with him. She declined, explaining that she already has plans. Frank was bummed. Phillip, Natalia, Olivia and Beth got dressed and gathered at the mansion to depart for the ceremony. Nat was understanding when Rafe said he won't be going to the nups with her and Liv as a family. Beth was surprised when James said he has a date for the wedding; Phil added, "So do I!" and grabbed Beth's hand.
At Cedars, Ed advised Alan to take it easy. Alexandra was relieved. Alan said saving Phil's life was the biggest gift he could give and added that Phil also helped save him. Later, Jon showed up to check in on Alan just as Nat and Liv arrived. He watched, unnoticed, as Alan happily greeted Emma, who thanked him for saving her daddy's life. Liv was stunned when Alan didn't react to hearing that she and Nat are together and told Emma she has two great mommies. "Emma seems to be happy and that's all that really matters," he said. After they left, Alan told Alex that he's not going to run away from happiness anymore and realizes that it can all be taken away.
James went to the Coopers to pick up Daisy, much to Frank's chagrin. Meanwhile, Bridget and Nola arrived and happily greeted everyone. They lovingly looked at Company. Bridget explained Peter is at orientation at Springfield University. Meanwhile, at the Beacon, Mindy showed up for the wedding and greeted Vanessa. Lizzie presented a surprised Vanessa with a garter for her big day and joked that they were going to force her to wear it. At the lake, the Lewis men (including Dylan!) went fishing together to catch their breakfast, per wedding day tradition. Reva showed up and teased them about smelling like fish.
The Lewis men pulled up to the country club in an old truck and greeted Vanessa who also arrived with her bridal party in a limo. Billy and Vanessa kissed. Billy and Mindy shared a sweet moment. Ashlee was stunned to be introduced to Doris's girlfriend. Ash pointed out that her mom seems happy. Lizzie fretted to Bill that she worries Jon will take Sarah away from her again. He promised not to let that happen. Remy and Christina joked about getting divorced just so they can get hitched again. Nola greeted Vanessa and they shared a laugh about wearing the same dress. She gave Vanessa a stone from one of Quint's digs. Dylan and Bridget hugged, saying it was great to see each other. Buzz approached Lillian, told her that she's beautiful and got down on one knee and proposed. Everyone else watched from above. Lillian was delighted and said yes. Billy and Vanessa suggested they have a double wedding. "Two for the price of one, let's do it!" Buzz laughed. Josh told Reva that Nat and Liv are together. Reva was stunned. "Since Olivia couldn't have you, she went for the net best thing!" she told him.
Back at Cedars, Jon confronted Alan and threatened him, saying he still doesn't trust him. Spaulding explained that things have changed since Jon left town and that he's a different man now. "I hope so," Jon said and left.
Lillian excused herself and visited Maureen Bauer's grave. She apologized to her departed friend and admitted she's been too afraid to visit. "I made a mistake and you paid with your life for it." Lill said her guilt has kept her from moving forward with her life and now she wants to start over with Buzz. Later, the ceremonies began. Bill walked Vanessa down the aisle and lamented Dinah's absence. Lillian was also ushered down to Buzz. "You have made me the happiest man in the whole wide world today," Billy whispered to Vanessa. Father Ray started the ceremony and the couples said their touching vows. They exchanged rings and pronounced husbands and wives.
September 15, 2009After the double wedding, the guests moved inside for the reception. Lizzie was stunned when Jonathan showed up with Sarah in tow. He told her that he wants to stay in town and has asked Mel to draw up joint custody papers. Lizzie was thrilled and took Sarah off to the dance floor. Later, Jon asked Lizzie if he should introduce Sarah to the rest of the Spaulding clan. They approached Phil, Beth, Alan and Alexandra and his plan. "Don't make me regret it," he said. Then Phil got emotional as he met his granddaughter. Everyone was stunned when Alan apologized to Sarah and promised her that she'll always be safe now.
Little Maureen went to check on her dad, Matt who was sort of bummed about the day. Nola and Bridget approached and tried to cheer him up, too. They all decided to share a family dance. Josh congratulated Billy and marveled at how he married the love of his life. Josh revealed that he's thinking about leaving town for a while because it's his job to fix things and make people happy so there's really nothing left for him to do in Springfield anymore. He said good-bye to his brother. "I'll miss you," Billy smiled. Meanwhile, Vanessa greeted her old pals Cecilia and Justin (a special guest appearance by Y&R's Jeanne Cooper and Christian J. LeBlanc) and thanked them for coming to the wedding.
Beth found Phillip, who noted how happy and lucky he is. They shared a sweet moment and declared their love for each other. Meanwhile, Rafe told Alan he's shipping out for the Army later today. Spaulding said he's proud of his grandson and they hugged. Then Billy addressed the crowd, told everyone how Alan stepped up to save Phillip's life and called him a hero. They toasted to Alan.
Josh was surprised to see Olivia and Natalia approach holding hands. He pointed out how great it is to see them happy together. He then thanked Liv for being his friend and said that he's skipping town soon. After, Josh went to find Shayne who was happily checking up on Henry. Shayne said he's still not ready to be a baseball coach (the gig Josh tried to set him up with) and added that he's having fun getting to know Henry. Josh then said he's going to get the Lewis office back and running in Venezuela and he needs to do it, "For me," he added. Shayne found Marina and they laughed over the fact that both of them had called Henry's babysitter for an update. Shayne admitted he's very happy right now and they decided to leave to check on their son.
Cyrus found Mel on the balcony. They chatted about what she did for Lizzie and Sarah and then Cyrus pulled her into a passionate kiss. Daisy and James decided to split. They shared a picnic away from the group. James acknowledged that Alan is a pretty great guy and the star of the day.
On the dock, Phil saw Alan and they bonded over Lizzie's happiness. Then Phil thanked Alan for giving him a second chance. "I only did what any parent who loves their child would do," Alan said and urged Phil not to overanalyze. They linked arms and walked away together, smiling. Phil approached Beth on the beach. He struggled to tell her something and assured her that he'll be great if she lets him be with her for the rest of their lives. He apologized for making her life complicated in the past but said he wants things to be different now. "I'm in love with you. Marry me and I'll spend the rest of my life making you happy." Beth was overwhelmed and said yes. They kissed. Phil was excited to share the news with the family but said he wants to find Alan first.
Back at the party, Josh danced with Reva who assured him yet again that she's going to be okay. He told her that he's moving to Venezuela; she was surprised but supportive. "If that's what you need, go for it," she said and fought tears. Later, Josh and Frank said their humorous best man speeches. Frank got emotional as he brought up Coop.
Alan greeted Buzz and they congratulated each other for their amazing feats. Alan thanked his pal for his support and said he truly values their friendship and what they've gone through through the years. "You being happy for me right now means more than you'll ever know," he added. "Hey, you did it!" Buzz smiled and went back inside to dance; Alan decided to sit alone for a while. Phil found his dad sitting on a bench alone and started talking to him from behind. Phil gave a touching monologue about happiness and just wanting to live his life and spend it with Beth. "It took you saving me to learn that. I'll never be able to repay you," he added and wondered why Alan was so quiet. He touched Alan who was eerily still and realized that his father is dead. He grabbed Alan's face and broke down in tears.
September 16, 2009Phillip called Rick, who rushed over and confirmed that Alan's heart had stopped beating, likely from a heart attack. Then, Phil was tasked with informing the rest of the Spaulding family that Alan is dead. Alexandra was stunned but surprisingly maintained her composure. She started to make calls to far-flung family members and the media, but couldn't bring herself to do it. She fought tears as she looked at photos of Alan on the mantel. Later, she summoned Hilda and Bruno and told them to call the Spaulding PR department and try to stay calm."I just want you both to know that, in his own way, my brother loved you both," she added. Beth broke down, especially when she realized she would have to inform Peyton that her daddy is gone. She dutifully went to tell her. Meanwhile, Phil went to find Lizzie and told her.
At Company, the Coopers (along with Blake, Natalia and Olivia) were in the middle of throwing Rafe a farewell party over pizza. Someone called and asked for Liv, who told everyone that Alan died. They were stunned and Rafe worried about leaving town before the funeral; Buzz encouraged him to go anyway. Blake consoled Frank, who suddenly realized life is short. Rafe continued to say his good-byes and shared a sweet moment with Emma. They bonded over their grandfather's death. Buzz told Rafe he's proud of him and Alan would be, too.
At Cross Creek, Jonathan answered the phone and Bill told him to come pick up Sarah and broke the news about Alan. Jon informed Reva, who was floored by the news."It's just too much," she said "I can't lose any more." She removed the photographs of Jeffrey around the house.
Jon came to get Sarah and asked Bill about Lizzie, who was still in shock. She and Jon shared a hug and Lizzie asked him to watch Sarah while they step out. Later, Beth got emotional as she explained to Phil how complicated her relationship with Alan was and that she really can't imagine a world without him. A tearful James approached Phillip and gave him a big hug.
Josh, Reva and Billy decided to rally around Bill and Lizzie during their time of need. Meanwhile, at the mansion, the Spauldings gathered to discuss Alan's arrangements. Alex explained that she talked to her brother before the operation and he said he wanted to be cremated and didn't want a big funeral. Rick came to inform them that it was indeed a heart attack and gave his condolences to the family, then departed.
Rafe said good-bye to everyone at the bus station. He told Daisy he'll always love her. Natalia was overcome with emotion; Liv consoled her. Rafe asked Liv to take care of his mom for him. He saluted farewell and hopped on the bus to basic training. After, Daisy did her best to be there for James, who didn't feel like talking about what had happened.
A tearful Lillian greeted Buzz and Company and they said they're so glad to have each other in their lives. Alex went to view Alan's body at Cedars and finally broke down. Meanwhile, in the garden at the mansion, Phil got emotional. "You did it. You saved me, Dad. You saved all of us," he said.
September 17, 2009Bill brought Alan's ashes to Phillip, and together they examined the remains. "Gotta make the most of every single day," Phillip mused. He went to the mansion and collected Alexandra for the trip to the lake. There, Buzz, Lillian, Beth, James, Bill and Lizzie joined Phillip and Alex for Alan's beach funeral. Lizzie thought her grandfather would glad everyone is together. Buzz was pressed into service as speaker. He noted that he can still feel Alan's presence. "I can't imagine Springfield without you," he said. "None of us can." He acknowledged that Alan was a constant adversary, but the struggles helped everyone find a piece of themselves. Phillip passed the box around, and everyone (except Bill) took a handful of Alan's remains, then silently scattered it on the beach. Philip kissed his father goodbye, and Alex (with ashes smeared on her jacket) whispered, "Goodbye, my brother." Afterward, James approached Phillip, and they shared some time tossing a Frisbee and laughing. Then Beth checked on Phillip, who noted he is sad, but at peace. Alan was brave and "saved all of us," he sighed, and they embraced. Bill and Lizzie were attending to Alex at the Spaulding mansion when a visitor arrived: Fletcher! He had heard about Alan's death. Alex rushed into his arms, sobbing.
Daisy got a call saying she can have a spot in Berkley College's fall class, but she asked to mull it over. Buzz encouraged her to go, using the money from Coop's book, but she wanted to talk to James first. James also urged her to go, promising to visit her. Remy got word via his insurance company that he's not married to Christina — because he didn't file a marriage license. When he told her, she insisted they remarry right away — because she's pregnant. Meanwhile, Cyrus brought Mel cookies for her birthday. And then kissed her. And then they made love. Danny, Michelle, Robert and Hope arrived at Rick's in a truck, and announced they are moving back. Rick went to Company for food, where he found Frank online, asking his friend to coffee. His online pal, Blake, suggested meeting in the park. When Rick returned home, Ed was gone. He went to visit Holly, and told her he's going on an open-ended work tour. With her. "Life is very short," he reminded her. "How long do I have to pack?" she laughed.
Reva asked Jonathan to live at Cross Creek with her, but he declined. At Lewis, Josh told Billy that Alan's death made him realize life is short, and he wants Billy to help him kidnap Reva so he can marry her. "She's my life," Josh insisted. Billy balked, so Josh drove off alone. He found Reva having a picnic with Jon, Shayne, Marina, Sarah and Henry. Reva told Josh she's trying to pull her life back together. Jonathan secretly took a phone call from Jeffrey, who reported he's tracked down Edmund. Jeffrey took up a position on a rooftop, and drew a bead on Edmund on the next roof over. But Jeff was jumped by a thug. Jeffrey dropped his gun and they fought, until Jeff choked him out. Edmund laughed and taunted Jeffrey, who insisted he would kill Edmund and then go home. Josh returned to Lewis and told Billy that Reva isn't ready yet. "I still have to find some sort of life for myself," Josh mused. Meanwhile, Reva took a call from her sister Cassie, and told Jon she found a place for him and Sarah to live: the house Cassie had bought for Jon and Tammy, which has been sitting empty. Jon got weepy that Cassie wants him to live there. He asked Tammy if it's okay, then told Reva, "I'm movin' in!" They embraced, and cried. Josh visited Shayne, Marina and Henry to say his goodbyes. Josh embraced his son and said he's proud. Josh returned to Lewis and told Billy he's bound for Tulsa.
September 18, 2009Guiding Light: The final episode
At Company, the Coopers helped Natalia pick out a baby name. Olivia reminded Frank they have to meet with the nursery designer. Frank said he can't stay long because he has a hot date later. Marina and Buzz teased him. Daisy announced that a spot opened up at Berkeley and she's taking it, so she'll be leaving for California in a couple hours. Meanwhile, Ashlee was floored when Doris said she pulled a few strings to get her into the writing program at Berkeley so she and Daisy can go to school together.
Christina freaked out about not being married and told Remy she needs to be hitched before they have their baby. Remy assured her it will be okay. They went to see Mel, who was celebrating her birthday by hitting the sheets with Cyrus. They all rushed to the municipal building and Doris quickly wed Remy and Christina before leaving to say good-bye to Ash and Daisy.
At the Spauldings, Lizzie was apprehensive about Alexandra going off to travel around the world with Fletcher. Bill assured her that Fletch is a stand up guy. Alex was especially happy to have Fletch back in her life. Phil greeted him. Fletcher gave his condolences about Alan. Bill carried Alex's bags to Fletcher's car and they both mentioned missing Ben. Alex said her good-byes and assured them she'll be back for the wedding. Meanwhile, Reva told Jonathan she loves being surrounded by her grandkids. Josh called and told her to meet him at Cross Creek.
At the park, Liv and Nat shared a tender moment, saying how happy they are. Olivia said she feels bad for Frank being a third wheel. She suggested they do something important to show him how important he is to the them and the baby. Nat agreed and they walked off to find Frank and tell him about their plan.
Mindy announced to Billy that she's moving back home. Josh told Reva he's moving to Tulsa now to help open a new wing of the HB hospital because he wants to be with her and knows she's not ready. She was emotional. He admitted that he wanted to kidnap her and marry her, then he declared his love. Reva tearfully and said she's still not ready. So, Josh told her that he'll be at the light house waiting for her in a year and hopes that she'll be ready to be with him then. They shared a bittersweet good-bye and Josh drove away. Billy arrived and asked Reva what she'll do in a year. "I don't know," she said.
Outside Company, everyone gathered to see Daisy and Ashlee drive off to California. They gave their hugs and said farewell. James told Daisy he loves her and they kissed. After, both Blake and Frank rushed off in their separate ways, telling Buzz they have dates.
At the mansion, Phillip told Beth that things feel weird now without Alan. She gave him a journal and encouraged him to start writing again. They kissed and then Rick called to tell them to come to the park. Meanwhile, Frank and Blake were surprised to see each other on the bridge at the park and quickly (finally!) realized they've been chatting online and are a dating match. They walked hand in hand through the park and saw Liv and Nat, who revealed that they're naming the baby Francesca after Frank. Buzz took the Cooper clan to spy on Frank on his date and they were all stunned to see him with Blake. Phil and Beth arrived and were surprised to learn that Mindy is moving back to Springfield. Jon showed up with Sarah; Lizzie told Bill she wants to have babies with him. Marina told Shayne she signed him up for an assistant baseball coach position. Remy and Christina happily informed Mel and Cyrus that they're having a baby.
One year later in Springfield....
Everyone was happy and gathered for Shayne's baseball game. Jon showed up with Sarah, and Billy offered him a job; he accepted. Bill and Lizzie arrived. She's pregnant! Remy and Christina came by with their new baby in tow. Blake, holding baby Francesca, kissed Frank. Nat and Olivia went to the bus station to pick up Rafe. Meanwhile, in Europe, Dinah and Mallet watched a wedding. He picked her up and carried her out of the church. James went to visit Ashlee and Daisy. Phil, Beth, Danny and Michelle gave a champagne toast to Rick and Mindy, who were gearing up for their own wedding day.
Josh showed at the light house. Reva and little Colin arrived. Reva told Josh that he was right and she needed time to find herself again, which she did. Josh said he found himself, too, and he still wants to be with the woman he's loved his entire life. "I want you, Reva." Reva declared her love and said she's in. They kissed. Josh said they're going on an adventure together and leave Springfield. They grabbed Reva's things and hopped in HB's truck together. "You ready?" Josh asked. "Always," Reva smiled and they drove away.
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