Guiding Light's Extreme Makeover



Guiding Light's Ellen Wheeler has a new feature at New York Magazine in which the connection between reailty programming and soaps is described as "closer cousins than most people realize".

In many respects the article has a lot of the same stuff we've seen in other articles about Guiding Light's format change except this time we get a bit more of a glimpse into how it has affected the industry. We knew that The Bold and the Beautiful's Susan Flannery had dropped by the set but check this out.

A little over five months later, viewership is still hovering below last year’s average of 2.6 million. And yet the industry is taking note. Producers from other networks have been dropping in at the new digs to check out Wheeler’s revamp, suggesting that even if her changes haven’t paid off yet, there’s a feeling they will. “Let’s put it this way: I don’t think they’re making social calls,” she says.

"Producers from other networks have been dropping in?" Granted we've seen the other shows add more of the "reality" styled format to each show but it's a little bit scarry to actually read it in a mainstream feature article.

Here is the other thing about the article I found interesting because I am a newer viewer of Guiding Light and just started watching after much of the following had already started to take place. As long time Guiding Light fans what are your thoughts on this?

When Wheeler started as executive producer in 2004, she wasted no time ejecting the supernatural plot twists and B-stories (one of which featured a mobster and a fiendish royal family on the mythical island of San Cristobel) and planted the show firmly back in the Midwest. This is not to say that the family tree (and yes, in the great tradition of soaps, many of Springfield’s residents are connected by one family tree) is not mind-bogglingly Byzantine. “It’s like trying to learn all the kings and queens of England,” concedes Wheeler, who continues to champion such soap standards as split second marriages, overlong pauses, and characters who dramatically recite their text messages as they compose them.

Read the entire piece at New York Magazine.


Comments

Member since:
23 January 2008
Last activity:
15 hours 48 min

Ellen Wheeler is truly delusional!! She has destroyed what was once a great soap...Guiding Light.

DS9Sisko's picture
Member since:
27 March 2008
Last activity:
5 years 9 weeks

The problem with the New York is that the tone of it is just as nasty and condescending as most mainstream pieces about any soap opera or the genre in general.

Member since:
5 August 2008
Last activity:
2 years 37 weeks

Agree with Sisko, the article's tone IS mocking.

If producers of other shows are dropping in to check out GL then soaps are done. Put a fork in it.

Ellen Wheeler and P&G have destroyed GL. It's no longer a soap opera and it's not even bad reality tv.

And after reading about actors being forced to change wardrobe in the backseat of a car on a public street I think the local Labor Board should get involved. How can you ask an employee to do that??? If they worked for Starbucks there would be a lawsuit.

"Only love can save the world?" How about finding some love for GL and its fans, and firing everyone responsible for this mess.

Member since:
20 February 2008
Last activity:
3 years 28 weeks

Good luck with that Ellen! God help us all! Seriously, what an ego! YOU can save soaps? Only Gloria Monty can claim that. Do it, and then we'll talk. I can hear the new GL theme song now, "Only Ellen Wheeler can save the world...."

Member since:
15 May 2008
Last activity:
10 hours 32 min

I have the current NY mag and boy did I hoop and hollar reading that badboy. You can save soaps? Puh-LEAZE!

Sorry Ellen honey, your no Gloria Monty/Aaron Spelling (DYNASTY was the BOMB!)/Agnes Nixon/Bill and Lee Bell.

Member since:
21 April 2008
Last activity:
2 days 1 hour

The depth of this woman's delusions is stunning.

Frankly, I have no doubt that people from other soaps are visiting GL simply because they're all being forced to do everything on the cheap, cheap, cheap and it's obvious that no one running a soap today gives a rat's ass about quality in either production or writing, which is the real reason why this genre is dying such a slow miserable death. So, I'm sure that there will be more shows shooting more and more scenes in public parks and in tiny, cramped sets the size of a refrigerator box and the writing will be just as bad or worse.

The fans are hanging on as long and tightly as they can, but the garbage that the fans of every single show are being forced to endure is practically inhuman. We can only take so much until even the most loyal of us have to quit to save our own sanity.

In true GL fashion, they gave us 3-4 weels of decent material recently which got everyone's hopes up but, just as quickly, the show has gone right back down the toilet and with ScumbagMurdererGrady and DingBatDaisy getting off the hook for Tammy's murder and being shoved front and center and down our throats as some sort of Romeo & Juliet complete with their impending triangle-from-hell with the soon to return Rafe, GL is about to be worse than it has ever been.

When I tune in to GL and see a dark, desolate, and utterly soulless Springfield populated by nothing but sleazy, woman-hating predatory monsters and the spineless self-loathing excuses for women who actually think they love them who spend everyday walking around aimlessly in empty grass fields, I have Wheeler to thank for that and the fact that she's either too stupid or too self-obsessed to know well enough to be ashamed of what she's done tells me all I need to know.

DS9Sisko's picture
Member since:
27 March 2008
Last activity:
5 years 9 weeks

I read the article again and I must point out that the idea that Ellen Wheeler might/is going to "save soaps" is an idea that is being put forth by the writer of the article and one or two other people quoted in the (extremely condescending) article. But not by EW herself.

Now as to her other comments, you can have at them but she never says she's going to save the genre (unless I'm mistaken).

Member since:
22 January 2008
Last activity:
5 hours 57 min

If Ellen Wheeler is steering the ship that's gonna save daytime, where the hell is my life jacket?

season1217's picture
Member since:
23 July 2008
Last activity:
31 weeks 5 days

Forget the life jacket. You'd have a better chance as a black man on the Titanic.

shallotpeel's picture
Member since:
15 January 2008
Last activity:
3 years 16 weeks

I was reading this, late, and couldn't believe it was being misread as EW claiming that she was going to save daytime. Fortunately, someone else caught that. You read it right, Sisko. Somehow it got misunderstood. It's probably not that hard to imagine their using this title for the article as most mainstream press for soaps this past year has focused entirely on the negative, that this is a dying genre.

: ^> DonnaB <*>