The Ides of April are fast approaching for Guiding Light and although, to be quite honest (Sorry, I don't know any other way), I don't see how Ellen and Co. will be able to pull it out this time, however I figured I would take one last stab at trying to be proactive and throw out a few oh-so humble suggestions on how to save the soap:
10.)Re-hire Pamela K. Long – Fresh from her stint head writing NBC's short-lived Another World spinoff Texas, Pam Long joined Guiding Light as head writer in 1983 and helped the soap best even ratings juggernaut General Hospital for a time with her youthful stories of the Four Musketeers (Phillip, Mindy, Beth and Rick), as well as the splashy, torrid love affair of one Joshua "Bud" Lewis and Reva Shayne. I doubt if Long were back at the helm this show would need a population of head writers that rivals my hometown back in Texas.
9.) Bring back Krista Tesreau as Melinda Sue "Mindy' Lewis – Newer GL fans who have enjoyed Billy's (Jordan Clarke) fatherly relationship with Lizzie (Marcy Rylan), would love to see how the Oklahoma oil man related to his own little princess Mindy Sue. While the role of Mindy has been oft-recast, it was Krista Tesreau's version who along with Grant Aleksander (Phillip), Michael O'Leary (Rick) and Judi Evans (ex-Beth) comprised GL's original iconic Four Musketeers, and with Phillip on his way home to Springfield, Rick and Beth are gonna need all the help they can get in dealing with their old frenemy, especially if he didn't manage to find his marbles while he was away!
8.)Bring back Paul Anthony Stewart and Nancy St. Alban as Danny and Michelle Bauer Santos – For this GL fan it was the beginning of the end when TIIC showed the soap's most popular couple in well over a decade the door, when neither actor wanted to leave. By getting rid of St. Alban and Stewart, Wheeler pulled a Ken Corday, years before Ken Corday himself, and the show has suffered for it ever since. I know a lot of GL fans hated then-executive producer Paul Rauch's General Hospital-esque mob saga featuring Rick's little sister, Danny and his wacked out mob mama Carmen Santos, as well as his larger-than-life San Cristobel misadventures, but both of those storylines sure as heck beat anything we've seen in the last five years on this soap.
7.) Reignite Reva and Vanessa's feud – The Young and the Restless has Kay and Jill, One Life to Live has Viki and Dorian, The Bold and the Beautiful has Stephanie and Brooke. once upon a time, Guiding Light had their own bitchtastic super feud as well, between stuck up society maven Vanessa Chamberlain (Maeve Kinkead) and trailer trash vamp Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer). Alan Spaulding lured Reva to Springfield to break up his then-love Vanessa's relationship with Billy Lewis. The rest as they say, is history. Firebrand Reva descended on WASPy Springfield and the show and its fans never looked back. The classic struggle between a Have (Vanessa) and a Have-Not (Reva) helped make GL Appointment TV in the 80's. With both actresses still surprisingly on this poor excuse for a soap, and their onscreen children, Dinah (Gina Tognoni) and Shayne (Jeff Branson) moving closer to a relationship, what is Ellen waiting for to reignite this decade's old rivalry?
6.) Reunite Cyrus and Marina/Put Mallet in a love triangle with Dinah and Shayne – Don't ask me what the appeal is, but I trust our girls Melodie and Nicki in their assertion that Cyrina (Murray Bartlettand Mandy Bruno) are a popular pairing with the young uns (Maybe, as with Jammy, I'm just too old to see it, or to care?). If this truly is the case, why doesn't GL give the tweens, teens and college girls what they want and put the couple back together for the sake of Irna Phillips? I may not have warmed up to Cyrina, but it was definitely better than the snorefest that is Mallet (Robert Bogue) and Marina. Mallet should be dating Marina's mother, or better yet, he should be pursuing his true love Dinah Marler (Gina Tognoni).
Soaps used to do what was called triangles. Remember Alan-Michael/Eleni/Frank? Bridget/Hart/Julie? For you Golden Oldies, Roger/Holly/Ed? Tognoni oozes chemistry with both Bogue and Jeff Branson (Shayne), so again, what's the hold up? And please, oh please do NOT tell me it has anything to do with actors not wanting to work with this person or that person! Who cares who you screw at home people? On the sets of these shows you screw who the writers tell you to, or at least simulate it... Actors and actresses who pull these stunts and hold soaps hostage with their groins—and you and I know who you are—will have just as much blood on their hands when this industry flatlines as certain writers and executives.
5.) Bring back Judi Evans as Beth Raines to complete The Original Four Musketeers – I told you, some of these suggestions would be radical! Let me start off by saying, I absolutely love Beth Chamberlin. She is strikingly-beautiful, talented and deserves much more than the horse poop storylines she's been given under Ellen Wheeler and her Band of Less-Than-Merry Head Writers, however it was Judi Evans' version of Beth that took this soap to the top of the Nielsens opposite Grant Aleksander. Evans won a Daytime Emmy Award for playing Springfield's most tragic heroine and she and Aleksander's phenomeal chemistry has been forever immortialized on You Tube. In the years that I have been watching this soap (Circa 1992), I have never gotten that sort of feeling from Chamberlin's Beth opposite Aleksander. From the time Chamberlin returned in the mid-90's, I saw her Beth as the odd woman out, forever trying to come between my precious Pharley (Aleksander and Beth Ehlers as Harley). If Evans' return could generate some old school 80's buzz factor, it just might buy the soap some time, and much needed good press. Just saying...
4.) Pen a big, splashy, spare-no-expenses wedding for Bill and Lizzie – Bill Lewis (Daniel Cosgrove) and Lizzie Spaulding (Marcy Rylan) are the closest thing this soap still has to an actual supercouple. Instead of wasting precious time setting up more ludicrous plot points, GL needs to go all out and give Bizzie one helluva soap opera super wedding! GL already has Aleksander coming back, so throw in Bill's BFF Michelle Bauer (Nancy St. Alban) as his best wo-man, his big brother Dylan (Morgan Englund), sister Mindy (Krista Tesreau) and cousin Marah (Laura Bell Bundy) to make the Bizzie Wedding a splashy, unforgettably romantic affair. Heck, even ask good 'ol Tom Pelphrey (The Poor Soap's Vanessa Marcil) to pop up with Lizzie's kid as a wedding present! No matter what, you owe this to the fans who have stuck with this hot mess through thick and Peapack Ellen Wheeler! Oh and by the by, have it outside. That church set is an abomination. The religious groups oughta be protesting that situation!
3.) Reunite Josh and Reva once and for all – Speaking of things this show owes its fans, a Jeva reunion is on the top of that list. I know some may disagree, but I am sorry, if GL is about to go off into the sunset beach, I want to know that like Warren and BJ, CC and Sophia, Jake and Vicky (Scratch that, P&G killed them on their other soap), Josh Lewis and Reva Shayne are united forever. It's time a dramatic crisis brings this starcrossed couple back together permanently, which leads me to my next suggestion...
2.) Pay Cynthia Watros Ellen Wheeler's salary to return as Annie Dutton – I'm sure a lot of people would say luring a post-Lost Cynthia Watros back to her old soaping grounds would be next to impossible. Never-say-never. If 2008 proved anything, it's that nothing is impossible when it comes to the soap opera industry. Watros has had a run of bad luck since her Lost stint and could possibly be talked into reprising the role of psychotic Annie Dutton, Josh's ex-wife, who went from Nice Nurse, to psycho Reva-napper on the soap a decade or so back. Watros won the Emmy for the role and it made Hollyweird sit up and take notice. Maybe she feels grateful enough to come back for Annie to kidnap Jeffrey and Reva's baby for May Sweeps? Before she leaves town, Josh could rescue the little miracle tot, making Reva forever in his debt— and his bed— and a crazed Annie could gun down Prince Richard: The Sequel (Like most, not as entertaining as the original.), who would then die in Reva's arms. Cut to: Jeva Wedding at Cross Creek Take Three!
1.) Lease an actual studio, any studio and go back to the old taping style – Nuff. Said.