Top 10 Reasons To Watch Guiding Light Right Now

Funny how the universe sometimes lines up and minds think alike, isn’t it? Guiding Light is in the thoughts of a lot of people these days. Bloggers, soap journalists and industry watchers — not to mention the writers, cast and crew of GL — are all on pins and needles about this 72 year old institution. The writing has been on the wall among commentators on the Internet and in the soap press for some time regarding GL’s maybe/probably/likely cancellation, which would essentially signal the final march along daytime’s trail of tears as the end of the genre.

The signs are obvious and ominous: GL has been hovering at a 1.5 rating for the last few months, a situation exacerbated by a genre-crushing free fall in advertising revenues, which have in turn led to massive budget cuts by the networks for all the shows. If GL doesn’t get its act together by the Ides of April, as our own Jamey Giddens so aptly put it, the oldest series on broadcast television will bite the dust. However, there is hope. As has been reported here, Guiding Light needs the minimum of a steady 1.8 rating to avoid getting the ax.

Back to minds thinking alike: Just as I was finalizing this list, Mr. Giddens posted his "Top 10 Last Ditch Stunts To Save Guiding Light," followed by Spauldingfield’s awesome GL promo posted by Luke Kerr. Because of their excellent efforts I almost decided to not post these recommendations, but the situtation at Guiding Light is so important to those of us who love the show that I felt it was more important to contribute to the call to keep GL on the air and risk repetition than not do so. Therefore, consider these considerations an addition to their efforts. GL needs viewers not tomorrow, but today and here are ten reasons to tune in right now!

10. THE "NEW" PRODUCTION MODEL HAS IMPROVED TREMENDOUSLY: If you are one of the many viewers who turned off The Light because of GL’s much criticized new production model, the news is very good. The shaky camerawork has been all but done away with and there are no more shots up actors’ nostrils. The music score is less third rate James Blount/The Fray and much more traditional soap music. The lighting is much better. Capping it off, there is a better balance between studio work and on-location shots in Peapack, New Jersey. Yes, the show still looks and feels somewhat claustrophobic and there are still inexplicable shots of people meeting in the oddest places for conversations, but these issues are becoming a bit more of the exception than the rule. Many viewers will always hate the current production model, but in all fairness it is a great deal better and far more watchable than it has been since its inception.

23 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Karissa

    Sorry I used to watch but now I can’t stand to. I think GL should stay it really hasn’t gotten better. The worse thing is theme song. I also am not in love with Dinah and Shane or Bzzie.

    Peace, Love and Happiness

  2. Profile photo of Doobiekat

    Well put I 100% agree with you JB! Thanks for posting this …I think the show is really getting good again…can’t wait for Phillip. Past & present viewers please contact P&G productions in Cinn,OH or CBS Daytime in NYC,NY to let them know you want the Light to stay on. I hope CBS is smart enough to keep their bragging rights for keeping the longest running television show ever on the air…long live the Light GH,DAYS,AMC will never catch up with your record.

  3. Profile photo of Mrs Adam Carrington
    Mrs Adam Carrington

    Excellent editorial J Bernard,

    I’m not a big fan of Guiding Light but I’ll watch it over Days because at least Ellen Wheeler actually loves this soap unlike croquet Ken and misguided as a her actions are she’s at least fighting to the death to save it.

  4. Profile photo of JosieK

    Sorry. Too little, too late. I watched this show for over 30 years but GL (Ellen Wheeler specfically) killed any good will they had with me with the insulting storytelling and student-film production values. :( It’s great that some think GL is improving and I don’t want to see it cancelled, but it will be going on without me.

  5. Profile photo of Spauldingfield

    J Bernard, that was an awesome editorial! I gotta say, I was getting more and more excited to watch it again by reading your editorial. There were things in there that I took for granted. It’s good to be reminded of the good things. Thanks for getting the word out! You Rock!

  6. Profile photo of nathan77

    J Bernard, I enjoyed your Top 10 Reasons more than the Last Ditch Stunts to Save GL. While GL still has a long way to go (which you pointed out), you also pointed out what IS good about the show right now, and that is necessary to bring back the lapsed viewers. I can’t even add anything to your list, since its pretty complete as it is. With Ellie and Kreizman at the helm of GL, I have complained as much as anyone, but I still watched, and will continue to do so. I am gonna go out on a limb and say if the show has good story for Phillip, they continue with Otalia, keep Bizzie front and center, and showcase the vets like they have been doing, then I really believe we can sustain that coveted 1.8 rating.

  7. Profile photo of Soap_Stud

    I always considered myself a sometimes fan of GL, tuning in for specific stories over the last decade or so. I now have GL back on my DVR and I am chatting about it regularly on my blog. The show has improved greatly. Shayne & Dinah, Bill & Lizzie…great couples! I’d love me some more Alexandra Spaulding, but I am hoping that will happen once Phillip returns. Coop and Beth are hot together and the fact Alan knows now makes things even more interesting! Watch GL. :)

    Always soaptacular-


  8. Profile photo of appleofmyi

    Very nice post! I do hope they don’t get pulled off the air. Yes the show is getting good again and I can’t wait to see more!

    Save Guiding Light! Support CBS Soaps!

  9. Profile photo of KingTV

    J. Bernard – Yet another BRILLIANT essay, thesis and all around damned great piece of writing about our favorite subject, the soap opera. It makes me wonder if you have any professional writing experience. Or are you just naturally talented at putting your thoughts together in a cohesive, witty, intelligent way. This time your focus on what is positive about GL has me just about teeming with anticipation to watch this week’s shows. I watch 4 soaps and one of them is constantly getting changed due to poor writing, boredom, bad acting, too much violence, misogyny and immoral leading characters (cough GH cough) so i this fourth slot provides me with a way to get a taste of what is going on at every show since I do not have time to watch them all. The genre has obviously changed tremendously in the 30 years I have been a fan and I have seen it all. Currently, my 2 staples are Y&R and B&B and they have been since 1987, the day B&B premiered but the other slots have changed, like I said, depending on the quality. I want to be a devoted fan no matter what but there is only so much an old-school viewer like me will put up with. I watched GL in the good old Alexandra, the teen foursome of Philip, Mindy, Rick and Beth, Reva and the Lewis men, Riger, Holly, all through the years right up to the fab Annie Dutton played by Cynthia Watros and then it got really, really bad. I tried the new production model and I was horrified at what I saw. But with GH being Guza’s fantasy world, DOOL firing the greatest supercouple I have ever followed and being destroyed by Higley, never getting into AMC, and watching RH, Loving/The City, AW, SB, ATWT (for patches) and mostly GL and GH when they were in their golden years, I have been lobotomized by the current state of most soaps. My point is, I was so happy to hear, even before this wonderful essay that besides OLTL (my 3rd soap and one I have only watched here and there but now daily), there is a soap burgeoning into a possible rebirth, GL. With the focus back on Reva and Josh, Otalia, the return of Philip and hopefully the Spaulding mystique, I am burning to watch this show and your 10 reasons why have made me even more antsy for tomorrow’s soap marathon to begin. Last week, I watched what could be the worst, most disgusting, disrespectful exit 2 soap characters in history, John & Marlena. It was sickening to see them just throw a stupid, piece of crap-stained story, tacking it onto a year’s worth of story and shoving it down our throats that TPTB there could not care less about the quality of the show anymore. I watched 2 weeks of that show just to see them leave and now I am finished with a show I watched from my step-mom’s lap and followed my whole life. Obviously, there is a certain urgency at GL to get the ratings up and keep the show on and even before Jamey, I have always voted with my remote, thus my long and illustrious viewership of many different shows. I cannot wait to catch up with Springfield and hopefully your top ten reasons are there to keep me from decreasing my soap viewing to 3 shows. I want to be a true fan but I will not watch a show that doesn’t entertain me just to help the genre or a specific show survive. If soaps were meant to die, they will die whether or not I watch 1 or all 8 shows everyday.

  10. Profile photo of troymcclure

    thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful article. I agree with everything you wrote and it is so nice to see someone concentrating on the positive for a change.

  11. Profile photo of

    I think that with the deadline so close for them to succeed will be impossible in this short a period. I hate to be the naysayer. I used to LOVE GL. More than Y&R. I trying my hardest to get back into the show. Monday will be me adding it back into my show schedule. It airs 10am here in NYC and it really is hard to catch this show first when you know a hot show like Y&R and OLTL are blazing on your tape/DVR. I’m going to give GL another hard look because the last thing I want is for this institution (GL is an institution) to fade out like this.

  12. Profile photo of zurge

    I too, J Bernard, have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of time recently that GL has given to the vets, even if they are playing supporting roles. But you are right – they need to find a way to use Michael O’Leary more prominently – he is the only Bauer currently on the show (which was the flagship family for almost 40 years), and I wish they could find a way to give him a good storyline (along with Jordan Clarke, Tina Sloan, etc.).

    I still think that bringing back Hope Bauer Spalding and Alan-Michael would be a great thing for the show (“Bauer Power”)…

  13. Profile photo of MattWeiss

    Thank you J for posting this, it’s a refreshing change from the GL-bashing we constantly get from Negative Nellies.

    It ain’t perfect, and it sure ain’t the GL we knew, but it’s light years better than AMC, B&B or DAYS is these days, for realz.

  14. Profile photo of RoseVioletDaisy


    I agree. I actually like a lot of the exterior work now but they need to do a lot more location shoots in NYC as opposed to Peapack, like the scene pictured in the article. Many neighborhoods in the NYC area look far more like the vibrant mid-sized city that Springfield needs to be than anything we’ve seen in Peapack and the city itself just infuses an energy that Peapack just can’t. They certainly need to nix the concept of having people wander around parks and fields for no reason whatsoever once the weather warms up. Last summer was chock full of pointless mind-numbing sequences.

    What really needs work now are the interiors. I love that the preview videos seem to indicate the upcoming wedding is being shot in a real church instead of EW’s office. Using more real interiors in the future would be a good idea. All of those tacky little “sets” built out of three pieces of IKEA furniture in the corner of somebody’s office need to go. They suck, especially that hideous tiny apartment that Mallet, Remy, Grady, and now Shayne have all lived in.


    I’m not as into Remy & Christina as a lot of people are. They’re still a little too boring to me, we still know practically nothing about Christina, and Clayton, Felicia, and Mel are the Boudreaus who should have story, not Remy. But they are kinda cute, they’re roughly the same age, they’re not biologically related, and they’ve never slept with each other’s family members. Those things alone make them pretty rare.


    As grateful as I am that we almost never see these horrible characters anymore, I can’t bring myself to believe that they’re gone until we have their departure confirmed onscreen. I hope it happens soon. Grady/Daisy/Rafe had to be the most laughable excuse for a triangle EVER!


    Reva is still great with Josh, Billy, her kids, and almost everyone in town. The wheels come completely off the wagon though when we have to see her shackled to the town’s woman-hating, control-freak serial rapist and knowing that she’s carrying his demon-spawn. Ick. Get her away from that insect and reunite Jeva STAT!


    Those kinds of scenes were assinine and unbearable. The one that I’ll never forget was Harley clipping coupons and acting like it was the most heinous atrocity that could possibly befall a person.

    5. VETS, VETS, and VETS

    I definitely love seeing Blake, Matt, Mel, Lillian, Billy, and Vanessa more. Now they just need stories.

    4. BILL & LIZZIE

    Bill & Lizzie need to be reunited and allowed to be happy for at least five minutes before the next disaster strikes.

    3. OTALIA

    I know some people think that this story is coming out of nowhere but I don’t see it that way at all. The slow-burn romance is almost unheard of in soaps today and this one’s actually working.


    While I agree that breaking up Dinah & Mallet was a huge mistake, I have to disagree about Bogue. Tognoni was somehow capable of bringing something out in him but with literally everyone else in the cast, he is absolutely horrid. No charisma, no chemistry, no emotion. Nothing. Without Dinah, his version of Mallet is beyond useless and should just be jettisoned. Dinah & Shayne on the other hand are downright explosive. I’m sold. And unlike Bogue, Branson can actually act with anyone and everyone else, not just Tognoni.


    Yes, it appears to be, thank goodness. I can’t wait to see Phillip’s return and I’ve been surprisingly happy with Edmund’s and I’ve hated that character for years. But I like his protectiveness of Lara and hope that this doesn’t degenerate into another stupid Edmund revenge scheme and he really is a changed man but with an edge. Josh and Cyrus desperately need stories and to be reunited with their true loves, Reva and Marina, respectively.

  15. Profile photo of shortych

    I’m not too familiar with GL. I started watching it after an American friend of mine told me about the otalia storyline. As I live in the UK i can’t watch it and have to resort to youtube but I’m hooked! English soaps are too repetitive and I’m really liking GL, it’s too bad it isn’t shown here! I’ve recently been diagnosed with a heart condition and GL is helping me spend my days! I really hope it sticks around. x

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