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Agnes Nixon on Guiding Light Being Axed: "Too Many People Think They're Writers And They're Not"

The Mother of the Modern Soap Opera, Agnes Nixon recently chatted with's Lynette Rice about all things soap. Nixon, who apprenticed under the late Irna Phillips (who 61 years ago today brought the first soap opera to television) talked to Rice while in Los Angeles, new home to her soap All My Children, for that soap's 40th anniversary celebration.


In a bit of unfortunate irony, Mama Agnes wasn't too kind to the showrunners behind cancelled sudser Guiding Light—two of whom, David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski,have been named AMC's new head writers— when asked about why that sudser was taken off the air.

How did you feel about Guiding Light being canceled?

I was sad for them. This is going to sound puffed up maybe… but too many people think they’re writers and they’re not. There’s so many people who think it’s easy. The people I work with are so into character, into character building. I didn’t have time to watch Guiding Light. I knew some of the people there, who were very nice. I just thought it wasn’t necessary. If someone had a little more intelligence or understanding of the craft and the medium, it could have been saved.

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Wow, I bet that next AMC company party's gonna be an awkward one! All kidding aside, I'm assuming Mrs. Nixon wasn't aware Kreizman and Swajeski would be taking the helm of the soap she created in 1970 when the interview took place.

For my money, I've decided to give AMC's new team a fair shake— and actually start watching the sudser again as of next week. I don't think it's any more accurate or fair to hold Kreizman or Swajeski totally responsible for GL's demise than it would be to say Paul Rauch killed Santa Barbara, considering, like SB, the soap was already on death's door before either took the helm. And although I certainly don't want to see Erica Kane eating a flower and becoming 15 again, or for Ryan and Greenlee to suddenly learn they are cousins, As The World Turns has seen ratings spikes with Kreizman writing the show these last few months. 

Ellen Wheeler was rumored to be quite the micromanager, pushing her "vision" in the writers' room on GL at all cost. I doubt Shakespeare or Dickens would have been able to save that show after the disastrous production model shift Wheeler forced, so after careful consideration, I am going to let go of the past, cut Pine Valley some slack and hope for the best for the "new" AMC.

While it still drives me to distraction that a soap which has been creatively bankrupt for so long receives much more network support than the vastly superior One Life to Live, I sincerely want to see all the soaps currently on the air make a comeback. Let's see if Kreizman and Swajeski can show us why they won the Daytime Emmy for Oustanding Writing in 2007. In the words of Erica herself, it's time for a New Beginning.

Thanks Gush900 for the tip!