Remember a few weeks ago when Ken Corday – longtime head of Days of Our Lives – weighed in on the cancellation of Guiding Light?
Many of us thought that Corday’s remarks were off the mark. He’s certainly entitled to his own opinion, but it was laughable when he talked about GL taking soaps so far afield from their traditional beginnings, since his own show did so much to dismantle traditional soap opera. Daytime Confidential said it best: “Kenny, this is SO not your lesson to teach!”
By comparison, when you read Ellen Wheeler’s words when she spoke to a group of bloggers in Peapack, it’s hard not to be impressed by her work ethic and her grace and class in the face of such an enormous challenge.
Today, Soap Opera Digest hit the stands with words from another classy grande dame of television, Susan Flannery.
Words fail me. Her comments are just stunning.
Ms. Flannery, I was a fan before, but you have my eternal respect for publicly making these comments. Thank you for being a class act, Susan.
IN DEFENSE OF CHANGE, by Susan Flannery
Our community is a small one.We should honor and respect one another’s artistry and hard work. Times they are a changing…..Technology, in part, has reduced the size of our viewing audience, as has economics, etc. etc.
[GL] Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler, TeleNext, her staff, her outstanding talented cast, crew, and writers nudged the soap opera genre off its axis by a point or two. And that’s a good thing.
They broke the mold with new camera technology, removing the dinosaur pedestals that are still in our studios from the ’50s. Filming small, everyday scenes that created in the audience’s mind a real town, a real place and anchored the stories in a genuine reality. Innovative camera work and editing brought a different dynamic. Music cues that include the lyrics of a song under the scenes emphasize the emotions and heighten them.
This might be standard in nighttime TV. But that is what Ellen understood. Our audience want our shows to look more like nighttime. And within their budget constraints, I believe that GL accomplished this.
Desperate times in the world of television do call for innovation and change. CBS and P&G should be proud that they were willing to take the gamble with Guiding Light.
Irna Phillips, the grande dame of soaps, would have been the first to grasp these fresh ideas. She was a genuine innovator and would have understood that change is the only constant.
Seventy-two years is a helluva run. Everyone one of you [at GL] should be proud of your work and your artistry.
[Note to SOD: No copyright disrespect intended….Please put this fabulous piece on your site, so we in the blogosphere can link to it. Thanks!]