The talented Ms. Flannery

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.

susanflannery149IN 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.

Kudos.

[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!]

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40 thoughts on “The talented Ms. Flannery

  1. Excellent critique Ms Flannery.

    I try to remind myself when I’m upset about the show’s cancellation that 72 years is nothing to sneeze at.

  2. Susan Flannery has is and always will be a class act. What a lady. And what a tip of the hat to GL.

    Matt – thanks for the heads up on the typo, which was mine.

  3. Thanks Ms Flannery for sharing this with us!

    What a great lady you are. Your opinon fits just right with mine and many others!

    We as GL fans are doing everything we can to find a new home! GL is too good!

    Thanks again and take care!

  4. Oh Ms Flannery, how I love thee. I remember her face from way back when, and every time I see her again these days, I realize that there’s something in me connecting warm and positive feelings with that face.

    Thank you, Susan. Thank you for standing up for someone who seems to be a punching bag for press and industry people alike.

    Ellen Wheeler deserves more of these love letters. Let’s make sure she gets them.

  5. Great to see other actors in the field supporting Guiding Light. Everything Ms. Flannery has said is nothing but truth. When something is broke, fix it. GL not only fixed it, but made it even better. Kudos indeed.

  6. I’ve admired and respected Susan Flannery for a long time and now I feel that way even more. She is right on the money about the new production model. I hope that when, not if, GL moves to cable, the production model, Ellen Wheeler and Jill Lorie Hurst make the move as well.

  7. Wow, that is incredible!! What a class act you are Ms. Flannery! Thanks for the kind words for the brilliant Ellen Wheeler! I agree that the production model is ahead of its time, and has really added to the quality of the show. It’s great that Ms. Wheeler has been reaching outside the box and trying something new and innovative! Bravo to her and thanks again Ms. Flannery for your gracious support for GL!

  8. I have been shouting EW and the GL production model’s praises to anyone who will listen to me for months. I love that a smart, saavy, experienced actress like Susan Flannery is doing the same. Certainly more people will listen to her than me. And that’s a great thing indeed!

    Thanks Susan!!

  9. Thank you for posting this! Ms. Flannery has done a great service to EW, GL, and the soap genre. Daytime is a small community and while the shows are competing against one another for ratings, they should support each other when times are less than ideal. Ms. Flannery’s defense of EW was not only classy, it was right on! EW’s innovative production model is the future of daytime!

  10. Its so great that Ms. Flannery states exactly what many of the fanbase have been saying for months – we absolutely love what Ellen Wheeler has done with GL, and while it took a understandably shaky start to get there, what’s she’s done is truly spectacular. I hope that more people really listen, but it also speaks to what may make GL the soap that does survive. I think GL would translate elegantly into nighttime with just a few changes and hopefully Lifetime or some other cable network recognizes what a gift they have in their hands, and make the next chapter a reality.

  11. Powerful words from a classy lady. Ellen Wheeler is deserving of this praise, as well as everyone involved in Guiding Light.

  12. Thank you, Susan Flannery; you are a class act and one that others should aspire to follow in terms of approaching a profession with professionalism. Thank you also to the nod to Ellen Wheeler and all involved on Guiding Light; I think they are doing a phenomenal job.

    Sincerely,

    buggy

  13. It is great to have someone see the innovation that Guiding light is doing as a daytime drama. Thank you for your standing up for the changes in their production model. You are a truly admirable for your intelligent and positive comments.

  14. Thank you so much, Ms Flannery. Once again you’ve proven class and respect is such a wonderful thing.

    What Ellen Wheeler, and her headwriters have done this past year is nothing short of astounding. Sure there’s been a couple duds, but on a whole, it’s been amazing. Her commitment to the show, storylines, staff and cast has been unwavering and we love her for it.

    Kudos to you, Ms. Flannery and Kudos to Ellen Wheeler. May this show find a new home soon!

  15. Word perfect! Innovation should be respected. It is also the new look that can entice new, non-soap fans to the show. Hopefully Lifetime can also see that.

  16. Oh, it’s wonderful to see someone talking about this! Ellen Wheeler has done great things to try and keep Guiding Light alive and ready for the future. As an international viewer, I don’t get the hate for the changed production model now it has settled down – our soaps have always looked like this, and I agree with everything Susan says.

  17. I love that someone is finally giving props to GL and Ellen Wheeler for the innovation of the handheld change over! Very brave to do that learning in front of their audience! BravoMs. Flannery!

  18. Ms. Flannery has always struck me as a gutsy, opinionated, smart cookie. And here’s some evidence.

    GL’s filming model startled me at first – just my confounded expectations. I adjusted quickly and now love the “eavesdropping” feeling of actually being in a 4 walled room or actual street. Listening in on what feels like “real” people.

    Not to get high-falutin’, but Darwin said it was only the adaptable who survive. I hope GL finds a new home that can nurture this adapting TV giant, and prove that theory true!

  19. Could agree more. Too bad others in the industry working for shows clinging to cheap stunts or old tired and in the end deadly soap ideals can’t see that.

    Bravo to Flannery! BRAVO!

  20. Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I recently started watching GL because of the Otalia storyline and the new production model is one of the things I like best about the show, which is my new favorite soap. I’ve watched soaps for 40+ years and I love the way the camera work puts you right in the middle of the scene and draws you into the beautifully written stories. This soap feels more like real life than other soaps. It definitely feels more like watching a primetime show. I applaud Ellen Wheeler’s willingness to risk doing something new and different in an industry that seems doomed to simply repeat each others mistakes as they lead each other down the drain.

  21. Thank you, Susan, for your supportive words of Guiding Light. I admire Ellen Wheeler for what she has done with the show. Taking it outside has made it more real. The writers, cast, and crew are outstanding! And thank you, Susan, for your direction of some of the episodes of Otalia! They are some of my favorites!

  22. Thank you, Ms Flannery! Ellen Wheeler certainly deserves kudos for the work she’s been doing on GL. I love the new production model, it brings a sort of closeness to the scenes, you feel like you’re actually somewhere in there, watching. Thank you for pointing out what a lot of us have been feeling lately and thank you Patrick for sharing this!

  23. Thank you, Ms Flannery. This so needed to be said.
    I’m starting to believe the cancellation from CBS isn’t such a bad thing. Of course I’m assuming GL will simply find a new home with the freedom to continue to push the envelope of change. I can’t even fathom GL disappearing with all they’ve accomplished in the last year.

    I love the early shows in the new production model more than the more refined version of the show now. I thought the first shows were edgy and revolutionary. Don’t get me wrong, I still love how the show looks now. I just found the grittier version more fluid and realistic.
    Just my humble opinion. But either way, Ms Flannery your words were needed and appreciated.

  24. Thank-you so much Ms. Flannery. You are the epitome of a classy lady. In a few short paragraphs you have summed up exactly the way that I have been feeling regarding this production model. We are such lucky fans to have you voice these thoughts for us. A big thank-you to Patrick, also, for publishing this.

  25. I think history will show that what Ellen Wheeler did was the start of the beginning of change for daytime television. This change had to happen for the survival of the species and Ellen Wheeler was the woman to do it. And thank you, Susan Flannery, for getting out there and speaking her praises.

  26. Ms. Flannery made excellent points about Guiding Light. GL is ahead of other soaps by leaps and bounds. The camera work, background music, and acting shines. It has been one helluva ride and fans are working hard to save the light so GL finds a new home. Thank you, Patrick, for providing an awesome article that highlights Ms. Flannery and GL’s production model.

  27. Thank you Ms. Flannery for your wonderful words. Ellen Wheeler deserves all the kudos we can give.

    Thank you Patrick for posting this article.

  28. Thank You Ms. Flannery. Ellen Wheeler and GL deserve all the recognition and praise for what they have accomplished. I for one wholeheartedly believe that Guiding Light will continue and once again be an innovator in the genre.

  29. Thank you for this post. I am amazed at how good GL is these days. On 4/17 when they shot the non-wedding scene with all that snow, I was blown away by how pretty everything was. Kudos to P&G and GL. I have hope that GL is not done…I am waiting for news that it has been picked up by Lifetime.

  30. Thank you so very much Susan Flannery, You words express exactly how I feel about the efforts of Guiding Light! I couldn’t agree with you more where Ellen Wheeler, Jill Lorie Hurst, and the Guiding Light cast and crew are concerned! The show is a class act! Thank you so much for your generous comments about our beloved Guiding Light! Your words touched my heart!

  31. This is an excellent summary of what the cast/crew have done to keep the show on the air using their creativity. They managed to modernize GL and make it more realistic and relatable to the audience while still maintaining the same origins and story ideas that have made soap operas successful in the past. They really should be proud of themselves for all that they have accomplished. Thanx for the wonderful comments Ms. Flannery.

  32. I am delighted to see that someone has FINALLY come out in defence of EW and the new production model. It gives the actors a lot more freedom to move about and also allows the viewer to get closer to the character and feel what they are feeling. As I live in Europe, we are used to this set up, and I think it is the way that other soaps will need to go, in order to survive. And whilst GL did have their problems with it initially, they are well on top of things now, and one just has to look at the show to see how well everything is coming together beautifully. Thank you Ms. Flannery.

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