Monday, August 11, 2008


fter more than 50 years of surrogate births, shotgun weddings, sordid divorces, steamy affairs, and myriad multiple-personality-disorder diagnoses, it seems the most unthinkable scenario is about to play out: TV soap operas are edging toward a dramatic death. Perhaps that’s why Ellen Wheeler is praying in church.

Wheeler is the executive producer of Guiding Light, CBS’ long-running soap. In fact, it is the longest-running show in broadcast history. And this quiet former Episcopal church with a few remaining pews is actually part of her midtown office, which doubles as a television studio, with crosses and votive candles strategically positioned by production assistants....

Where other daytime producers are amping up the supernatural plots and onscreen text messaging to attract viewers, Wheeler has given her show an extreme makeover, reality-show style. For the first time, fans can see the actual streets of Springfield, a midwestern town in an undisclosed state—which look suspiciously like the streets in Peapack, New Jersey, where one-fifth of the scenes are being shot, all with handheld cameras. “We finally get to come into their world,” says Wheeler, who was inspired by shows like Laguna Beach and Friday Night Lights. The result is a film-schoolish mishmash of extreme close-ups and shaky, occasionally seasickness-inducing long shots filmed through window frames or the leaves of a houseplant.

Gone are the generic and cheap-looking sets, the static filming, the heavy makeup. Even that cheesy synthesizer music has been replaced by scruffier cheese: Matchbox Twenty–style rock.

“CBS has the oldest median age of a broadcast network, and reality shows draw a much younger target audience than daytime dramas,” says Brad Adgate, a New York media analyst who studies the women’s market for advertisers. “If there’s a magic bullet, this is probably going to be it.”

Read the entire New York Magazine piece, here.


elvara said...

EW is still as delusional as ever. She is the one who is destroying GL. When will she get fired!!!

Mo said...

Except for the double-decker courtroom scenes (really - what real-life courtroom has the jury on the second floor?) I like the new look to GL.
It's been 8 months people, get on with your lives and quit complaining about the change.

supersage21 said...

The look of the show is fine. What isn't fine is the writing and use of characters. The entire month of July was really good writing and good use of characters. In August, however, the show slipped back into the same crap since January 29th. The storylines make no sense and the characters used aren't fan favorites.

Wheeler IS delusional if she thinks THIS is what GL viewers want to watch. Frankly, posters like Mo who tell us to quit complaining don't seem to understand that most viewers would watch GL upside down IF the stories were good. Has nothing to do with the way its filmed.

manifan13 said...

The writing is horrendous. The characters suck. Until I see some semblance of the show I used to love back on my screen again I'm done.