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The Single Biggest Mistake that Resulted in GL's Cancellation


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#1 Max

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 11:58 AM

While GL's cancellation was the obvious result of many blunders over the years, which one mistake do you believe was worse than all of the others?

In my opinion it was the decision to bring Reva back from the dead and the awful sci-fi storylines that followed (Amish Reva, Reva travelling through a painting, etc.). Obviously, such storylines existed as a pathetic attempt to copy JERk/DOOL. However, the idiots in charge failed to understand a simple fact: that viewers of P&G soaps are much different from DOOL's viewers and want to see realistic storylines. And, while my hatred of JERk/DOOL is no secret, it would be unfair to place all of the blame on them since GL--far more than any other long-running soap--went so far towards engaging in inane, DOOLish-type storylines. (I honestly have no idea why GL's producers felt the need gives us so many more sci-fi storylines than the other soaps were giving us at the time. Certainly, GL was not the soap under the most pressure to copy DOOL. Instead, that would be AW, which--aside from the Lumina storyline--remained pretty "traditional" during the mid and late-90's.)

However, it's not just GL's producers who are to blame for these awful sci-fi storylines; Kim Zimmer herself deserves some blame as well. For one thing, there was an interview I read (about five years ago in one of the soap magazines) where Zimmer stated how much she enjoyed these storylines (and would ask the TPTB to give her more of them) because she felt they challenged her as an actress. Furthermore, many of us are aware of her diva-like behavoir, which no doubt meant that she was an attention whore who delighted in the fact that all these sci-fi storylines centered around Reva. Indeed, GL would have been so much better off without Zimmer since long-time GL fans have stated that much of their soap's greatness was the result of it having an ensemble cast during much of its run (as opposed to being completely centered around the wacky adventures of Reva.)

Before I conclude, I like to discuss some of the other mistakes GL made over the years, and why none of these blunders were as huge as the sci-fi Reva storylines:

*Maureen Bauer's Death--In my opinion, this storyline gets way too much blame for GL's demise. For one thing, those watching GL at the time have all stated how well executed this storyline was. More importantly, however, was the fact that GL's ratings remained strong throughout the entire year of 1993.

*San Christobel and Mob Storylines--Certainly, these storylines were terrible. However, they were not nearly as egregious as the Reva/sci-fi stuff. Also, these storylines didn't begin until the late-90's; by that time, GL had already fallen down the slippery slope of cancellation.

*Wheeler/Kreizman--These two have received a lot of criticism, much of it well deserved. However, none of their ideas (except for the new production model) were as offensive as the sci-fi Reva storylines. Additionally, I think that GL was actually better during most of their tenure than it was during the Rauch and Conboy/Weston regimes.

*New Production Model--While this model is terrible in every possible way, there's no way anybody can claim that it was the single biggest factor towards GL's cancellation. That's because GL was already long dead prior to the implementation of this model (and would have been cancelled last year had this model not been put into place).

Edited by Max, 05 April 2009 - 12:02 PM.

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#2 alphanguy74

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 12:08 PM

I think it's the production model. I could never bear to watch a show that looks so cheaply made. And people who get seasick can't watch shows shot with an "unsteady cam", it makes them feel uneasy. However, I think it depends on who's working the camera, I've seen things shot with hand held cameras that actually look almost as steady as traditional. People who I've talked to who DON'T watch soaps say the don't like the stupid, outlandish plots and SL's , and since soaps tend to be lumped together by the viewing public, shows of today AND yesterday that didn't do the stupid, outlandish crap (Search For Tomorrow, Y&R, Edge Of Night) suffer from that "guilt by association" thing. Moronic plot devices, such as Marlena's posession by the Devil, GH, "freeze" SL, and Reva's "clone" has done the MOST damage to daytime, by and large. Shows that don't employ that crap survive not because of the stupidity of other shows, but In SPITE of it. People who don't like soaps, I always tell them.. "Watch Y&R a couple times, it's the only soap that's not like that.." they never believe me.

Edited by alphanguy74, 05 April 2009 - 12:10 PM.

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#3 Dan

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 12:48 PM

The problem with trying to find a "jump the shark" moment is that there simply isn't one. Some would say the new production model, but, truth be told, the show was already souless before that even came about. Some might argue the cloning, but that was a self-contained arc that lasted just a summer.

The truth is that hundreds of unrelated mistakes over the past thirty years piled up and doomed GL. From the 70s through the 90s, many many characters were written out that could have become the moral tentpole character of today. From Leslie Bauer to Hope to Hillary to Mike to Maureen to Vanessa to Jackie and Justin Marler, Nola and Quint. Fast forward through the last five years, Ed, Ross, Holly, Phillip, Blake, Mel, Harley, and, most recently, Coop have been written off or drastically downsized.

Then there were all the periods of unsteady to downright awful writing beginning with the period after Douglas Marland left through Jeff Ryder through Sheri Anderson through the massive clot of writers after Curlee left through Douglas Anderson through McTavish through B&E through Claire Labine through Gold and Dunn through Weston and through Kreizman.

I could go on, but the point is that a huge number of people share some blame for GL's demise, which is why I haven't been ragging on Wheeler like I could. Sure she shares the immediate blame, but there is plenty to go around, I assure you.

Edited by Dan, 05 April 2009 - 12:50 PM.

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#4 tanyia2

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:29 PM

It was the horrible writing that finally killed GL. If the writing was better I could have gotten used to the new format.
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#5 CSF

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:34 PM

QUOTE (tanyia2 @ Apr 5 2009, 01:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It was the horrible writing that finally killed GL. If the writing was better I could have gotten used to the new format.


I totally agree with this statement!

I would like to add however, it was more than just the death of Maureen that began GL's downward demise into ruin. Guiding Light was a type of show that was to be taken seriously, like All My Children. It was a show that had a particular audience, an audience who had no tolerance to sit back and watch their beloved show ripped to pieces. JFP really did things that hurt the future of the show, but at the same time, under JFP, Springfield was still Springfield. It was still home to the Spaulding's, Lewis' Bauer's Rearden's, Chamberln's, even the newly introduced Cooper family. It was a place filled with people trying to find love and hope and finding a way to hold on to that for as long as they could.

I honestly believe that after Maureen died, yes, it left a huge hole in the canvas, but her death wasn't some convoluted pile of crap like Reva driving off a cliff. Her death was real, it was tragic, it was intense. I think GL could have allowed a current legacy character with strong ties to Springfield to take Maureen's place without bringing Reva back and all of her crazy story's. For instance, I think Vanessa's rich history and position in Springfield should have lead the way for the writer's to make Vanessa fill the place of Maureen. Considering they were very close and Vanessa had a lot of ties to all of the family's in Springfield with the exception of the Cooper's.

Silly story's like everything involving Reva, the mafia in Springfield, the nightmare that followed Lucy's rape, that just went on, those all set the wheels in motion for other writer's to come in and tear down the foundation of Springfield. It was predictable that by 1999, the show was a goner, but hope returned with Millie Taggart. When she left, the end was in sight for certain.

Had JFP not listened to interest groups and not tried to place blame on the death of Maureen on Nancy Curlee, I think things could have been a whole lot different. GL had a brilliant writer at that time (Curlee) and a brilliant EP (JFP, to an extent), and if JFP took responsibility for the decision to kill Maureen, I think Curlee would have lasted longer and would have been able to fill the canvas by looking into GL's rich history. The return of Nola and Quinton could have happened sooner and been tied in with that whole storyline to reintroduce two family's to the canvas. Maureen's death could have been forgiven by the audience if proper steps were made to justify what had been done. I feel the same way about the departure of Beverlee McKinsey. Everything following JFP's tenure lead to the destruction of GL. There isn't just one single thing, it was an endless parade of irresponsible writer's and executive producer's making ridiculous attempts at trying to change the identity of a show that did not need to be changed. Springfield is not Salem, it is not Port Charles, it is not Llanview, it is not Los Angeles. It is Springfield, a town in Mid-Western USA, off a Great Lake with a Lighthouse, which should have been enough to tell the fools who ruined GL that the beacon light alone was a symbol of love, hope, wisdom, strength and passion which was the real Guiding Light.
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#6 MichaelGL

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:37 PM

God there are so many. From the 1980s and up to now.


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#7 Adam

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 03:48 PM

I don't think with any soap you can pin point an exact moment, instead as others have said its a collection of moments over the course of the show's history. GL was still a very viable show up until I'd say the end of the 90's.... and as much as people blast the clone storyline, it gave GL huge ratings success. Wasn't it placing within the top 4 some weeks? It created buzz..... yes, alienated traditional viewers.... but in terms of business it was a successful story.


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#8 leevo64

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 05:02 PM

I'd say it's the writing. Millie Taggart was excellent during her short time on the show -- flawed, yes, but mature and adult. Ellen Weston started ripping through the lining of the show, and Kreizman got reckless after his first three months. Getting rid of Holly, Blake, Ross, Phillip (recently rectified), Ed, Michelle and Danny was very unwise. I didn't watch during the years Maureen was on the show, but from the YouTube clips of her death it seems like she was a MAJOR character that was integral to the cast. The short-term story that comes along with killing major characters may provide powerhouse performances and emotional scenes for a few weeks, but the long-term loss is jarring for the viewer.
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#9 jfung79

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 05:09 PM

If I had to answer this question, it would be killing Tammy off and/or overreliance on Jammy ... That couple had singlehandedly stabilized the show's ratings (GL was actually showing year-on-year gains in 2006) and made it more popular again with younger audiences but once Tammy left, in such a final way, the ratings slide started.

Nonetheless I don't think there is a "mistake" that "resulted" in GL's cancellation because GL is still viable, had turned the corner in the ratings, and should never have been canceled.

I place blame on CBS for the cancellation and concede nothing.
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#10 Y&RWorldTurner

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 05:23 PM

Honestly, it's really a whole lot of different things throughout various eras of the show. I don't know that there is a SINGLE biggest moment that led us here.

Edited by Y&RWorldTurner, 05 April 2009 - 05:29 PM.

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#11 Quent

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 05:27 PM

The main reason: Kim Zimmer
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#12 brimike

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 05:28 PM

QUOTE (Y&RWorldTurner @ Apr 5 2009, 05:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Honestly, it's really a whole lot of different things throughout various era of the show. I don't know that there is a SINGLE biggest moment that led us here.


Agreed. Most fans will single out the one moment in the last ten years that they (personally, specifically) really hated - but that's an answer to an entirely different question. There's really no one thing that got GL canceled - in fact, I would say that all the pieces were there for GL to have numerous renaissances since Maureen's death... although they never quite made it. (The first few months of Ellen/Dave looked VERY promising, and there was a lot of good buzz about the show, overall.) In cases like these, it's always numerous decisions that all factor in together.

Edited by brimike, 05 April 2009 - 05:31 PM.

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#13 titan1978

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 06:32 PM

I am not a life long GL fan or viewer. GH is (or was until the last couple of years) my show. But I have developed strong feelings for the GL of the past, and have read up and watched almost everything on Youtube.

I watched the show almost daily during the first round of the Annie/Josh/Reva storyline. It was exciting, and focused. I think there were only 3 stories going at one time during that peiod on GL.

I started watching again during the early Marina as a teen, with Ben as her love interest. I think this was Taggart. It was great. Ed was back, the show was more balanced, and I think Alexandra returned during this period too, and Joan Collins was more like the real Alex to me.

What killed the show for me, and my knowledge is limited, seems to be several problems of the last 20 years, and the final nail being the current HW and EP not reacting quickly enough to showcase their new production model with tradtiional storylines about characters people love.

JFP- she uses focus groups to dictate storyline directions. Maureen's death was brilliantly written and acted, it still shouldn't have happened IMO. Also JFP- She drive McKinsey away by not allowing the character to move away from her bitterness and the Nick/Mindy storyline, she was tired of doing what almost all older characters do now, serving the younger characters while they see no storyliens developing about their lives.

I want to add that I think Nadine Cooper's death was just as big a mistake as Maureen's. Again, the story was entertaining (not a quality storyline, but an eye grabbing one), but it should not have been done. McTavish is the soap killer as far as I am concerned.

Losing core characters that TPTB should be able to keep- Nadine, Maureen, Ben, Harley, Eleni, Lucy, Alan-Michael, Phillip, Alexandra, Ed, Vanessa, Matt, Shayne, Marah, Blake, Ross, Holly, Michelle Bauer etc.

TPTB decided to focus on crap storyline, and invest in characters no one cared about, even when beloved vets and newer characters were on the show and under contract.

I think the real life and reel life loss of Roger Thorpe was a true blow to the show as well.

For me, as a daily viewer, it was Conboy and his team that drove me away. I never came back. I think GL should have been looking for another Curlee/Reilly/Broderick (who had given them ratings success), and not a McTavish.
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#14 DeeeDee

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 06:49 PM

The loss of the Bauers.

Mike, Leslie, Hilary, Bill, Meta.
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#15 Faulkner

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 06:58 PM

QUOTE (titan1978 @ Apr 5 2009, 06:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I want to add that I think Nadine Cooper's death was just as big a mistake as Maureen's. Again, the story was entertaining (not a quality storyline, but an eye grabbing one), but it should not have been done. McTavish is the soap killer as far as I am concerned.


I agree. I'll never forgive McT for killing off Nadine, such a wonderful character, in such an insulting and idiotic way. And unlike Maureen's death, it had no meaningful fallout.
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#16 brimike

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 06:59 PM

QUOTE (Faulkner @ Apr 5 2009, 06:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree. I'll never forgive McT for killing off Nadine, such a wonderful character, in such an insulting and idiotic way. And unlike Maureen's death, it had no meaningful fallout.


"The Writer" never knew how to correctly write fall-out from death at any show she worked at.
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#17 AllAboutAngst

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 07:05 PM

QUOTE (jfung79 @ Apr 5 2009, 04:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If I had to answer this question, it would be killing Tammy off and/or overreliance on Jammy ... That couple had singlehandedly stabilized the show's ratings (GL was actually showing year-on-year gains in 2006) and made it more popular again with younger audiences but once Tammy left, in such a final way, the ratings slide started.

Nonetheless I don't think there is a "mistake" that "resulted" in GL's cancellation because GL is still viable, had turned the corner in the ratings, and should never have been canceled.

I place blame on CBS for the cancellation and concede nothing.


I don't know how in the world this statement could be made as if Jammy was the only story occuring in 2006. I don't believe they ever had any effect on GL's ratings whatsoever, I will concede they had buzz, but I don't even think they've had as much buzz as Otalia has now. Besides, wasn't 2006 when Josh/Reva, Gus/Harley and Mallet/Dinah were together also? I don't know how in the world that cousin story could ever be seen as the "sole savior" of GL in 2006 or the sole reason for whatever shift occured and I couldn't care less about Tammy dying, her existence was useless since her mother was nothing but a plot-pointed history rewrite in the first place (and I do blame a large part of the problems that GL had with the incessant focus on Cassie while phasing out so many other veteran characters, along with San Cristohell and the idiotic sci-fi stories).
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#18 jfung79

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 07:12 PM

QUOTE (AllAboutAngst @ Apr 5 2009, 04:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't know how in the world this statement could be made as if Jammy was the only story occuring in 2006. I don't believe they ever had any effect on GL's ratings whatsoever, I will concede they had buzz, but I don't even think they've had as much buzz as Otalia has now. Besides, wasn't 2006 when Josh/Reva, Gus/Harley and Mallet/Dinah were together also? I don't know how in the world that cousin story could ever be seen as the "sole savior" of GL in 2006 or the sole reason for whatever shift occured and I couldn't care less about Tammy dying, her existence was useless since her mother was nothing but a plot-pointed history rewrite in the first place (and I do blame a large part of the problems that GL had with the incessant focus on Cassie while phasing out so many other veteran characters, along with San Cristohell and the idiotic sci-fi stories).

2006 was mostly about Jammy, Dinah/Mallet, GusH working their way back together after Harley sleeping with Mallet and the pill addiction, and the cancer story. Josh/Reva actually broke up the middle of that year.

Whatever the secret was for 2006 being a good year for the show ratings-wise, it *was* a good year, and any analysis of so-called "mistakes" would have to figure out what was special about 2006 and then what was lost in 2007. I am not going to insist that it has to have been Jammy -- I'm not a big fan of the couple, and I like the show as a whole, not specific pairings or characters only. But my own anecdotal sense based on how people were acting in the ATWT/GL Facebook group I am in, and also Sara Bibel's recent blog mentioning the lapsed, older GL fan she talked to on the plane to Orlando, is that Jammy was at least a major part of the ratings secret.

Edited by jfung79, 05 April 2009 - 07:27 PM.

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#19 Faulkner

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (AllAboutAngst @ Apr 5 2009, 07:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
....and I do blame a large part of the problems that GL had with the incessant focus on Cassie while phasing out so many other veteran characters, along with San Cristohell and the idiotic sci-fi stories).


I admit San Cristobal was when I officially lost all interest in this show, and I never came back, not even for Jonathan.

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#20 AllAboutAngst

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 07:22 PM

QUOTE (Faulkner @ Apr 5 2009, 06:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I admit San Cristobal was when I officially lost all interest in this show, and I never came back, not even for Jonathan.


I really don't understand how you take almost an entire cast of a show and move them off to some rinky dink island huh.gif
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