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Paul Rauch interview April 97


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From SOW an interview with now exec producer of Y&R. Some interesting comments in light of what followed at GL and the state Y&R is in now.

Guiding The Light Exec Producer Paul Rauch reveals his plans to restore GL to its former luster. By Jonathan Reiner

JR What shape was the show in when you took over?

PR I was disappointed by the show. I had watched it about 2 years ago when I was talking with Ken Fitts (former P&G exec in charge of production) about taking over the show back then. That didn't work out,but I had a pretty clear vision for what I thought that could do with Reva, Annie and Josh, and for several other stories as well.

When I started watching the show last fall, I was shocked to see that Reva was married to Buzz. Justin Deas is a great actor, but he exists on an entirely different level than Reva, and in marrying her I think that trivialized the character of Reva. There was a grandiosity about Reva that was taken away. The two actors together were wonderful,but I don't think the two characters belong together.. so,i was disappointed when that happened. I was disappointed by the show physically,too. I didn't like the costumes. I didn't like the lighting, I didn't like the direction. I thought the show was over-propped and overdressed. And the music wasn't to my taste, either.

JR What was the first storyline you felt needed to be addressed?

PR There was way too much business discussion going on. Every time the Spauldings came on, my eyes would glaze over. Each and every one of those actors is a good actor, but I don't think the audience wants to hear about stock transfers and who has more stock, and what happened to Phillip's stock, and what Alex is doing with hers. People don't care about that stuff. They care about the emotional stuff. They care about what these people do in their lives, not their stock.

JR Is strengthening the show's families an immediate concern?

PR We want to strengthen the families but only if it adds to the drama. We should not bring back characters who haven't been on the show just because they're part of a family.

JR Fans are outraged by Annie's antics. When will she get her comeuppance, and when will Josh and Reva reunite?

PR We do get a lot of mail and feedback from the Internet that people hate what Annie is doing. But I was at a focus group recently and the audience thinks that Annie's just sensational because she makes a lot of things happen. She's a sparkplug character, and I most certainly plan on keeping her.

JR What more is there to do with the character?

PR She is probably going to do the worst that she can possibly do, and then she is going to have the sh___ kicked out of her. She will be absolutely desolate and in that desolation she could turn to Phillip. I saw the show where he helped her in the cabin, and thought they were terrific together. He managed to help her through that drug withdrawal stuff without any sexual innuendo – there shouldn't have been, and I liked the way it was done. But there, that said, there could be some heat there.

JR Will Beth Ehlers return?

PR The fans really responded to her when she came back for the anniversary. I do have room for her, but whether it will happen,I don't know.

JR Will we see a Roger and Holly reunion?

PR That's something I want to do. There both enormous assets, and I think of them as the signature couple of the show.

JR Is there going to be a conclusion to the Quint/Nola story?

PR I don't know. We haven't addressed that yet. I think we should wrap it up, instead of letting it just hanfg there,

JR What about Frank and Eleni? They've been hanging there for a long time.

PR I haven't got a story for them at the moment., but I do like them. They're happily married, and I'd like to keep it that way.

JR What do you have planned for Vanessa's return?

PR We're nor just sending Vanessa back to Matt. The story will be about Vanessa, matt and dinah coming closer together, and not just Dinah conniving. I don't want to rush into this one.

JR What physical changes have you made?

PR I changed the way the lighting is plotted on the show, and the style of lighting used. I'm a fanatic about interior lighting sources. I need to know where the light is coming from on the set. Usually on soaps, everything is lit from the top, and you have problems like shadows under the eyes and noses. Women don't look good, So we brought a lot of lighting equipment down to the floor level,the way they do in film. And we developed a gel for all the lights that gives a glow to the actors, and gives them a more beautiful look.

Also,I listened to the music library and picked out all the romantic cues, because I want romance. That's the business of the show; romance and passion. Grand passion.

JR Why did you change the shooting schedule?

PR When I first got there, this show was block/tape from 930 in the morning till 7,8,9 at night,which effectively means that unless you can be in the control room 12 hours a day, there's no way an exec producer can put a stamp on a show. I changed all that, and now we don't begin dress rehearsal until 1, and then we dress and tape set by set. If we have 5 or 6 scenes in a set,we'll dress those, give notes and than tape them. That means the actors have a chance to rehearse and block in the morning and tape in the afternoon, so they're running through it 4 times. That gives me the opportunity to see the show on its feet. And it allows me to work in the mornings with the writers and things like that, otherwise, I would be on a ventilator.

Part 2 to follow.

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Mmmm...he developed a 'special' gel for the lighting. Probably Vaseline from the stash in his office.

He needs to use it liberally on the lenses at Y&R these days,especially for the more 'mature' actresses (Davidson,Scott.Walton)-they look like hell.

As for his crack about boring business stories,he needs to have a word to MAB because Y&R's business tales are not only boring but nonsensical.

I don't think he enjoys the luxury of the shooting schedule of the GL days.How long before cue cards are back,so actors can just come in,recite on camera and leave? They'll call it a dynamic,streamlined production system.

I guess PR is a pragmatist and realizes he's damn lucky to be employed at his age for a group that really don't know what they're doing.

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"When I started watching the show last fall, I was shocked to see that Reva was married to Buzz."

You weren't the only one, Rauchie!

"I was disappointed by the show physically, too. I didn't like the costumes. I didn't like the lighting, I didn't like the direction. I thought the show was over-propped and overdressed. And the music wasn't to my taste, either."

As opposed to your regime, I suppose, which was the model of class and restraint. [/sarcasm]

"Each and every one of those actors [playing Spauldings] is a good actor, but I don't think the audience wants to hear about stock transfers and who has more stock, and what happened to Phillip's stock, and what Alex is doing with hers. People don't care about that stuff. They care about the emotional stuff. They care about what these people do in their lives, not their stock."

Translation? "I know nothing about the Spauldings."

"We should not bring back characters who haven't been on the show just because they're part of a family."

Nor should we bring them back b/c they have a legitimate reason for being there.

"We do get a lot of mail and feedback from the Internet that people hate what Annie is doing. But I was at a focus group recently and the audience thinks that Annie's just sensational because she makes a lot of things happen. She's a sparkplug character, and I most certainly plan on keeping her."

And overexposing the hell out of her until everyone is just plain sick of her.

Then, I'm recasting her w/ Signy Coleman.

"The fans really responded to [beth Ehlers, ex-Harley] when she came back for the anniversary. I do have room for her, but whether it will happen, I don't know."

It happened; she came back. How did FDR put it? Oh, yeah. "A day that shall live in infamy."

"JR: Will we see a Roger and Holly reunion?"

Nope. MADD thought America couldn't take Roger Thorpe as a "wizened old man."

"JR: Is there going to be a conclusion to the Quint/Nola story?"

Yep. In the last episode. Thanks to Lisa Brown's ad-lib.

"We're not just sending Vanessa back to Matt. The story will be about Vanessa, Matt and Dinah coming closer together, and not just Dinah conniving. I don't want to rush into this one."

:unsure:

"I'm a fanatic about interior lighting sources. I need to know where the light is coming from on the set."

And whether it's showing off the women's boobs properly.

"And we developed a gel for all the lights that gives a glow to the actors, and gives them a more beautiful look."

And makes all the women's boobs look beautiful, too.

"That's the business of the show; romance and passion."

DeeeDee: "No, it's not."

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So Lisa was the one who made up the line about Quint giving Vanessa the coin? That's nice. I am so glad Lisa came back for the fans even after the horrible way she was treated in 95-98.

I guess the Phillip/Annie story never happened because they paired him with Harley.

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I don't get Rauch at all regarding his production values. What he says does not translate to the screen.

OLTL was all about overhead bright lighting- not cinematic or subtle in the least. That is why Gottlieb changed it.

Does he think that GL looked cinematic during his tenure? It looked like a more subtle version of the same overhead, bright lighting he used on OLTL. The actors also had that pink tone favored by Days of Our Lives..so my guess is that the gel was pink?

Y&R looks the worst it has ever looked under his tenure..

I have seen old AW episodes from the 70's and the show looked AMAZING- far more cinematic than Y&R, GL, or OLTL.

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I like that he considered Roger & Holly a signature couple; too bad his illness changed everyone's opinion of that apparently.

I loved Cynthia Watros' run as Annie, but when they brought Signy Coleman on, it was obvious they just wanted to squeeze every last ounce out of the Annie vs. Josh/Reva even though it was time to move on.

Rauch's GL wasn't pink light DAYS is now; rather, it was very bright and yellow. Yes, he definitely loved to show "points of light" in the lighting (light shining through a window and we see shadows from the window panes; light shining through tree branches, etc.) but as time went on (1999 and onward) it got too bright sometimes.

I don't get that bogus remark about Beth Ehlers' return being a "day that shall live in infamy"... say what you want about her final year or her brief run on AMC, but she was a huge fan favorite and people loved having her back. I know it's "cool" to be anti-Coopers nowadays, but that wasn't the case back then and besides, the show's been dead for a year; time to give up the hate ;)

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I don't get that bogus remark about Beth Ehlers' return being a "day that shall live in infamy"... say what you want about her final year or her brief run on AMC, but she was a huge fan favorite and people loved having her back.

Yes, she was a fan favorite, but that was before her and Gus' relationship, which, to put it mildly, polarized the audience. "If we knew then what we know now," as they say. My remarks, therefore, had more to do with how their romance bitterly divided fans, and less to do with BE personally. I apologize if that wasn't clear.

I know it's "cool" to be anti-Coopers nowadays, but that wasn't the case back then and besides, the show's been dead for a year; time to give up the hate ;)

Pardon me, but I was "anti-Coopers" before BE returned to the show, while she was on the show, and after. I didn't become "anti-Coopers" b/c it seemed like the "cool thing to do." Nor did I give a crap, quite frankly, that they were ever on the show -- they weren't my faves, but it wasn't as if they were causing me sleepless nights -- that is, until certain individuals who shall remain nameless decided to make them the show at the expense of the Spauldings and other families.

Furthermore, "time to give up the hate"? First of all, there are more tactful ways of putting me in my place, Gray Bunny. Second, if I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: for all intents and purposes, "my" GUIDING LIGHT died back in '85, when most of the Bauers, Chamberlains and Reardons were phased out in favor of the Lewises, Shaynes and others. Yet, I continued watching faithfully for another twelve years, and then on-and-off (mostly on, though it really tried my patience) until the very, bitter end; because, when all was said and done, I was a fan of the show, and never one character and/or family in particular.

So, you must forgive me if I still seem bitter about the death of GL a year after the fact. Why? It's very simple. Because I, and other longtime fans, survived all those pesky, rabid fanbases w/ their asinine, show-eating agendas -- not just the GusHers, but also the Mattessas, the Hart & Cassie fans, the Jeva fans, the Mannyacs, the Rassies, the Jassies, the Cadmund fans, the Bradley Cole fans, the Tom Pelphrey and Jammy fans -- and we were there after every single one of them stamped their feet and stormed off in frustration like petulant children whenever they didn't get their way...

We were there as EP after EP, and HW after lousy HW, decimated this show with their bare hands, pissing on its' history and making a mockery of its' very ideals...

We were there, fighting like mad to keep alive something that, for many of us, was like a rare family heirloom, only to be told, at every turn, we needed to stop "living in the past"...

We were there for all of it, and look where it got us! Look where it got anyone who ever cared at all, including those rainy-day fans whose loyalty was as dependable as the wind!

All those fanbases cared about GL, alright; they cared about it so much that they killed it.

And you know who else should be pissed beside folks like me? ATWT fans, including this one. Because, the minute GL was no more, ATWT was officially a sitting duck.

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What about all those loyal listeners now 6-feet-under who didn't appreciate it when their beloved Reverend Rutledge was replaced with a brand new family consisting of a nagging wife with a man's name and an old papa with a huge long nose? *Their* GL died in the 40's! :blink:

I'm not exactly sure what the argument here is, because I don't care for fanbases either. I'm a fan of *the show* as a whole as well. Forgive me if my smart-ass remark rubbed you the wrong way; just as you get fired up about fanbases killing the show, I get annoyed when people start hating on people like Ehlers or Zimmer or any other "big name," as if they dictated the story and forced their former execs and headwriters at gunpoint not to write for other characters, families, etc.

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What about all those loyal listeners now 6-feet-under who didn't appreciate it when their beloved Reverend Rutledge was replaced with a brand new family consisting of a nagging wife with a man's name and an old papa with a huge long nose? *Their* GL died in the 40's!

Who's to say, though, phasing out GL's original characters for the Bauers was the right idea? Frankly, I feel all generations of viewers should have been better represented on the canvas, including the Rutledges, Holdens and Kranskys. Until the mid-'90's, however, GL still adhered to telling meaningful stories to its' audience, no matter who was (or wasn't) on the canvas. Granted, every soap has suffered in the quality of its' storytelling. In the past, though, you could count on GL -- and all the CBS soaps, really -- not "propping" this-or-that character or couple at the expense of everyone else; or pandering to that lowest common denominator.

just as you get fired up about fanbases killing the show, I get annoyed when people start hating on people like Ehlers or Zimmer or any other "big name," as if they dictated the story and forced their former execs and headwriters at gunpoint not to write for other characters, families, etc.

Was I hating on any one actor in my post(s)? I don't think so. I've acknowledged how my thoughts could be misconstrued as such, though; and again, I apologize if I came across that way.

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Part 2

JR What was the cast's reaction to the change?

PR This is a very professional, pretty low-maintenance group. Everyone embraced it, which is unusual. It's quite typical to have people pissing and moaning and saying,” I can't do this, I won't do that. Now I'm not going to be able to work at 9.30 am and be out by 11.30 am”. This show is not about giving everybody a happy schedule. It's about making the show healthy and working. This is a job. I've been in other businesses as well, and other ends of this business, and everybody who works in this business gets pretty well taken care of financially. And they know that. There are some egos here, but they have not been out of control.

JR How has P&G changed since you were at AW in the 70's?

PR P&G was a different operation then, Mickey is a revelation because she is a broadcaster, and that's a huge advantage for the company. Huge. She knows production and she knows drama, so you can't ask more in terms of leadership. And P&G has heretofore been made up of people who were primarily out of college who were working for the company out of Cincinatti. That's how I started there. I was a supervising producer with P&G in the 60's and we operated out of Cincinatti and came to New York every couple of weeks. Bit I had come from a production background at CBS.

JR How have soaps changed since you have been in the business?

PR I don't know that they have.

JR Let me rephrase that. How has the audience changed?

PR I don't think the audience wants to see the daring,physical types of stories that they used to like. We used to do a lot of adventure stories. The shows have gone to more reality, and now we're taking a step beyond reality, in the sense that we want to do big,big, passionate love stories that have a grandness, an operatic quality. If a tragedy is a tragedy, it should be big tragedy. If it's love, it should be big love. The late 80's and early 90's were slice-of-life. Now we're getting into that rose-colored glow of romance. passion and heat. That's what I perceive,anyway. I don't know if I'm speaking for anybody other than myself.

JR What is it like working for CBS compared to the other networks?

PR I must tell you, I am extremely fond of )CB Daytime chief)Lucy Johnson. I've known her quite some time,and I find her very creative. And intuitive. She's very happy about the ratings,obviously, and is extremely enthusiastic. I can honestly say it's been a real joy working at CBS.

JR Is there any truth to reports that CBS is looking for a new studio for L?

PR Not that I know of at the moment. I'd like a new studio someday because it's always fun to play around with more space,but as far as I am concerned, we have solved the problem of size. That will no longer be an excuse for the show. If you look at the show, you can't tell the difference between us and General Hospital.

JR What work remains to be done on the show?

PR Story. I'm working very closely with James and Barbara (Brown and Esensten)the show's new head writers. In fact, they're working out of the building. The writers before have not done that,but I got them an office. I want to be able to run down to their office and say. “What do you think about this?” They're very smart people, and they're going to be great for the show. It's going to be a very interesting spring and summer. Trust me.

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The shows have gone to more reality, and now we're taking a step beyond reality, in the sense that we want to do big,big, passionate love stories that have a grandness, an operatic quality.

Like having Olivia attempt suicide to opera music...one of several soap stories which have glorified attempted or real suicide.

The late 80's and early 90's were slice-of-life

Yeah, nothing says slice of life like late 80s/early 90s Rauch OLTL. :lol:

I still wonder about all the brouhaha with Fiona Hutchison, as she was basically backburnered after only a year or so back at GL, then she complained about her lack of story and was, stupidly, killed off (they kept bringing her back as a ghost over and over and over so apparently even various GL producers thought it was stupid). I know there was some claim that she was punished for speaking out about the way Michael Zaslow was treated.

Too bad Rauch seems to have lost interest in her and not wanted to hire her at Y&R. I'd probably watch the show more often if she showed up.

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