Guiding Light Producer Dishes on Changes

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Ellen Wheeler, Executive Producer of Guiding Light, recently spoke with about the much-hyped changes that show has undergone:

dt_gl_act_large_ewheeler.jpg How did you come up with the idea to take Guiding Light in this direction?
Ellen Wheeler: We've been looking for a while, trying to find what our audience wanted. And, Procter and Gamble Productions did a really good research project on talking to soap opera fans asking them what they love and what they want to see differently. Soap opera fans are so intelligent. They are also very vocal and willing to share with us all the things they love and the things they don't love.

I was lucky because they loved all the things that I loved. They love the fact that we tell serial stories that go on from one day to the next, and they love the characters and their relationships and the history of these stories and they love how the stories interconnect.

They didn't love that because we were limited to a budget sometimes things didn't make sense. You didn't see people go to work or in their house, it took place in the hospital or the restaurant because those were the sets that were up this week. The other day I shot Cassie filling up her car with gasoline. We've never shot someone filling up their car with gas.

Now we are able to tell stories that are much more real life. People wanted to see the realness and that's what we are giving them. At the same time this survey was going on Barbara Bloom [Senior Vice President, Daytime Programs, CBS Entertainment], brilliant Barbara Bloom, came to me and said, "I really want you to think about the show differently.

If you were starting a new show and could do anything, what would you do?" She said that to me at the same time Procter and Gamble was showing me this research and we were just finishing our special 70th anniversary episode in Biloxi, New Orleans and the experience was so wonderful.

We had over 100 hours of our actors interacting with each other in this really real space, and as I watched it, I thought this is a feeling I wish that I could capture everyday. I felt watching the tapes that I was really with them, and I wanted to hold on to this. All of this was going through my head and those three things came together and I thought why can't I shoot the show the way it was done in Biloxi When Cyrus tells Marina he loves her.

I want the audience to be there with them, or when someone is rushed into Cedars, I want the audience right there having the same experience. We spent the year from the time we came back from Biloxi to now ironing out all the details to make this work. In September we made the announcement to our cast and crew.

Read the full interview now.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Guiding Light Quotes

Harley: Did you buy or seel any small countries today?
Gus: No, that's tomorrow at 4.

Thank you. My favorite kind of food - the kind that sweats in the bag before you open it.