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Old September 17 2009, 08:50 PM   #1
23skidoo
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Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

I've never cared for soap operas (daytime or prime time), but I have nothing but respect for a series that has been running constantly since 2 years before Hitler invaded Poland.

The Guiding Light ends its run on CBS tomorrow - it started out as a radio show in 1937 before moving to TV in the early 1950s.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/0...ity/index.html

It's rather sad to see it go, not only because it's one of the last unbroken links to old-time entertainment history we have (the show started the year after Chaplin made Modern Times, for heaven's sake!), but because we'll never see anything like this happen again. We can talk about Trek and Doctor Who and the like lasting 40-plus years, but it hasn't been uninterrupted, and remember Guiding Light has been giving us 5 shows a week with nary a break all this time!

The article makes a good point about reality TV supplanting soap operas, though I personally think it's more a case of our lifestyles changing. The shows were created to entertain the stereotypical stay-at-home housewife and retired people. And nowadays if there are any stay-at-home housewives left they're more likely running a home-based business, while Grandma and Grandpa are more likely to be having a coffee at the mall food court than sitting home watching soaps all day. That, coupled with the fact soaps have little resaleability in terms of syndication and are impossible to release on home video (did anyone actually buy all 100+ volumes of the Dark Shadows VHS sets that came out back in the 80s?) -- even if we didn't have the reality TV trend, the daily daytime soap opera was not long for this world...

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Old September 17 2009, 08:54 PM   #2
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

I do occasionally wonder how well soaps would do in primetime. The closest thing I can think of was MTV's "Undressed" from about 10 years ago.
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Old September 17 2009, 09:43 PM   #3
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

In the UK most soaps are broadcast at prime time they are some of the most popular shows on UK TV.
We have Coronation street which was first broadcast on 9 December 1960 and Eastenders that started on 19th February 1985 oh and Emmerdale which started in 1972.
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Old September 17 2009, 09:44 PM   #4
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

Don't you guys have primetime soaps? The majority of the UK soaps are on between 1830 and 2100 and are consistently, if not daily, the highest rated shows on their respective channels.

72 years is a pretty incredible achievement if it's always been on five times a week. I think our oldest soap is Coronation Street and that's only been on since the 60s I think.
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Old September 17 2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

Guiding Light was a constant in my household while growing up. It is sad to see it going off the air. It has had a great run.
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Old September 17 2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

What are they replacing Guiding Light with in that time slot?
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Old September 17 2009, 10:26 PM   #7
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I do occasionally wonder how well soaps would do in primetime.
Battlestar Galactica seemed to do just fine.
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Old September 17 2009, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I do occasionally wonder how well soaps would do in primetime. The closest thing I can think of was MTV's "Undressed" from about 10 years ago.

One could make a case that shows like Gossip Girls, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, 90210, etc. are primetime soaps. They all have a more expensive look than daytime soaps and don't run daily, but story wise...I think they are pretty similar.
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Old September 17 2009, 10:31 PM   #9
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I do occasionally wonder how well soaps would do in primetime. The closest thing I can think of was MTV's "Undressed" from about 10 years ago.

One could make a case that shows like Gossip Girls, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, 90210, etc. are primetime soaps. They all have a more expensive look than daytime soaps and don't run daily, but story wise...I think they are pretty similar.
I suppose, but I was strictly thinking of soaps that run daily. It would be interesting to see how they would do.
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Old September 17 2009, 11:39 PM   #10
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I suppose, but I was strictly thinking of soaps that run daily. It would be interesting to see how they would do.
I vaguely recall there have been a couple attempts over the years to do a prime time version of a daily soap. The most recent attempt I can recall was a version of Dark Shadows which flopped. I think Another World or something like that did a TV movie once.

The thing is we need to separate the different types of soap operas here. I'm not talking about Dallas, Dynasty, or Gossip Girl -- shows that produce 22-25 weekly episodes a season. I'm talking of the soaps that air 5 30 to 60-minutes episodes every single day, with only rare preemptions or repeats. In one year Guiding Light produced more episodes than Dynasty did in its entire run. Even soap operas that bomb, or only last a year or two, can produce more episodes than Doctor Who has produced in 45 years. This definitely brings up the "quality vs. quantity" argument, but you talk to someone who loves the daytime soaps as they're as vital to them as, say, BSG is to SF fans.

Those are the shows that are dying. There will always be a market for soap opera-esque series in nighttime, but they're a different animal as far as I'm concerned.

Alex
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Old September 18 2009, 01:36 AM   #11
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

I've watched GL since I was a small child. My mother watched it from childhood on, my grandmother watched it (and listened on the radio before it hit tv).

Has it always been top quality? No.

Is is arguably worth more than any of today's much lauded seasonal primetime shows? To me, yes. I'd toss out primetime scheduling altogether to have GL continue. It's a legacy. The characters feel like family, because we've seen them change and develop as family.

That sap aside, the truly sad thing about GL (and eventually other soaps, I'm sure) ending is that unlike other shows like Trek or BSG or such that usually come back in some other form, there really is no future after the axe falls. Many actors go to other soaps, but it's not the same. As mentioned, there are no dvd sets for repeated viewing and trips down memory lane. It's essentially decades of memory just shoved down the drain and expected to be forgotten.

Makes me want to kick the people in charge of these shows, because they haven't even TRIED other marketing possibilities.
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Old September 18 2009, 05:15 AM   #12
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

Not a big soap fan, but gee, that's a hell of an achievement. 72 years. That's awesome.

Makes Trek and Dr Who look like little upstarts.
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Old September 18 2009, 07:18 AM   #13
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

As I recall, at its height Peyton Place was on four nights a week on ABC in the early and mid-60's. And it was on FILM. Imagine having to edit that much film every week!

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Old September 18 2009, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

I don't think a soap opera in primetime would fare very well. It seems like the average viewer is too busy to devote that much time to one specific series. Hell, some viewers are too busy to watch 1 episode of a series per week (they DVR it, or watch it online). I can't see a primetime soap airing 5 nights a week drawing in a consistent audience.
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Old September 18 2009, 10:38 PM   #15
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Re: Guiding Light ends tomorrow after 72 years

Smiley wrote: View Post
What are they replacing Guiding Light with in that time slot?

A game show.
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