As we pause to celebrate our country's independence (my apologies to the non-American readers) I am also thinking of Guiding Light.
This week, with literally no fan fare, GL celebrated its anniversary. Now while I was out of pocket in Las Vegas at a conference, I thought, perhaps, that I had missed something. A party, or at least a cake - but this is all I could find - on the CBS/GL website:
Guiding Light celebrates 52 years on television with its 14,446th episode on Wednesday, June 30.
Yep - that's it. Did you blink? Missed it? Besides our next anniversary, our next "milestone" is the 15,000th episode - in 2006. Will GL even do one ounce of publicity? You would think that the network would do some small mention of the show to help gently remind former viewers that, yes, the show is still on the air. Who knows, you might actually get MORE viewers.
As many of us spend the holiday with family and friends, burgers on a grill and fireworks, perhaps GL needs to think about the history of the show. One fabulous thing about the past is that you can learn from it. There are some really great performers on the show - past and present. There is plenty great history to build on. I think, in my heart of hearts, that GL could really blossom. But we have to have some stability in the overall production and writing of the show.
Like our founding fathers, GL needs to find one voice to tell the story of the characters that we love - and those we love to hate.
The challenges that GL faces today are much different than they were when the show began. With the advent of cable and satellite television, there are a host of other channels to watch every day (I have about 150). There are fewer people at home during the day to watch the show. People are no doubt busier and entertainment time is much farther down on their list of priorities. Sure, you can set your VCR or your Tivo, but how many times will you find the time to watch? As I freely admit, I "listen" to GL on my tv band radio at work during my last hour on the job each day. While I try to "watch" the show again during the week sometime, there are many times when I cannot devote the time to watch what I have already heard on radio.
GL's other main obstacle is that their viewers are aging. There is no denying that GL is a generational show. My aunt, who died in 1996, got me watching after school when I was 9 years old - many of you tell me similar stories of your own families. I don't have children to pass the show onto. So when I die, there will be no continuation of GL viewership in my family. The show has tried (sometimes too hard) to go after the younger viewers. But it has also alienated many of you veteran viewers with their 24/7 coverage of the teenie boppers. What we need to do (and this is no easy feat) is to balance the stories, showing all (or most) of the characters so viewers have something or someone to look forward to watching. For those of you who are waiting to see Holly or Lillian, you might be waiting awhile. But you can see other performers nearly every week.
With each new change at GL, whether it is a character or a writer, or any one of TPTB, there is a little bit of hope in me that the show will improve in the ratings. Because, let's face it, if the ratings aren't there, neither is the show. And each time we don't creep up a little higher for more than a few weeks, I start to get that little feeling deep inside that maybe CBS and P&G and Viacom are waiting for the show to end. For what? So they can put on another talk show that is cancelled after 6 weeks? Daytime tv still has a niche in society - just a little smaller one that it used to have. We just need to keep the faith and prepare ourselves for the long road ahead - and hopefully many more years of GL to watch.
For those who wondered about my trip to Vegas last week, it was to attend a conference. I did gamble a little (about $30) and won about $200 playing slots (I prefer video poker). I loved the architecture and the "theatre" that is Vegas, but I was not prepared for all of the smoke - everywhere!! I have to go back for the beginning of my driving vacation through Utah, Nevada and Arizona at the end of July, but I can say that unless I find a smoke free casino, I won't be back after that. My eyes and my poor asthmatic lungs just can't take it.
I hope that you all have a safe and Happy 4th. Have a Bauer burger for me!! And for those who ask what the recipe of those famous burgers is, in honor of the 4th of July, here it is:
You've seen the famous Bauer Burgers on Guiding Light for many years -- but now you can have a taste of the famous food in your very own home.
1. Get 2 lbs of ground sirloin, then mix in some garlic, pepper, salt and 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce.
2. Make an even number of thin hamburger patties. (Be sure to make them very thin.)
3. Chop up some onion and put it on top of the first patty. Then put a slice of American or mozzarella cheese on top. Grill some mushrooms and put them on top of the cheese. Cover the whole thing with another patty.
4. Using a fork press down the edges of the patties so they are sealed
5. Barbecue the double patties over a low flame until done. It takes more time to cook due to the thickness of the patties.
So until next week...
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Happy 4th of July!
Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!