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"Guiding Light" Gets a Makeover

By admin Published: January 28, 2008

I don't write much about daytime dramas, but this is a pretty big change in the way the long-running soap is made. Detailed announcement from Procter & Gamble, after the jump. ...

Guiding Light, the Procter & Gamble Productions soap opera that is the longest-running television show in broadcast history, today announced its plans to take on a revolutionary new production model. The production changes, which will take effect immediately and begin airing on CBS on Feb. 29, 2008, will bring a modern, more realistic look to the show, allowing viewers to be entertained by the stories and characters they love in a more intimate way.

Guiding Light's new model will represent an end-to-end transformation in the way the show is created, from direction to editing to scenic design. Permanent sets inside the show's New York City studio will now feature four walls and a ceiling and will increase in number from eight to forty, allowing viewers to see much more of the fictional town of Springfield. Handheld cameras will shoot the actors inside the sets and deliver a higher level of realism and intimacy to the audience. In addition to the changes inside the studio, the show has adopted the town of Peapack, NJ to shoot all of its exterior scenes, which will total approximately 20% of production--an unprecedented amount for a contemporary daytime drama.

"Our new production model enables us to truly bring Springfield to life for our viewers," said Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler. "Our fans want to see more of our characters' lives -- from the houses they live in, to the cars they drive, to the experiences they have in their everyday lives. The changes will enable us to tell stories in a more intimate way, capturing real moments and engaging the audience on a deeper level."

The bold move to modernize Guiding Light is the result of a yearlong development process by the show's production team and Procter & Gamble Productions, who in that time were experimenting with new methods and technologies. The resulting new model will combine elements from film, reality and daytime to deliver the more realistic feel for which Guiding Light fans have asked.

In contrast to the handheld cameras and newly crafted four-wall sets the old production model -- one pioneered by Procter & Gamble Productions and Guiding Light in the 1950's -- featured three pedestal cameras that shot the action from outside a proscenium wall. Location shooting was limited to once or twice a year. More than 50 years later, this form still dominates soap opera production.

Feb. 29 will also mark the re-launch Guiding Light's website, The interactive, video-rich site will showcase the new look of Guiding Light, providing daily new content on the happenings of Springfield's favorite residents. In addition, the site will feature a robust community section, offering an engaging area that will foster a stronger connection between the fans and the show, and an interconnectedness between the fans themselves.

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