Guiding Light, the longest-running drama in television history, will be breaking soap barriers at the end of this month.

Beginning February 29, viewers will be treated to a brand-new look to the show’s daily episodes.  Say goodbye to the archaic three-walled sets and hello to the permanent four-walled sets with ten-foot high ceilings.  Gone as well are the 300-pound pedestal cameras, all of which will be replaced with handheld eight-pound mini-cameras.

“Soap operas have been shot, by and large, the same way since the 1950’s, the same way ‘I Love Lucy’ was shot – with pedestal cameras, in just a few interior sets,” Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler explained.  “Our audience is sophisticated enough to understand that’s old-fashioned, and it isn’t working for them anymore.”

The permanent sets will benefit both the show and the viewers.  It will help cut down costs (seeing as they won’t have to dismantle and construct new sets with accordance to changes in the story), and will give viewers the chance to see and experience the different spaces that the characters inhibit, therefore increasing storytelling potential and intimacy with the characters.

“Our fans want to see more of our character’s lives – from the houses they live in, to the cars they drive, to the experiences they have in their everyday lives,” Wheeler said.  Her and her co-production executives have even let their office spaces be used for filming.

As for outdoor shooting, Guiding Light has partnered with the town of Peapack, New Jersey, located near the show’s Manhattan Studios.

“The changes will enable us to tell stories in a more intimate way, capturing real moments and engaging the audience on a deeper level,” Wheeler said.

The changes are the product of a year-long research and experimentation period, and intended to make Guiding Light compare favorably to the gloss of primetime and compete against repeats of primetime dramas that are during daytime.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of CBS)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV