It’s been over seven years since the last episode of Guiding Light aired, but CBS Daytime has not forgotten the fan-favorite series.
When The Talk set out to do a special episode celebrating CBS’ 30-year run as #1, Angelica McDaniel, Executive Vice President, CBS, Daytime, made sure that the gone (but never forgotten) Guiding Light and As the World Turns were both included!
SoapHub was on the scene for The Talk taping and was invited to stay afterwards to chat with the actors representing GL — Robert Newman (Josh), Grant Aleksander (Phillip), Kim Zimmer (Reva) and Beth Chamberlin (Beth). The fab four shared their thoughts on GL’s finale, where their characters would be today, and speculated on what it would take for the light to be turned back on!
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SoapHub: Kim, the famous fountain clip was shown. Can you give it a little context? What set Reva off in that episode?
Zimmer: The biggest thing about that scene was that Reva’s vulnerabilities were finally exposed. Her self-doubt. She was stripped of everything so she could get down to her guts. She always put on airs. She was that southern bad girl. That fountain scene gave Reva — and Kim — the opportunity to just cut the veins open and so she was bleeding. She was asking: Was this enough for Springfield? Because you’ve done nothing but put me down and treat me poorly. So I’ll be your bitch!
Robert Newman: That was a one take deal, too.
Zimmer: It was.
Newman: I remember there was no way to really rehearse it.
Zimmer: They asked me and I said I’d rather just shoot it. It was actually the only scene in years where I actually looked up after doing it and I’d gotten lost. I wasn’t checking myself. It was just being in the moment.
SoapHub: Was there anything you didn’t do that you wish your character could have done?
Chamberlin: I was fortunate because my character went here and there and there, all over that place. That gave me an opportunity to play so many different things. I was very happy at the end of the show that they had Beth completely sane and was back together with Phillip.
Newman: (Wryly) I would have liked to have gotten married three or four more times. Nine’s a good number. Maybe have another wife come back from the dead? That’s always a joy.
Chamberlin: Had the show continued I would have loved the focus on Phillip and Beth not be breaking up but maybe more on their children. We would have been raising a young child Beth had with Alan.
Zimmer: I think Reva has a machete out and she’s in the jungles of Peru looking for Jeffrey! (Laughs) I know he’s here somewhere!
Newman: And Josh is back home raising Jeffrey’s kid!
SoapHub: Grant, The Talk showed the moment where Phillip found Alan had suddenly died on the park bench. Great, great acting. Did you submit that for the Daytime Emmys the following year? And what did you think about the decision to kill Alan?
Grant Aleksander: No, I didn’t. Thank you. I was really mixed about (Alan dying). I was not happy about it when I heard about it and I was reacting on a visceral level just like the fans were. This is part of my family. Don’t kill part of my family! Then, I remembered having been “killed” myself (on the show), so maybe there’d be a future incarnation (of Alan)? It was strong medicine for people who think that (the lives of the characters) go on. It’s the transition where the son becomes the father. In line with what Beth was saying, that’s what you see. [The writers] would have raised the ages of the children. [Phillip] would have been a little too much like Alan and started to interfere and be manipulating.
Chamberlin: And Beth would have been too lenient and an enabler.
SoapHub: It’s great to see children take on attributes of their parents. Sarah, Reva’s mom, used to call Reva “Sweet Pea” and later, Reva started calling her daughter, Marah, that nickname.
Zimmer: Right. Whenever A.C. [Weary, my husband] would watch the show and hear Reva say that, he’d say you can’t say that! That’s what you call our kids.
Chamberlin: But it comes naturally.
Zimmer: It does. It does. I’d be like, “It works! She’s ‘Sweet Pea!'”
SoapHub: Are there any guest spots or stage work coming you for you?
Zimmer: Not until next May. I’m doing a Neil Simon play.
Chamberlin: I assume at some point my episode of Chicago Med will re-air. I hope so for that second round of residuals!
Newman: They tell me the role I play on Chicago Fire will be recurring, but you take that with a grain of salt. The nice thing about the role that I played is he’s a fire chief from a rival company. He’s kind of a [jerk] because that’s what I play these days. With that kind of character, he could appear on any of the Dick Wolf [Chicago] shows.
SoapHub: Have any of you see the exhibit at the Paley Media Center in Beverly Hills that celebrates CBS Daytime being #1 for 30 years? It’s great that both Guiding Light and As the World Turns are included in it!
Aleksander: Yes. We were stunned. I certainly was. It’s not the history that I’m familiar with. When shows are gone, they’re gone. It was very gracious and thoughtful of CBS to include us.
SoapHub: Do any of you ever talk to the folks at Procter & Gamble? Is there a possibility that Guiding Light could be revived in any way? CBS now has CBS All Access where we’ll see a spin-off of The Good Wife and a new Star Trek series via live streaming.
Chamberlin: That’s how so many people are doing it now. I do a lot of my viewing now on my iPad.
Aleksander: P&G hasn’t been willing to do it. I think for them to do it another show would have to do it first and show that there’s money to be made.
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