As sad as I am to see the show go, any anger or bitterness on my part as a fan is directed mostly at Procter & Gamble/Telenext when it comes to the actual cancellation than CBS. Although I do think that it was in incredibly bad taste for the network to make the announcement on April Fools’ Day of all days. It’s really irritating to see that it basically took a cancellation notice in order to get things such as better storytelling and more vets getting screen time. I’ll bet right now we would not be seeing favorites like Ed, Holly, Mindy, Danny or Michelle if the show was staying on the air past this week. There’s also the fact that there are writers and producers who stayed on the show much longer than they should have (i.e. head writer David Kreizman and executive producer Ellen Wheeler).
And I’ve said it before and I will be happy to reiterate: this needs to be a testament to any other show running right now, especially if you are a daytime soap (I am especially talking to YOU, As The World Turns! Things are starting to get better with you, and it needs to continue.). If you’re treating your fans as if they matter, then good for you, continue to do so. If you are not, then you need to do so. Fans are not expendable, and there is only so much that they can tolerate before they throw in the towel. Respect your fans. Your job depends on it. There are many items that contributed to longtime viewers deciding to no longer watch the show. Whether it was Maureen Bauer’s death in 1993, Reva being cloned in 1998, the handling and demise of Roger Thorpe's character in 2005, or switching to the “realistic” shaky-cam style in 2008; people left the show for specific reasons. There were reasons why fans stopped caring; they differ depending on which fan you talk to. Reasons to no longer watch pretty much had to do with decisions that were either not well thought out before they were made or were just plain bad choices.
This is not to say that change is a bad thing, because it is not if it is done correctly. Two years ago Days of our Lives was along the same lines; ratings down, cancellation being imminent, with even NBC president Jeff Zucker saying that the show would make it past 2009. Well guess what, changes were made to the show creatively, the ratings are up (either #3 or somewhere in the top 5 overall), and 2009 is almost over. And some really big changes were made too, and I found myself questioning a lot of them; for instance, getting rid of John and Marlena. But in the end it paid off and things look much better. So I refuse to believe that a show can’t turn itself around if it really wants to.
Change in itself can be good. It just needs to be well thought out and fans need to be respected. If television’s longest running show ever can be axed, then no other series can ever be exempt of a cancellation notice.
Despite its severe dips in terms of quality over the last several years, congratulations, Guiding Light. Congratulations to a show which achieved something no other television show has ever been able to touch and never will.