WOW! My email box is bulging with the responses to Grant Aleksander's firing and the online petition. It's always nice to know that there are people out there in cyberspace that care as much about GL as I do. If you haven't shared your thoughts yet, please do so at http://www.petitiononline.com/MADDness/petition.html
Most of you know I really don't spend much time on message boards, but this week I couldn't resist. Grant's firing is a major story and has generated a lot of "buzz" about GL. It's always interesting to see people's thoughts on any given subject. Mostly, I just "browsed" the boards, but there was one thing that caught my attention and I had to write about it today.
While I am VERY upset about the firing of Grant Aleksander and agree that it is just another way in which MADD has weakened our show, I did NOT suggest that people NOT WATCH GL! Not in the petition and not in my column last week (and I have them all saved, just in case I need to look back on them). But I see that many of you are stating that you won't watch GL if Grant is gone - which is certainly your right. But I want to give you a little "food for thought."
Is MADD doing this (and all of the other crazy things that have happened recently) to DRIVE viewers away so when CBS pulls the plug on the show, they can say that the viewers weren't there? Possibly - some of you have speculated this for some time. The latest ratings have us at a dismal 2.2 - how long will they let that continue?
While you are certainly free to stop watching GL, what I intend to do is FIGHT LIKE HELL for the show. I know, having met so many of you at countless GL Gatherings is that the show means a lot to you. Many have been watching the show for 20, 30 or more years. There are families with four generations of GL viewers. These are the viewers that GL should care about and keep close to them. Yet these are the fans that I hear from who are continually disgusted with the show. I urge all of you to let your voices be heard. Let the network, P&G, Viacom, Televest all know how much the show means to you. Tell them how long you have been watching, what drew you to the show, what you'd like to see now. Be honest, but let them know that you are unhappy with the show.
This week, as the story has come to light about Grant being fired, the show has begun to put their own "spin" on the dismissal. Little articles that paint Grant as "difficult" are meant to make the fans less likely to raise a fuss about the dismissal. From my own discussions with Grant about the show, I do know that he has made comments to TPTB about the way certain things were written - and has done this for years. When you hire a writer who has little to no working knowledge of the show, you have to rely on others for your "backstory." Grant has been with the show (off and on) since I was a sophomore in high school (and I'm 37 now) so his knowledge of GL is pretty vast. Does that mean that he should sit idly by and let the writers (once again) rewrite GL history? In the "real world" an employee who doesn't care about the product doesn't last long. Did Grant's actions make others uncomfortable? Perhaps - I wasn't there to witness that, so I don't know for sure. But I do know that this character, who has appeared on the show since the 1970's is about to be erased from the canvas of the show - which I think is a major mistake. While they could (and have) recast this role (with John Bolger) it is risky. Fans really never warmed to Bolger (although I can tell you he was great when I met him - he just wasn't "Phillip" after Grant had been around so long) and GL has several recasts on canvas recently that fans have to adjust to already.
But how about having Phillip leave Springfield for awhile? It's obvious that he'll either be part of a murder mystery plot (which I saw coming) or he'll disappear for awhile. The setside sources who state, "the role will not be recast" makes me think that its curtains for Springfield's Golden Boy - which I think is a major mistake.
No matter how you feel about this latest change to affect the show, I always encourage you to let TPTB know how you feel. There are definitely pros and cons about the immediate access of the Internet. But I feel strongly that you have to let your voices be heard in a positive, respectful light, to let TPTB know that you have the best interests of the show at heart.
While I will continue to watch GL, I will definitely let my voice be heard (both good and bad) when it comes to the show that I have (like many of you) literally grown up with. I hope that TPTB realize that the fans who contact them have a vested interest in the show and care about its future.
For those who have written to me this week, I am still trying to get through all of your responses and will try to answer your questions as quickly as I can. Thank you for all of your comments - I really appreciate it.
Until next week... Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!