Note: This column contains a casting spoiler which some of you might not want to read.
As a long-time fan of GL, I am always concerned with the history of the show. That despite six-plus decades of episodes, the show remains true to the history that we all know and cherish. There have been some times that the show has done things that have me shaking my head, and this week is no exception.
Regular readers of this column, or any soap magazine or online site, surely know that GL is having financial trouble. The studio is asking everyone to take a 15 percent pay cut, and moving to another location sometime this fall. Several actors have been bumped to recurring status (they get paid only for the days they work) and still others have chosen to leave the show. Now word finally comes (officially) that Nancy St. Alban (Michelle) and Paul Anthony Stewart (Danny) have been let go, for "storyline reasons," and will leave Springfield for good this fall.
While most of you know that I thought the emergence of the Santos family, and their violent mob storyline, was not a good fit for the show, I wonder about this move. Danny had finally been allowed to walk away from "the life" and the thugs that seemed to permeate their storylines. Michelle has been away in Africa for months, only to just now return home, pregnant. I really thought that, if the show was going to release Nancy, it would be while she was on maternity leave (a classless thing to do, but the show has done it before when they bumped Yvonna Wright -- Mel -- to recurring while on maternity leave). But, no, they bring her back -- give her a juicy storyline and then fire the pair?
I realize that the show has to keep costs down, but they are adding new cast members still -- mostly younger ones (who conceivably they could pay less). Not to mention my biggest complaint about this firing -- it leaves not one Bauer on contract. Note to GL folks -- the Bauer family is the family the show was founded on -- before you were ever employed by the show (and probably before most of them were even born). Michael O'Leary (Rick) has been bumped to recurring and barely played a role in the murder mystery involving his best friend, Phillip. Yet we still have so many characters who have not one tie to anyone else in Springfield, just taking up air time and budget dollars. I could name names, but we all know which ones I am referring to. Why not just put everyone on recurring to save money, but keep the cast intact? It might make you actually use more of them -- instead of forgetting some of them are still part of the show.
All of these changes of late really make me wonder about the fate of the show. We're losing cast members right and left -- and the fans are either going to fight to save their beloved characters -- or turn the show off. Not really what the show needs with their ratings in a rut.
The show itself this week was pretty good -- I just hope Harley and Gus don't fall into that "happily married/never seen" storyline rut. But the cheesy audio from Grant Aleksander (Phillip) only reminded me that if he doesn't come back, they need to wrap this story up sooner rather than later. Shame on GL for not figuring out they might need him before they let him go last year.
Hopefully the news will be better next week. As always, I encourage you to write to The Powers That Be and let them know how you feel (GL@cbs.com). I also want to thank everyone who shared their opinions about the current storylines on the SoapCentral message board -- it's always great to see what everyone is thinking about the show.
Until next week... Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!