Part Two: Daytime Specials, GL Changes
By Dan J Kroll
Posted Saturday, December 28, 2002 8:37:59 AM
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If you missed the first part of our special report, please click here.

A Daytime to Remember

While it may seem gimmicky to some, one-by-one soaps seemed to be embracing the idea of selecting a special day and making it their own.

General Hospital kicked things off in the early 1990s with its annual Nurses Ball. The event was designed to raise awareness of AIDS and AIDS Prevention. The special episodes also began airing on GH's spinoff show Port Charles. This past year, however, due to some production issues, the Nurses Ball was not featured prominently on either program. It is widely expected that the tradition will return in 2003.

For over half a decade, All My Children has celebrated the Crystal Ball on (and around) New Year's Eve. The event was originally designed to remember the late - but now very much alive - Maria Santos Grey. The Crystal Ball was used as a launching pad for new storylines as well as a way to mark the climax of existing plots.

One Life to Live has seized July 4th as its own. In 2001 and 2002, the show aired special stand alone episodes on the Independence Day holiday as a way to treat viewers - and the performers - to something a little different. A stand alone episode is one that does not play off of existing storylines or develop new ones. In 2001, One Life to Live wrote a special episode in which several of its key performers played the roles of other key performers, or role swapping. The episode played key in OLTL's win as the Outstanding Daytime Drama this past year. In 2002, OLTL aired a special musical episode. The stand alone episodes were the brain child of then-executive producer Gary Tomlin. Now that Tomlin is no longer the show's EP, it is unknown if the show will continue to air special July 4th episodes. Due to the holiday, a spokesperson for ABC was unable to comment for this article.

This past year, As The World Turns offered a special stand alone episode on Valentine's Day that featured several of its stars involved in a cabaret-like act. It remains unclear if ATWT will offer up this special episode every year.

Guiding Light Flickers, Flashes and Shines In a New Direction

On January 25, 2002, Guiding Light celebrated the 65th anniversary of its launch as a radio serial. Known as The Guiding Light when it made its debut as a fifteen-minute serial on radio in 1937, Guiding Light is the longest-running daily program in broadcast history. Created by Irna Phillips, Guiding Light was -- and continues to be -- produced by Procter & Gamble Productions, the company who put the "soap" in soap opera. The television version of the serial marked its 50th anniversary on June 30, 2002.

2002 was quite a year both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes for the long-running soap. The much-loved Bradley Cole (Richard) exited the show to focus on other projects, while Jessica Jiminez (Catalina), Oliver Macready (Romeo), and Charissa Chamorro (Tory) were all written out due to storyline requirements. Mackenzie Maury (Lizzie) and Katie Sagona (Tammy) were forced out when their characters were "aged." And the show lost a veteran performers when daytime legend Mary Stuart (Meta) passed away in February.

Guiding Light also saw former Dynasty diva Joan Collins come and go. The actress signed on to play Alexandra Spaulding, but later had to exit the show because of prior commitments.

Behind-the-scenes, Paul Rauch, the show's executive producer for the better part of a decade, announced that he would step down at the end of his contract with the show. Speculation about his successor ran rampant for a few weeks until Procter & Gamble Productions announced that famed producer John Conboy would take over for Rauch.

A month earlier in September, P&G pulled Carolyn Culliton from her duties as co-head writer of As The World Turns and named her co-head writer at Guiding Light. In doing so, the show's top scribe, Lloyd "Lucky" Gold was demoted to associate writer for the show. In October, however, Millie Taggart, who had been serving as co-head writer with Culliton on a temporary basis, announced that she would be leaving the show for personal reasons. With a void left at the top of the writing team, GL tapped Ellen Weston to become the head writer for the show. Culliton, it was announced, would remain on board as co-head writer.

    » Click here to read coverage of Bradley Cole's decision to leave GL.
    » Click here to read coverage of Joan Collin's addition to the GL cast.
    » Click here to read our coverage of Culliton's being named co-head writer.
    » Click here to read our coverage of Rauch stepping down as EP.
    » Click here to read coverage of Joan Collin's exit from GL.
    » Click here to read our coverage of Conboy being named Rauch's successor.
    » Click here to read our coverage of Weston's naming as new head writer.
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