April 6th, 2009  |  Leave a comment

THE KIM ZIMMER INTERVIEW – GUIDING LIGHT

kim_zimmer_main.jpg

Guiding Light has been cancelled, and will air its last CBS episode on September 18th.

This new interview with four-time Daytime Emmy winner Kim Zimmer was conducted less than 15 hours before the official announcement. Since then, Kim Zimmer has released a statement to the press stating: “This is it for our little family as we know it and love it, and I’m in mourning! It’s been a GREAT ride, though!”

But this week on upcoming episodes of Guiding Light, Reva is about to have some major complications to her already serious medical condition that could spell trouble with a capitol “T”. Kim and I chatted about the state of soaps…how she would like to see her run on Guiding Light end if she were to leave when her contract expires at the end of June, or if she were there for its network conclusion…plus, the Daytime Emmy ratings mess…and of course, her thoughts on her two leading men, Robert Newman and Bradley Cole.

I hate to think this is the last Kim Zimmer interview as Reva Shayne.  Enough said. Read on for Kim’s take on the many issues of the day in soap opera, and what’s ahead for one of soap’s most celebrated female heroines.

Listen to the audio:

Play

MICHAEL:

Reva has finally given birth on air! So, was it a relief to finally get rid of the padding?

reva_baby.jpgKIM:

I loved having the baby bump because it’s been 19 years since I had my last kid. It was really fun to put the pad on and have someplace to rest your arms. All those things you do when you are really pregnant come back to you. Like, I use to rub my belly all the time, and when I watch the show I would find Reva doing the same thing. I would feel for kicks, and it’s just bizarre! (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

It has been a tough road for Reva while carrying the baby. At one point, didn’t one of her doctors tell her she would have to abort the baby?

KIM:

Reva had another doctor say that they have to abort the baby because they have to treat this leukemia with extreme measures and radiation. She said, “No. I will just wait till I have this baby until I have any treatments.” Her feeling is that this has been a miracle baby for her and Jeffrey because neither one of them was there for their children’s lives. So, she wants to have this baby and see it through its first couple of months. She truly believes she can kick this cancer’s butt, as well. She names the baby Colin, after her first oncologist who saved her life.

MICHAEL:

So, baby Colin goes home but Reva doesn’t… and that is so sad!

KIM:

They tell me they have to start the treatments immediately because I cannot be exposed to the baby, because the baby has not been immunized. They don’t want to take any chances of having any allergy or infection that the baby might pass on to me. Originally, I thought they were afraid the baby would get sick from my cancer, but that wasn’t the case. The thing was, they did not want Reva to catch anything from the baby.

MICHAEL:

Is Reva in peril here?

reva_chemo.jpgKIM:

They start the chemo and the radiation in extreme levels, and something dramatic happens that results in Reva taking a turn for the worse in a matter of days after she had the baby. It’s like a day! Something happens that forces Reva to take drastic measures that literally make the situation with her cancer dire. She gets an infection and has to be in a sterile room again, like before with her breast cancer, when they were stripping her of all of her immunities. Now, she is in a sterile room. So, she really can’t see the baby, but Jeffrey brings in this webcam so she can watch the baby at home, and it’s really sweet.

MICHAEL:

Oh, my God! Are we are going to need hankies?

KIM:

Can you imagine Reva being separated from one of her kids?

MICHAEL:

No! I am already crying.

KIM:

It’s not an easy moment, but Jeffrey is very good at bringing the baby to the window so that Reva can see the baby.

MICHAEL:

Where is Josh in all this?

josh_bad.jpgKIM:

Josh is lurking, but Josh is involved in this situation that results in Reva taking a turn for the worse, as well. He kind of does something close to heroic and stupid all at the same time. I cannot tell you what it is because I am really trying to keep it as a surprise. There are so few surprises in daytime anymore.

MICHAEL:

How do you really feel about the state of daytime now from when you started? It certainly has hit a new low like we have never seen.

KIM:

I think it’s obvious, and everyone is well aware of the fact, it ain’t the same! The production values have had to be reduced, and they don’t have the money to spend on these shows anymore. They don’t do the elaborate location shoots anymore. I can really only talk about our show, and that the stories have had to change to accommodate the way we shoot our show now. You can’t do those fabulous cloning stories or walking through the portrait stories anymore, because we are targeting a more realistic show. Even with all those bizarre storylines we used to do on Guiding Light, we had such damn good actors on the show, and we made those ridiculous storylines work.

MICHAEL:

There are some heavy hitters in this cast. I don’t know if it would have worked this long without the caliber of cast that your show has.

KIM:

We have had such success with our casting directors over the years. Since 1983, I can count on one hand the “clunkers” they may have hired. I am talking about day players and contract players. And they weren’t really “clunkers”. They were just not the caliber of our ensemble cast and did not fit into our ensemble, which is why they did not last.

MICHAEL:

Do you think at the end of the end, when you wrap up Reva, she should end up with Josh?

reva_jeff_happy.jpgKIM:

This is a touchy thing. I am so lucky to have the Reva/Jeffrey fans that are just as powerful as the Reva/Josh fans. I think the show has succeeded in making both couplings worthy of the attention in both regards. Reva and Jeffrey are a more adult relationship and deal with each other on a different level than Reva and Josh. Reva knew she could get Josh to do whatever she wanted by enticing him into bed, or sexually, or with her sense of humor, and Josh was a sucker for that. I think something awful would have to happen for Reva and Josh to be thrown back into a married relationship.

MICHAEL:

Or, maybe a tease or nod to the fans, that they would be together at the very end. You know we touched upon this in
Orlando, but I have been getting a lot of
emails saying, “We do not get to see Kim
as much anymore!” What can we say to
those fans as to why we don’t get to see
you as much anymore? You are the star
of the show!

KIM:

I don’t know. I mean, do you think it’s because Reva and Josh aren’t together? If I truly thought we could get another four million fans back to the show if they put Reva and Josh back together, I would be begging them for that. I think we could maybe tap into a fan base that left the show. I know there are a lot of Josh and Reva fans out there, and I am a Josh and Reva fan. I have loved Reva and Jeffrey as well, only because it was a different thing for me to play, and for Bradley to play, and for Robert to play. I don’t want to say, “Yes, I want to see Josh and Reva back together.” I would never do that to Bradley, because I have really enjoyed working with him as much as I have enjoyed working with Robert. I am just one damn lucky woman to have two strong leading men that I love dearly, both of them.

MICHAEL:

Is the question then about budget as to why you are not on as much?

jeff_reva_hospital.jpgKIM:

In all honesty, I wish I could say it was the budget. I think we have talked about this before. There are ways to make this work so that you can develop a story where Josh and Reva or Reva and Jeffrey were on three or four days a week by scheduling better, or by rethinking the way they tell story. I kiddingly refer to it as the Tony Geary contract, and of course, that hit the websites last week. There is truth to that though, and there are ways to have me on for three weeks, and not have me on for a month or two, but at least you could tell a deep involved story but with seeing characters more often. I mean, in three weeks I was on three times. I have seen myself on the air shows twice, and that’s why this past week I am on five days a week.

MICHAEL:

Which we love!

KIM:

And I love it, too!

MICHAEL:

If you were playing the last beat of Reva’s story, since your contract is up in June before Guiding Light’s final air show in September, will you be sad?

KIM:

I would be sad, only because it’s not the way I want to see this character go away with the way this has been. The Reva character has been a vital force in daytime television since 1983, and it’s not a character I want to see piddle itself away. I think the character deserves better than that. I love being a grandmother, and it’s not the Eileen Fulton thing where I won’t be a grandmother. I love being a grandmother and a mother, but that’s not all Reva is to be on this show.

MICHAEL:

Where are your four Daytime Emmys?

KIM:

They are on top of a wardrobe in my living room.

MICHAEL:

So when you pass those, do you pinch yourself and go, “How cool?”

robert_newman.jpgKIM:

Oh, yeah, and each one of them represents a portion of Reva’s life that I am extremely proud of. I never thought I would win an Emmy with that menopause story, but damn it, I did not win it, we won it! To this day, I feel that Robert Newman is the best leading man any woman could ever dream of having, because every woman he has ever worked with has been nominated for an Emmy award. And Robert’s never won, and it’s time!

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the whole Daytime Emmy debacle this year?

KIM:

I have said for the last five years, that I would love to see the Daytime Emmys go back to when it was an industry people event, and we all went back to the Waldorf Astoria or the New York Sheraton, and sat at round tables. It used to be like the People’s Choice Awards or the Golden Globes, and it aired in daytime, where it should air. The show was under produced, and it was a celebration of what we do everyday instead of an over produced nighttime television show. I remember one year, I was shocked when they had presenters who were all daytime people, yes, but were all on nighttime shows. It was terrible!

MICHAEL:

I hated that. It’s not what the fans want to see. There is a disconnect with what the networks think the fans want to see. The Daytime Emmys could pull in better ratings, I feel, if they would just give the fans some stars from the soaps they may want to see be the presenters.

KIM:

Which is my point. They should have stayed in daytime and never moved the awards to nighttime.

kim_jeff.jpgMICHAEL:

Jeff Branson has been so wonderful as your on-screen son Shayne. I thought, “What great casting that was after all those many recasts!”

KIM:

Yeah, they finally got that right! Oh, my God, I know.

MICHAEL:

So here you are in scenes with him. When did the light go on for you, “This is finally
working this time?”

KIM:

Ikim_zimmer_redpretty.jpg knew his work from All My Children and I tune into all the shows when I can. I thought he was a terrific actor. I was excited to hear his name was in the running. It came down to Jeff and the other kids’ work from All My Children who I knew also, Colin Egglesfield, who I liked a lot, but did not think he was right for Shayne. But, when it was down to Jeff and Colin, I thought, ”I hope they go with Jeff because he looked like Robert. He looks like a grown up version of my real-life son, Jake, and not to mention he is a fun, good, solid actor and that fits well into our ensemble of actors on our show.”

MICHAEL:

Did you do any research for any part of the cancer storyline and all that they heaped upon Reva… leukemia, pregnancy, breast cancer, etc? I think you told me you made it Reva’s journey.

KIM:

I did. I think the first time I read, when I went through the breast cancer storyline the first time, I read “Cancer for Dummies” and “Coping with Cancer for Dummies”. They are those yellow books, and they have them for every subject possible. It was a layman’s book, and kind of the ABC’s of cancer. That was very helpful for me as an actress because it didn’t give me specifics. It gave me guidelines, and I did more talking to people who I knew who had gone through breast cancer. I had them tell me what their experiences were, and they were all completely different. So, I just made it Reva’s journey, whether it was right or wrong, and I did not want it to come from a book.

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