Guiding Light (known as The Guiding Light prior to 1975, or simply GL) is an American television program credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the longest-running soap opera in production and the longest running drama in television and radio history.
Guiding Light was created by soap writer Irna Phillips, and began as an NBC radio serial on January 25, 1937 before moving to CBS on June 30, 1952, as a televised serial.
The show’s title refers to a lamp in the study of Reverend Dr. John Ruthledge, a major character when Guiding Light debuted in 1937, that family and residents could see as a sign for them to find help when needed.
CBS announced on April 1, 2009 that the show was being canceled and that it would air its final episode on September 18, 2009.
CBS has cancelled “Guiding Light”–which has aired, in one medium or another, for 72 years.
The veteran soap’s last episode will air Friday, Sept. 18.
The cancellation of “Guiding Light” is yet another nail in the coffin of daytime soaps–many of which have fallen by the wayside due to declining ratings.
It’s not known what will replace “Guiding Light” on CBS’ daytime schedule. The show airs from 10 to 11 a.m. on Ch. 2.
The cancellation isn’t a total shock; rumors of “GL’s” imminent demise have abounded the past few days.
CBS renewed the show in March 2008–when it was on the verge of cancellation–after a drastic change in the show’s format gave it a hip, reality-show feel and ratings remained steady.
“No show in daytime or primetime, or anytime, has touched so many millions of viewers across so many years,” said CBS daytime exec Barbara Bloom.
“Guiding Light” began life in 1937 as a 15-minute radio serial, before switching to a 15-minute soap on CBS in 1952 (while continuing to air on radio until 1956).
The series moved to a 30-minute format in 1968 and expanded to an hour in 1977.