Guiding Light, the world’s longest running drama canceled after 72 years.
Soon there will be seven…
After 72 years on the air, the longest running daytime soap in history is coming to an end. What many hoped was a cruel April Fool’s Day joke turned out to be true. On September 18, 2009, Guiding Light will officially conclude its run.
Will GL continue to live on elsewhere? Brian Cahill, Vice President for Telenext Media which produces the Procter & Gamble soap told TVGuide’s Michael Logan: “We are working hard to find the show a new home, and we are exploring all our options to continue to bring loyal fans the characters and stories they love.”
Though GL has been plagued by low ratings and budget cuts for the better part of a decade now, the show continued to survive in the face of much adversity. Cast turnover, new timeslots in some major markets and the unenviable task of eliminating popular long-term favorites from the canvas all took its toll on the fledgling soap. Despite that, GL continued to try and evolve with the times and streamline its production to ensure its survival.
CBS issued a press release regarding Guiding Light’s cancellation today:
CBS’s “GUIDING LIGHT” TO BROADCAST ITS FINAL EPISODE ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 18
CBS’s daytime drama Guiding Light will broadcast its final episode on Friday, Sept. 18, 2009. At the time of its final broadcast, the series will have spanned 72 years and more than 15,700 episodes on television and radio.
Created by Irna Phillips, the show debuted on NBC radio on January 25, 1937 as the 15-minute radio serial “The Guiding Light.” It made the switch to 15-minute episodes on CBS Television on June 30, 1952, although it continued to air concurrently on radio with the actors playing parts on both shows until 1956, when the radio show ended. In 1967, the series first started being broadcast in color, and a year later, the show expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. In November 1977, the show expanded to a full hour. The series is credited by The Guinness Book of World Records as “The Longest-Running Television Drama.”
“Guiding Light has achieved a piece of television history that will never be matched; it has crossed mediums, adapted its stories to decades of social change and woven its way through generations of audiences like no other,” said Nancy Tellem, President, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group. “This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS’s history, with a legacy of innovation and reputation for quality and excellence at every step of the way. While its presence will be missed, its contributions will always be celebrated and never be forgotten.”
“No show in daytime or prime time, or anytime, has touched so many millions of viewers across so many years as Guiding Light,” said Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President, Daytime Programs, CBS. “We thank the cast, crew and producers – past and present – who delivered this entertainment institution, the beloved characters and the time-honored stories to our audience every day for seven decades. It’s been a privilege to work with such an extraordinarily talented group of people.”
The radio show’s original storyline centered on a minister named Rev. John Ruthledge, and all the people of a fictional suburb in Chicago called Five Points. Today’s show takes place in the fictional town of Springfield, and revolves around the Spaulding, Lewis and Cooper families. Throughout its historic tenure on the Network, Guiding Light has been the recipient of 69 Daytime Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series.
The show has broken ground with stories such as cancer, teen pregnancy, sexual harassment, alcoholism, abuse, AIDS and post-partum depression and, in 2008, premiered a brand-new daytime production model, featuring permanent sets inside its New York City studio and approximately 20% of the production shot in exterior scenes in the town of Peapack, N.J. In addition, directing and editing were changed to be done digitally and almost simultaneously, giving the sets a more realistic feeling and eliminating the need for production suites.
Guiding Light is broadcast weekdays (check local listings) on the CBS Television Network. Ellen Wheeler is the Executive Producer and the Head Writers are David Kreizman, Christopher Dunn, Lloyd “Lucky” Gold and Jill Lorie Hurst.
The show stars Grant Aleksander, Murray Bartlett, Jeff Branson, Robert Bogue, E.J. Bonilla, Mandy Bruno, Orlagh Cassidy, Beth Chamberlin, Crystal Chappell, Jordan Clarke, Bradley Cole, Zack Conroy, Daniel Cosgrove, Justin Deas, Bonnie Dennison, Frank Dicopoulos, Marj Dusay, Elizabeth Keifer, Maeve Kinkead, Jessica Leccia, Kane Manera, Kurt McKinney, Karla Mosley, Robert Newman, Michael O’Leary, Ron Raines, Marcy Rylan, Tina Sloan, Lawrence Saint-Victor, Gina Tognoni, Caitlin VanZandt, Yvonna Kopacz-Wright and Kim Zimmer.