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Guiding Light: CBS Cancels Soap Opera But It May Be Saved

Guiding LightCBS has set an end date for its long-running soap opera Guiding Light. The ongoing serial is set to end after 72 years and more than 15,700 installments on television and radio. It’s listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as “The Longest-Running Television Drama,” a record that’s not likely to be beaten.

Light began as a 15-minute network program in 1952 and expanded to a half-hour in 1968. It became an hour program in 1977 and has continued at that length ever since.

Like all soap operas, Light’s ratings have been in decline for some time. Light and CBS’ other venerable soap, As the World Turns, have both been outshined by less expensive daytime options like Judge Judy and Dr. Phil.

Awhile back, CBS and producers tried to modernize Lights by integrating digital cameras as well as cut costs by downsizing crew sizes and production schedules. The changes weren’t a big hit with many viewers and apparently they weren’t enough to save the venerable series.

Should Guiding Light be cancelled?

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In a statement, Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President, of CBS’ Daytime Programs, said “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.”

Though CBS has cancelled the series, there may still be hope. Procter & Gamble, the owner of the show, is exploring other possibilities for keeping it alive — including online or a cable outlet.

Brian T. Cahill of P&G’s TeleNext Media said, “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.”

For now, it looks like the series finale will be broadcast on Friday, September 18, 2009. CBS has yet to announce what will fill Light’s daily timeslot but possibilities include a revamped version of game show $25,000 Pyramid or talk shows led by Valerie Bertinelli, Leah Remini or T.D. Jakes.

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Karin April 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I will be so sad if they take GL off the air…… I love this show and have watched it my whole life.. as a kid with my mom, and now I watch it with my hubby. It is the only soap we watch together.. I do have to DVR it and that may be why the ratings have dropped is the use of the DVR…. I have a 3 year old so it is really the only way I can watch it in PEACE ..Please dont take it away =(

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sandy self April 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm

i have watched this show for ever ,please dont cancel it.

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Rita Beasley April 14, 2009 at 10:57 am

I would love to see GL stay on the air many more years, it is one of the most watched
soap in my area. I watched GL with my grandma years ago , she has been pasted away 12 years now. Alot of my childhood memories are brought back when i watch
the show.

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Val April 11, 2009 at 12:10 am

I’ve been a loyal Guiding Light viewer for as long as I can remember. Can’t stand the crappy acting on Bold & Beautiful, the repeated storylines on As The World Turns, and how many unwanted kids is Victor going to father on Young & The Restless? Give us great acting! KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING!

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Jane April 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

GL is the ONLY soap opera that I watch. I have been watching as far back as I can remember and I am 53 years old. After 72 years of runing this program on radio & tv, why now? Oh yeah, the ratings. You didn’t ask me to take a poll about how I felt and I’m sure you didn’t ask millions of others how they felt. The program has gotten better and Phillip is back!!! The Bauer’s, The Lewis’, The Spaulding’s are all still part of the story line in some way. Before it ends, will Rick be happy with someone? Will Josh & Reva be “together forever”, and will Phillip & Beth be together with Alan OUT of the picture? There is so much left to be acted out without trying to rush it for a finale. And whatever you do, please do NOT replace this show with another of those horrible “talk shows” or “reality shows”. We have plenty of that to avoid all ready. I can only hope that these messages will help in some way. If not thanks for all the years we had with GL, and thanks to all the actors past & present who have worked so hard for so many years to bring us a great show year after year.

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Linda Hartell April 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Like many viewers I have memories of watching GL with my mother, my grandmother, and my sons. I’ve been a loyal P&G consumer for over 40 years. I thank them for providing the soap all these years, but CBS–not another talk show or reality show. Spend the money providing real entertainment for a change. The airwaves are saturated with so called reality TV and talk shows–I just put in a DVD instead. You are losing me with all this talk TV. And I’ll just switch to store brands.

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Rosalyn Maisano April 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Perhaps if the soap was put on in the afternoon hours it would surfice….I have cable and it a cable co. picks it up I will surely watch it…..R. Maisano

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Cheza April 4, 2009 at 6:54 pm

I sincerely hope that Soapnet or some other channel can keep the light from going out. Despite it’s problems over the past few years, GL is the one CBS soap that I still love. I will miss GL because it has kept part of its history over the years (The Spauldings, The Lewises, The Shaynes, The Bauers (even though Rick is the only one currently on the canvas)). Most shows have abandoned the long history that the writers of the golden age of soaps worked so hard to create. I wish I could say the same for ATWT, which I feel has dropped most of the history created by the late, great Douglas Marland.

Debbie, GL airs at 2 p.m. here. I think the local stations decide when shows air. I might be wrong, but it has always been on in that time slot where I am.

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debbie hanley April 3, 2009 at 7:58 am

i use to watch the guiding light when it was showing in the afternoon after they moved it to mornings i lost interest. they should put it on in the afternoons again instead of some boring talk or game show. The ratings would probably shoot right up.

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Karen April 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I am 36 years old and I remember watching Guiding Light as a kid with my mom. I can remember Beth,Philip,Mindy and rick when they where still in High School. Now they all have children who are grown.If you take Guiding Light off I won’t watch what you replace this show with during their time slot. I don’t care for The Bold and The Beautiful but love my afternoon soaps.Please take take away the one thing that allows us an escape from our stressful lives wit the downturn of our economy!

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GL Girl April 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Please………NO!!! I started watching GL back in 1976 when I was expecting my first child. I have faithfully either taped (VHS) and now DVR my soap every single day, and really look forward to watching it. It is something I can relax, and kick back after a day of work and watch the gang, and escape reality with. I had the the opportunity of meeting several cast members in October of 07 when I made my first trip to New York City. I first met David, (Edmund) waiting on a ferry to cross over from New Jersey to New York. What a sweet guy. He invited us to come and party with the cast after a fan club luncheon. At the Marriot Marquis I met several others and all were happy to pose in pics with me, and all of them loved on me like they had known me forever. Alan Spaulding is a sweetheart too! Don’t take it away….please. There are still some of us that are die hard fans, come on. That crap you are talking about replacing GL with will not redeem the time slot, believe that!

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Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 6:44 am

It started on the radio in 1937.

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admin April 2, 2009 at 5:34 am

@Editor: Guiding Light started on radio in 1937.
2009 – 1937 = 72 years

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Editor April 2, 2009 at 5:25 am

72 years? Really? Perhaps the author should go back to 3rd grade.

If the show started in 1952, it is barely 57 years old.

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Darksidehearts April 1, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Well to be perfectly honest, it’s the only CBS soap I don’t really like or care to watch. I love Young & the Restless and Bold & the Beautiful …even though they have similar stories and set ups. But when 3PM comes around I do change to ABC to catch General Hospital. I don’t know what it is but Guiding Light doesn’t interest me too much. It just seems like a whole lot of nothing but eh, perhaps I don’t watch it enough to know.

Although now a days I’m not home on time to catch much day time television, but I’ll get to catch up in the Summer a bit hopefully. I know you can see some soaps online but I don’t think the campus would appreciate me watching them in the Library lol.

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