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Lights officially out for iconic CBS soap opera

The longest-running drama in broadcast history, CBS' "Guiding Light," wrapped up its 72-year run this afternoon.


The show went out on a high note, with many of the characters gathering for a picnic in a park on a bright sunny day. The show's most famous on-again-off-again couple, Reva (Kim Zimmer) and Josh (Robert Newman), met at the light house, reaffirmed their love for each other and drove off together in Josh's pick-up truck.

CBS in April decided to pull the plug on the program because of its high cost of production and flagging ratings. This past year, the show mustered an average 2.1 million viewers an episode -- a far cry from the more than 5 million viewers it attracted a decade ago. CBS plans to replace the soap opera on Oct. 5 with a remake of "Let's Make a Deal," hosted by Wayne Brady.

"Guiding Light" was created in the depths of the Depression, in 1937, as a 15-minute radio program aimed at selling soap and other products to housewives -- thus earning it the moniker of "soap opera."  In 1952, the show moved to television, where it has been a mainstay ever since. It is owned by packaged products giant Procter & Gamble, the maker of Ivory, Tide, Mr. Clean and Crest toothpaste. Legions of the show's fans protested the cancellation, saying they had a special place in their hearts for the program about the families of the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield. Some begged CBS to reconsider its decision. But the network said that neither it nor P&G could make the finances work, and they joined those who mourned the death of the history-making serial. Beyond entertaining millions of viewers with the love lives of the characters, the show explored themes that were once taboo for television: rape, abortion, adultery and AIDS.It was produced in New York and provided jobs for thousands of people over the years.

"This ground-breaking program has provided steady employment, wages and benefits for thousands of AFTRA performers and other union members working in the entertainment and media industries," the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said in a statement today.When CBS made its decision, the show's executive producer, Ellen Wheeler, was philosophical."This show has been here since before World War II," Wheeler said in early April. "It has gone through wars and tragedies and triumphs -- man walking on the moon, and the dawn of the computer age. This show chronicled all these changes in society. It has been our mirror on society for generations, and when you lose something that is part of the fabric of society you lose something precious."

-- Meg James

Photo: Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman of "Guiding Light." Credit: Robert Voets / Associated Press, CBS.

Comments () | Archives (35)

I grew up watching Guiding Light and never missed an episode. It was the best soap ever. I will miss Reva & Josh
they showed you true love could never die. I LOVE THEM ALL.
Good-Bye & good luck.


I started watching Guiding Light 46 years ago when I use to come home for lunch. At the time it was only 1/2 hour long. The Baurs were the main characters back then. Reva and Josh were my favourite in later years. Maybe some other soap will pick up some of these characters and write them in somehow.

I loved that show it was very roamantic and I love romantic movies I was 10 when I started watching and I am 13 now. Well I have been watching all of the shows on that channel as the world turns guiding light that show with Parker and liberty. I love them all so please dont cut off anymore.

Is it possible that Bold and the Beautiful, and/or Young and the Restless got higher ratings than Guiding Light?

I felt that GL was so much better than those shows in so many ways.

Why couldn't you guys just get rid of B and B(shallow, lame, fluff) , improve Y and the R(getting boring and sappy), and keep GL and of course, As the World Turns.

Getting rid of GL was a mistake.

>>I was so dissapointed to see this schow end. I still do not have closure on some of the characters. What happened to Jeffrey??? What happened to Josh and Revas daughter???
will I ever find out

Nothing happened to them because they never existed. They're fictional characters, you moron. Actors playing roles. As for you, for Chrissakes get a life. Experience things for yourself rather than voyeuristically watching FAKE people PRETEND to experience things. You must be an American.

>>He is rude and mean and not worth watching.

Was that a typo? I assume you meant to say "rude and mean and, therefore, worth watching".

I am saddened about Guiding Light being taken off the air. I feel that CBS made a grave mistake by replacing it with a game show. I know that I will never watch at that hour again. I have never ever watched ABC in the afternoons and now I tune in because there is a soap on and no game show. If that discontinues, I will go to the cable channels. There is too much reality, talk, and game show TV on these days. There needs to be some fiction for viewers to watch in the daytime. CBS, you have lost a faithful viewer of your network in the afternoons.

The sooner soap operas go extinct the better. Too bad Guiding Light didn't end with a tsunami wiping the town off the map.

They could have put it back down to 30 minutes a day, I am sure everyone including the actors/actress would have been cut 30 min a day rather than not have a job. I don' watch the Deal or No Deal I watch Ellen, I think we have enough games show on.

Taking the soap opera Guilding Light broke my heart. Each and every day at 2 when it came on me and my daughter would sing that song together. Bringing that show back would be a big hit in my house hold. I have watched that soap for at least 4 years. Why would you take something off the air?

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