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Lights go out for CBS' "Guiding Light"

April 1, 2009 | 11:11 am


CBS said this morning that it was pulling the plug on the longest-running drama in television history, "Guiding Light," after years of sinking ratings and dramatic shifts in viewer preferences. 

Launched by soap company Procter & Gamble during the Great Depression, the show has been on the air for 72 years and was the pioneer of the "soap opera" genre.

The daytime drama will broadcast its last episode on Friday, Sept. 18.

Created by Irna Phillips, the show started on NBC radio in January 1937 as a 15 minute serial.  It moved to the CBS television network in 1952.   In 1967, the "Guiding Light" was broadcast in color and soon expanded to 30 minutes and later to a full hour.

"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 of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group. "This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS' history."

The fictional town of Springfield and the show has helped launched the careers of many actors,  including Kevin Bacon, James Earl Jones, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson, Taye Diggs and Hayden Panettiere.

-- Meg James

Photo from the set from "Guiding Light" by George de Sota/