The Emmy award winning series Guiding Light, television’s longest running soap drama, aired its last show today, ending a 72 year run. Guiding Light launched in 1937 as a radio serial on NBC and moved to television on CBS in 1952.
Guiding Light holds the record as the longest running broadcast program of any kind, airing for 72 years and producing more than 15,000 episodes. Sadly, CBS announced in April the show would be canceled due to low ratings. The final episode aired on Friday, Sept 18.
The series played host to many future Hollywood stars throughout the years, including Kevin Bacon, James Earl Jones, Allison Janney and Hayden Panettiere. Earlier this year, the series broke new ground by introducing the show’s first lesbian characters, couple Olivia (Crystal Chappell) and Natalia (Jessica Leccia).
Guiding Light fans and some cast members, including Crystal Chappell, campaigned to have the series moved to another network or even to the Internet as a web series. Unfortunately, no one was interested in taking over the soap and keeping it alive.
The death of Guiding Light may only be the first of many as ratings for daytime soap operas continue to rapidly decline.