A 1953 cast photo from THE GUIDING LIGHT that included (l-r) Herb Nelson,
James Lipton (yes, of INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO), Susan Douglas and Ellen Demming.
After nearly 57 years, the longest-running scripted series ever, THE GUIDING LIGHT, has been cancelled by CBS. Dwindling ratings are the reason, with the perennial soaper losing over 30% of its viewership over the past five years.
THE GUIDING LIGHT actually holds the record for the longest-running series in American broadcast history, spanning some 72 years of continuous airings. The serial began on NBC radio on January 25, 1937, moving to CBS radio in 1947. Five years later, after 15 years on radio, the show moved to CBS television as a 15-minute daily serial on June 30, 1952. The show expanded to 30 minutes on September 9, 1968, one year after it began color telecasts. On November 1, 1977, THE GUIDING LIGHT expanded again, this time to 60 minutes in length, the only soap to expand in time twice during it's long run. During that run, the show garnered no less than 69 Daytime Emmy Awards.
The show's long-time sponsor and producer is Proctor & Gamble, and the series will air its final telecast on September 18, 2009. At that point, THE GUIDING LIGHT will replace ANOTHER WORLD as the longest-running American series ever cancelled.