CBS has announced that Guiding Light will end its 72-year run with the network on September 18.
Guiding Light began its run on CBS radio before becoming the last network program to make a transition from radio to the screen. The run of the show included more than 15,000 episodes. Even with the storage capacity of Blu-ray, I can't imagine how many discs it would take to store the entire televised portion of the show's history.
While CBS will no longer broadcast GL, the show may actually go on according to what one executive told TVWeek.
"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," said Brian T. Cahill, senior VP and managing director of TeleNext Media, the division of Proctor & Gamble that produces the show.
Seventy-two years. Seventy-two years! Let's put that in some perspective:
- Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States
- Former Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain was a toddler.
- Strom Thurmond was only in his 14th term in the Senate (okay, that's not actually true).
A 72-year run on one network. Joe Paterno was alive but was not yet the head coach at Penn State.
Declining viewership finally caught up with the venerable series, with recent reports indicating the show had lost nearly one million viewers over the last five years and ratings are down 25 percent this year. CBS attempted to save the show by making a transition to digital production of the show. Network executives say that significantly reduced costs but the show failed to hold on to its viewers nor did it attract new ones.