Show Celebrates 72-Year History of Drama and Broadcast Innovation
GUIDING LIGHT, the longest running show in broadcast history, will complete its final season on the CBS Television Network in September. The daytime drama was not renewed by CBS for the 2009/2010 broadcast season, marking the end of its 57 year run on the Network.
Over the years, GL has been on the forefront of innovation in both use of technology and groundbreaking storytelling. GL launched the careers of several Hollywood personalities, dramatized relevant social issues and has been awarded numerous accolades, including an unprecedented 69 Daytime Emmy awards.
“Being on the air for more than seven decades is truly remarkable, and it will be difficult for all of us at the show to say goodbye,” said Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler. “I’m proud of everything we’ve been able to do, including outstanding storytelling, our community service around the country with Find Your Light and the launch of our new production model. This show has such a rich history, wonderful fans, and I’m honored to have been a part of the GL legacy.”
GUIDING LIGHT has led daytime and prime-time drama programming in covering a range of topical and timeless issues. The show dramatized important social issues such as discrimination against women in the 1940s and teen alcoholism and drug abuse in the 1980s. The show has also raised awareness about the effects of real-life medical conditions such as uterine cancer, postpartum depression, AIDS, Down syndrome, leukemia and breast cancer.
“We are honored to have been welcomed into the homes of multiple generations of GUIDING LIGHT viewers,” said Brian T. Cahill, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, TeleNext Media, Inc. “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.”
GUIDING LIGHT debuted as a 15-minute radio show in 1937 and made the move to television in 1952. The show began broadcasting in color in the spring of 1967, expanded to 30 minutes the following year and to a full hour in 1977. Guiding Light was the first show to introduce leading African-American characters into a soap opera in 1966. GL was the first daytime drama to podcast audio only shows in 2005. In 2008, the show revolutionized its entire production model, representing an end-to-end transformation in the way the show is created, from direction to editing to scenic design. This new innovation enabled the show to be completely portable, changing the face of daytime.
The fictional town of Springfield has been home to some of today’s biggest names in daytime, including six-time Emmy award winner Justin Deas and four-time Emmy award winner Kim Zimmer. On Guiding Light, audiences also got their first look at many now-famous faces, such as Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Taye Diggs, Hayden Panettiere and Brittany Snow, to name a few.
Created by Irna Phillips, the show debuted on NBC radio on January 25, 1937 as the 15-minute radio serial "The Guiding Light." It made the switch to 15-minute episodes on CBS Television on June 30, 1952, although it continued to air concurrently on radio with the actors playing parts on both shows until 1956, when the radio show ended. In 1967, the series first started being broadcast in color, and a year later, the show expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. In November 1977, the show expanded to a full hour. The series is credited by The Guinness Book of World Records as "The Longest-Running Television Drama."
"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, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group. "This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS's history, with a legacy of innovation and reputation for quality and excellence at every step of the way. While its presence will be missed, its contributions will always be celebrated and never be forgotten."
"No show in daytime or prime time, or anytime, has touched so many millions of
viewers across so many years as GUIDING LIGHT," said Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President, Daytime Programs, CBS. "We thank the cast, crew and producers - past and present - who delivered this entertainment institution, the beloved characters and the time-honored stories to our audience every day for seven decades. It's been a privilege to work with such an extraordinarily talented group of people."
The radio show's original storyline centered on a minister named Rev. John Ruthledge, and all the people of a fictional suburb in Chicago called Five Points. Today's show takes place in the fictional town of Springfield, and revolves around the Spaulding, Lewis and Cooper families. Throughout its historic tenure on the Network, GUIDING LIGHT has been the recipient of 69 Daytime Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series.
The show has broken ground with stories such as cancer, teen pregnancy, sexual harassment, alcoholism, abuse, AIDS and post-partum depression and, in 2008, premiered a brand-new daytime production model, featuring permanent sets inside its New York City studio and approximately 20% of the production shot in exterior scenes in the town of Peapack, N.J. In addition, directing and editing were changed to be done digitally and almost simultaneously, giving the sets a more realistic feeling and eliminating the need for production suites.
GUIDING LIGHT is broadcast weekdays (check local listings) on the CBS Television Network. Ellen Wheeler is the Executive Producer and the Head Writers are David Kreizman, Christopher Dunn, Lloyd "Lucky" Gold and Jill Lorie Hurst.
The show stars Grant Aleksander, Murray Bartlett, Jeff Branson, Robert Bogue, E.J. Bonilla, Mandy Bruno, Orlagh Cassidy, Beth Chamberlin, Crystal Chappell, Jordan Clarke, Bradley Cole, Zack Conroy, Daniel Cosgrove, Justin Deas, Bonnie Dennison, Frank Dicopoulos, Marj Dusay, Elizabeth Keifer, Maeve Kinkead, Jessica Leccia, Kane Manera, Kurt McKinney, Karla Mosley, Robert Newman, Michael O'Leary, Ron Raines, Marcy Rylan, Tina Sloan, Lawrence Saint-Victor, Gina Tognoni, Caitlin VanZandt, Yvonna Kopacz-Wright and Kim Zimmer.
There are no words to express how much this sucks. (OK, there are, but they're all four letter ones.) As misssimm says, how can you cancel a show with so much history??? Especially now, when they've finally got a handle on the new production model, when Otalia is really taking off and making waves and when you've FINALLY got Grant Aleksander back, when every single person on that cast is bringing their A game! It's beyond ridiculous that CBS are cancelling it now, when it's just beginning to turn a corner.
And they've just finished the big Bizzie location shoot down in Universal Studios, flying most of the cast down there to do photo-shoots and panels. I saw a quote from Robert Newman (Josh) where he implied that that was a good sign - why spend all that money and then pull the plug? Mind you, an article yesterday said that the cancellation rumours stunned Ellen Wheeler, she had apparently been told that GL would be renewed. ....Someone on TWOP has just posted they're more upset than they were when Another World was cancelled. And you know what?? So am I.