Millions of soap opera fans were left devastated after news of the cancellation of ‘Guiding Light’ was shared with fans. But why was the hit soap opera cancelled?
In April 2009, CBS announced the cancellation of its longest-running scripted program in broadcasting history, ‘Guiding Light‘. Despite getting its name in the Guinness World Record Book as America’s longest-running drama in television history, and winning three Daytime Emmy awards for Best Drama Series, the show had to end its long run of almost 57 years.
- Daytime Emmy award winner: ‘Guiding Light’
- Reason behind the cancellation of ‘Guiding Light’
- ‘Guiding Light’ reunion
Daytime Emmy award winner: ‘Guiding Light’
Created by Irna Philips and Emmons Carlson, ‘Guiding Light’ revolved around the hardships of the Bauers, Coopers, Lewises, and Spauldings. The title of the show referred to a lamp in the study room of Dr John Ruthledge. The lamp acted as a sign for the families in times of trouble.
Initially, ‘Guiding Light’ had a duration of only fifteen minutes. Later, in 1968, it aired for thirty minutes. In 1977, ‘Guiding Light’ aired for an entire one hour since fans could not get enough of the soap opera.
As of 2020, ‘Guiding Light’ has an IMDb rating of 6.5/10 and still holds the title of the longest-running scripted show on television. Owned by Procter & Gamble, it was in 1952 that ‘Guiding Light’ was moved to CBS television. Not many are aware that it was first released on NBC radio in 1937. So, if you include ‘Guiding Light’s’ radio run, since 1937, then the show was actually in production for a massive period of 72 years. Interestingly, the show was called a soap opera because it was sponsored by soap companies.
Reason behind the cancellation of ‘Guiding Light’
The long run of ‘Guiding Light’ was put to an end due to the frequent decline in ratings. For many years, CBS and the producers of ‘Guiding Light’ took various steps to keep the series relevant and create a more realistic feel with its close-up and outdoor scenes. Despite the rigorous effort of creators, the soap opera was unable to grab the attention of viewers.
Nancy Tellem, CBS president also spoke about the cancellation of ‘Guiding Light’. She mentioned how it was not an easy decision to make, but they talked it over with their partners at Procter & Gamble, and they agreed it was time.
‘Guiding Light’ acted as the stepping stone for many big stars like Kevin Bacon, Kim Zimmer, James Earl Jones, and Calista Flockhart. One of its cast members, Ron Raines, who played the role of Alan Spaulding, spoke about the cancellation of the soap opera. He mentioned that the numbers are really tough for all these old dramas, and he did not think that any of the other shows wanted any of them to go off.
“We’re all in this together. What was it? 72 years continuous? That will never be touched”,
Kim Zimmer, who played the role of Reva Shayne that won her four Daytime Emmy Awards, also spoke about the cancellation of ‘Guiding Light’.
“It’s different when an actor chooses to leave for any length of time because the comfort is in knowing that the show will always be there, but this is it for our little family as we know it and love it, and I’m in mourning! It has been a great ride though!”
Other cast members also spoke about how they felt about the cancellation.
‘Guiding Light’ reunion
On November 16, Alan Locher organised a virtual reunion of the cast of ‘Guiding Lights’ to celebrate the life of their former co-star Beverlee McKinsey who played the role of Alexandra Spaulding. The reunion was joined by her co-stars Grant Aleksander (Phillip Spaulding), Jay Hammer (Fletcher Reade), Vincent Irizarry (Brandon Lujack Luvonaczek), and her son Scott McKinsey.
Beverlee McKinsey passed away on May 2, 2008, due to complications arising out of a kidney transplant.
Alan Locher has been conducting several virtual reunions with the cast of ‘Guiding Light’. You can watch all of them on his youtube channel, ‘The Locher room’.
Do you think ‘Guiding Light’ should be back with a new season? Tell us what you think about the fifty-seven-year-old soap opera in the comment section below!