Fans of television's longest-running scripted television series are in a state of panic. According to a published report, CBS is quietly planning for the end of Guiding Light - which could come as early as September.
Industry publication TV Week is reporting that, while no definitive decision has been made, "CBS has been talking to outside studios about potential replacement programming for the show" should the lights be turned out on Guiding Light.
Indeed, CBS retains an option to extend Guiding Light's stay for an additional year. The network renewed the 72-year-old soap last year. At the same time, Guiding Light underwent some dramatic changes to slash its operating budget. Those changes involved more on-location filming, new sets, and a new production model designed to provide a more "realistic" viewing experience. While the changes may have cut the show's costs, it has also led to an even more rapid ratings erosion. In just the past year, Guiding Light's ratings have fallen by about 18% in the number of total viewers tuning in each day.
It should be noted that in the 15 years that Soap Central has been online, there have been numerous rumors of the show's impending demise. Things this time, however, seem very different. Daytime is a totally different entity than it was 15 years ago - or even five years ago. As the networks are looking for ways to slash their expenses, cost-heavy programming, such as soap operas, is an easy place to start the cuts.
A show spokesperson was unable to comment on the rumors of the show's impending demise. An insider, meanwhile, tells Soap Central that fans are encouraged to let "the powers that be" at CBS know how important Guiding Light is to them by contacting the network.
A decision on Guiding Light's future is expected to be made within the next month.
Guiding Light debuted as a radio-based soap opera in January 1937. In June 1952, the show began its transition to television. It remains the longest-running scripted entertainment program in television history.