Cliffhanger ends, 72 years later

Last episode of CBS record-setter 'Guiding Light' will air in September

CBS is canceling its daytime soap "Guiding Light," the longest-running drama on TV.

The network is ending the show after 72 years and more than 15,700 episodes on television and radio. The series will broadcast its final episode Friday, Sept. 18.

" '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 of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group. "This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS' history, with a legacy of innovation and reputation for quality and excellence at every step of the way."

"Light" launched as a 15-minute network program in 1952, expanded to 30 minutes in 1968, then went to an hour in 1977. The program is billed as TV's longest- running drama; NBC's "Meet the Press" debuted in 1947, so it has aired longer on television even though "Light" predated "Press" as an entertainment program.

During recent years, "Light" and partner "As the World Turns" have become a drag on the ratings for CBS' daytime lineup, which has found higher ratings with such less-expensive syndicated fare as "Judge Judy" and "The Dr. Phil Show."

CBS has not announced what will replace "Light," but there is scuttlebutt that simmering projects including talkers with Valerie Bertinelli, Leah Remini and T.D. Jakes, as well as the revamped quizzer "Pyramid," are being considered. (partialdiff)