Guiding Light (known as The Guiding Light before 1975, commonly abbreviated as GL) is an American television soap opera that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running drama in television history, running from 1952 until 2009, preceded by a 15-year broadcast on radio. When combining its total run of 72 years on radio and television, Guiding Light is the second-longest running program of any kind in history, exceeded only by Music and the Spoken Word. With over 18,000 episodes produced, Guiding Light has more episodes than any program in the history of radio and television, and four times more episodes than Music and the Spoken Word.
First broadcast five days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's second inauguration, the title The Guiding Light refers to a lamp in the study of Reverend Dr. John Ruthledge (a major character when the show debuted) that family and residents could see as a sign for them to find help when needed.
Guiding Light was created by Irna Phillips, and began as an NBC Radio serial on January 25, 1937. In June 2, 1947, the show moved to CBS Radio, before starting on June 30, 1952, on CBS Television. It would continue to air concomitantly on radio until June 29, 1956. The series was expanded from 15 minutes to a half hour in 1968, and then to a full hour on November 7, 1977. It aired its 15,000th televised episode on September 6, 2006.
On April 1, 2009, CBS canceled Guiding Light due to low ratings. The show taped its final scenes on August 11, 2009, and its final episode aired on September 18, 2009. On October 5, 2009, CBS replaced Guiding Light with an hour-long revival of Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady.