Wednesday, April 1, 2009

RIP Guiding Light

Today, a sad and historic day in TV history:  after 72 years, including its radio days, TV's longest-running show of all time, Guiding Light, has been cancelled.

CBS made the announcement -- strangely, on April Fools' Day -- after months of speculation about the show's future.  GL -- as well as the daytime daypart overall -- had been suffering from declining ratings of late, and its reinvented "production model," which entailed shooting two days per week with handheld cameras in the real-life town of Peapack, NJ, had amassed as many detractors as it had fans.

Still, it's a shame that the show seems to be falling victim to the panic that has currently set in across all media.  No one seems to have any confidence in what they're doing anymore -- hence Jeff Zucker's recent pronouncement that he never again expects NBC to be #1 in prime time.  That's a pretty big concession and admission of defeat!

Soaps may not be as popular these days in the Nielsen ratings, but their buzzworthy moments, such as the Luke & Noah "Nuke" romance on As The World Turns, continue to attract viewers via new media such as youtube and on mobile devices.  Someday soon, daytime producers hope, Nielsen and the networks will figure out how to measure all these new forms of viewing, and will recognize their value.

Until then, it seems, we're all in for a bumpy ride courtesy of some short-sighted decision-making.  RIP, Guiding Light.

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