Soap opera "Guiding Light" shuts off after 72 years

LOS ANGELES Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:28pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S. soap opera "Guiding Light" -- the world's longest-running TV drama -- aired its final episode on Friday, ending a 72 year run.

"Guiding Light" , set in the fictional U.S. town of Springfield, started on radio in 1937 and switched to television in 1952. Guinness World Records has called the show the world's longest-running television drama.

Because of a ratings decline to about 2 million viewers per episode, the CBS network said in April it would end the day time soap opera, but it said the show "achieved a piece of television history that will never be matched."

On Friday, actors union the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said in a statement that "as the show's trademark lighthouse dims one last time today, AFTRA members join the world in celebrating the contributions this award-winning program has made to entertainment."

The show has won dozens of Emmy Awards throughout its history, with its latest daytime Emmy win coming last month when Jeff Branson won a best supporting actor trophy.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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