In the 1950's, Guiding Light moved to TV while still remaining on the radio. For the first half of the decade, actors would shoot for TV in the morning before recording for radio in the afternoon. In 1952, the first episodes aired on CBS and ran only fifteen minutes. Control of the series was passed from Phillips to Agnes Dixon. Over the course of the decade, many of the show's staple families would become firmly established. This was particularly the case for the Bauer family, which has stayed with the series to this day.
The struggles of this family of German immigrants drew audiences in. "Papa" Bauer, Bert and Meta became famous as the center of the show as they dealt with murder, alcoholism and money problems in a way that could be thoughtful, melodramatic or funny depending on the situation. Some of its plots even attracted considerable controversy, like Kathy Bauer's death. The series also introduced the Grant, Fletcher, Benedict and Kelly families, though they didn't last. In addition, it served to launch the careers of actor/writer and interviewer James Lipton, Sandy Dennis and Christopher Walken.