As the World Turns Ends on CBS in September 2010 -- Another Crushing Blow to Daytime Television
In a very dry and candid press release issued this morning by CBS, the network announced that As The World Turns, the long-running daytime drama, will complete its final season on the CBS Television Network in September 2010. CBS revealedthat it has decided not to renew the show for the 2010/2011 broadcast season, thereby ending its 54-year run on the Network.
Although this turn of events was not totally unexpected, it still comes as a crushing blow to a genre that has suffered a number of losses over the last few years. As you can imagine, from fans to show executives, everyone is hurt and disappointed about the news.
"Throughout our history, As The World Turns has remained dedicated to sharing compelling stories that have entertained fans for more than five decades," said Executive Producer Chris Goutman. "We are disappointed and saddened by the news that the show is not being renewed. It will certainly be a loss for all of us, and for the show's loyal audience."
This is the third soap opera Proctor & Gamble, the consumer products company that originated the genre back in the 1930s, has lost in the last ten years. Popular Another World was cancelled by NBC in 1999 (and replaced by Passions, cancelled in 2008). 72-year old Guiding Light was canceled in September 2009. But P&G's production division, TeleNext Media, is not going down without a fight.
"As The World Turns has been a cornerstone of our business and a tremendous asset to the company," said Brian T. Cahill, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, TeleNext Media, Inc. "We are proactively seeking a new outlet to carry the show, and are open to exploring innovative formats and relationships that will enable the future success of ATWT."
The epitome of multi-generational, serial storytelling, As The World Turns has been entertaining generations of fans for more than half a century. The show boasts a well-loved and long-tenured cast, including actress Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes) who spoke the first words on the premier broadcast of ATWT in 1956. To this day, Nancy is still at the helm of the Hughes family, earning Wagner the distinction of portraying the longest-running character in television history.
Other veteran cast members still on the show today include Eileen Fulton (Lisa Grimaldi) and Don Hastings (Dr. Bob Hughes) who each have played their characters for 49 years; Marie Masters (Dr. Susan Stewart) with 41 years; and Kathryn Hays (Kim Hughes) who has starred on the show for 37 years.
As The World Turns has tackled many contemporary themes over the years, including AIDS, Alzheimer's, alcoholism and more, while remaining true to the show's rich history and realistic characters. In 1988, the serial made history by introducing daytime television's first gay male character, Hank Eliot (played by Brian Starcher), for which it was honored at the first annual GLAAD media awards in 1990.
Created by Irna Phillips, As The World Turns premiered on April 2, 1956 as a 30-minute live television show, unprecedented at the time for a soap opera. Top-rated from 1959 to 1971, it was the first daytime serial with its own spin-off, Our Private World, which aired in prime-time. The show switched to color on 1967, and expanded from a half-hour in length to one hour in 1975. Over the years, ATWT has been awarded numerous accolades, including 58 Daytime Emmy awards.
Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Oakdale, As The World Turns launched the careers of many now-famous Hollywood celebrities, such as Dana Delaney, James Earl Jones, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Meg Ryan, and Marisa Tomei to name a few.
Everyone at TeleNext Media is still in a bit of a state of shock this morning, as they just got the news from CBS. Our contacts are behind closed doors strategizing on next steps. As we learn more about this latest casualty of the soap opera genre, we will continue to hope that the powers that be at TeleNext will be able to find a new distribution platform for not only As the World Turns, but Guiding Light as well. Stay tuned...
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