Long-running soap opera “As the World Turns” (ATWT) will end its 54-year run on CBS next September. The producers announced Tuesday that the network is not renewing ATWT for the 2010-2011 season. That will leave the Eye Network airing only two daytime dramas: “The Young and the Restless” and “Bold and Beautiful.”
“Throughout our history, As The World Turns has remained dedicated to sharing compelling stories that have entertained fans for more than five decades. 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,” said Executive Producer Chris Goutman.
“It’s extremely difficult to say good-bye to a long-running series that’s been close to our hearts for so long,” said Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President, Daytime Programming at CBS. “The almanacs will show As the World Turnes as a pioneer of the format, a hallmark for quality with its numerous Emmy’s, the launching pad for many television and film stars and a daytime ratings powerhouse for parts of three decades. But, the true legacy of As the World Turns will be the fictional characters and stories of a small Midwest town that resonated every day with millions of viewers over multiple generations, becoming a treasured daytime institution in the process. We thank our partners at Procter & Gamble for the privilege of hosting this beloved series…the actors, writers, producers and crew who worked so hard and shared their amazing talents to bring this series to life…and, of course, the viewers who shared the journey on our network for so many years.”
“As The World Turns has been a cornerstone of our business and a tremendous asset to the company. 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,” said Brian T. Cahill, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, TeleNext Media Inc.
The show notes its 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.
ATWT’s producers noted that it 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 primetime. 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, ATWT 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.
As The World Turns tapes in Brooklyn, New York and airs weekdays on the CBS Television Network. Christopher Goutman is the Executive Producer; Jean Passanante and David Kreizman are Headwriters.