December 8th, 2009
07:49 PM ET

'As The World Turns' to stop turning

It's the end of an era – a long era.  CBS said today that it's canceling "As The World Turns," after more than 50 years and 13,000 episodes.  The final episode is set to air next September.

The audience for soap operas has dwindled, but I know plenty of fans still tune in daily to see what's happening in Oakdale, as well as Port Charles and Genoa City.  My parents still record and watch "ATWT" daily, and have since I was a child.  They also followed the other Procter & Gamble show, "Guiding Light," which CBS yanked this year.  I remember my mother's disapproval when Meg Ryan left "ATWT" to try to make it in the movies.  The show's alumni also include James Earl Jones, Parker Posey, and Marisa Tomei, and it's even in the Smithsonian: America learned that President John F. Kennedy had been shot when CBS broke into the live broadcast of "ATWT" on November 22, 1963 for Walter Cronkite's report.

What are your memories of "ATWT," and other soaps whose bubbles have burst?  And in an era of cheap-to-produce talk shows and trash TV, how much longer do you think the networks will stay with an expensive format from another era?  How soon will the Smithsonian be the only place to see soap operas?

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. heather

    i did not like the show anyway, it will not be missed.
    like any soap you can stop watching for years and come back to it and it seem time never passed.
    people do not age, they come out of the shower with full makeup on they rarely show them eating or drinking, never mind they never need to use the bathroom unless they want to snoop.
    i used to love soap's when i was younger, now they just seem stupid.

    December 14, 2009 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. sandra

    ...about time.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gloria

    I began watching this show as a child with my grandmother. The acting was so geniune and I'd always cry when some character was killed. I enjoyed the older couples. Nancy was a treat to watch as she got older. I recall her daughter Penny. I'm sorry to hear of the impending departure.

    December 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jose Ruiz

    It is truly the end of an era. I have watched ATWT since 1999 but lately I don't bother. I am 43 years old and I always loved to watch older characters, I found them more interesting. But most of the soaps have rid the screen of over 50 year old actors.

    December 10, 2009 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Amanda B.

    I also started watching ATWT with my Grandmother during summer breaks. It was always my favorite soap. Lily was always my favorite actress. I can remember watching Meg Ryan on there. I find it sad that ATWT is going off of the air.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eric Jon

    I remember getting hooked when Doug Marland started writing for the soap. He originally wrote for Guiding Light but then moved on to ATWT. I will miss all of the characters and do so wish them well! They are certainly a true part of my family! Love you all so much!

    December 9, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elli Mac

    Over 20 yrs ago, I started watching ATWT with my grandma during my summer breaks. During the school year I would miss the show so I would call my grandma for updates. This went on for many years. Betsy (played once by Meg Ryan) was our favorite character. I stopped keeping up with the show after my grandma passed away. But I remember a lot of the characters (that are still on) and imagine my grandma still keeping up with her soaps in heaven. Knowing that ATWT's end is coming makes me a bit sad since something I once shared with my grandma will no longer be around.

    December 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Meg Cuyjet

    I have watched ATWT since the first episode and now tape it daily. Since my husband has retired he has become addicted also. ATWT has become a bond between us with lots of conversations about the characters and the story line. The show will be greatly missed in our house. It is like the death of a 54 year old friend.

    December 9, 2009 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Leslie

    I think soaps can survive on cable. Why can't soapnet channel take them over?: doesn't it already air their repeats? Or maybe our soaps can learn from the mexican soaps which produce their shows a lot cheaper. Their shows only last a few months before it is cancelled and a new show is started. They also produce and edit their shows very fast. I think there is a place for soaps on TV but they need to be done differently and either needs to all be half hour, go to cable, have fewer cast of characters, etc. They also need to get with modern age and create buzz for their characters on the internet. But the truth is, we have soaps but not in the daily mid-afternoon way anymore. A lot of people think of desperate housewives or cougar town or gossip girl as weekly soaps with their evolving story lines. I think old-time soaps need to evolve. I stopped watching soaps after college for a variety of reasons, the plotlines that went on for years and years and never seemed to end. So little happened from day to day because they dragged out the storyline so much, that you could stop watching for a month and you wouldn't have missed very much. Also, I stopped watching because who has the time to keep up with a show that airs for an hour each day? I think soaps have done very, very little to be modern and to change with the times. I think it's sad these soaps have survived for 40, 50 or more years but can't survive these times. I wish they wouldn't outright cancel them. They are a great training ground for future stars. Marisa Tomei and Meg Ryan started out on soaps. But they need to change whether that is cable, internet or shorter shows, etc.

    December 9, 2009 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    It will be a sad day in Oakdale and around the U.S. when the curtain comes down on ATWT. I will always remember Meg Ryan and Marisa Tomei and the countless other fledgling actors who've stopped at our favorite soap. Nancy, Bob and Kim Hughes, Lisa Grimaldi and Susan Stuart in addition to all of the "newcomers" will leave a little hole in our hearts when they say their final "goodbye". Good luck to all of them and thanks for the memories.

    December 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |

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