The soap opera community will get a little smaller in 2010. Citing low ratings and a tough economic climate, CBS has announced that it will not renew As the World Turns for the 2010/2011 television season. The long-running soap will air its final episode in September 2010.
"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 Christopher 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."
The show's audience has been tuning in for more than half a century. As The World Turns premiered on April 2, 1956 as a 30-minute live television show, something that was unprecedented at the time for a soap opera. From 1959 through 1971, As the World Turns was the number one-ranked soap. In 1975, the show expanded in length to a full hour. During its incredible run, As the World Turns has earned numerous accolades, including 58 Daytime Emmys.
"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., the production company behind ATWT. "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."
Cahill's remarks are nearly indentical to those of a few months ago when it was announced that, after 72 years, Guiding Light would air its final episode. The demise of As the World Turns will mark the exit of Procter & Gamble from the world of soap operas, the very industry it helped to create.
"It's a hell of a Christmas present," Eileen Fulton (Lisa Grimaldi) told the Associated Press. "I'm just very sad," she said. "I'm sad for all of the people who work out there in Brooklyn (where the show is filmed). We're a family. I hate to be split up. It's like a divorce."