NEW YORK - CBS canceled "As the World Turns" on Tuesday, putting the company that coined the phrase "soap operas" out of the business of making daytime dramas for the first time in 76 years.
"As the World Turns" has been on the air since 1956 and
televised its 13,661st episode Tuesday. Its last episode will be
next September, the network said.
Both shows were produced by a subsidiary of
Procter & Gamble, the company for which the term "soap operas"
was created because it used the shows to hawk products like Ivory
soap and Duz laundry detergent.
Daytime dramas have been fading as a genre for years with more
women joining the work force and the increased number of channels
offering alternatives like news, talk, reality and game shows.
In tough economic times, paying casts, producers and writers proved
prohibitive to networks when there were cheaper alternatives.
The cancellation will leave CBS with only two daytime dramas:
"The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and Beautiful."
Through the years, actors Marisa Tomei, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey
and James Earl Jones have appeared on "As the World Turns." The
show follows families in the Illinois town of Oakdale.
"It's a hell of a Christmas present," said actress Eileen
Fulton, who will mark 50 years playing the character Lisa Grimaldi
on the show. Her character has been through nine marriages and
Fulton was hoping for a 10th before the signoff.
"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."
Brian Cahill, senior vice president and managing director of the
P&G subsidiary TeleNext Media Inc., said the company is actively
seeking a new outlet to carry the show.
TeleNext said the same thing about "Guiding Light," which went
off the air in September, but has been unable to find a new home.
Keeping the show alive online has been discussed, but that's an
alternative where cost may prove prohibitive.
Procter & Gamble first began producing soap operas in 1933 with
the radio show "Ma Perkins," and has made a total of 20 such
programs in its history.