Open Mic

Something Smells Wrong about the Latest 'As The World Turns' Stunt Casting

Jonathan Reiner Posted July 1, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Today is the 108th anniversary of the birth of prolific soap creator  Irna Phillips (on TV alone, she concocted “Guiding Light” and “As the  World Turns”, and had a hand in “Days of Our Lives” and “Another  World”, among others). An appropriate time, then to ponder the  incredibly strange happenings at stalwart soap “ATWT” (you know... the  CBS golden oldie soap that isn’t going off the air Sept. 18th).

With “GL’s” impending end, there is no denying that the entire soap  genre -- especially “ATWT,” given its anemic ratings -- is in danger  of extinction while Obama is still in the White House. One would think  that CBS and Procter & Gamble (which owns the 53-year-old soap) would  be circling the wagons and crafting compelling, character-driven drama and romance for its current cast, designed to keep longtime fans  watching and, just maybe, attract some lapsed viewers.

One would think.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The past few years have seen an outbreak of stunt casting at “ATWT,” including an unseemly number of  former “General Hospital” stars making less-than-memorable impressions  on viewers.

Today brings news (via Soap Opera Digest) that Emmy-winning former  “General Hospital” star Stuart Damon (ex-Alan Quartermaine) is joining  ATWT in a new role. “ATWT” needs a lot of things -- but one of them isn’t another “GH” actor in a new role.

The soap has almost ten actors on contract with more than 20 years  experience -- how about telling stories for those characters (and  their kids) rather than cast a big-name actor from another network in a role that no one cares about?

Call me old-fashioned, but this trend of bringing on big names in new roles (which, to be fair, isn’t limited to “ATWT”) reeks of “Celebrity  Apprentice” or some other attempt to revive a foundering reality  franchise.

I’m mixing my catchphrases, but the tribe has spoken -- and we’re not happy.