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After 54-Year Run, Soap Opera Canceled TVWeek

Not a good year for soap operas. Three months ago CBS canceled the pioneering soap opera "The Guiding Light."

Today the network has canceled "As The World Turns." The show has been on CBS TV since April 2, 1956.

"As The World Turns" will have its final broadcast in September 2010.

Chris Goutman, the show's executive producer, said in a statement, “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.”

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In 2006, TVWeek saluted the 50th anniversary of "As The World Turns." The following timeline, compiled by Allison J. Waldman, is from that tribute:

1956
``As The World Turns '' debuts on CBS. ``The Edge of Night'' premieres on the network at the same time. They are the first 30-minute daytime soaps on television.

1956
In her role as Nancy Hughes, Helen Wagner speaks the opening line of ``As The World Turns'': ``Good morning, Chris.'' She will play the part from then on. The actress has been cited in the ``Guinness Book of World Records'' for Longest Time in the Same Television Role.

1958
Just two years after its debut, ``ATWT'' reaches the top of the daytime Nielsens, tied with CBS's ``Search for Tomorrow'' with a 9.8 rating. ``World'' keeps the No. 1 spot for the next 20 years, until ABC's ``All My Children'' surpasses it in 1978. ``ATWT's'' 20-year reign is a record that still stands.

1960
Eileen Fulton is introduced as Lisa Miller, a ``bad girl'' character who's not completely evil. She is daytime's original ``woman you love to hate,'' pre-dating Erica Kane (Susan Lucci on ``All My Children'') by 10 years.

1962
``ATWT's'' favorite couple is split for good when the love of Penny's (Rosemary Prinz) life, Jeff (Mark Rydell), is killed in a car crash. Fan reaction is tremendous: CBS is swamped with mail, telegrams and calls complaining about Jeff's demise.

1963
CBS interrupts the broadcast of ``As The World Turns'' to announce that President Kennedy has been shot. However, the actors must continue performing because the show is live, not on tape, and cannot be stopped. They are informed about JFK's death when the broadcast ends.

1965
A spinoff from ``ATWT'' called ``Our Private World'' debuts on CBS as a prime-time serial, the first time a daytime show inspired a prime-time show. Ms. Fulton stars as Lisa, the character she created on ``As The World Turns.'' When ``Our Private World'' is canceled after five months, Ms. Fulton returns to ``As The World Turns.''

1967
The show begins broadcasting in color.

1968
``As The World Turns'' is spoofed on ``The Carol Burnett Show'' in a sketch called ``As the Stomach Turns.'' It becomes a regular feature on Ms. Burnett's comedy hour.

1970
Eileen Fulton's autobiography, ``How My World Turns,'' is published.

1973
``World'' changes its musical accompaniment. Instead of organ music, prerecorded orchestral arrangements are used.

1975
``As The World Turns '' expands to 60 minutes, becoming the first hour-long daytime drama on CBS. Also, the show stops airing live episodes, instead broadcasting a tape of the actors' real-time performance of the soap opera.

1976
``ATWT'' maintains its dominance as the top soap in the ratings, but Time magazine criticizes the show as being ``bland, euphemistic and reactionary.''

1980
CBS moves ``World'' to 2 p.m., a spot it still holds today.

1981
Dr. John Dixon (Larry Bryggman) is put on trial for marital rape.

1983
Actors Justin Deas and Margaret Colin get married, just like their on-screen alter egos, Tom and Margo Hughes.

1983
``As The World Turns'' wins its first two acting awards at the Daytime Emmys: Mr. Bryggman as outstanding actor and Mr. Deas as outstanding supporting actor.

1985
After a 12-year courtship, Bob (Don Hastings) and Kim (Kathryn Hays) get married. Also, a new core family is added to the cast when the Snyders are introduced.

1987
``ATWT'' wins the Daytime Emmy as outstanding drama series.

1988
Hank Eliot (Brian Starcher) comes out to Iva (Lisa Brown). He's the first male gay character on a daytime soap.

1988
Julianne Moore wins the Daytime Emmy for outstanding ingenue for her role as twins Frannie and Sabrina.

1989
Stories from the early years of ``ATWT'' are converted into novels and published by Pioneer in a series of paperbacks.

1991
``As The World Turns'' wins its second Daytime Emmy as outstanding drama series.

1993
Show alum Marisa Tomei (Marcy) wins an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in ``My Cousin Vinny.''

1995
Actress Patricia Bruder is let go after playing Ellen for 35 years.

1995
``As The World Turns'' broadcasts its 10,000th episode.

1999

When ``Another World'' is canceled by NBC, some characters ``move'' from Bay City to Oakdale, including Jake McKinnon (Tom Eplin) and Cass Winthrop (Stephen Schnetzer).

2000
``World'' moves its production facilities to JC Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y., where ``Another World'' had been shot for years.

2001
``ATWT'' wins eight Daytime Emmys, the most for any one show in a single year. Among the honors is the show's third award for outstanding drama series.

2002
Oakdale cop Jack Snyder (Michael Park) is kidnapped, bound and raped by psycho stalker Julia Lindsay (Annie Parisse).

2002
Tamara Tunie (Jessica) joins the cast of ``Law & Order: SVU'' while continuing her long run on ``World.''

2003
``As The World Turns'' wins its fourth Daytime Emmy as outstanding drama series.

2005
TV Guide names ``ATWT'' the best soap opera of the year.

2006
Podcasts of entire ``As The World Turns'' episodes are made available for download on CBS.com/netcast and iTunes.com.

And today we add:

2009
Show is canceled. Final airing will be in September 2010.#


--Chuck Ross