As the World Turns

As the World Turns
As the World Turns
As The World Turns 2009 logo.png
The final ATWT title card used from June 22, 2009 to September 17, 2010
Genre Soap opera
Created by Irna Phillips
Written by Jean Passanante (2001–2010)
Leah Laiman (1999–2010)
Starring Eileen Fulton
Don Hastings
Kathryn Hays
Marie Masters
Colleen Zenk Pinter
Elizabeth Hubbard
Kathleen Widdoes
Jon Hensley
Kim Rhodes
Scott Holmes
Ellen Dolan
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 13,858
Executive producer(s) Ted Corday (1956–1965)
Mary Harris (1965–1971)
Fred Bartholomew (1971–1973, 1980–1981)
Joe Willmore (1973–1978)
Joe Rothenberger (1978–1980)
Mary-Ellis Bunim (1981–1984)
Robert Calhoun (1984–1988)
Laurence Caso (1988–1995)
John Valente (1995–1996)
Felicia Minei Behr (1996–1999)
Christopher Goutman (1999–2010)
Running time 30 minutes (1956–1975)
60 minutes (1975–2010)
Distributor Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc. (1986–2008)
TeleNext Media, Inc. for P&G Prods. (2008–2010)
Original channel CBS
Original run April 2, 1956 (1956-04-02) – September 17, 2010 (2010-09-17)
External links

As the World Turns (often referred to as ATWT) is an American television soap opera that aired on CBS from April 2, 1956 to September 17, 2010. Irna Phillips created As the World Turns as a sister show to her other soap opera Guiding Light. Running for 54 years, ATWT holds the second-longest continuous run of any daytime network soap opera in American history, surpassed only by Guiding Light. As the World Turns is notable for having been produced in New York City[1] for all of its time on television (its first 43 years in Manhattan and in Brooklyn from 2000 until 2010).

Set in the fictional town of Oakdale, Illinois, the show debuted on April 2, 1956,[2][3] at 1:30 pm EST. Prior to that date, all serials had been fifteen minutes in length. As the World Turns and The Edge of Night, which premiered on the same day at 4:30 pm EST, were the first two to be thirty minutes in length from their premiere.[4] At first, viewers did not respond to the new half-hour serial, but ratings picked up in its second year, eventually reaching the top spot in the daytime Nielsen ratings by fall 1958. In 1959, the show started a streak of weekly ratings wins that would not be interrupted for over twelve years. The show switched to color on August 21, 1967, and expanded from a half-hour in length to one hour starting on December 1, 1975 when The Edge of Night moved to ABC. In the year-to-date ratings, As the World Turns was the most-watched daytime drama from 1958 until 1978, with ten million viewers tuning in each day. At its height, core actors such as Helen Wagner, Don MacLaughlin, Don Hastings, and Eileen Fulton became nationally known.

The show passed its 10,000th episode on May 12, 1995, and celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 2, 2006. On September 18, 2009, As the World Turns became the last remaining Procter and Gamble produced soap opera on television after Guiding Light aired its final episode.

On December 8, 2009, CBS announced that it canceled As the World Turns because of low ratings. The show taped its final scenes on June 23, 2010, and with a sad dramatic storyline finale, its final episode aired on September 17, 2010.[5] On October 18, 2010, CBS replaced As the World Turns with The Talk.



The original core family, the Hugheses, in the 1980s. Clockwise from top left: Kim Sullivan Hughes (Kathryn Hays), Bob Hughes (Don Hastings), Tom Hughes (Gregg Marx), Margo Montgomery Hughes (Hillary Bailey Smith), Andy Dixon (Scott DeFreitas), Frannie Hughes (Julianne Moore). Center: Chris Hughes (Don MacLaughlin) and Nancy Hughes (Helen Wagner).

As the World Turns was the creation of Irna Phillips who, beginning in the 1930s, had been one of the foremost creators and writers of radio soap operas. As a writer, Phillips favored character development and psychological realism over melodrama, and her previous creations (which included Guiding Light) were especially notable for placing professionals – doctors, lawyers, and clergy people – at the center of their storylines. Phillips wrote: "As the world turns, we know the bleakness of winter, the promise of spring, the fullness of summer and the harvest of autumn—the cycle of life is complete."[citation needed]

And so it was with As the World Turns, with its slow-moving psychological character studies of families headed by legal and medical professionals. The personal and professional lives of doctors and lawyers would remain central to As the World Turns throughout its run, and would eventually become standard fare on all soap operas. Whereas the 15-minute radio soaps often focused on one central, heroic character (for example, Dr. Jim Brent in Phillips' Road of Life), the expanded 30-minute format of As the World Turns enabled Phillips to introduce a handful of professionals within the framework of a family saga.

One of Phillips' innovations was to introduce a sort of Greek chorus to the stories. The primary purpose of characters such as Nancy Hughes (Helen Wagner) was to comment on the crises faced and decisions made by the town's more dynamic residents. This technique contributed to the popularity of the show and continues to be widely used in other soap operas.

Phillips' style favored gradual evolution over radical change. Slow, conversational, and emotionally intense, the show moved at the pace of life itself – and sometimes even more slowly than that. Each new addition to the cast was done in a gradual manner, and was usually a key contact to one of the members of the Hughes family. As such, the show got a reputation as being quite conservative (though the show did showcase the first gay male character on American soap operas, in 1988). During the show's early decades, the content-related policies of its sponsor Procter & Gamble Productions may have contributed to the perception of conservatism. The soap-manufacturing giant typically balked at storylines in which adultery and other immoral behavior would go unpunished, and as late as the 1980s characters from the primary families were still generally not allowed to go through with abortions.

Notable history and accomplishments

As the World Turns premiered on April 2, 1956. It was the first television daytime drama with a 30-minute running time; all daytime dramas until then had had 15-minute running times. The series was also CBS' first to expand to a 60-minute running time, doing so in 1975. By 1958, the program was the number one daytime drama in the United States. As the World Turns won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series four times (in 1987, 1991, 2001, and 2003.)

Title sequences

The As the World Turns title card, used from April 23, 2007 to June 19, 2009.

The show changed opening title sequences from the original format six times: in 1981, 1993, 1999, 2002 (with a slight modification of the 2002 visuals redone in 2003), 2007, and 2009.

As a testament to the show's unwillingness to change in the early years, the show had the same theme song (an organ-piano tune for the opening theme, and an organ-piano-celesta tune for the long closing theme, which transitioned into pre-recorded versions in December 1973, composed by Charles Paul), and opening visual (a globe spinning in space). During the black and white years, the globe was in the distance and to the right of the camera. As the organ and piano played, the camera zoomed in until the globe was centered. The title card faded up and Dan McCullough announced. For the midbreaks and closing, the globe was on center. The visual was not markedly altered during the 1967 transitions.

Color brought some minor changes. The globe was now always on center. The title zoomed out from the middle of the globe. The organ version of the main theme was used over the color visual until early December 1973, when the theme became orchestrated. During the black-and-white years and color years prior to some point in 1973, Charles Paul played a celeste composition called "Simple Melody" over the midbreak plugs. At some point in early to mid 1973, organ music was dropped from the body of the show, and Charles Paul played an electric piano only as the background music. However, it was not until early December 1973 that the orchestrated opening and closing themes replaced the live organ versions. The color update of the black-and-white visual stayed until October 30, 1981. At the time, closing credits were only shown once a week, if that. At least through the late 1970s, during the credit crawl, the job title was shown in Lydian typeface, while the person's name was shown in Futura Heavy. (This style also was shared by "The Edge of Night" from 1967 until 1980). This changed once the credits were done on a character generator beginning in 1978. Now, the credits were all done in Helvetica (Guiding Light would also switch its credits to this font in the same year). The letters remained white throughout the title sequence run, but were in all capitals.

The sponsor tags from the show's premiere until the opening sequence was changed in 1981 were hand drawn pictures of the product, or the name of the product, superimposed over the globe. On a 1965 closing sequence, the sponsor tag was an actual photo card of the product. This may have been the practice used on credit days. There is only one known surviving B&W episode with a credit crawl. On non-credit days, the superimposure was used. After the 1981 title change, the sponsor tags were actual photos of the products. This was the usual practice used on the P&G shows. This continues to this day. There have been occasions, where a sponsor was to be plugged, that it would not occur until after the title sequence. This was after the show's announcer was eliminated. A CBS announcer would plug the product.

On November 2, 1981, a new synthesized theme song was first heard, with new computer-enhanced visuals. The globe had now been relegated to an O in the word WORLD, with three beams of light reflecting separate ways. The tune was modified in December 1984 and again in September 1988. The globe was on the center of the screen for the closing sequences. From about the late 80s until the end of traditional closing credits, credit crawls were run more frequently. The closing credits remained in Helvetica typeface, but were now in yellow. The entire credit setup would be in capitals until mid-1984, when production titles and actors' names in the cast list were changed to mostly lowercase. Between July and September 1991, the credit font was changed to an italicized variation of Palatino Italic font, which remained in yellow through the end of this title sequence's run.

On February 3, 1993, the theme song and opening visual was changed again. Barry DeVorzon, famous for composing the theme song of The Young and the Restless, composed the theme song. This time the credits were done by computer specialist group Castle/Bryant/Johnsen. In the visuals, the letters of the title slowly passed by, with the seasons illustrated in picture form inside the letters themselves. When the visual finally got to the O in WORLD, a spinning globe fell into its place and the whole title was zoomed out of focus, to be seen by the audience. In 1995, the closing credits ran over original scenes related to events in that day's episode (for example, if a character was seen in an episode, the credits might show them cleaning a room or playing a piano—things too "boring" to be in the episode itself.) By 1997, however, the credits simply rolled over scenes from that day's episode. The globe was used for closing credits from 1993 until they changed to beauty shots. For a brief period, the globe was used to promote the viewer feedback line. Then they would use the beauty shots for the credit crawl. A credit crawl was run almost daily, either short or full crawl. This was the last title sequence to use traditional closing credits. The CBS squeeze started while these visuals were in use. The credits looked like the ones used at the end of the 81–93 titles. The Palatino Italic typeface remained with the show's closing credits.

The show changed its music and opening again on November 1, 1999. For the first time, cast shots (both solo and group) were seen, accompanied by music. (ATWT had been one of the last soaps to incorporate cast shots into their openings.) The globe was now made up of clips throughout the show's history, not unlike a process first seen in the movie The Truman Show. Internet fans complained that the sound effects in the theme song that accompanied these credits, which was written by David Nichtern and Kevin Bents, sounded too much like "toilet flushing noises." The closing credits were never seen on the air on CBS, but they were seen in rebroadcasts on The visual returned to seeing a spinning globe (the computerized globe of clips from the opening) in space with the credits scrolling in gold italic Palatino Italic lettering, ending with the title in the 1993 title lettering setup; the format of the credits (including the title) would accompany the following title sequence's end credits.

A new sequence, featuring cast clips to a mellower music selection (written by Jamie Lawrence and, again, David Nichtern), debuted on July 8, 2002. The backdrop to complement the actor clips was colored in gold, and was changed to sky blue in November 2003. The music from 2002 remained intact. Several shorter versions of this intro were used from time to time, rotating from day-to-day, featuring different members of the cast in each. In the latter years of the sequence, however, some cast members appeared in more than one sequence. Also, some cast headshots used film (these were most likely headshots carried over from the 1999 to 2002 sequence), while others used videotape, giving inconsistency in the film style for each headshot. There are two versions of closing credits. The globe fades off as the credits run. There is no closing title card, as the background fades up and the crawl runs. The closing logo is the 1993 version, now in white. In September 2006, a temporary intro was introduced to mark the "Ice Storm" theme of the next few shows.[6]

A new opening sequence premiered on April 30, 2007. The new opening featured a dramatic, piano-based score, accompanied by shots of the main characters (usually paired up with their storyline counterparts — e.g. Jack and Carly, Lily and Holden, etc. — with two characters appearing per shot), and composite images of the characters' histories superimposed over their shots against a gold background. The logo that had been used since 1999 was retired and a new logo was instituted which kept the globe in place of the "O" in "WORLD", but the logo typeface was changed to Helvetica with the "AS THE" in the title aligned to the right instead of the center. A few months later, ATWT debuted another opening, including only the title forming over a black background playing over the previous scene's music, minus the cast montage. It was unknown whether or not it was to be used on days that needs more air time; however, with the departure of several characters featured in the opening credits — e.g. Will, Gwen, Dusty, and Craig — the short opening has become permanent. The closing credits, as seen on AOL Video, also start rolling at fade up.[citation needed] The typeface is changed, and the 1993 title card is used.

On June 22, 2009, the show debuted yet another new sequence, with a spinning globe and one full line of text entering from the right side of the screen to the middle in front of the globe. In the background is a faded version of the show title in larger letters. This new title sequence has a stark resemblance to the original title sequence from 1956 with a modern flair. Production ended on June 23, 2010 in their Brooklyn, New York studios, with the final episode airing on September 17 of that year.[7]

History of show announcements

Dan McCullough (1956–1982)

From its premiere on April 2, 1956, the show's announcer was Dan McCullough. His voice-overs were utilized as follows:

  • Opening titles--(B&W) "And now, for the next 30 minutes, As the World Turns, brought to you today by... (sponsor)." During the B&W and possibly early color era, there was usually one sponsor plugged, and on many occasions while the show was still performed live McCullough often included "presented live". For some time after the 1975 expansion, the opening spiel was: "And now, for the next full hour, As the World Turns," then whatever sponsor plugs needed to be read that day (at this time, there were usually two sponsors for the first half of ATWT). By 1978, McCullough's opening spiel was simplified to: "As the World Turns. This portion brought to you today by..."
  • Mid-program break--"The first part of this program has been brought to you today by..." (A surviving 1972 episode used this practice); "This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by..." (Hour long expansion until 1981), followed by "We'll continue with As the World Turns following station identification" (inception until at least the mid-1970s); "We'll continue with Part II of As the World Turns in just a moment" (mid-1970s until end of the announcer era.)
  • Lead-in to second half--"And now the second half of As the World Turns..., followed by "...brought to you today by..." on days where the second half is officially sponsored. All surviving black and white episodes show evidence that both halves were sponsored. Many times, the midbreak sponsor was not a P&G product.
  • Lead-in to next-to-last commercial break--"We'll return to As the World Turns in just a moment." This practice was eventually eliminated, although no exact date for that change has been established.
  • Closing titles—Black and white, organ color era to possibly the 60 minute expansion: "As the World Turns" has been brought to you today by (sponsors). A plug for fashion providers was done. On credit days, it was done while the crawl rolled. After the hour expansion until the announcer was eliminated, Dan McCullough or Dan Region would say: "This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by..." (on days where the second half is officially sponsored; on days that are not, there would be either no announcement at all or McCullough would invite viewers to "stay tuned" to the next program "on most of these CBS stations"). In many cases, the next program's logo was shown, especially if it was a P&G soap. Until June 1981, Guiding Light's logo was shown as it followed on the CBS schedule. For the last four months of the color globe visuals package, Search for Tomorrow was mentioned instead along with its logo, as at that time Search had moved into the 2:30 pm time slot immediately following ATWT.

McCullough also announced that the program was recorded, after the show was no longer performed live at some point in the spring of 1975. This announcement would continue even after P&G added copyrights to the final title card on June 2, 1980, where "This Program was Recorded" would appear on the last line of the copyright. It would be spoken for the final time on October 30, 1981. On credit days from June 2, 1980 until October 30, 1981, the title logo with copyright information appeared, then the credits rolled. A 1981 episode shows this practice.

McCullough did announce over "The World Turns On and On" title sequences for a short period of time, from its debut on November 2, 1981 until he retired in February 1982. The latest aforementioned changes to the opening, mid-bumper and closing announcements remained in place, but there was no longer a display of the next program's logo in the closing credits effective November 2, 1981. In his final months with the show, McCullough would say "Stay tuned for Search for Tomorrow, next on most of these CBS stations" as the first closing display of the ATWT title appeared over the visuals, before the credit carding or scroll. (Subsequently, the copyright notice would now not appear until the end of the credits, under the last display of the title.)

Dan Region (1982–1998)

In February 1982, after almost 26 years with ATWT, McCullough was replaced by a much younger announcer, Dan Region. This is after Mary-Ellis Bunim became executive producer. His announcements were much like Dan McCullough's.

  • Opening titles--"As the World Turns. This portion brought to you today by..." (although beginning in the 1990s, Procter & Gamble began to decrease their sponsorship of the program for some days of the week, even though they themselves were the producers. So, on such days, Region would only announce the title of the program right before the first commercial break.) During the O.J. Simpson trial, the title sequence was shortened.
  • Mid-program break: "This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by (name and description of sponsor). We'll continue with Part II of As the World Turns in just a moment."
  • Lead-in to second half—either "And now Part II of As the World Turns!", or "And now we continue with Part II of As the World Turns!" (the second half from 1981 forward was, for the most part, not officially sponsored, or if it was, it was not a P&G product.)
  • Lead-in to next-to-last commercial break: eliminated possibly after the show expanded to one hour.
  • Closing credits--"Stay tuned for Search for Tomorrow (February 1982 – March 26, 1982) Capitol (March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987), or Guiding Light (March 23, 1987 to at least the end of the announcer era.) "next on most of these CBS stations.", or "Join us again tomorrow/This is Dan Region, inviting you to join us again Monday for As the World Turns."

Possibly after the show went into color, or at least by 1972, more than one sponsor was plugged at the opening, midbreak and closing.

Announcers beyond 1998

After the titles were changed again in 1999, for the first time in the series history (for the most part, and for the period prior to at least 2007), ATWT had no official announcer or show announcements, although Martin Bookspan (who had by this time taken over as announcer of Guiding Light) still had to announce the sponsor tags on days where the show was sponsored. Circa 2000, a female announcer would do the tags after the opening titles.

Even in the show's final years, the show still had an announcer (albeit unidentified), although his/her announcements are limited to sponsor tags (for shows that are sponsored). Cast members also made bumper announcements.

Menswear promotional consideration

Also of note, Barneys of New York frequently provided menswear. Dan McCullough (later, Dan Region) would almost daily plug Barney's during the closing, in addition to other providers. During the Dan Region era, preemptions due to special programming (holidays, early-round NCAA Tournament games, US Open tennis coverage, etc.) were announced over the final logo or during the credit crawl. This practice is shown on the many surviving episodes of the era. Dan McCullough may have also followed this practice.

Helen Wagner

With the immortal words "Good morning, dear," actress Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes) opened As the World Turns on April 2, 1956.[8] For a time, Wagner was tied with Mike Wallace as the oldest personalities on television. Both were born in 1918 and previously ranked behind Days of our Lives star Frances Reid (born in 1914). Reid, who died on February 3, 2010, was also a former cast member on As the World Turns appearing as Grace Baker. With Wagner's death May 1, 2010, Wallace became the single oldest living television personality.

Wagner is acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records for holding the world record for the longest amount of time appearing as the same character,[9] playing the role of Nancy Hughes since the show went on the air on April 2, 1956, though she has not played the role without interruption. Wagner was temporarily dropped from the series after the first six months due to conflicts with creator Irna Phillips. Wagner also left the series in 1981, when she felt that writers were not interested in the veteran players. She returned as a regular contract player in 1985 after Douglas Marland became headwriter.[citation needed] She was 37 years old when the show started. On the episode broadcast on Monday, August 30, 2010, it was revealed that Nancy had died in her sleep; the next day's episode dealt with Nancy's memorial service. Coincidentally, Nancy Hughes's memorial aired just two weeks before the series finale. The show's producers stated in interviews that they had to revise their plans for the final episode because of Wagner's death - they had hoped that Wagner would say the final lines of the last episode just as she had said the first words of the first episode (presumably "Good night, dear.").

Cast and characters


There have been several crossovers between As the World Turns and other soaps:

  • 1962
    • The character Mitchell Dru (Geoffrey Lumb) was brought to Oakdale after the cancellation of the P&G soap The Brighter Day. The same character (and actor) was then transferred to a new P&G soap, Another World, shortly after its premiere in 1964. Another World was originally conceived by creator Irna Phillips to be a spin-off series of As the World Turns. Like several other characters from Another World, Mitchell Dru "crossed over" for one or more performances on the first Another World spin-off, Somerset, which premiered in March 1970.
  • 1965
    • The character Lisa Miller Hughes (Eileen Fulton) was used as the basis to create a primetime spinoff soap Our Private World, (CBS's attempt to duplicate the success of rival network ABC's Peyton Place), with Lisa leaving Oakdale and moving to Chicago, where she married wealthy John Eldridge, but had an affair with his brother Thomas. Though Our Private World only lasted a few months, and Fulton returned to As the World Turns in early 1966, after taking a few months off, remnants of Lisa's time on Our Private World were resurrected 26 years later, when it was revealed in 1992 that Lisa had had a son off-camera, hitherto unknown to viewers, before returning to As the World Turns in 1966. Her son Scott Eldridge tracked her down as an adult, and remained on As the World Turns for several years.
  • 1999–2003
    • Shortly after Another World was canceled in June 1999, the characters of Cass and Lila Winthrop (Stephen Schnetzer and Lisa Peluso), and Jake and Victoria McKinnon (Tom Eplin and Jensen Buchanan) crossed over to As the World Turns briefly. Jake and Vicky intended to move to Oakdale, but Vicky was soon killed off in September 1999, then appeared as a ghost to Jake and Molly from November 2000 to February 2001. Cass only appeared on a recurring basis through 2003 (usually whenever anyone in Oakdale needed an attorney, other than resident lawyer Tom Hughes), and Jake (Tom Eplin) remained as a regular on the series until his character was killed off in 2002. Cindy Brooke Harrison (Kim Rhodes) also had minor appearances in 2000 and 2001. Vicky's mother and twin sister, Donna (Anna Stuart) and Marley (Ellen Wheeler, who at the time also directed episodes of "As the World Turns"), made recurring appearances from 2000 to 2002, and left the show when they gained custody of Jake and Vicky's twin daughters after Jake's death. There were also plans to have a now-teenage Steven Frame (Vicky's son with Jamie Frame) come to Oakdale and live with Jake, but the character was reconceived as teenage Bryant Montgomery, the son of ATWT couple Craig and Sierra.

Since 2005, a number of characters have crossed back and forth between As the World Turns and The Young and the Restless:

  • 2005
    • As the World Turns: At the request of Oakdale, Illinois, District Attorney Jessica Griffin, Michael Baldwin (Christian LeBlanc) traveled there to serve as the attorney for Jack Snyder (Michael Park) in a custody hearing involving his late wife Julia Larabee's son, JJ. (April 4 – 05, 2005).

The irony in his appearance in the above-mentioned episodes, is that twenty-years before, LeBlanc left the role of Kirk McColl, the youngest son of Lisa's fifth husband, Whit McColl (Played by Wagon Train star Robert Horton, who was killed-off shortly before Fulton's return to the show). So, to many long-time fans of both As The World Turns and The Young and the Restless, it was weird seeing LeBlanc as the character from the latter show. History was also made during LeBlanc's appearance on ATWT, since both shows are made by different production companies (Bell Productions for Y&R; Procter and Gamble for ATWT), although they are on the same network.

President Kennedy's assassination

The initial CBS News Bulletin which interrupted As the World Turns at 1:40 p.m. (EST), as Nancy (Helen Wagner) talks with Grandpa (Santos Ortega)

On November 22, 1963, the live CBS broadcast of As The World Turns began as always at 1:30 EST. In this episode, Bob Hughes informs his mother Nancy that he has invited his ex-wife Lisa and son Tom to the house for Thanksgiving. Ten minutes into the program, Nancy and her father-in-law (whom she referred to as "Grandpa") were sitting on the couch discussing the situation:

Grandpa: "Did you ask him why he invited her?"

Nancy: "He said something about not wanting her to have Thanksgiving dinner alone, that he didn't think it was right."

Grandpa: "That's real nice of the boy."

Nancy: "And I thought about it, and I gave it a great deal of thought, Grandpa---"[10]

At this precise point, a "CBS News Bulletin" slide suddenly came up on the screen and Walter Cronkite gave the first report of an unfolding national tragedy, which had taken place at the very minute of ATWT's opening:

Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting. More details just arrived. These details about the same as previously: President Kennedy shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy, she called 'Oh no!', the motorcade sped on. United Press says that the wounds for President Kennedy perhaps could be fatal. Repeating, a bulletin from CBS News, President Kennedy has been shot by a would-be assassin in Dallas, Texas. Stay tuned to CBS News for further details.

CBS then returned to ATWT while the show was taking its first commercial break. A commercial for Nescafé coffee, the first midbreak sponsor bumper (for Best Foods, who had sponsored the first half of the program through its Niagara and NuSoft brands) and a preview bumper for an episode of Route 66 which was to air that evening followed. Then CBS paused for identification of their local affiliate stations. The sponsor bumper for the second half of ATWT (for Carnation) was immediately cut off for further information from Cronkite over the bulletin graphic (Both the cameras and the studio lights of the era required some time to "warm up" before they could be used).

At the end of this bulletin CBS rejoined ATWT, which was still in progress, as the cast, performing the episode live, was not yet aware of the rapidly developing situation. The scene at this point was in a restaurant with Bob Hughes and David Stewart; this would be the final scene before continuous coverage of the assassination. A commercial for Friskies Puppy Food was featured in its entirety, then the next commercial (for Friskies Magic Sauce Cubes dog food) was cut off. The episode continued to be performed to its conclusion despite no one's being able to watch it. From then on, Cronkite relayed incoming reports as received over the bulletin card (confirmed from a viewing of the episode). At the top of the hour, with the bulletin slide still on screen, Cronkite announced a ten second pause for all affiliates to issue a station identification and join the network. The CBS "eye" logo was briefly shown, followed by the bulletin slide until Cronkite appeared on camera.

As NBC and ABC, the other two major U.S. TV networks, were not programming at the time (the 1:30–2:00 ET period belonging to their local affiliates), As The World Turns has the distinction of being the last regular U.S. network program broadcast for the next four days as the assassination of JFK and the transition of power to President Lyndon B. Johnson took center stage.

A VHS copy of a kinescope print of the entire episode, with commercials and without interruptions, is available for viewing at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, CA.

Broadcast history

As The World Turns enjoyed a virtually uninterrupted reign as the highest-rated soap from 1958 to 1978, tying for first place with NBC Daytime's Another World (1973–1974, 1977–1978) and Days of our Lives (1973–1974). By the mid-1960s, it was so firmly entrenched that its strongest competition, Let's Make a Deal, despite developing a devoted fan base in its own right and becoming one of daytime's most popular game shows, could not come close to matching it in the Nielsens.

Its strength was such that ABC ran hour-long drama reruns in the 1–2 p.m. (noon-1 Central) slot in the mid-1960s and NBC, after losing Deal to ABC in 1968, ran a total of eight shows, all short-lived (with the exception of Three on a Match, which lasted three years), against ATWT and Deal from that point until 1975.

As that year began Another World was expanded to sixty minutes, with their first hour long episode airing on January 6, 1975. Although this did not directly affect ATWT, as the two shows were not in competition for anything other than the overall ratings win, CBS' afternoon lineup suffered some ratings damage as the popular soap put a dent in the ratings of both of CBS' popular afternoon game shows, The Price Is Right and Match Game. NBC, pleased by the success that the expansion of Another World has brought to the network, elected to do the same thing with Days of Our Lives beginning on April 21, 1975; this put Days and ATWT in direct competition for ratings. Incidentally, the expansions were occurring seven years after the last two fifteen minute serials, Search for Tomorrow and Guiding Light, expanded to thirty minutes.

CBS decided that they too needed to expand at least one of their daytime series. Since ATWT was still the front-runner in the ratings battle, it was chosen as one of the series; the other was The Price Is Right, which at the time was part of CBS' afternoon schedule. ATWT and The Price Is Right were due to expand in September 1975, and the latter was moved back to the morning in order to facilitate that. While TPIR's expansion was initially only intended to be an experiment, ATWT's was to be permanent and required the cancellation of one of CBS' half-hour serials in order for that to happen. CBS found that series in The Edge of Night, which at the time was the network's lowest rated program; although it was once a solid performer in the ratings, Edge had been moved at Procter & Gamble's insistence from its 3:30 p.m. timeslot to the 2:30 p.m. slot following Guiding Light in 1972 and as a result lost a large portion of its audience which was composed largely of teenagers, men, and young adults. In order for the expansion to take place, Edge would have to be canceled- the rest of CBS' soap opera lineup was performing well in the ratings and the network did not have a spare timeslot to put it in that would not risk preemption. CBS announced that it would not renew Edge when its contract was up, but the serial was saved when ABC offered to take it.

However, a problem arose that would have caused a major issue had CBS elected to go ahead with a September expansion of ATWT. The network had a contract with P&G to air Edge until December 1975 and the expansion would have resulted in an immediate cancellation. This meant that no new episodes of Edge would air for three months, and ABC was not interested in taking on the serial if that was to be the case. This required an arrangement to be made between the networks and production company- ATWT would delay its expansion while Edge would continue to air on CBS, and the series would move to ABC once the network was able to free a timeslot for it. In November 1975, ABC announced the cancellation of the game show You Don't Say!, which had been airing in the network's 4 p.m. timeslot. The final episode was scheduled to air on November 28, 1975, after which Edge would be free to leave CBS and ATWT would be free to expand to sixty minutes.

The first hour-long episode of ATWT aired on 1 December 1975 (coincidentally, the same day that The Price Is Right marked its permanent expansion to an hour). With the expansion the serial was not only up against Let's Make a Deal, which by this point in time had been struggling in the ratings for some time, but also against The $10,000 Pyramid, which at the time was the third-highest rated game show in daytime. In the first half hour, ATWT performed well enough against the fading Deal that it moved to Noon within four weeks and also beat its replacement, Rhyme and Reason. The second half hour, however, saw ATWT not perform as well when taking on The $10,000 Pyramid, which had also performed well against Guiding Light in the 2 p.m. slot. Although the expansion was not a complete success, at the end of the season the serial was again at the top of the daytime Nielsens despite a 1.4 point drop from the year before.

Although the eventual hit game Family Feud ran against ATWT from 12 July 1976 until 22 April 1977, it did not become a smash hit for ABC until its move to the mornings. It was only when ABC made its first move to a one-hour soap with All My Children that trouble really began for ATWT (and also Days), since ABC kept that serial's starting time at 1/noon, meaning that fans of that serial who tuned to NBC or CBS would miss the last half of that day's storyline (or, contrariwise, would not, if they watched until the mid-program commercial break and then changed channels, pick up the ATWT or Days activities from the episode's beginning, since ABC strategically placed its break several minutes after the bottom of the hour). Further, AMC's emphasis on youth-oriented, sexier story lines provided a sharp contrast to the domestic, almost quaint tone of ATWT (and, to a lesser degree, the melodramatic, somewhat topical Days). Worse still, on January 16, 1978, ABC ballooned its decade-old One Life to Live to the 2/1 starting time, compounding the other networks' headaches. These factors helped contribute to the fall of ATWT from the top spot in the ratings at the end of the 1978-79 season. After finishing the previous season tied with Another World for #1 in the Nielsens, ATWT fell to fourth behind AMC, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless.

On 4 February 1980, CBS moved and expanded The Young and the Restless to a full hour after the cancellation of the long running soap Love of Life. Y&R moved from Noon/11am to 1pm/Noon (the former affiliate break timeslot) and ATWT was bumped up to 2pm/1pm and Guiding Light to 3pm/2pm. CBS was not satisfied with this schedule against ABC and NBC and it lasted just a little over a year. On 8 June 1981, ATWT returned to its longtime 1:30/12:30pm start time with Search for Tomorrow following at 2:30/1:30pm and Y&R leading off the soap lineup at either Noon/11am or 12:30/11:30am (depending on affiliate preference).

ATWT remained at 1:30/12:30pm until 20 March 1987, when CBS scrapped the five-year-old Capitol in favor of The Bold and the Beautiful. Believing that B&B would do better running in tandem with Y&R (especially on Eastern Time Zone affiliates), CBS scheduled it at 1:30/12:30, and finally settled ATWT at 2/1, where it remained until it's final episode in September 2010. Although facing the full length of AW and OLTL once again, the Douglas Marland era of 1985 from 1993 saw a resurgence in ratings, and by 1991 it was back in its once habitual top-four placing. ATWT would survive NBC's cancellation of its sister AW in 1999 in favor of Passions, which itself was canceled in September 2007.


ATWT Ratings: 1956–2010

One example of the drastic change in daytime television can be found in the following:

  • Daytime history: Highest rated week (November 16–20, 1981)
  • (Household ratings- Nielsen Media Research)
Rank/Serial Household Rating (Time Slot) Network
1. General Hospital 16.0 (3-4pm) ABC
2. All My Children 10.2 (1-2pm) ABC
3. One Life to Live 10.2 (2-3pm) ABC
4. Guiding Light 7.5 (3-4pm) CBS
5. The Young and the Restless 7.0 (12:30–1:30pm) CBS

1995 ratings

Rank/Serial Millions Of Viewers
1. The Young and the Restless 7.2
2. All My Children 5.891
3. General Hospital 5.343
4. The Bold and the Beautiful 5.247
5. One Life to Live 5.152

As the World Turns spent a record breaking 20 years on top of the Nielsen ratings for American daytime soap operas. They would retain this record until The Young and the Restless broke it in 2008 when it remained #1 for 21 years and counting.

Years as #1 series
Year(s) Household Rating
1958–1959 9.8
1959–1960 9.9
1960–1961 10.4
1961–1962 11.9
1962–1963 13.7
1963–1964 15.4
1964–1965 14.5
1965–1966 13.9
1966–1967 12.7
1967–1968 13.6
1968–1969 13.8
1969–1970 13.6
1970–1971 12.4
1971–1972 11.1
1972–1973 10.6
1973–1974 9.7 (Tied with Days of our Lives and Another World)
1974–1975 10.8
1975–1976 9.4
1976–1977 9.9
1977–1978 8.6 (Tied with Another World)

Record Low: 1,773,000 viewers on December 25, 2009. (Nielsen Media Research)

1956-1957 season

1957-1958 season

1978-1979 season

1979-1980 season

1980-1981 season

1981-1982 season

1982-1983 season

1983-1984 season

1984-1985 season

1985-1986 season

1986-1987 season

1987-1988 season

1988-1989 season

1989-1990 season

1990-1991 season

1991-1992 season

1992-1993 season

1993-1994 season

1994-1995 season

1995-1996 season

1996-1997 season

1997-1998 season

1998-1999 season

1999-2000 season

2000-2001 season

2001-2002 season

2002-2003 season

2003-2004 season

2004-2005 season

2005-2006 season

2006-2007 season

2007-2008 season

2008-2009 season

2009-2010 season



  • April 2, 1956 – November 28, 1975: 1:30–2:00 PM (12:30–1:00 PM, CT/PT)
  • December 1, 1975 – February 1, 1980: 1:30–2:30 PM (12:30–1:30 PM, CT/PT)
  • February 4, 1980 – June 5, 1981: 2:00–3:00 PM (1:00–2:00 PM, CT/PT)
  • June 8, 1981 – March 20, 1987: 1:30–2:30 PM (12:30–1:30 PM, CT/PT)
  • March 23, 1987 – September 17, 2010: 2:00–3:00 PM (1:00–2:00 PM, CT/PT)

Main crew

Executive producers

Duration Name
1956–1965 Ted Corday
1965–1971 Mary Harris
1971–1973 Fred Bartholomew
1973–1978 Joe Willmore
1978–1980 Joe Rothenberger
1980 – fall 1981 Fred Bartholomew
Fall 1981 – October 1984 Mary-Ellis Bunim
October 1984 – October 1988 Robert Calhoun
October 1988 – May 1995 Laurence Caso
May 1995 – November 8, 1996 John Valente
November 11, 1996 – June 4, 1999 Felicia Minei Behr
June 7, 1999 – June 23, 2010 Christopher Goutman

Head writers

Duration Name
1956–1965 Irna Phillips
1965–1966 Irna Phillips and William J. Bell
1966–1970 Katherine Babecki
1970 Joe Kane and Ralph Ellis
1970 Winnifred Wolfe
1970 Katherine L. Phillips
1971 Winnifred Wolfe and Warren Swanson
1971 Warren Swanson, Elizabeth Tillman, and John Boruff
1971–1973 David Lesan and Irna Phillips
1973–1978 Robert Soderberg and Edith Sommer
1979 Ralph Ellis and Eugenie Hunt
Late 1979 Douglas Marland (13 weeks, before moving to Guiding Light)
Late 1979–1981 Bridget and Jerome Dobson
1981 Paul Roberts
1981 Tom King
1981 K.C. Collier
1981 Jean Rouverol, Chuck & Patty Dizenzo, David Cherill, and Tom King
1982–1983 Bridget and Jerome Dobson
1983 Caroline Franz and John Saffron
Mid 1983–1984 John Saffron
1984 – November 1984 Tom King and Millee Taggart
November 1984 – April 1985 Cynthia Benjamin and Susan Bedsow Horgan
April 1985 – November 1985 Susan Bedsow Horgan
November 1985 – April 1993 Douglas Marland (died) (Robert Calhoun during 1988 WGA strike)
April 1993 – January 1995 Juliet Law Packer and Richard Backus
January 1995 Juliet Law Packer, Garin Wolf, and Richard Culliton
January 1995 – January 1996 Richard Culliton (Fired)
February 1996 – late 1996 Stephen Black and Henry Stern (Fired)
Late 1996 – May 1997 Stephen Demorest, Mel Brez, and Addie Walsh
May 1997 – fall 1997 Jessica Klein
Fall 1997 Stephen Demorest, Mel Brez, and Addie Walsh
December 1997 Addie Walsh
January 1998 – June 1999 Lorraine Broderick, Hal Corley, and Addie Walsh (co-headwriters)
June 1999 – June 12, 2000 Leah Laiman and Carolyn Culliton (co-headwriter)
June 13, 2000 – July 2001 Hogan Sheffer, Carolyn Culliton, Hal Corley, and Stephen Demorest (co-headwriters)
July 16, 2001 – September 2002 Hogan Sheffer, Jean Passanante, and Carolyn Culliton
September 2002 – May 2005 Hogan Sheffer and Jean Passanante
May 2005 – October 2007 Jean Passanante, Leah Laiman, and Christopher Whitesell
October 2007 – January 24, 2008 Jean Passanante and Leah Laiman
January 25, 2008 – April 17, 2008 Christopher Goutman (2007 WGA strike)
April 18, 2008 – January 2010 Jean Passanante and Leah Laiman
January 2010 – March 12, 2010 Jean Passanante and David Kreizman
March 15, 2010 - September 17, 2010 Jean Passanante and Lloyd Gold

Crew at cancellation

International broadcasts

South Africa In South Africa, As the World Turns started airing on June 1, 2010 on SABC 2 from 14:10 to 15:00 each weekday. Episodes are 4 years behind the USA.

The Netherlands has aired the show on RTL 4 since 1990 (9:00 am and 5:00 pm) and on RTL 8 since 2007 (10:30 pm). RTL4 airs the episodes from one year and seven months ago. ATWT is the most popular foreign soap in the Netherlands and has about 800.000 Dutch viewers each day, it's the second popular soap of all soaps in the whole country, after GTST. ATWT actor Todd Rotondi (ex-Bryant) had a cameo role on the Dutch soap Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (Good Times, Bad Times) and Elizabeth Hubbard was a guest in the RTL talkshow Jensen! and in Mooi! Weer de Leeuw. In July 2009, Hubbard plays a guest role on GTST, she plays the role of sexuologe Sair Poindexter, the mother of main character Irene Huygens. GTST announced a return of Sair Poindexter in December.

In Canada As the World Turns aired on Global Television Network and on NTV in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Italy As the World Turns, under the title Così gira il mondo, started to air in 1986 on Canale 5, in the afternoon after Guiding Light time slot, with episodes three years behind the U.S. In 1987 it was moved to another channel, Rete 4. The show was canceled in 1992. At that time, episodes were four years behind the U.S.

In Bulgaria, the show was aired on Efir 2 from 1993 to 1995. Diema Family will continue with the episodes from 2004, starting on April 8, 2008.

In Jamaica As The World Turns started airing on Television Jamaica Monday to Friday 1:00pm beginning in 2011.

In Serbia, the show began airing on TV Avala on August 10, 2009, to very little publicity. It currently airs weekdays at 8:00 am, as well as Saturdays at 5:15 pm. The reruns air occasionally (depending on the rest of the late-night programming) around 3:15 AM. The show was canceled on April 25, 2010, for unknown reasons.

In Albania, the show will be seen on Vizion+,[11] beginning with episodes from 2006.

In the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, the show will begin airing on December 15, 2009, Monday to Friday at 12:15 on Sitel

Belize's Great Belize Television is the sole broadcaster of ATWT, at 2:00 pm Central Time on schedule with the U.S.

In New Zealand As The World Turns' was aired on TVNZ from 1962 to 1989.

In Australia, As The World Turns' was aired on Network Ten first at 1.30 pm, then moved to 5:00pm before ultimately being dropped entirely in 1987.


In 2006, CBS launched a reality show called InTurn on their broadband channel innertube, the winner of which would go on to receive a 13-week acting contract on As the World Turns. The eventual winner of InTurn was Alex Charak, an 18 year old "Student/Pizza Transportation Artist" from New York.[12] Charak made his debut as the character Elwood Hoffman on September 26, 2006. A one-hour "best-of" show aired on CBS on November 24, 2006.

CBS launched InTurn 2 in the summer of 2007. For the new season, the age restrictions expanded to allow for middle-aged viewers to participate, and there were nine competitors instead of eight.[13] The winner of the second season was Ryan Serhant, a recent graduate of Hamilton College. Serhant made his debut in the contract role on November 7, 2007. He plays Evan Walsh IV, son of Evan Walsh III. He is a young hotshot biochemist prodigy who comes home to Oakdale to try to convince Craig Montgomery to invest in the cutting edge biomedical tech field. He began taping on September 24, 2007, two days after the close of his off-Broadway play, Purple Hearts.

Inturn 3 began airing in April 2008 and featured 17 episodes.

Awards and records

Writers Guild of America Awards

Daytime Emmy Awards


As the World Turns has won 43 Daytime Emmys:

  • 2007 "Outstanding Directing Team"
  • 2005 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2005 "Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Drama Series"
  • 2004 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2003 "Outstanding Drama Series"
  • 2002 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2001 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2001 "Outstanding Drama Series"
  • 1999 "Outstanding Original Song" (Tied with General Hospital)
  • 1993 "Outstanding Directing Team"
  • 1991 "Outstanding Drama Series"
  • 1987 "Outstanding Drama Series"


Daytime television firsts

  • As the World Turns ran for 30 minutes along with The Edge of Night, which premiered the same day.
  • In 1988, the serial made daytime television history by introducing daytime television's first gay male character, Hank Elliot (played by Brian Starcher). The show made history again, in 2007, when Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer (played by Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann respectively) shared a kiss and formed a relationship, becoming the only gay male couple on daytime television. On January 12, 2009, after a long and tumultuous relationship, Luke and Noah finally consummated their love, giving ATWT another daytime first.

It was also the longest running dramatic series created exclusively for television.


Other awards

In 2010, As the World Turns was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding Daily Drama" during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.[14]

DVD release

On October 13, 2011, it was announced that SoapClassics had acquired the rights to releases on DVD classic episodes of As the World Turns. [15] SoapClassics has released a 4 DVD collection of 20 selected episodes, marking the first time that any ATWT episodes have been available on any recorded medium. The oldest episode on the collection dates from September 29, 1979, while the latest episode is from April 10, 2010. [16]

The firm intends to release a series of DVD collections and is exploring multiple distribution options, including broadcast and cable television, in markets both domestic and overseas.

See also


  1. ^ Krause, Lauren. "New York on Film". Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  2. ^ "As The World Turns". Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  3. ^ "About As The World Turns". CBS. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  4. ^ Grant, Matthew. "Daytime Soap Operas – Trivia". Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  5. ^ "As The World Turns, long-running US soap, cancelled". BBC News. December 9, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  6. ^ Available online at
  7. ^ Frasier Thomes, 'As The World turns' Stops Spinning After 54 Years, AP via, 24 June 2010.
  8. ^ Is There Still a Future for Soap Operas?
  9. ^ Fifty years on 'As the World Turns', March 30, 2006
  10. ^ CBS News Live Coverage of President J.F.K'S Assassination Part 1 (Friday 11/22/1963) on YouTube
  11. ^ Vizion Plus
  12. ^ CBS, Alex, CBS,, retrieved 2006-04-30 
  13. ^ CBS, InTurn Is Back!, CBS,, retrieved 2007-04-30 
  14. ^ "21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards – English Language Nominees". Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • As The World Turns — Feuilleton télévisé en production As The World Turns Titre original As The World Turns Autres titres francophones Ainsi va la vie Genre Soap opera, comédie dramatique Créateur(s) Irna Phillips Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • As the World Turns — Titre original As The World Turns Autres titres francophones Ainsi va le monde Genre Soap opera, comédie dramatique Créateur(s) Irna Phillips Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • As the world turns — Feuilleton télévisé en production As The World Turns Titre original As The World Turns Autres titres francophones Ainsi va la vie Genre Soap opera, comédie dramatique Créateur(s) Irna Phillips Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • As the World Turns — Seriendaten Deutscher Titel: Jung und Leidenschaftlich – Wie das Leben so spielt Originaltitel: As the World Turns Produktionsland: USA Produktionsjahr(e): 1956 Produzent: Christopher Goutman Episodenlänge: etw …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Children of Oakdale (As the World Turns) — The following are child characters from the American soap opera, As the World Turns. They are noted for being children of important characters, but as minors do not warrant their own articles. Contents 1 Hallie Munson 2 Eliza Ryan 3 Jacob Snyder …   Wikipedia

  • History of As the World Turns (2000–2007) — This article is about the history of As the World Turns (ATWT) from the 2000 era, the second longest running American television soap opera.2000 presentThe New Millennium As the World Turns rang in the new millennium with a Carly Tenney Originals …   Wikipedia

  • Oakdale (As the World Turns) — Oakdale is the setting of the television soap opera As the World Turns. Contents 1 Location 2 Size 2.1 Oakdale society 3 Places of interest …   Wikipedia

  • History of As the World Turns (1976–1980) — This article is about the history of As the World Turns (ATWT), the second longest running American television soap opera. 1980 1989 Like many daytime dramas of the period, the show entered into a mixed experiment with heavily youth oriented… …   Wikipedia

  • List of As the World Turns characters — This is a list of some of the major or minor characters that appear (or have appeared) on the soap opera, As the World Turns. Contents: Top · 0–9 · A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X …   Wikipedia

  • Susan Stewart (As the World Turns) — Dr. Susan Stewart Marie Masters as Susan Stewart As the World Turns Portrayed by Marie Masters (1968–2010) Duration 1966–19 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”