A Look at “As the World Turns,” a Soap Opera

ATWT (As the World Turns) was an American television soap opera that ran on CBS from April 2, 1956, to September 17, 2010. Irna Phillips created the show, which was written by Lloyd Gold and Jean Passanante. For 54 years, this programme has been effective in captivating the hearts of the audience. ATWT now has the fourth-longest continuous run of any daytime network soap, which is a huge accomplishment in and of itself.

Only Days of Our Lives, Guiding Light, and General Hospital came close. The show was produced in Manhattan for the first 43 years, and then in Brooklyn from 2000 to 2010.

The thirty-minute serial, set in the imaginary town of Oakdale, premiered on April 2, 1956. Previously, ATWT aired at 1:30 p.m. EST. Prior to ATWT, all dramas were 15 minutes long. The first two 30-minute serials are The Edge of Night and As the World Turns. Furthermore, they both debuted on the same day.
The additional length was initially unpopular with the audience, but by its second year, the serial had established itself as a ratings triumph. Furthermore, by 1958, the show had grown in popularity and had risen to the top of the daytime Nielsen ratings. In addition, in 1959, As The World Turns began a weekly ratings winning streak. And the show ran for over 12 years without interruption.

On August 21, 1967, the show went colour and increased its daily length from thirty minutes to one hour. The new period began on December 1, 1975. In terms of year-to-date ratings, As the World Turns was the most popular drama. Every day, nearly 10 million people tuned in to see the show.

Don MacLaughlin, Eileen Fulton, Helen Wagner, and Don Hastings were all nationally recognised at this time. Three of these actors — Fulton, Hastings, and Wagner – are known as the longest-serving actors in the history of American soap operas. As the World Turns reached its 10,000th episode on May 12, 1995.

The show also marked its 50th anniversary on April 2, 2006. As the World Turns became the last remaining Procter & Gamble-produced soap opera on CBS on September 18, 2009, after Guiding Light broadcast its final episode. Because of the low ratings, CBS decided to terminate ATWT on December 8, 2009. ATWT celebrated its 54th anniversary in that year. As a result, this was one of the longest-running soap operas in American television history.

As the World Turns taped its closing scenes for CBS on June 23, 2010. The finale, which has a dramatic plot, broadcast on the network on September 17th, 2010. Reruns of The Young and the Restless, Let’s Make a Deal, and The Price is Right took over the slot of As the World Turns for four weeks between September 20th and October 15th, 2010.

On October 18, 2010, As the World Turns was replaced with The Chat, a new talk show.

Soap Operas were forever changed by The Edge of Night and As the World Turns.
Soap operas are no longer solely about ratings, as they once were. The high quantity of movies and films, as well as people working throughout the day, may be to blame. While soap operas are an ancient TV drama form, TV shows never fail to attract an audience. The trend is clear: people are less interested in soap operas than in reality programming.

People followed and tuned in obsessively when radio soap operas premiered. Those were the days when soap opera episodes were only 15 minutes long. They used to make the plot drag on. However, shows like The Edge of Night and As the World Turns completely transformed the soap opera landscape.

These shows increased viewer interest in serials and plotlines by running thirty-minute episodes. It was also the first soap opera to have a two-family structure. The tale of ATWT was about a middle-class family, and while the plot was plodding, it was emotionally deep.

History and Achievements of Note

The show debuted on the network on April 2, 1956, and was one of the first thirty-minute daytime dramas, changing the perception of soap operas. All previous daytime dramas on television were just half as long. Furthermore, ATWT was one of CBS’s earliest expansions. In 1975, CBS increased the show’s duration to one hour.By 1958, As the World Turns was the most well-known daytime drama in the United States, a position it held until 1978. Furthermore, As the World Turns has won Daytime Emmy Awards in 1987, 1991, 2001, and 2003. It took home the award for Best Daytime Drama Series.


In 2007, Leah Laiman, Courtney Simon, Lisa Connor, Hogan Sheffer, Bettina Bradbury, Susan Dansby, Josh Griffith, Melissa Salmons, Jean Passanante, Christopher Whitesell, Anna Cascio, Paula Cwikly, Judy Tate, Richard Culliton, Judith Donato, Elizabeth Page, and Charlotte Gibson won Writers Guild of America Awards for Best Daytime Serial.

Furthermore, As the World Turns has won a total of 43 Daytime Emmy Awards. In 1999, it shared the award for Outstanding Original Song with General Hospital. In 2010, As the World Turns was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Daily Drama at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.

What Happened to As the World Turns?

The underlying reason for the cancellation of ‘As the World Turns’ was a persistent drop in the show’s ratings. The women who would be at home while their husbands worked were the major target of these brief afternoon dramas. However, as time passed, things changed, and women began to work and advance in their occupations. As a result, ATWT’s viewership dropped, and the show was eventually cancelled in 2010. Furthermore, just a few daytime soap periods remained due to the cultural shift. The changing culture of women going to work had an impact on the popularity of various soap operas.


As the World Turns was one of the most popular and profitable soap operas of its age. It was able to keep its audience interested for almost fifty years. It is fair to argue that ATWT altered the perception of soap operas by presenting a longer and more complex plot.

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