On December 8, 2009, CBS announced that its current longest running soap opera “As the World Turns” will end sometime in September,2010. Though it is common knowledge that the soap opera genre has been struggling for survival for sometime now, it is unfortunate that ATWT has become the latest casuality. When “Guiding Light” ended in September of 2009, it was no longer the quality of show that it had once been. The way that it was filmed during its last few years on the air was enough to make anyone see that GL had run its course and was hobbling to the finish line. ATWT is in a different place right now than “Guiding Light” was and could conceivably run for many years to come if given the opportunity . While it has been reported that Proctor & Gamble’s production company TeleNext Media which produces “As the World Turns” is actively looking for a new home for the soap, the chances of that actually happening right now seem to be slim to none.
There are a few things that could be done to save soap operas in general. One of the best solutions would be to cut all of the current hour-long soaps down to only a half an hour. As of right now, the only current soap that is a half hour is “The Bold and the Beautiful”. From the early days of television to the 1970’s, most soaps were only half hour shows. It might be worth going back to this if for no other reason than it being less expensive to produce a half hour show for five weekdays rather than an hour show for five weekdays. There is no reason why storylines cannot be fit into these time constraints and in some instances it might actually make the soap opera viewing experience more fulfilling. This seems better than simply canceling a show that has been on the air for 54 years.
Another solution would be to show one (possibly two) shows one or two days of the week and then show another show the other days of the week. This would make cliffhangers more suspenseful as fans would have to wait longer than just a weekends worth of time to find out what happens next. It would also possibly make the casual soap viewer become more of regular soap view because it would less time-consuming. Remember, if someone is a regular viewer of even one of the hour-long soaps, that is five hours of their time per week. While that may not seem like much to some, to others it is time that they just do not have.
In general, the reason that daytime soap opera is dying is because it has not done enough to change with the times. If one believes that the reason for decline in viewership is due to more women being in the work force, make it easier and more appealing for those women to continuing watching. Regardless of this though, “As the World Turns” should not be canceled. Anyone out there who shares this feeling, can click on the following links for information on how to help save ATWT for future generations of viewers to enjoy. Please keep in mind that this may make no difference in the end, but its better than doing nothing.