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As My Stomach Turns- Thoughts on ATWT's demise!

newatwtlogo2-croppedI wanted to give it a few days to sink in before I sat down and posted the newest entry in Michael’s Blog, since the cancellation notice was handed down to As the World Turns.  When the news broke earlier this week, I was in a state of shock.  Not that the show wasn’t in danger as the next soap to go on the chopping block, but that it happened at this time.  After speaking with ATWT’s publicity team, it apparently took them by surprise as well.  They had only known for a few days and for some not till the day the axe fell.

fultonAs the World Turns was the very first soap I ever watched (so we can all blame my lifelong soap obsession because of it).   It was my mother whose then favorite show revolved around Lisa Shea, Penny, Dr. Bob Hughes, Chris and Nancy Hughes, and Ellen and David Stewart.   So she would be watching, and somehow I got sucked into Oakdale. I can still remember Ethel Remey’s, Alma Miller, mother to troublemaker Lisa, who when her daughter would do something obnoxious would yelp, “Well, Lisa!”   Later came the likes of Carol and Jay Stallings, Grant and Joyce Coleman (remember Barbara Rodell?) and a young, Judith Chapman as evil Natalie Bannon.

But perhaps the greatest ATWT actor to come along (and who made every storyline work and all so effortlessly) was Larry Bryggman as Dr. John Dixon, Bob Hughes’s mortal enemy.  I also will never forget Henderson Forsyth who was terrific as David Stewart, and then all of a sudden was the lead in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas on Broadway!   At that time, I remember thinking, “Wow, soap actors do Broadway, too?”  Of course later came Gillian Spencer and Kathryn Hays as Jennifer and Kim, respectively, and Colleen Zenk Pinter (our Babs) and I could go on and on.   At one time the show (at the height of its popularity) was being spoofed by Carol Burnett every week on her variety show in a ditty called, “As the Stomach Turns”.   I loved the parody on soaps; gazing long looks into the camera… and the organ music!

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230px-Hugheses1980The show did experience another renaissance when Douglas Marland revitalized Oakdale and wrote some incredible storylines involving Julianne Moore as Frannie/Sabrina, and the Doug Cummings murder, etc.   And he gave us Lily Snyder… and the soap world was introduced to a young Martha Byrne who for decades would be the show’s moral center and most beloved character.   Along with Byrne came the casting of a well regarded Emmy winning soap actress Elizabeth Hubbard (Lucinda) who can make reading the phone book sound interesting.  It was through Marland that soaps and ATWT got their first gay male character in Hank, even though it was too short lived… but for its time, a step ahead.

Of course, as happened with Guiding Light, the show was on a tremendous groundswell at the time of its cancellation with outstanding and complex performances. Over the past few months we have seen interesting stories that have featured current cast members Michael Park, Terri Colombino, Julie Pinson, Maura West, Trent Dawson, Jon Hensley, Noelle Beck and Van Hansis, etc.

Elizabeth Hubbard, Jon Hensley, Martha ByrneI believe P&G and CBS thought that in lieu of the bad taste that was left in everyone’s mouth this past April when Guiding Light was given the heave-ho, and only six months to finish up, that they perhaps wanted to handle this news a bit differently.  Well, at least ATWT got nine months… a little more time for actors, crew and production people to look for other work, or figure out what the next step in their lives would be. It’s still crummy.

Many of you read the statement by Jim Romanovich in regards to if there were to be a tribute for ATWT at next year’s Daytime Emmys.  And as the person who handled the Guiding Light tribute for the broadcast, I would hope that with cooperation from P&G and ATWT that a beautiful tribute package could be made, and that this time, the powers-that-be would learn from their ways and give the soap and the fans it’s just due.

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Jake Silbermann, Van HansisAm I sad?  Yes.  Very.  Look around us. Soaps are becoming extinct!  We will be down to six. I pray to God, I won’t be saying “down to five” come spring if One Life to Live (with all the rumors circulating) is next.   It was so odd to hear Ellen Wheeler being named a director for ATWT and then have it be cancelled a few days later.  Will she be spearheading their exit from television as she did with GL?  What is this saying?  That she knows how to handle a demise of a show?

And before I end, I have to address Luke and Noah, who without a doubt had become the most popular couple in Oakdale.   How nice it was that a few years ago, that a soap incorporated a young gay male couple finding each other and a romance… something that had previously not been seen on daytime.  Through all the good and the bad; the missteps, the lack of airtime, bedtime, kissing time, it still captivated for a time, the consciousness of an audience whose lives were not represented.   As Guiding Light, its sister soap, had done with Otalia, it started something that needed to be continued, and thus media magnet, Crystal Chapell decided to take matters in to her own hands.  Maybe now it’s the boys turn.  Is the male Venice just around the corner starring Van and Jake?

As the World Turns goes into its final rotation from daytime to darkness now till September 2010. It will be interesting to see if people tune-in with a big publicity push as Guiding Light had done for its finale, or if knowing so far in advance that their story is ending, if viewers will just keep tuning-out.

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Doe
Doe

I am so sorry to see another soap bite the dust. Is the writing on the wall for the rest of them? We can only hope not. I have watched ATWT for many, many years. In fact too many to mention. So, I have an allegiance to it, for all the times in made me feel better or got me through the day. I am not ashamed to say it! So, farewell ATWT and thanks for introducing me to soaps.

Alexandra
Alexandra

I only got into this show back in August, and it kills me that this can go by the wayside while dreck like All My Children still airs. I am especially disappointed because, while there have been many missteps along the way, the Luke and Noah storyline has been so beautiful. I hope to see more of Van Hansis in particular in the future.

Joss
Joss

Well said. Do you think there’s any hope that another network might pick it up?

navygirl
navygirl

With the cancellation of two major long-running shows, the writing on the wall is obvious for the rest of daytime drama. Those actors better start looking for work now rather than stay on a sinking ship. It’s sad for both the actors and their audiences. What a shame.

Betsy Knapp
Betsy Knapp

Years ago, I had an elderly “aunt”, really a family friend but was called “aunt” out of respect and love. Each day, when As The World Turns aired, she would sit in her rocker, with a cup of coffee and a snack or two on a small table at her side. Her sister, who was still in the workforce, came home one day, having forgotten one thing or another. “Sissy,” she called out as she usually did. My “aunt” didn’t answer. Her eyes were closed. A smile was on her face. She had made her journey into the light, watching the thing she loved most, “As The World Turns”.

Sophie
Sophie

There is a facebook group to support the show:
We won’t give up on As the world turns !
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=197554995905

Barbara
Barbara

I grew up watching this show as a little girl and have continued to watch it my entire life, as well as Guiding Light. It broke my heart for Guiding Light to end and again with As the World Turns draws to an end. I do not understand the reason for either show to stop. Do you know why? Isn’t there anything that can be done to stop this from happening??? I am now 60 and I had assumed I would watch those shows for the rest of my life. It is truly like a death in the family. On the days I am able and at home — it is so sad to me to not be able to enjoy something that I have watched for 40+ years. My parents are gone now and it was a comfort to me to enjoy the same shows that I had watched with them.

Mike
Mike

I can’t help but wonder…GL gets cancelled, now ATWT, with OLTL reportedly getting nearer the chopping block. What’s the one common thread between all three of these soaps? They all have gay characters. I’m not trying to be an alarmist or foster any kind of paranoia – it’s probably a coincidence, but something to think about…

Glen
Glen

So sorry that this show is ending. I watched Another World for many years so know how it feels to lose a show you watch daily, where you know the characters in and out, that you have invested so much time in through good stories and bad.

After AW ended I started tuning into ATWT and have watched off and on for 10 years. It’s sad that a 54 year old show will be ending and what’s even more sad is that overall, network audiences have dropped for all soaps. It seems more people are interested in trashy daytime television and talk shows like Jerry Springer than continuing daytime dramas.

But, it seems like audiences are down for nighttime shows as well. A hit show 20 years ago had a way higher audience than most primetime shows today.

It would be nice if another network would take a chance and try to rebuild their daytime soap lineup, adding ATWT.

HAVA
HAVA

Van Hansis is a talented actor and I’ll miss him very much!

As The World Turns

Final Season of ‘EastSiders’ Starring Kit Williamson and Van Hansis Gets Premiere Date on Netflix

The fourth and final season of the much heralded LGBTQ series, EastSiders now has a premiere date of December 1st on Netflix, and fans of the show will see how things will play out for the Silver Lake duo of Cal  and Thom, who have gone through quite a lot in their relationship over the last three seasons.

EastSiders stars series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Thom).  The last six-episodes that comprise season four will tackle questions such as… what does commitment really look like in a long-term relationship? And what unique challenges does a “gay marriage” present?

In story, Cal and Thom are back home in Los Angeles following season three’s cross-country road trip.  The guys are still trying to figure out if they are just best friends with benefits, or more, or less, than that.

Elsewhere, Douglas (Willam Belli) and Quincy (Stephen Guarino) are engaged to be married, but with very different ideas about what a gay wedding should be. Hillary (Brianna Brown) and Ian (John Halbach) are cohabiting peacefully; and Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon) and Derrick (Leith M. Burke) have taken a huge step in their relationship by fostering a child.

Deadline broke the news of the premiere date and the many special guest stars from primetime and more to look forward to this season.

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Final Season of 'EastSiders' Starring Kit Williamson and Van Hansis Gets Premiere Date on Netflix

Will you be watching the final season of EastSiders? If you follow the series, how do you hope the relationship between Cal and Thom resolves itself? Do they stay together, or move on from each other once and for all? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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As The World Turns

Emmy Winner and Noted Soap Opera Head Writer; Hogan Sheffer Passes Away At 61

Over the last several hours, reports have broke that one of daytime’s most notable scribes has died.  Hogan Sheffer, who was head writer at As the World Turns, Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless has passed away at the age of 61.

Soap Hub, first reported the news via multiple sources, however, many writers who worked with Hogan during his tenure on the soaps have taken to social media to share their condolences and their grief and remembrances.

Sheffer’s appearance on the soap scene was unexpected, especially in a genre where it is often rare for new blood to take the reins at the head writer position.  Proctor & Gamble had decided to bring in Hogan after his work as the Director of Screenplay Development for DreamWorks, not because of his writing credits for a previous network soap.  He was given trial deal as a breakdown writer for the CBS soap and 10-weeks in became the beloved town of Oakdale’s new head writer.

Hogan and his then writing team were able to turn the classic, As the World Turns around.  The show went up in the ratings and during his time with the series ‘World Turn’s’ won two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, and he and the writing team picked up four Emmy victories all through 2000-2004.

Photo: JPI

Next, Sheffer landed in Salem as head writer of Days of our Lives along with Meg Kelly from 2006 through to the beginning of 2008.   He would later join The Young and the Restless and team up with then head writers: Maria Arena Bell and Scott Hamner, and eventually stay with the show till 2012.  During Sheffer’s time in Genoa City, Y&R also won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in 2011.

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On Sunday, former WWE and daytime writer Tom Casiello, who was extremely close with Sheffer…  and who shared how Hogan gave him his start at writing in daytime, took to his Facebook page to pay tribute to a man who had such an impact on his life and many others.  It is worth the read here. 

Y&R writer, Sara Bibel tweeted: “Hogan Sheffer was a gamechanger for ATWT and daytime. Everyone I know who worked with him adored him. RIP”

And, iconic ATWT star, Martha Byrne (Ex-Lily) tweeted on Sheffer’s passing: “To say he was one of a kind would be a tremendous understatement. Our years at ATWT with Hogan at the helm were a rebirth for our beautiful show. Loved his writers, actors,crew. Blessed to have him on the first floor in Brooklyn ready to listen. Talented. Funny. Generous. RIP”

Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) also took to Twitter upon learning of the passing of Sheffer sharing: “I loved him, loved him, loved him… he was so good to me. Thank you for everything, Hogan. You were so loved. Especially, by me… Rest in peace…”

Michael Fairman TV will continue to bring you updates as the soap world mourns the loss of a creative force in our genre.  Share your condolences and thoughts on the death of Hogan Sheffer via the comment section below.

 

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All My Children

FRIDAY: ATWT’s Larry Bryggman and AMC’s Dorothy Lyman Guest Star On ‘The Blacklist’

Two of the most revered performances ever in the world of daytime drama will be seen tomorrow night on an all-new episode of NBC’s drama series, The Blacklist. (10/9c).

In “The Pawnbrokers”, Daytime Emmy winners, Larry Bryggman (Ex-John Dixon, As the World Turns) and Dorothy Lyman (Ex-Opal Gardner, All My Children) will be seen as a criminal duo!

Bryggman and Lyman play a couple that fronts cash to criminals on the black market. In story, series star, James Spader’s Red acclimates himself to his new digs in federal prison, where he is challenged by an old rival.  Samar (Mozhan Marnò) goes undercover to stop a black market organization that fronts cash to criminals. (Enter Larry and Dorothy!)  And, Liz (Megan Boone) and Jennifer (guest star Fiona Dourif) continue their investigation into Red’s past.

Check out the promo for tomorrow night’s episode below.   Then let us know if you will be checking out Larry and Dorothy and if all of this brings back memories of their amazing performances in Oakdale and in Pine Valley in the comment section below.

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