As The World Turns’ last episode was a heavily anticipated event. Yesterday, the As The World Turns last episode finally aired, bringing the long-running soap to an end. The episode brought an end to 54 years of drama at Oakdale, Illinois, in the latest blow to the soap opera genre. The struggling industry already lost one long-time hit last year, and now another one has gone by the wayside. After the As The World Turns last episode, another group of soap fans is deep in mourning, just as Guiding Light fans still are.
The venerable soap opera was canceled in late 2009, but didn’t officially come to an end until yesterday. The last adventures of Dr. Bob Hughes, Barbra, Paul, Chris, Katie and more were brought to a close, although the hole in fans’ hearts may not go away as easily.
Before the last episode, As The World Turns ratings had been declining, which aided the decision to cancel it. Of course, the entire soap opera genre has faced sagging ratings, leaving its future in jeopardy. After yesterday, the slump officially claimed two legendary shows.
Today is the one year anniversary of Guiding Light’s final show. It is fitting that the As The World Turns last episode came at around the same time, since it and Guiding Light were both created by Irna Phillips. World was created as a sister show to Light, and now they are both gone at about the same time.
With the As The World Turns last episode over, Procter and Gamble is now out of the soap opera business. It produced both this show and Guiding Light, which had the two longest runs in soap opera history. Now that both of these institutions are finished, nothing is safe in the world of soaps – which can’t just come back to life like its characters can.
CBS now has just two soaps left, in Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful.World’s time slot will soon be filled by CBS’s new talk show, The Talk, premiering on October 18. Yet no matter how successful it might be, it likely won’t last for 54 years.
This show was the most successful soap on TV for a full 20 years, from 1958 to 1978. It provided the first look at stars like Julianne Moore, Meg Ryan and Marisa Tomei, and was among the first soap serials to be 30 minutes long. But with the As The World Turns last episode, that history has come to a close.
Fittingly, As The World Turns’ last episode ended with Dr. Bob, who has been around for the entire ride. As he and his show turned out the lights for the last time, soap fans hope it is the last goodbye for a while.
TV Series Finale- “As the World Turns last episode (video)”
Victoria Advocate- “The day the world stopped turning”
All Voices- “After 54 Years, As The World Turns Says Goodbye”