CBS Cancels “As the World Turns”

Posted in News with tags on December 8, 2009 by Jeff

It’s been a while since I’ve written here, but not much has been going on. A year after my “return to soap viewing” only one soap, The Young and the Restless, has managed to keep my attention as a regular viewer – and the last month has found me fast forwarding through much of that.

Today it was announced that CBS has canceled As the World Turns – a television program that is synonymous with the term “soap opera.”  While Guiding Light was the grande dame of soaps, As the World Turns was the show that first drew attention to the entire genre. For years, it was the show every soap aspired to be.  From Carol Burnett’s send up called As the Stomach Churns to  “the show everyone was watching when they learned President Kennedy had been shot” – just about everyone who’s ever owned a television set has heard of As the World Turns. Ironically, CBS informed Proctor & Gamble of their decision on Friday – the same day that Dr. Malcolm Perry (the first doctor who attended to President Kennedy after he was shot) passed away. I guess that’s somehow fitting.

As the World Turns, like all soaps, has had ups and downs.  But I will always remember those magical Douglas Marland years of 1985 through 1993 when watching As the World Turns was like visiting family and friends. I haven’t watched the show since I sampled it a year ago, but I’ll tune in next September to say goodbye to Bob and Kim, to Nancy, to Lisa, to Tom and Margo, to Lucinda, to Holden, to Emma, and all the other familiar faces from my favorite years in Oakdale.

Until then, I’ll post occassional memories and clips of the show as some sort of tribute to the legend that is As the World Turns.

Emmy Nominations

Posted in News with tags on May 14, 2009 by Jeff

emmyThe initial major nominations for the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were announced this morning on the fourth hour of Today with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford.  Jessica Shaw, Entertainment Weekly‘s senior writer, announced the nominees.

Outstanding Daytime Drama Series: All My Children (ABC); The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS); Days of Our Lives (NBC)

Outstanding Actress: Jeanne Cooper (The Young and the Restless, CBS);  Susan Flannery (The Bold and the Beautiful, CBS); Susan Haskell (One Life to Live, ABC); Debbi Morgan (All My Children, ABC); Maura West (As the World Turns, CBS)

Outstanding Actor: Daniel Cosgrove (Guiding Light, CBS); Anthony Geary (General Hospital, ABC); Thorsten Kaye (All My Children, ABC); Christian J. LeBlanc (The Young and the Restless, CBS); Peter Reckell (Days of Our Lives, NBC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress: Tamara Braun (Days of Our Lives, NBC); Melissa Claire Egan (All My Children, ABC); Alicia Mishew (All My Children, ABC); Julie Pinson (As the World Turns, CBS); Bree Williamson (One Life to Live, ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor: Bradford Anderson (General Hospital, ABC); Jeff Branson (Guiding Light, CBS); Van Hansis (As the World Turns, CBS); Vincent Irrizary (All My Children, ABC); Jacob Young (All My Children, ABC)

Outstanding Writing Team: All My Children (ABC); The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS); General Hospital (ABC);  One Life to Live (ABC)

Outstanding Directing Team: All My Children (ABC); Days of Our Lives (NBC); One Life to Live (ABC)

THE GOOD: It’s nice to see Peter Reckell recognized after so many years in daytime.  Julie Pinson and Melissa Claire Egan were both stand-outs this year, and it’s refreshing to see them on the list.

THE BAD: No Judith Chapman? No Gina Tognoni? No Kim Zimmer? No Crystal Chappel? No Ted Shackelford?

THE UGLY: I don’t mean to put a damper on many of the well-deserved nominations, however, it must be asked:

Is the Academy so angry with CBS for deciding not to air the awards that they snubbed The Young and the Restless? Y&R, clearly the best drama on daytime television, wasn’t nominated for best series, best writing, or best directing and only has a handful of acting nominees. This is simply bizarre. And that, my friends, is just another example of why the Emmys lose respect, ratings, and prestige year after year.

Maybe next year the show won’t be aired at all. Maybe next year some of the daytime bloggers will unite and create a fair and unbiased new award to honor the best in daytime.

We can only hope.

Remembering Santa Barbara (Premiere Episode Included)

Posted in Gone Too Soon on May 12, 2009 by Jeff

santa_barbara_aAfter cancelling both Texas and The Doctors at the end of 1982, NBC decided to start another soap.  The network turned to Bridget and Jerome Dobson, who had done great work on both Guiding Light and As the World Turns.  The Dobsons created a soap that both sweeping and satirical, and managed to effortlessly balance romance and humor.  Santa Barbara started off with a five year old murder mystery (which took several more years to solve) and starred a young Robin Wright.  

It was, however, the pairing of Marcy Walker (Eden) and A Martinez (Cruz) that made Santa Barbara soar in popularity.  For most of the show’s run, the love story of Cruz and Eden played out on the front burner.  Other fan favorites included Nancy Lee Grahn and Lane Davies as Julia and Mason; Nicolas Coster and Louise Sorel as Lionel and Augusta Lockridge; and Robin Mattson and Justin Deas as the villainous  Gina and Keith.  The show won cartloads of Emmys and was a ratings sensation in Europe, but never earned decent ratings in the United States.  

In the late 1980’s, the Dobsons were notoriously locked out of their offices and replaced by head writer Ann Howard Bailey and executive procuder Jill Farren Phelps.  After many changes in writers and producers, the show started to balance out again with headwriter Pam Long and executive producer Paul Rauch.  Unfortunately, NBC pulled the plug on the show and Santa Barbara last aired on January 15, 1993.

In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the show’s debut, here is the premiere episode of Santa Barbara:

 

Texas: How it Ended

Posted in Gone Too Soon with tags on May 1, 2009 by Jeff

December 31, 1982

Remembering Texas

Posted in Gone Too Soon with tags on April 27, 2009 by Jeff

texasNBC’s Another World scored impressive ratings for much of the 1970’s.  The show was second only to CBS’s blockbuster As the World Turns, and it actually tied for the top spot on occasion.  By 1978, both NBC and CBS saw their daytime ratings cool as ABC’s wildly successful “Love in the Afternoon” lineup was on the rise.  Another World slipped from second place to eight; and NBC decided to expand the soap to ninety minutes in an effort to boost ratings.  The experiment failed, and NBC wanted a new soap to air after the sixty minute version of Another World.  Paul Rauch, who was AW‘s producer at the time, worked with with Joyce and John William Corrington, who had just wrapped up a well-received stint on Search for Tomorrow, to create Reunion. Reunion was set in South the years after the civil war.  NBC balked at airing a costume drama opposite General Hospital, which by then was the highest rated soap on the air.  Rauch and the Corringtons went back to the drawing board, and came up with a spin-off of Another World.  With Dallas being the hot new primetime drama at the time, Rauch and the Corringtons decided to set their new soap in Houston, and make the soap about wealthy oil barons and their families.  To get Another World viewers to stay on for the new show, Rauch hired Beverlee McKinsey to move her AW character, Iris, from Bay City to Houston.  

And that is where the problems started.  While the late Beverlee McKinsey is widely recognized as one of the best actresses in daytime, Iris was a villain. How do you create an entire show around someone the audience is supposed to root against?  And that is where the problem continued.  The show quickly dismantled ever nuance of the troubled, insecure, spoiled Iris that was lovingly written for years by AW‘s legendary writer Harding Lemay, and turned her into a leading lady who was reunited with her long lost love.  Other stories focused on Arab royal families, a Vietnam vet who had been presumed dead, and a middle aged doctor having an affair with a younger doctor.  Texas hired GH‘s Kin Shriner, who had been the odd man out in the Luke/Laura/Scotty triangle, hoping to get some GH fans to tune in. However, the show introduced Shriner’s character as suffering from a severe heart condition.  Teenage girls who swooned over GH‘s Scotty Baldwin didn’t exactly fantasize about his Texas character, who might keel over at any given minute.  

The ratings tanked, Beverlee McKinsey chose not to renew her contract, and Gail Kobe came on board as executive producer.  Kobe quickly sped up the pace of the show, introduced new younger characters, and paired Carla Borelli, who played spitfire Reena Bellman, with daytime veteran Donald May as Grant Wheeler.  Later in the run, actress Pam Long (who played Ashley Linden) began writing the show.  Long wrote old fashioned love stories with a lot of heart, and ratings slowly began to perk up.  

Sadly, Texas was canceled by NBC and last aired on Decemeber 31, 1982.

New Category

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2009 by Jeff

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be adding a new category called “Gone Too Soon.”  GTS will focus on great soap s, that unlike Guiding Light, didn’t have a long run. Check it out starting tomorow.

Guiding Light: Remember When Beth Loved Lujack

Posted in Remember When with tags on April 24, 2009 by Jeff

July 1984: Beth loves Lujack, but Phillip is never really out of the picture.