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As The World Turns Articles Pages

ATWT Opinion Article

By Suzanne
3/3/10

Why is As The World Turns being canceled? I'm sure there are a number of factors, but the main one is that it gets poor ratings and poor demographics. The ratings for all of the soaps are down, but they have been in the bottom for a number of years. After Guiding Light was canceled, it was almost inevitable that ATWT would be next. Demographics refer to what age group watch the show. CBS soap viewers tend to be older than the desired demographic of 18-49. This probably means that the show is not getting any new viewers, only the same ones it's had for the past 30 years (only much less, which means it lost regular viewers as well).

Soap ratings are falling for a number of reason, too. I believe one reason is that viewers expect more than they used to, and the writers and producers of the shows have not risen to those expectations. In other words, the shows suck. They used to always suck, but even soap viewers won't watch them any more because they don't watch to watch shows that suck any more (and they have better things to do now more -more choices of what to do with their time).

If you look at primetime TV, it is way better than it used to be. Shows are more complex and faster-paced, stories are better, acting is better, and the writers take more chances with the material (especially on cable). Daytime TV has simply not kept up.

I was not a long-time fan of ATWT. I watched it a few years ago. It has some characters I like, but the way the writers make them act is either really annoying or boring. They have tons of older characters that they barely even use, like Nancy, Lisa, Emma, et al. (when they're not firing them, like they did with John Dixon). They only trot them out for special occasions. This is not why their demographics are bad, however. Soap viewers like to see people of all ages, not just young people like Luke, Alison and Casey. If they truly used their older actors in integrated stories, they would see their ratings improve.

Their stories are often really stupid (remember Gwen's annoying twin, or Jade the first time around? Or the summer camp stalker storyline?), or they keep ripping couples apart so much that no one cares any more (like Paul and Meg, and Lily and Holden, and Jack and Carly). Good writers can create tension and conflict in a storyline without having couples just cheat on each other all the time. Look at the show "Medium" for example. The wife and husband in that show have been married and together the whole time, and not once did they cheat on each other or get divorced. Yet the show is exciting, and their relationship is one of the best on TV. Why can't soaps do that?

When ATWT is not being irritating, they make really boring shows. That is the worst thing a TV show can be. Rather to be stupid or irritating than boring. You don't want viewers falling asleep while they are watching.

Casting is another reason. They have done a good job with a few roles over the years (such as Janet and Libby), but they more often than not cast really boring actors, especially in the younger roles. Or when they do get a good one, like the gorgeous Agim Kaba, they don't use the actor in an interesting story. I'm not saying he's the best actor around, but he did learn to act and got way better, and then they just didn't have anything for him to do. They have had a slew of forgettable young actors join the show, but still the writers don't give them anything interesting to do, even when the casting is not so bad. They use the same stories, recycled over and over again. They did have some good actors with the first Casey, and Gwen, and Will, but they all left. I know it's hard to keep young actors around for long, but even when they had these people, they wasted them on bad stories. You can't tell me there are many out of work and talented actors out there that they could cast.

Look at LUke and Noah. They are very popular, and yet they get very little screen time. When they are on screen, they only argue. We rarely get to seem them happy or romantic. The writers forget that you have to not just have conflict. In soaps, we need some happiness, some romance, some family time.

In some ways, the stories in the 80's and 90's were more creative. They may have had some really weird ideas, like time traveling, cloning, or space aliens, or vampires, but at least they were trying. If they went the other way and tried to be very realistic, that would be great, too. But they don't do that. Instead, they are just stuck in this weird, boring limbo of retreads. They need to bring in fresh writers with fresh ideas before all of the soaps end up canceled like ATWT.

I'm not saying ATWT is the worst show on TV, or even the worst soap, but it's pretty clear that the people in charge of it, or in charge of CBS daytime, have done nothing to help it. They need to balance out all of the characters with multi-generational, complex, realistic and yet creative stories, with good acting. Why else would anyone want to tune in? People watch TV to be entertained, to be surprised, shocked, intrigued, and made to laugh and cry. We want to see what happens next. We don't want to fall asleep or dread what happens next, asking ourselves why we bother to tune in.

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

Page updated 11/17/10

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