Les Moonves. President and CEO of CBS Broadcasting Corporation appeared on CNBC today with an interview with David Faber whose mother-in-law is the wonderful Marie Masters ( Susan ATWT), who has been on the soaps for decades. Moonves, when asked by Faber of today’s cancellation announcement of the soon to be 54 year old soap, said: “Well, you know what? The days of the soap opera have changed a lot. Guiding Light left us last year and As the World Turns will this year. You know what? They’ve had long and distinguished runs and their day… is… over!”
For more on Faber’s ’foot-in-his-mouth’ gem, check out Gawker.com’s analysis of the interview with Moonves!
Later, in a article out in the New York Times, Moonves was quoted as saying, “Is it the end of an era? Sort of. Only the special soaps are going to survive. It’s certainly the end of the client-owned soap.” He added, “All good things come to an end, whether it’s after 72 years or 54 years or 10 years. It’s a different time and a different business.”
It was reported that CBS informed Procter & Gamble of the cancellation “a couple of days ago,” according to Jeannie Tharrington, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble.
“It’s a part of our business that we will miss, and it’ll be hard for us to say goodbye to the show,” Ms. Tharrington said. Proctor & Gamble said it would try to find a new home for the series. Given the current economic climate, though, that is considered unlikely.
As the World Turns had the longest-running continuing character in television history — the family matriarch Nancy Hughes, played by Helen Wagner, now 91. Despite the conservative reputation of many Procter & Gamble soaps, the show featured a male couple, Noah and Luke, and the first gay kiss on daytime television.
However, its audience, which exceeded six million viewers a week in the 1990s, has drawn less than 2.5 million so far this season, the Nielsen Company said. And the younger adult women viewers, which are favored by most advertisers, had shrunk even more.