December 24, 2009By Joe Diliberto Posted: Dec 24, 2009
Wow, 2009 was one hell of a year for soaps — and not in a good way.
Leaving aside the budget slashing and contract hassles, we lost an entire series, GUIDING LIGHT, back in September. And while that was bad enough, it was particularly painful because GL had undergone such a creative renaissance that it was clearly the best soap on the air when its light was actually snuffed on Sept. 18. So sad. And now comes word that AS THE WORLD TURNS will also come to an end — next September. As luck would have it, ATWT is currently on the creative upswing, and the only conceivable positive spin I can see coming out of the cancellation is the hope that ATWT will follow in the footsteps of its late sister show and go out in a blaze of glory. Freed of worrying about pandering to demographics, the-powers-that-be at GL cut loose and told entertaining, fun stories about people and families. You fans can make a difference, too: Write to all the networks and tell them you watch soaps, and that you matter, even if you don't have one of those Nielsen boxes. And take heed, ATWT: Make CBS sorry it discarded you!
As I stand on the brink of 2010, I hope the rest of the soaps can hold on — not just for another year, but for another few decades. The TV landscape needs more shows like ATWT (and yes, GL), not fewer. Judging a show strictly by the Nielsen ratings system is short-sighted and does not reflect the entertainment world of 2010. I hope the networks can be persuaded to understand this, and soaps can be pulled back from the precipice.
Happy New Year (I hope!)