As the World Turns

As the World Turns (ATWT) is an American television soap opera that airs each weekday on CBS.

Set in the fictional town of Oakdale, Illinois, the show debuted on Monday, April 2, 1956 at 1:30pm EST. Before this show (and The Edge of Night, which premiered at 4:30pm EST on the same day), all soaps were fifteen minutes in length; ATWT was the first half-hour serial.

At first, viewers did not respond to the new half-hour serial, but ratings picked up in its second year, eventually reaching the top spot in the daytime Nielsen Ratings by the fall of 1958. In 1959, the show started a streak of weekly ratings wins that would not be interrupted for over twelve years. In the year-to-date ratings, As the World Turns was the most-watched daytime drama from 1958 until 1978, with ten million viewers tuning in each day. At its height, core actors such as Helen Wagner, Don MacLaughlin, Don Hastings, and Eileen Fulton became nationally known.

The show was switched direct and connect from live (with kinescopes for the coast) on Monday, February 13, 1967, and went to color the next Monday. The show expanded from a half-hour in length to one hour starting on December 1 1975.

April 2 2006 was the 50th anniversary of the soap opera on CBS. The show aired its 13,000th episode April 23, 2007; the 10,000th episode aired on May 12 1995. As the World Turns is notable for having been taped in New York City for all of its 52 years on television (43 years in Manhattan and nine years in Brooklyn).


As the World Turns was the creation of Irna Phillips who, beginning in the 1930s, had been one of the foremost creators and writers of radio soap operas. As a writer, Phillips favored character development and psychological realism over melodrama, and her previous creations (which included Guiding Light) were especially notable for placing professionals - doctors, lawyers, and clergy people - at the center of their storylines. Phillips wrote: "As the world turns, we know the bleakness of winter, the promise of spring, the fullness of summer and the harvest of autumn--the cycle of life is complete."

And so it was with As the World Turns, with its slow-moving psychological character studies of families headed by legal and medical professionals. The personal and professional lives of doctors and lawyers would remain central to As The World Turns throughout its run, and would eventually become standard fare on all soap operas. Whereas the 15-minute radio soaps often focused on one central, heroic character (for example, Dr. Jim Brent in Phillips' Road of Life), the expanded 30-minute format of As The World Turns enabled Phillips to introduce a handful of professionals within the framework of a family saga.

One of Phillips' innovations was to introduce a sort of Greek chorus to the stories. The primary purpose of characters such as Nancy Hughes (Helen Wagner) was to comment on the crises faced and decisions made by the town's more dynamic residents. This technique contributed to the popularity of the show and continues to be widely used in other soap operas.

Phillips' style favored gradual evolution over radical change. Slow, conversational, and emotionally intense, the show moved at the pace of life itself - and sometimes even more slowly than that. Each new addition to the cast was done in a gradual manner, and was usually a key contact to one of the members of the Hughes family. As such, the show got a reputation as being quite conservative (though the show did showcase the first gay male character on American soap operas, in 1988). During the show's early decades, the content-related policies of its sponsor Procter & Gamble Productions may have contributed to the perception of conservatism. The soap-manufacturing giant typically balked at storylines in which adultery and other immoral behavior would go unpunished, and as late as the 1980s characters from the primary families were still generally not allowed to go through with abortions.


As the World Turns premiered on April 2 1956. It was the first television daytime drama with a 30-minute running time; all daytime dramas until then had had 15-minute running times. By 1958, the program was the number one daytime drama in the United States. As the World Turns continues to run to this day on CBS, and has won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series four times (in 1987, 1991, 2001, and 2003.)

History of As the World Turns series:

Title sequences

The show has only changed opening title sequences from the original format five times: in 1981, 1993, 1999, 2002 (with a slight modification of the 2002 visuals redone in 2003), and 2007.

As a testament to the show's unwillingness to change in the early years, the show had the same theme song (an organ tune which transitioned into a pre-recorded version in 1973, composed by Charles Paul (d. 1990)), and opening visual (a globe spinning in space). During the black and white years, the globe was in the distance and to the right of the camera. As the organ played, the camera zoomed in until the globe was centered. The title card faded up and Dan McCollough announced. For the midbreaks and closing, the globe was on center. The visual was not markedly altered during the 1967 transitions.

Color brought some minor changes. The globe was now always on center. The title zoomed out from the middle of the globe. The organ version of the main theme was used over the color visual until 1973. The Charles Paul theme was orchestrated at this time. During the B&W years and color years prior to 1975, Paul played a composition called "Simple Melody" over the midbreak plugs. Possibly after the show expanded to one hour, a solo piano version of the main theme was used. The color update of the black-and-white visual stayed until October 30, 1981. At the time, closing credits were only shown once a week, if that. At least through the late 70's, during the credit crawl, the job title was shown in Lydian typeface, while the person's name was shown in Arial. This changed when the credits were done on a character generator. Now, the credits were all done in Arial. The letters remained white throughout the title sequence run.

The sponsor tags during the black and white and up to the 1981 title changes were hand drawn pictures of the product, or the name of the product superimposed over the globe. On a 1965 closing sequence, the sponsor tag was an actual photo card of the product. This may have been the practice used on credit days. There is only one known surviving B&W episode with a credit crawl. On non-credit days, the superimposure was used. After the 1981 title change, the sponsor tags were actual photos of the products. This was the usual practice used on the P&G shows. This continues to this day. There have been occasions, where a sponsor was to be plugged, that it would not occur until after the title sequence. This was after the show's announcer was eliminated. A CBS announcer would plug the product. EX: AS THE WORLD TURNS is brought to you by (product).

On November 2, 1981, a new synthesized theme song was first heard, with new computer-enhanced visuals. The globe had now been relegated to an O in the word WORLD, with three beams of light reflecting separate ways. The tune was modified in December 1984 and again in September 1988. The globe was on the center of the screen for the closing sequences. From about the late 80's until the end of traditional closing credits, credit crawls were run more frequently. The closing credits remained in Arial typeface until about 1991. The letters were changed to yellow.

On February 3, 1993, the theme song and opening visual was changed again. Barry DeVorzon, famous for composing the theme song of The Young and the Restless, composed the theme song. This time the credits were done by computer specialist group Castle/Bryant/Johnsen. In the visuals, the letters of the title slowly passed by, with the seasons illustrated in picture form inside the letters themselves. When the visual finally got to the O in WORLD, a spinning globe fell into its place and the whole title was zoomed out of focus, to be seen by the audience. In 1995, the closing credits ran over original scenes related to events in that day's episode (for example, if a character was seen in an episode, the credits might show them cleaning a room or playing a piano—things too "boring" to be in the episode itself.) By 1997, however, the credits simply rolled over scenes from that day's episode. The globe was used for closing credits from 1993 until they changed to beauty shots. For a brief period, the globe was used to promote the viewer feedback line. Then they would use the beauty shots for the credit crawl. A credit crawl was ran almost daily, either short or full crawl. This was the last title sequence to use traditional closing credits. The CBS squeeze started while these visuals were in use. The credits looked like the ones used at the end of the 81-93 titles.

The show changed its music and opening again on November 1, 1999. For the first time, cast shots (both solo and group) were seen, accompanied by music. (ATWT had been one of the last soaps to incorporate cast shots into their openings.) The globe was now made up of clips throughout the show's history, not unlike a process first seen in the movie The Truman Show. Internet fans complained that the sound effects in the theme song that accompanied these credits, which was written by David Nichtern and Kevin Bents, sounded too much like "toilet flushing noises." As for the closing credits, no known examples are believed to be available for viewing.

A new sequence, featuring cast clips to a mellower music selection (written by Jamie Lawrence and, again, David Nichtern), debuted on July 8, 2002. The backdrop to complement the actor clips was colored in gold, and was changed to sky blue in November 2003. The music from 2002 remained intact. Several shorter versions of this intro were used from time to time, rotating from day-to-day, featuring different members of the cast in each. In the latter years of the sequence, however, some cast members appeared in more than one sequence. Also, some cast headshots used film (these were most likely headshots carried over from the 1999 to 2002 sequence), while others used videotape, giving inconsistency in the film style for each headshot. In September 2006, a temporary intro was introduced to mark the "Ice Storm" theme of the next few shows. To hear the opening theme, click here There are two versions of closing credits. The globe fades off as the credits run. There is no closing title card, as the background fades up and the crawl runs. The closing logo is the 1993 version, now in white. A video of this may still exist on a popular video sharing website.

A new opening sequence premiered on April 30, 2007. The new opening featured a dramatic, piano-based score, accompanied by shots of the main characters (usually paired up with their storyline counterparts -- e.g. Jack and Carly, Lily and Holden, etc. -- with two characters appearing per shot), and composite images of the characters' histories superimposed over their shots against a gold background. The logo that had been used since 1999 was retired and a new logo was instituted which kept the globe in place of the "O" in "WORLD", but the logo typeface was changed to Helvetica with the "AS THE" in the title aligned to the right instead of the center. A few months later, ATWT debuted another opening, including only the title forming over a black background playing over the previous scene's music, minus the cast montage. It was unknown whether or not it was to be used on days that needs more air time; however, with the departure of several characters featured in the opening credits -- e.g. Will, Gwen, Dusty, and Craig -- the short opening has become permanent. The closing credits, as seen on AOL Video, also start rolling at fade up. The typeface is changed, and the 1993 title card is used.

History of show announcements

Dan McCullough (1956-1982)

From its premiere on April 2, 1956, the show's announcer (and the most remembered of all of ATWT's announcers) was Dan McCullough. His voice-overs were utilized as follows:

  • Opening titles--(B&W) "And now, for the next 30 minutes, As the World Turns, brought to you today by... (sponsor). During the B&W and possibly early color era, there was usually one sponsor plugged. After the show went into color, McCullough said: "And now, presented live for the next thirty minutes (or full hour)... As the World Turns. Brought to you today by"... (sponsor). By 1978, McCullough's opening spiel was simplified to: " As the World Turns. This portion brought to you today by..''"
  • Mid-program break--"The first part of this program has been brought to you today by..." (A surviving 1972 episode used this practice); "This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by..." (Hourlong expansion until 1981), followed by "We'll continue with As the World Turns following station identification" (inception until at least the mid-1970s); "We'll continue with Part II of As the World Turns in just a moment" (mid-1970s until end of the announcer era.)
  • Lead-in to second half--"And now the second half of As the World Turns..., followed by "...brought to you today by..." on days where the second half is officially sponsored. All surviving black and white episodes show evidence that both halves were sponsored. Many times, the midbreak sponsor was not a P&G product.
  • Lead-in to next-to-last commercial break--"We'll return to As the World Turns in just a moment." This practice may have been eliminated after the show went into color, or prior to the hourlong expansion.
  • Closing titles--Black and white, organ color era to possibly the 60 minute expansion: "As the World Turns" has been brought to you today by (sponsors). A plug for fashion providers was done. On credit days, it was done while the crawl rolled. After the hour expansion until the announcer was eliminated, Dan McCullough or Dan Region would say: "This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by..." (on days where the second half is officially sponsored; on days that are not, there would be either no announcement at all or McCullough would invite viewers to "stay tuned" to the next program "on most of these CBS stations"). In many cases, the next program's logo was shown, especially if it was a P&G soap. Until June 1981, Guiding Light's logo was shown as it followed on the CBS schedule. For the last four months of the color globe visuals package, Search for Tomorrow was mentioned instead along with its logo, as at that time SFT made its final time switch at CBS into the 2:30/1:30c slot after ATWT.

McCullough also announced that the program was recorded, after the show switched to videotape in December 1975. This announcement would continue even after P&G added copyrights to the final title card on June 3, 1980, where "This Program Was Recorded" would appear on the last line of the copyright. It would be spoken for the final time on October 30, 1981. On credit days from June 3, 1980 until October 30, 1981, the title logo with copyright information appeared, then the credits rolled. A 1981 episode shows this practice.

McCullough did announce over "The World Turns On and On" title sequences for a short period of time, from their debut on November 2, 1981 until February 1982, when he was retired. The latest aformentioned changes to the opening, mid-bumper and closing announcements remained in place, but there was no longer a display of the next program's logo in the closing credits effective November 2, 1981. In his final months with the show, McCullough would say "Stay tuned for Search for Tomorrow, next on most of these CBS stations" as the first closing display of the ATWT title appeared over the visuals, before the credit carding or scroll. (Subsequently, the copyright notice would now not appear until the end of the credits, under the last display of the title.)

Dan Region (1982-1998)

In February 1982, after almost 26 years with ATWT, McCullough was replaced by a much younger announcer, Dan Region. This is after Mary-Ellis Bunim became executive producer. His announcements were much like Dan McCullough's.

  • Opening titles--"As the World Turns. This portion brought to you today by..." (although beginning in the 1990s, Procter & Gamble began to decrease their sponsorship of the program for some days of the week, even though they themselves were the producers. So, on such days, Region would only announce the title of the program right before the first commercial break.) During the O.J. Simpson trial, the title sequence was shortened.
  • Mid-program break: "This portion of As the World Turns has been brought to you today by (name and description of sponsor). We'll continue with Part II of As the World Turns in just a moment."
  • Lead-in to second half--either "And now Part II of As the World Turns!", or "And now we continue with Part II of As the World Turns!" (the second half from 1981 forward was, for the most part, not officially sponsored, or if it was, it was not a P&G product.)
  • Lead-in to next-to-last commercial break: eliminated possibly after the show expanded to one hour.
  • Closing credits--"Stay tuned for Search for Tomorrow (February 1982-March 26, 1982) Capitol (March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987), or Guiding Light (March 23, 1987 to at least the end of the announcer era.) "next on most of these CBS stations.", or "Join us again tomorrow/Monday for As the World Turns."

After the titles were changed again in 1999, for the first time in the series history (for the most part), ATWT had no official announcer or show announcements, however Martin Bookspan (who had taken over as announcer of Guiding Light) still had to announce the sponsor tags on days where the show was sponsored. Circa 2000, a female announcer would do the tags after the opening titles. Also of note, Barney's of New York frequently provided menswear. Dan McCullough (later, Dan Region) would almost daily plug Barneys during the closing, in addition to other providers. During the Dan Region era, preemptions due to special programming (holidays, or NCAA basketball) were announced over the final logo or during the credit crawl. This practice is shown on the many surviving episodes of the era. Dan McCullough may have also followed this practice. Possibly after the show went into color, or at least by 1972, more than one sponsor was plugged at the opening, midbreak and closing.


Helen Wagner is tied with Mike Wallace as the second oldest personality on television. Both were born in 1918 and rank behind Days of our Lives star Frances Reid (born in 1914). Wagner also holds the world record for appearing the longest amount of time on one television show as the same character, playing the role of Nancy Hughes since the show went on the air on April 2 1956, though she has not played the role without interruption. Wagner was dropped from the series after the first thirteen weeks due to conflicts with creator Irna Phillips. Wagner also left the series in 1981, when she felt that writers weren't interested in the veteran players. She returned as a regular contract player in 1985 after Douglas Marland became headwriter. She was 37 years old when the show started.

Current cast members

Actor Character Status
Noelle Beck Lily Walsh Snyder 2008–
Terri Colombino Katie Peretti Snyder 1998–
Trent Dawson Henry Coleman 1999–
Ellen Dolan Margo Montgomery Hughes 1989–1993, 1994–
Eileen Fulton Lisa Miller Grimaldi 1960–1964, 1965, 1966–1983, 1984–
Van Hansis Luke Snyder 2005–
Don Hastings Dr. Bob Hughes 1960–
Kathryn Hays Kim Sullivan Hughes 1972–
Jon Hensley Holden Snyder 1985–1988, 1989–1995, 1997–
Scott Holmes Tom Hughes 1987–
Roger Howarth Paul Ryan 2003–
Elizabeth Hubbard Lucinda Walsh 1984–1999, 1999–
Agim Kaba Aaron Snyder 2002–2005, 2007–
Billy Magnussen Casey Hughes 2008–
Grayson McCouch Dusty Donovan 2003–2008, 2008-
Kelley Menighan Hensley Emily Stewart 1992–
Nell Mooney Spencer McKay 2008–
Michael Park Jack Snyder 1997–
Austin Peck Brad Snyder 2007–
Colleen Zenk Pinter Barbara Ryan 1978–
Marnie Schulenburg Alison Stewart Snyder 2007-
Helen Wagner Nancy Hughes McClosky 1956-
Maura West Carly Tenney 1995–1996, 1997–
Marie Wilson Meg Snyder Ryan 2005–

Recurring cast members

Actor Character Status
Dylan Bruce Dr. Chris Hughes 2007–
Ellery Capshaw Natalie Snyder 2006–
Ewa Da Cruz Vienna Hyatt 2006–
Allie Gorenc Sage Snyder 2006–
Benton Greene Derek Coburn 2008-
Ashley Marie Greiner Faith Snyder 2006–
Meredith Hagner Liberty Ciccone 2008–
Mick Hazen Parker Snyder 2006–
Anthony Herrera James Stenbeck 1980-1983, 1986-1989, 1996-1999, 2001-2005, 2008-
Laurence Lau Brian Wheatley 2008–
Daniel Manche J.J. Snyder 2006–
Marie Masters Dr. Susan Burke Stewart 1968–1979; 1986–
Wolé Parks Dallas Griffin 2007–
Julie Pinson Janet Ciccone 2008-
Chaunteé Schuler Bonnie McKechnie 2007–
Deirdre Skiles Dani Andropoulos 2008-
Jake Silbermann Noah Mayer 2007–
Sam Stone Daniel Hughes 2007–
Kathleen Widdoes Emma Snyder 1985–

Comings and goings

Actor Character Status
Karl Girolamo Kevin Davis Returns October 13th
Jon Lindstrom Craig Montgomery Debuts December 3rd

Deceased cast members

Actor Character Years On ATWT Year Of Death
Barbara Berjer Claire English Lowell Cassen Shea 1965–1971 2002
Keith Charles Ralph Mitchell 1977-1979; 1991-1993 2008
Fran Carlon Julia Burke 1968-1975 1993
Dennis Cooney Jay Stallings 1973-1980 2002
Les Damon Jim Lowell 1956-1957 1962
Henderson Forsythe Dr. David Stewart 1960–1995 2006
Hugh Franklin Ralph Brown #2 1968–1970 1986
Nicolette Goulet Casey Reynolds 1985 2008
Benjamin Hendrickson Hal Munson 1985–2004, 2005–2006 2006
William Johnstone Judge James T. Lowell 1956–1979 1996
Ed Kemmer District Attorney Dick Martin #2 1966–1970, 1974-1978 2004
Michael Louden Duke Kramer Dixon 1988–1990 2004
Michael David Morrison Caleb Snyder 1988–1993 1993
Don MacLaughlin Chris Hughes 1956–1986 1986
Nat Polen Dr. Douglas Cassen 1956-1967 1981
Santos Ortega Will "Pa" Hughes 1956–1976 1976
Ethel Remey Alma Miller 1963–1977 1979
Helen Shields Edna Rice 1962-1963 1963
Roy Shuman Dr. Michael Shea #3 1968-1970 1973
Philip Sterling Rev. George Booth 1976-1979 1998
Ruth Warrick Edith Hughes Frey 1956–1960 2005
Ronnie Welsh Dr. Robert "Bob" Hughes #2 1958-1960 1993

Famous stars

Actor Character Years On ATWT
Courtney Cox Arquette Bunny 1984
Jason Biggs Pete Wendell 1994-1995
Brian Bloom Dusty Donovan 1983-1988
Jordana Brewster Nikki Munson 1995-1998
Patricia Bruder Ellen Stewart 1960-2002
Larry Bryggman John Dixon 1969-2004
Shawn Christian Mike Kasnoff 1994-1997
Margaret Colin Margo Hughes 1981-1983
Dana Delany Hayley Hollister 1981
William Fichtner Josh Snyder 1987-1989
Thomas Gibson Derek Mason 1988-1989
James Earl Jones Dr. Jerry Turner 1966
Lauryn Hill Kira Johnson 1991
Kristanna Loken Danielle Andropoulos 1994
Mary McDonnell Claudia Colfax 1980
Gregory Michael Clark Watson 2003-2004
Julianne Moore Frannie Hughes
and Sabrina Hughes
Ming-Na Lien Hughes 1988-1991
Lea Salonga Lien Hughes 2001-2002
Michael Nader Kevin Thompson 1976-1978
Annie Parisse Julia Snyder 1998-2001, 2002
Danny Pintauro Paul Ryan 1983-1984
Rosemary Prinz Penny Hughes 1956-1968
Parker Posey Tess Shelby 1991-1992
Emmy Rossum Abigail Williams 1997
Amy Ryan Reenie 1990
Meg Ryan Betsy Stewart Andropoulos 1982-1984
Mark Rydell Jeff Baker 1956-1962
Roselyn Sanchez Pilar Domingo 1996-1997
Martin Sheen Jack Davis 1965-1970
Kerr Smith Ryder Hughes 1996-1997
Michael Swan Duncan McKechnie 1986-1995, 2001, 2002)
Richard Thomas Tom Hughes 1966-1967
Marisa Tomei Marcy Thompson Cushing 1983-1985
Tamara Tunie Jessica Griffin 1986-1995, 1999-2007
James Van Der Beek Stephen Anderson 1995
Steven Weber Kevin Gibson 1985-1986


There have been several crossovers between As the World Turns and fellow CBS soap-opera The Young and the Restless:

JFK Assassination (November 22, 1963)

On that day, the live CBS broadcast of As The World Turns began as always at 1:30 EST. Ten minutes into the program, Nancy Hughes and her father-in-law (whom she referred to as "Grandpa") were sitting on the couch discussing the marital problems of her son Bob:

Nancy: "And I thought about it, and I gave it a great deal of thought, Grandpa..."

Immediately after this line, a "CBS News Bulletin" slide suddenly came up on the screen, and Walter Cronkite gave the first report of an unfolding national tragedy:

"Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting. More details just arrived. These details about the same as previously: President Kennedy shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy, she called 'Oh no!', the motorcade sped on. United Press says that the wounds for President Kennedy perhaps could be fatal. Repeating, a bulletin from CBS News, President Kennedy has been shot by a would-be assassin in Dallas, Texas. Stay tuned to CBS News for further details."

After a commercial for Nescafe coffee and another bulletin, CBS rejoined As The World Turns, which was still in progress as the cast was not yet aware of the breaking developments. For the remainder of the half-hour, additional breaking reports were read by Cronkite over the bulletin graphic. (Both the cameras and the studio lights of the era required some time to "warm up" before they could be used.) The first midbreak bumper went as planned. They had the pause for station identification. As Dan McCollough was announcing the sponsor of the second half, CBS interrupted again. The final scene before continuous coverage was a restaurant scene between Bob Hughes and David Stewart. Another commercial was featured in its entirety (for Friskies dog food), then the next commercial was cut off. From then on, Cronkite relayed incoming reports as received over the bulletin card (confirmed from a viewing of the episode) At the top of the hour, with the bulletin slide still on screen, Cronkite announced a ten second pause for all affiliates to issue a station identification and join the network. The CBS "eye" logo was shown, following which Cronkite appeared on camera.

As NBC and ABC, the other two major U.S. TV networks, were not programming at the time (the 1:30-2:00 ET period belonging to their local affiliates), As The World Turns has the distinction of being the last regular U.S. network program broadcast for the next four days as the assassination of JFK and the transition of power to President Lyndon Johnson took center stage.

A VHS copy of a kinescope print of the entire episode, with commercials, (as it was recorded for delay broadcast in the Western time zones) is available for viewing at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, CA.

Scheduling and ratings history

As The World Turns enjoyed a virtually uninterrupted reign as the highest-rated soap from 1958 to 1978, tying for first place with NBC's Another World (1973-74,1977-78),and Days of our lives (1973-74). By the mid-1960s, it was so firmly entrenched that its strongest competition, Let's Make a Deal, despite developing a devoted fan base in its own right and becoming one of daytime's most popular game shows, could not quite come close to matching it in the Nielsens.

Its strength was such that ABC ran hour-long drama reruns in the 1-2 p.m. (Noon-1 Central) slot in the mid-1960s, and NBC, after losing Deal to ABC in 1968, ran a total of eight shows, all short-lived (excepting Three on a Match), against ATWT and Deal from that point until 1975.

It was only in April 1975, when NBC, encouraged by the success of its expansion of AW to one hour, did the same to Days, moving its start time to coincide with ATWT. That marked the first erosion ever of ATWT's hold on the daytime crown, but CBS fought back later that year by electing to make ATWT its initial one-hour soap (these expansions incidentally occurring only seven years after the last two 15-minute serials, Search for Tomorrow and Guiding Light, assumed the half-hour format). To do so, however, CBS had to lose one serial, and it chose P&G's Edge of Night, which paralleled ATWT in that it premiered on the same day in 1956 and had, until recently, broadcast live daily from the CBS New York studios. Edge lost a large portion of its audience when it changed to an earlier time slot in 1972. P&G, however, wanted to continue Edge, and CBS' plan to expand ATWT in September was held up until P&G cut a deal with ABC, who picked the crime-and-mystery-themed soap for its afternoon lineup. Within weeks of expanding in December, ABC was forced to relocate Deal to noon/11, where it died six months later. However, the last half-hour of ATWT faced that network's successful $10,000 Pyramid (later $20,000) at 2/1, so the expansion did not totally succeed.

Although the eventual hit game Family Feud ran against ATWT from July 12, 1976 until April 22, 1977, it did not become a smash hit for ABC until its move to the mornings. It was only when ABC made its first move to a one-hour soap with All My Children that trouble really began for ATWT (and also Days), since ABC kept that serial's starting time at 1/noon, meaning that fans of that serial who tuned to NBC or CBS would miss the last half of that day's storyline (or, contrariwise, would not, if they watched until the mid-program commercial break and then changed channels, pick up the ATWT or Days activities from the episode's beginning, since ABC strategically placed its break several minutes after the bottom of the hour). Further, AMC's emphasis on youth-oriented, sexier story lines provided a sharp contrast to the domestic, almost quaint tone of ATWT (and, to a lesser degree, the melodramatic, somewhat topical Days). Worse still, on January 16, 1978, ABC ballooned its decade-old One Life to Live to the 2/1 starting time, compounding the other networks' headaches.

Eventually, ATWT's audience defected enough to the point that during the 1978-79 season, it lost its ratings crown and even its position as CBS' highest-rated soap, with that honor going to sister serial Guiding Light. Nonetheless, the show still rated strongly, despite its problems, which were largely stylistic and capable of remedy by writing and cast adjustments, something that occurred fairly frequently through the mid-1980s. In March 1979, NBC decided to put Days head-to-head with AMC, perceiving it as the show to beat. About a year later, CBS countered this move by expanding the fast-growing The Young and the Restless and moving it to 1/noon. This meant that, for the first time, ATWT would have a new starting time, 2/1, against AW and OLTL. This, however, did not help either ATWT or Y&R, and both shows returned to their former slots in June 1981, with affiliates receiving the option to run Y&R at 12:30/11:30 or Noon/11 and Search for Tomorrow spending its last days on CBS at 2:30/1:30.

CBS decided, despite ABC's clear triumphs, to stand put with ATWT until March 1987, when it scrapped the five-year-old Capitol in favor of The Bold and the Beautiful. Believing that Bold would do better running in tandem with Y&R (especially on Eastern Time Zone affiliates), CBS scheduled it at 1:30/12:30, and finally settled ATWT at 2/1, where it has remained since that time. Although facing the full length of AW and OLTL once again, the Douglas Marland era of 1985-1993 saw a resurgence in ratings, and by 1991 it was back in its once habitual top-four placing. ATWT would survive NBC's cancellation of its sister AW in 1999 in favor of Passions, which itself was canceled in September 2007 and sent to DirecTV.

ATWT Ratings: 1956-present

One example of the drastic change in daytime television can be found in the following: Daytime history: Highest rated week (November 16-November 20 1981) (Household ratings- Nielsen Media Research)

Rank/Serial Household Rating (Time Slot) Network
1. General Hospital 16.0 (3-4pm) ABC
2. All My Children 10.2 (1-2pm) ABC
3. One Life to Live 10.2 (2-3pm) ABC
4. Guiding Light 7.9 (3-4pm) CBS
5. The Young And The Restless 7.3 (12:30-1:30pm) CBS

1995 ratings

Rank/Serial Millions Of Viewers
1. The Young And The Restless 7.155
2. All My Children 5.891
3. General Hospital 5.343
4. The Bold And The Beautiful 5.247
5. One Life to Live 5.152


As the World Turns broadcast history

Main crew

Executive Producers

Head Writers

Current crew

International Broadcasts

The Netherlands is the only country besides the United States and Canada that airs As The World Turns. It has aired on RTL4 since 1990 (9 am & 5 pm) and on RTL 8 since 2007 (10:30 pm). RTL4 airs the episodes from one year and seven months ago. ATWT has about 800.000 Dutch viewers (with a total population of 16 million) each day. ATWT actor Todd Rotondi (ex-Bryant) had a cameo role on the Dutch soap Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (Good Times, Bad Times) and Elizabeth Hubbard was a guest in the RTL talkshow Jensen!.

In Canada As the World Turns currently airs on Global TV and on NTV in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Italy As the World Turns, under the title Così gira il mondo, started to air in 1986 on Canale 5, in the afternoon after Guiding Light time slot, with episodes three years behind the U.S. In 1987 it was moved to another channel, Rete 4. The show was canceled in 1992. At that time, episodes were four years behind the U.S.

In Mexico, the show is currently shown on American Network, a subsidiary of Televisa Networks and it airs in the same time slot as in the US. The cable channel is available all throughout Mexico on the main satellite system and dozens of cable companies.

In Bulgaria, the show was aired on Efir 2 from 1993 to 1995. Diema Family will continue with the episodes from 2004, starting on 8 April 2008.

As the world turns will soon start airing on Albanian television Vizion+.


In 2006, CBS launched a reality TV show called InTurn on their broadband channel innertube, the winner of which would go on to receive a 13-week acting contract on As The World Turns. The eventual winner of InTurn was Alex Charak, an 18 year old "Student/Pizza Transportation Artist" from New York. Charak made his debut as the character Elwood Hoffman on September 26 2006. A one-hour "best-of" show aired on CBS on November 24 2006.

CBS launched InTurn 2 in the Summer of 2007. For the new season, the age restrictions have been expanded to allow for middle-aged viewers to participate, and there will be nine competitors instead of eight. The winner of the second season was Ryan Serhant, a recent graduate of Hamilton College. Serhant made his debut in the contract role on November 7, 2007. He plays Evan Walsh IV, son of Evan Walsh III. He is a young hotshot biochemist prodigy who comes home to Oakdale to try to convince Craig Montgomery to invest in the cutting edge biomedical tech field. He began taping September 24, 2007, two days after the close of his off-Broadway play, Purple Hearts.

Inturn 3 began airing in April 2008 and will feature 17 episodes.

Awards and Records

Writers Guild of America Awards

Daytime Emmy Awards


As The World Turns has won 43 Daytime Emmys:

  • 2007 "Outstanding Directing Team"
  • 2005 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2005 "Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Drama Series"
  • 2004 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2003 "Outstanding Drama Series"
  • 2002 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2001 "Outstanding Writing Team"
  • 2001 "Outstanding Drama Series"
  • 1999 "Outstanding Original Song" TIED with General Hospital
  • 1993 "Outstanding Directing Team"
  • 1991 "Outstanding Drama Series"
  • 1987 "Outstanding Drama Series"


  • 2008 "Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series" Jennifer Landon (Gwen Norbeck Munson)
  • 2007 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Maura West (Carly Tenney Snyder)
  • 2007 "Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series" Jennifer Landon (Gwen Norbeck Munson)
  • 2006 "Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series" Jennifer Landon (Gwen Norbeck Munson)
  • 2004 "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" Cady McClain (Rosanna Cabot Montgomery)
  • 2003 "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" Benjamin Hendrickson (Hal Munson)
  • 2001 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Martha Byrne (Lily Walsh Snyder/Rose D'Angelo)
  • 2001 "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" Lesli Kay (Molly Conlan McKinnon)
  • 1990 "Outstanding Juvenile Male in a Drama Series" Andrew Kavovit (Paul Ryan)
  • 1988 "Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series" Julianne Moore (Frannie Hughes/Sabrina Hughes)
  • 1987 "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" Larry Bryggman (Dr. John Dixon)
  • 1987 "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" Gregg Marx (Tom Hughes)
  • 1987 "Outstanding Ingenue in a Drama Series" Martha Byrne (Lily Walsh)
  • 1986 "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" John Wesley Shipp (Doug Cummings)
  • 1985 "Outstanding Juvenile Male in a Drama Series" Brian Bloom (Dusty Donovan)
  • 1984 "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" Larry Bryggman (Dr. John Dixon)
  • 1984 "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" Justin Deas (Tom Hughes)


In 1988, "As The World Turns" made daytime television history by introducing daytime television's first gay male character, Hank Elliot (actor Brian Starcher). It then did so again with the first gay male kiss between two teenagers on daytime in 2007.

See also

See super couples on As the World Turns


External links

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