If you’re like me, you’re angry and (dare I say it) pissed at yesterday’s announcement of As The World Turns‘ cancellation.
After hearing badly timed news from ineloquent network heads, it just makes me want to react like this:
Then it came to me: Like Clue, this seems to make for a thrilling, multi-suspect murder mystery. Who killed ATWT?
A suspect list:
Indications of guilt: Bringing elegance and dignity to the news through his usual eloquence. Hitting a trifeca of class by (A) talking to a CNBC anchor about the cancellation – a CNBC anchor whose mother-in-law is Marie Masters (Susan Stewart); (B) labeling the surviving soaps “special soaps.” ABSOLUTELY NO ONE understands what the hell he means by that. (C) Announcing this news on the same day that he announced CBS ad revenues are up 25%. Just to be super-clear, Oakdale: He is SO over you.
Alibi or defense: Hey, more free time on the schedule means there are more daypart hours his wife, Julie Chen, can be programmed in. You gotta keep ’em happy at home, y’know?
Indications of guilt: A general lack of direction for GL and ATWT; stonewalling the press, which usually isn’t a positive thing; having her husband appear on ATWT in one of its worst stories of the last five years; letting Martha Byrne slip away.
Alibi or defense: It’s been said that Bloom had great affection for GL and ATWT (particularly GL), so it’s unlikely Bloom would have encouraged ATWT’s end.
Indications of guilt: Talented, accomplished producer who seems to have burned out and lost interest in ATWT a few years ago. Goutman desperately needed to have a rest or a period to re-charge (probably due to exhaustion from fighting with Suspect #1 and Suspect #2) and it had begun to show on air. Help arrived (David Kreizman and Ellen Wheeler) but it was too little, too late, especially when it looks like ATWT’s fate was decided months ago.
Alibi or defense: I may not have always agreed with his choices, but Goutman has poured his energy into this show for the last ten years. Clearly, CBS doesn’t want the show in any format.
Indications of guilt: For a mishmash of storytelling that seemed to be terribly unfocused, often dark and misogynistic, and only occasionally referenced ATWT’s strongest suit: its history. For taking the luster and momentum that Hogan Sheffer had put into place before his departure….and slowly frittering it all away. For mishandling Luke and Noah, an explosively popular couple whose popularity was never capitalized upon properly.
Alibi or defense: It’s hard to tell what bad choices were hers, which ones were Goutman’s, and which ones were made by P&G or the network.
Indications of guilt: None – her directorial work hasn’t aired yet.
Alibi or defense: None needed, but I think we should all pitch in to get Ellen a good therapist. To have this news announced a few days after she re-joined ATWT, where she was a director several years ago, has to be devastating. Ellen is SO not having a good year.
Of course, the answer to who really killed ATWT is: no one. No ONE factor is responsible.
Pundits and bloggers will struggle over the next few days to lay blame somewhere, especially when speaking to the mainstream press (who know nothing about soaps and only want their 30-second soundbite). But the cause of death for ATWT is a combination of factors, a death by a thousand tiny little cuts.