Procter &’ Gamble’s exit from soap operas will be disgraceful and cheap if executive producer Chris Goutman’s comments are correct.
In a new interview with TV Guide, Goutman ‘ who ten years ago was the hatchet man for P&G when they ended “Another World” ‘ describes what’s to come between now and the 55-year-old show’s end in September. He indicates that with the end in sight, current (and enervating) plot lines will continue, no plans in particular will be made to write a grand ending or include return cameos by popular actors from the show’s history.
This is exactly what P&G did to “Guiding Light” when it went off the air this past September. The final week included not one clip from the show’s 60-year history on television. The end was handled in a cheap and disrespectful way.
The idea ‘ and this has to have come from some kind of management consultant ‘ is to drive away viewers and make sure they’re not nostaglic for the show when it ends. In other words, just kill it, and move on.
Ironically, this spring marks the 50th anniversary on the show of two of its actors, Don Hastings and Eileen Fulton. A third, Helen Wagner, is still on the show at age 92. She spoke its first words in 1956. Wagner appeared on air just last week and looked great. The worry now is that nothing will be done to observe these anniversaries on the air.
“As the World Turns” is taping scenes now for January and February. Here’s what I would do, like today: put on the brakes. Make a plan for the show’s final 90 days. Golden Globe nominee Julianne Moore, who got her start on the show in the 80s, expressed a fondness for it on “The View” recently. Ask her and other famous alumni like Marisa Tomei and Meg Ryan back to reprise their former roles during a big send off. Bring back Larry Bryggman, the great theater actor who was on the show for 30 years. Give Fulton, Hastings and other long time actors a chance to wrap up their stories with dignity. Otherwise, Procter & Gamble risks the enmity of its fans well after the last episode of “As the world Turns” has been aired.