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As the World Stops Turning After 54 Years

As The World Turns, Meg Ryan CBS

What we want to know is, is this the work of CBS or CBS' evil twin?

Generations of kids faking sick days and bonbon-eating housewives have gone into mourning, as the network has called time on As the World Turns, canceling the sudsy staple after 54 years.

The show premiered in 1956 and helped launch the careers of Marisa Tomei, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey, Julianne Moore, Martin Sheen and James Earl Jones, among others. Its final episode will air next September.

"We are disappointed and saddened by the news that the show is not being renewed," ATWT executive producer Chris Goutman said in a statement. "It will certainly be a loss for all of us, and for the show's loyal audience."

About that audience...

It just keeps on dwindling.

The cancellation of the longest-running soap still being broadcast comes just three months after CBS pulled the plug on Guiding Light (the all-time topper at 72 seasons strong). Just six of the once-mighty genre remain in play, and even that number may not be around for long as daytime-soap viewership continues to drop.

The rumor mill is rife with speculation that ABC is already picking out plots for One Life to Live.

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James Franco is doing his part, using his guest-starring power to save one ailing soap opera at a time.

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