The 1990s may have been the most tumultuous and controversial period in As The World Turns' long history. Douglas Marland remained Head Writer of the series until his surprising death in 1993. This left a hole in the show and confusion about the direction it was taking, particularly since budgets were quickly being tightened and chopped. The rest of the decade saw the show turn into a set of revolving doors for writers who attempted to rework and re-write what Marland left behind and even reverse some of the more unpopular or unworkable choices he had made. Fifteen head writers passed through in the remaining seven years as firings and re-organizations happened every few months. The rating slowly dipped in keeping with Daytime in general. By the end of the 90s, the show had lost more than a quarter of the audience it had at the beginning and sat at around half of what it had been at the height of the 1980s.
Lily was returned to Oakdale with Damian and the Snyder family was radically altered, with Jack pushed into the center of things as the broad scope of the show continued to diminish. In the middle of the 1990s, Procter & Gamble began gutting the production. New producer John Valente fired much of the veteran cast and the series was written by former softcore porn authors. A plethora of new characters and families were added, notably the Kasnoffs. Much of the production for the last half of the decade was taken over by former ABC Daytime vets, who were widely despised by the fans who quit watching in droves and launched noisy campaigns against the direction the show was taking.
The decade's plots were full of experimental surgeries, hysterical pregnancies, divorces, re-marriages, who's the daddy plots, rapes, terrorists, gunrunning neo-nazis, corrupt lawyers, more returns from the dead, Damian becoming a clergyman, more randomly returning unknown heirs, stalking, prison terms, baby selling, a few of Carly's many marriages, affairs, and a blacklash from the show's conservative audience over the, still relatively sparse, use of sex.
Be sure to check out our Look Back At As The World Turns: The 1980s (Video Included).
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