History of As the World Turns (2000–2007)


History of As the World Turns (2000–2007)

This article is about the history of As the World Turns (ATWT) from the 2000 era, the second longest-running American television soap opera.

2000 - present

The New Millennium

"As the World Turns" rang in the new millennium with a "Carly Tenney Originals" fashion show and then ended the Alec Wallace murder mystery. Young heroine Georgia (Jaime Nicole Dudney), Lucinda's niece, had been the culprit, as she had gone to visit Wallace to talk to him and accidentally shot him as she struggled to get a gun away from him (all the while, Margo lay passed out in his bed). Given the extenuating circumstances, she was cleared of charges and married her boyfriend Eddie (Nathaniel Marston) in a dual ceremony with Tom and Margo, who also renewed their vows after a year of separation. At their wedding reception, Margo pushed the face of resident bitch Emily Stewart (whose machinations had broken up Tom and Margo to begin with) into the wedding cake (which had been made by Tom's mother, Lisa). (The writers had reportedly planned to have Emily turn out to be Wallace's murderer, but were forced by producers to change things mid-storyline.) This emphasis on over-the-top humor highlighted the campy nature of soaps at the turn of the millennium. Since the debut of NBC's low-rated spoof-soap "Passions" (which targets teen and young-adult soap viewers as its audience), "As The World Turns" and other soaps began a move toward satire.

Much airtime was devoted to star-crossed lovers Christopher "Chris" Robert Hughes (played at this time by Paul Korver) and Abigail Williams (Kristina Sisco, to the chagrin of viewers, who found scenes where Chris read F. Scott Fitzgerald to the much younger Abigail to be overly sappy. The pair were destined for a break-up, however, due to the fact that, before they met, Chris had a brief fling with Abigail's mother Molly Conlan. When Abigail discovered the affair, she was so distraught when confronting Molly that she chased her down a flight of stairs, resulting in Molly being in a coma for months. This was actually to cover actress Lesli Kay's real life pregnancy. At the same time Kay was pregnant, her co-stars Maura West and Ellen Dolan were as well. The show used this "pregnancy epidemic" as an excuse for what fans felt was a dip in quality.

With the new millennium, "As The World Turns" was still honoring its veteran actors, but as the decade progressed, that spotlight has inarguably dimmed. On June 2, 2000, the show did a special episode commemorating the 40 years of work by Don Hastings (Chris' father, Bob Hughes) and Eileen Fulton (Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi) on the show. In the episode, town-witch Emily Stewart published an article in her tabloid rag blasting the oft-married Lisa. A spontaneous party was thrown to support Lisa, and at the end of the episode, she and Bob shared a dance as they remembered old times.

With three leading ladies on maternity leave, the slack was picked up by Martha Byrne, who had played Lily Snyder on and off since 1985 and now tackled a dual role. While walking at the Snyder pond one day, Lily found some old love letters made out to "Beloved." Lily found a picture of "Beloved" and was startled to find she looked exactly like her. When Lily posted the picture of "Beloved" on the Internet, she found out that somebody in Atlantic City had the exact same picture. Meanwhile, Lily was remodeling her home with the help of a mysterious Australian named Simon Frasier (Paul Leyden). Simon was after the "Rose of Sharon," a priceless diamond that his family member had given to Beloved. When Lily went to Atlantic City (where she met her doppelgänger, Rose D'Angelo), Simon followed. Lily found the diamond that she had read about in the letters Simon's grandfather had written to "Beloved", and accidentally came to possess it. Though fighting for her life while being chased by Simon and his insane sister Celia (Fiona Hutchison), Lily had become friends with Rose and didn’t want to lose the priceless heirloom. The psychotic Celia didn’t want Simon to find the diamond, so she proceeded to leave them on a deserted island, while Rose, convinced by a cryptic phone message that Lily was not coming home, settled into the rich Lily’s life. Rose gradually fell in love with Holden and Lily (in a case of Stockholm syndrome) with Simon. Rose was discovered to have been Lily’s identical twin, as their mother (Iva) had been drugged during the birth. The two initially hated each other, but gradually formed a bond at Lucinda’s insistence.

Maura West returned to "As the World Turns" after a long maternity leave during the fall of 2000, in a storyline penned by new writer Hogan Sheffer. Sheffer had been brought in to clean up Leah Laiman’s storylines (Lily and Simon's months spent on the deserted island, among other stagnant plots) that had been progressively upsetting the show's fans. When West’s re-introduction (which also brought in Hunt Block as Craig Montgomery, a popular character from the '80s and early '90s) proved popular with fans, Sheffer was promoted to head writer.

The Sheffer Years

As the new head writer of "As the World Turns", Hogan Sheffer quickly became a critical darling, although by the end of his five-year run as head writer he would be a controversial figure among "As the World Turns" fans. By some, he was credited with reviving the strong sense of character development and emotional complexity long associated with the program. By others, (most vocally by five-decade veteran actress Eileen Fulton), he was accused of neglecting the show's veteran characters. A major complaint from the latter group was lack of payoff and complete ignorance of the show's history.

Although some of the "As The World Turns" audience became jaded with Sheffer during his tenure as head writer, he was initially almost universally beloved. "ATWT"'s unprecedented success at the 2001 Daytime Emmy Awards Show, after having been neglected for the better part of the 1990s, was credited to Sheffer, who had never held a position in daytime soap writing before "As the World Turns". Sheffer himself professed in one interview that he had never seen a soap opera before January 15, 2000; when Procter & Gamble asked him to tune in to watch "As The World Turns" and "Guiding Light" and decide which one he wanted to write for. "Guiding Light," which revolved mostly around the government of fictitious tropical island San Cristobel and the Santos mafia family at the time, did not interest Sheffer very much. "As The World Turns," however, intrigued Sheffer. He thought the storylines were "boring as hell" but liked the actors and characters. Brutal honesty in interviews became Sheffer's trademark. In the television industry, and soap operas especially, many interviews from network and sponsor executives came off as rehearsed. Sheffer was always blunt, admitting to his faults and mistakes and not being afraid to curse.

As pressure to court the audience of younger-skewing ABC Daytime increased, various former-ABC Daytime stars were hired by "As The World Turns" during the Sheffer Era. By 2004, it was felt by fans and executives that these stars were beginning to dominate the show and Sheffer started making efforts to include longtime actors such as Kathryn Hays, Don Hastings, and Helen Wagner back into the story (although two other long-time actors, Benjamin Hendrickson and Larry Bryggman, who had a combined 54 years on "As the World Turns", left the show that year in contract disputes.) Under Sheffer, "As The World Turns" secured Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Drama Series in 2001 and 2003, and for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team in 2001, 2002, and 2004. The Sheffer Era can probably be split into pre- and post-summer 2001, when Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin dictated changes in the writing staff. Hal Corley, Stephen Demorest, and Richard J. Allen were fired from the writing staff and replaced by female writers, in an attempt to "soften" the program. Sheffer was against this move, stating to the media that he was "surrounded by women" in the "As The World Turns" writing room.

Sheffer clearly loved adventure and mystery storylines, and under his tenure the program began to up its shock value quotient. The first of many mystery storylines under Sheffer culminated in early 2001, when, following a long search, popular couple Jake and Molly McKinnon located Jake's previously assumed-dead twin daughters, Bridget and Michelle. Their happiness, however, would not last. Molly's ex-boyfriend, Nick Scudder (Carl T. Evans), responsible for landing her in jail (where she met Lily in 1997), surfaced in Oakdale. He swore that he had reformed and took a job at Kim's television station, WOAK-9. Molly's daughter Abigail befriended him, but one night Nick tried to rape her. Then the next morning Nick was discovered dead. Abigail had no memories of the night and for months the wheels of a murder mystery turned until it was revealed that the nanny of Bridget and Michelle, Mary Mennihan (aka Mary Dolan) (Marian Tomas Griffin), had been responsible for killing Nick. Worried that Abigail was close to recalling the events of the night Nick was murdered, Mary decided to attack. When Abigail eluded her, Mary resorted to a plan B of taking Molly hostage and holding up the wealthy Jake for a sizeable ransom. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Jake made a bold move to rescue Molly. The showdown culminated in Mary falling to her death from a rooftop high above Oakdale, but before that, she was successful in fatally shooting Jake. Jake's daughters were taken away from Molly (in guest appearances by "Another World" stars Anna Stuart and Ellen Wheeler, who was also a director of "As The World Turns" at the time) and although she was promised visits with them, this angle was never explored, as Molly quickly moved on into a romance with returned character Mike Kasnoff (now played by Mark Collier) in July 2002, only two months after Jake's death.

The most popular of Sheffer's many murder mysteries was a series of murders at the Oakdale Memorial Hospital in early 2003. Former Dynasty star John James joined the cast as Dr. Susan Stewart's (Marie Masters) new colleague and love interest, Dr. Rick Decker. Not long after, hospital patients began to randomly die. This storyline brought the hospital, neglected for several years, back to the forefront. SORASed younger characters Katie, Chris (at this time played by Bailey Chase), and Susan's younger daughter, Alison (at this time played by Jessica Dunphy) all took jobs there, putting them into contact with some of the older characters. Although the older characters were gradually phased out of the storyline, no major characters were killed, and the younger characters' jobs at the hospital didn't last very long, the effort was applauded by fans, and the suspense was enough to keep them coming back for more. John James' performance was also lauded as Rick Decker gradually showcased his true colors as a psychotic killer.

During Sheffer's tenure, "As The World Turns" placed a renewed emphasis on romance. Although the show was accused during this period of having too many "insta-couples" (which in soap lingo means couples who are put together quickly, regardless of the chemistry between the actors), many popular couples developed during this period nonetheless. At the 2000 Halloween party (the theme was Roaring Twenties,) Katie (Terri Colombino) and Simon (Paul Leyden), having been scorned by the objects of their affections (married duo Holden and Lily, respectively,) had a one night stand in the back of a car. Katie became enamored with former gigolo Simon, and began pursuing him. When the INS came after Simon (who was from Australia, Katie married him to keep him in the country. Fans rooted for Katie as she schemed to make Simon love her, and the duo renewed its vows in Fall 2001. Unfortunately, the show seemed unable to figure out where to go with the couple, giving them abbreviated or confusing stories such as Simon's evil doppelgänger Donovan menacing Katie, or Katie's career-making, "Butt Buster" aerobic videos, or when psychotic Dahlia Ventura (Colleen Dion) befriended Katie and inexplicably convinced her Simon killed one of his previous wives, her sister, Monique Farrar (actually, Dahlia killed her own sister). In 2003, Simon left town due to Bartleby Shears's threats on Katie's life. Bartleby (Jonno Roberts; Roberts would also play Bartleby's twin, Mordecai Shears) was a former con man with whom Simon worked back in Australia. Bartleby came to Oakdale looking for Simon to do one more con. Simon didn't want to do the con and he ended up killing Bartleby and leaving town. Before he left Simon took all the money out of their bank accounts. Katie went to work at Memorial as a nurse's aid. Katie was devastated and even as she attempted to move on with Mike (now played by Mark Collier) returned to convince her to move on with her life, but several months later, Katie inexplicably learned that Simon was behind the return of Mike's old girlfriend Pilar Domingo (played in the from 1996 to 1997 by Roselyn Sanchez and in 2004 by Daniella Alonzo). "As The World Turns" never gave any reasonable explanation for Simon's sudden turn to the dark side and the moment was panned by many fans and critics. Although Mike and Katie were a popular couple, they were broken up in favor of a romance between Mike and Jennifer Munson (played as an adult from July 1999 to March 2002 by Kim Onasch and from July 2003 until the character's on-screen death in July 2006 by Jennifer Ferrin), whose own romance with the theretofore unknown Stenbeck son, Jordan (Chris Beteem) was deep-sixed. The Mike/Jen romance paved the way for a romance between Katie and fan-favorite Henry Coleman (Trent Dawson). Henry, who had loved Katie from afar for years, suggested to her that they marry in an attempt to make Mike jealous and come back to her. Katie agreed; Henry, however, was sincere in his proposal and hoped against hope that Katie would fall just as much in love with him as he was with her. The two opened a gym together and, for a few months, managed to be happy, even consummating their relationship. By May 2005, Henry had realized once and for all that Katie could only love Mike, and despite Katie's pleas, ended their marriage.

Another popular couple created by Sheffer was Aaron Snyder (Agim Kaba) and Alison Stewart (Jessica Dunphy). Alison had a crush on Aaron immediately after he showed up in Oakdale in 2002, and pulled many schemes to try to steal him from Craig Montgomery's saccharine daughter Lucy (then played by Peyton List). Aaron stayed with Lucy (and in one lambasted storyline in Fall 2002, Aaron and Lucy (along with Alison) went on the run after Aaron was accused of arson, touring college campuses across the country and having college students urge Hal to "free the Oakdale Three") while Alison developed a relationship with Chris Hughes (Bailey Chase) (now a doctor, after only two years of pre-med and medical school!) However, Aaron and Alison remained close friends, and when Alison became pregnant it seemed like she and Chris would get married (she suffered a miscarriage soon after). Alison moved in with Chris' family and befriended his grandmother Nancy Hughes. In summer 2004, the Oakdale characters engaged in a quest to find the "Keys To The Kingdom," a scavenger hunt sponsored by Lucinda's newspaper with a cash reward. Aaron and Alison teamed up and quickly became best friends. Soon, however, they realized their feelings went beyond friendship, and when Chris left town after cheating on Alison with her sister Emily, Aaron and Alison declared their love for one another. Unfortunately, Aaron's entire right side became paralyzed in a boxing accident shortly after this. Alison's wanted to help him, but Aaron insisted that he do everything for himself. The young love story was seen as refreshing by many fans. In 2005, Agim Kaba chose to leave the show, and Aaron moved to Seattle to be with his terminally ill mother, Julie. Alison stayed behind for a few months, but in July 2005, she moved to Seattle to be with Aaron and said farewell to Oakdale and her family.

Lucy (then played by Peyton List), meanwhile, began dating the much older Dusty (who had been lovers with her Aunt Lily fifteen years earlier), a romance that was popular with a subset of viewers who dubbed them "Lusty". The romance ended rather abruptly, with Lucy leaving Oakdale for college in January 2005. This storyline was responsible for (in the eyes of many viewers) doing irreversible damage to Craig's character. Craig had often been scheming since returning to town in 2000, but he was so opposed to Dusty and Lucy's relationship that he paid a man to stalk her. The story included Craig causing the death of Sierra's fiancée, and Craig killing the paid stalker in cold blood. He paid for none of these crimes, and in spite of a brief kidnapping of Lucy and stay in a monastery (arranged by Sierra in an attempt to make him change his ways), he seemed to feel no remorse for what he had done.

Perhaps the signature couple of the 2000s was Carly Tenney and Jack Snyder. Sheffer professed little interest in the couple for a number of years, attempting to pair Carly up with Craig Montgomery, and saddling Jack with Julia (Annie Parisse), who had debuted as a heroine but under Sheffer's tenure spiralled into madness. Julia killed a horse and kidnapped Carly before being sent to the mental institution. The absolute nadir arrived during 2002, when Barbara Ryan had James Stenbeck kidnap Carly, Emily Stewart and Rose to get them out of the lives of the men she loved. Jack planned to go search for Carly but Julia broke out of the institution and held Jack prisoner. In the course of the storyline, Julia, desperate for a child, gave Jack Viagra so that he would be forced to have sex with her. Many fans expected a serious discussion of male rape, but instead the whole thing was played for laughs, and immediately forgotten. Carly then had a brief fling with old flame Mike and had to figure out if Jack or Mike was the father of her baby. Julia returned with a baby (J.J.) she claimed was Jack's, but paternity tests proved otherwise. In summer 2003, Jack and Carly remarried, only to have Jack presumed dead and suffering from amnesia. He recovered with the help of a nurse named Julia Larrabee and her son J.J. Julia tried to hang on to Jack post-amnesia and then seduced his cousin Holden. No explanation was ever given for the similarity in names. The nurse Julia was played by former ABC Daytime star Sarah Brown. In March 2005, Julia hit her head during a fight with Lily and died. Lily, scared that she would be blamed for the accidental death of Julia, fled the scene of her crime (her son Luke helping her conceal evidence of having been at the scene of the crime.) It was thought that Julia's brother Keith (played by another ABC Daytime star, Kin Shriner) killed Julia, but when suspicion shifted to Luke, Lily took the blame for Julia's death. Lily became involved with Keith even though she suspected he killed Julia. The killer was actually Julia's ex-husband (Michael Lowry).

Tamara Tunie was a popular figure as DA Jessica in the '80s and early '90s. She returned to the show in 1999 but only began to receive leading material again in 2001. Unfortunately, much of that material served to, in the eyes of many fans, destroy her very self-assured, independent character. Jessica lost her job as district attorney to a sleazy lawyer named T. Marshall Travers (Lamman Rucker). In spite of this, she jeapordized her relationship with moral doctor Ben Harris in order to begin a hot and heavy affair with Marshall. When Jessica and Ben broke up, Marshall briefly moved into her home and many thought "As The World Turns" was going to begin a formal romance between the two. Instead, Marshall forced himself on Jessica while she was asleep and a "he said/she said" rape trial commenced. During the early 2000s, "As The World Turns" was praised for bringing African-American characters like Jessica, Marshall, Ben, Bonnie (Napiera Danielle Groves), and Isaac (Paul Taylor) to the forefront. However, the newfound racial integration ended when Jessica's daughter Bonnie accidentally pushed Marshall out a window. Bonnie and Isaac promptly left the show (leading Isaac to sell "Java Underground," the hangout of the early-2000s, to Dusty, Molly, and Craig, who renamed it "Metro" (and who would later sell to Aaron and Alison), adopting Marshall's biological daughter (and chronic troublemaker) Sarah. Jessica reunited with Ben, leaving them the only two African-American leads left (besides Walker Daniels Real Andrews, a doctor who helped treat Barbara when she had a bout with brain cancer in spring 2004. When the briefly-reformed Barbara returned to her evil ways, Walker left her--and Oakdale.) In 2004, Jessica and her best friend Margo Hughes fought over a sleazy football player-turned-sportcaster named Doc, in spite of both ladies' traumatic experiences with adultery and with shady men. Jessica slept with Doc and had to figure out who the father of her child was. Doc was intended to be a roguish type of character but was so loathed by viewers that he did not even last 6 months. The soap magazines dubbed the storyline "worst of the year." Despite her dalliance with Doc, Margo and Tom reunited. Ben temporarily became addicted to pain killers, causing himself to be accused of causing Aaron's paralysis (since Aaron, injured in a boxing match, needed neurosurgery and only Ben was available.) Jessica had a miscarriage. All four characters then returned to the backburner, and Ben and Jessica seemed to vanish altogether for most of 2005.

The exits of Kaba, List and Dunphy moved the show to try to rebuild its teen scene. Tom and Margo's son Casey was recast for the third time in two years, and Barbara and Hal's son Will was aged to 17 years old. Will (Jesse Soffer) was very popular with fans, but Casey was not and was often written in a negative manner. Two other characters, however, were brought on who did not achieve widespread popularity. Rafael Ortega (first AJ Lamas, then Michael Cardelle), Lucy's best friend from Montega, and his younger sister Celia (Alyssa Diaz) appeared for the first time, and immediately dominated storylines. Rafael was recast within 3 months of his first appearance and he quickly began trying to control his sister's life. Many fans considered the actors playing these new "Montegan transplants" to be amateurs and even the writing was also decried as being amateur. In one scene, Rafael, Casey, and Will all joined Celia in the girls' bathroom; another scene featured Celia trying out for a singing competition and facing criticism from a "mean", Simon Cowell-like judge--the problem was that many fans agreed with his criticisms! In June 2005, Rafael was written out for good and more attention was paid to new teen arrival Gwen Norbeck (Jennifer Landon). In August 2005, Celia left Oakdale when her relatives asked her to come back to Montega and she accepted, saying farewell to some of her friends.

While the hijinks at Oakdale Latin High School continued, Lucinda's daughter Sierra (now played by Mary Beth Evans) became a regular on the show (after making only sporadic appearances for most of the past few decades). She began working at Lucinda's company, Worldwide, with Dusty Donovan (who'd dated her daughter Lucy before Lucy's exit from the show to attend college.) The two enjoyed a mild flirtation, while Sierra's ex-husband Craig worked with Jennifer (who started a fashion company, Street Jeans.) For a time the show seemed to be pushing Dusty towards Lucy's mother, Sierra, but then announced plans for a storyline with long-absent Snyder sister Meg (now played by Marie Wilson). For reasons that were never adequately explained by the show, Street Jeans fell under the control of Jennifer's evil mother Barbara. Upset that her mother took credit for her first successful fashion show and feeling abandoned by boyfriend Mike, Jennifer got drunk and slept with Craig (the father of her former lover, Bryant). Mike discovered this and forgave Jennifer, but she was not yet home free, as she soon discovered she was pregnant.

Perhaps the most notorious hire from ABC was longtime "One Life to Live" actor Roger Howarth. Howarth was brought on as a recast for Paul Ryan. Some hardcore, devoted fans convinvced themselves that his over-the-top take on the character was much more appropriate than his predecessor Scott Holroyd's subtle, layered, and charming performance, but many viewers felt that Howarth did not understand the Paul character and was simply playing him as he'd played his role on "One Life to Live". With Howarth's hammy histrionics in full flame, Paul became a much less interesting, and severely damaged, character. Paul was engaged to Lily's twin sister Rose, who was torn between him and Dusty. On their wedding day, Paul verbally tore Rose to shreds at the altar. Rose collapsed and later died (Paul's younger brother Will, feeling she had created problems in the Ryan family, had actually poisoned her mouthwash). Lily plunged into depression and clung to Dusty, but the long-term story projections (which involved a Lily/Dusty and Holden/Molly pairing) were rejected by "Procter & Gamble". Paul then began a relationship with Rosanna (Cady McClain), who was fresh off a divorce from Craig (Hunt Block) and then became involved with Jordan (Chris Beetem), the father of her young adopted son, Cabot. The fast-track romance baffled many viewers, as Paul suddenly began to be "happy" and with Rosanna spent significant chunks of time talking about how wonderful their lives were and how fantastic everything was. Cabot was presumed dead; but was actually kidnapped by James Stenbeck (back from the dead...yet again). After a story involving a hypnotized and drugged Emily Stewart (Paul's mother Barbara did it, framing her other son Will, and then eventually Rosanna), Stenbeck told Rosanna he would kill Cabot if she did not dump Paul and join him overseas. Rosanna did so and vanished for several months. Craig was kidnapped by Barbara and sent to Hong Kong - there he ran into Rosanna, who was being held prisoner because she had refused to marry James. James then planned to push her out of an airplane, but Craig sneaked onboard and stopped him. He nearly killed James, but Rosanna asked him not to. Rosanna then decided to let Cabot find another home where he would not be under such stress. The Cabot storyline was viewed as a "black hole" by many fans, because so many characters who came into contact with the child (Rosanna, Craig, Jordan) were then quickly written out. Paul, meanwhile, began to grow close to his long-ago love Emily (when played by Andrew Kavovit and Melanie Smith during the late 1980s, Emily had deflowered a teenaged Paul). In July 2005, Rosanna was rushed to the hospital after a car she was driving was spun out of control by an equally out of control Craig Montgomery. Plunging into a coma, she was eventually sent to a hospital in Europe. Craig was arrested for trying to kill Rosanna. And in August 2005, Craig was sentenced to life in state prison after having committed numerous crimes.

The show's "Emmy" streak (which had begun at the 2001 awards show) came to an end in 2005, when only 3 actors (Roger Howarth, Martha Byrne, Jennifer Ferrin) were nominated for awards. The show did win for Outstanding Writing, but Sheffer did not attend the ceremony. Current head writer Jean Passanante accepted on his behalf and let viewers know that Sheffer was missed behind the scenes of "As The World Turns".

Although "As The World Turns" had first been discussed online in the early 1990s by an eccentric group of posters on rec.arts.tv.soaps who came up with humorous names for the characters in their daily summaries (e.g. Easy for Emily, Juicy for Lucinda, Holdumb for Holden, etc.), it wasn't until the 2000s that "As The World Turns" began exploiting the Internet for the first time. There were a few attempts at cross-promotion through the SoapCity website. During the 2001 season for example, viewers could read the Abigail character's e-mails to her mother Molly, boyfriend Adam, and other friends. She discussed the events that took place on the show, offering the viewer another perspective. In 2003, the show began repurposing itself daily through the SoapCity website for a small charge. Although this service was discontinued in March 2005, it was the first time "As The World Turns" had ever been repurposed.

In early 2005, it was announced that Hogan Sheffer would be taking a 17-week sabbatical from his writing duties. On April 11, 2005, however, it was announced that Sheffer would not be returning to "As The World Turns" at all and was being replaced permanently in his duties by co-head writer Jean Passanante. Although the last script credited to Sheffer aired on May 23, 2005, sources indicated that his work stopped airing at least a month before then. Sheffer was asked to return to the show a few months later. He agreed to do so, but only on the condition that he be made a breakdown writer instead of the head writer.

Post-Sheffer

New Beginnings

In mid-2005, soon after the show celebrated its 49th year on television and began its 50th year, came news that "As The World Turns" and its sister show "Guiding Light" had been renewed by CBS through 2007. Both were required to make budget cuts, asking some of the higher-paid actors to take pay cuts.

Jean Passanante, who was originally only intended to be a temporary head writer, found herself permanently in the head writer's seat. She attempted to stay true to Sheffer's vision for "As The World Turns" while mixing in her own unique style. Leah Laiman and Christopher Whitesell served as her co-writers. Lisa Connor, Paula Cwikly, Charlotte Gibson, Hogan Sheffer, Trent Jones and Frederick Johnson (both ex "The Young and the Restless", Emmy and WGA Award winners) all served as associate head writers during 2005. Also As The World Turns audio podcasts of episodes released the day after the episodes aired on CBS were released on the iTunes Music Store.

Celia and Casey, who had originally received much focus, were given less airtime upon the hiring of Jennifer Landon as Gwen, a teenage girl pregnant with Casey's child. Will, not wanting Celia to be disappointed in Casey, claimed Gwen's baby as his own. Meanwhile, Mike waffled back and forth between Jennifer and Katie. Jennifer and Dusty cooked up a scheme whereby Craig was forbidden from contact with his and Jen's child for five years, and Mike's discovery of this scheme landed him in bed with Katie. Former "All My Children", "Port Charles" and "The Bold and The Beautiful" star Brian Gaskill signed on to join the soap as B.J. Green (aka Byron Glass), a high school classmate (and obsessed admirer) of Katie's, leaving Mike and Katie in yet another love triangle. B.J. hired Katie and Mike at WOAK after being made Kim's co-manager. He purchased Fairwinds and hosted a Halloween party there, revealing to Katie that he was actually the formerly-obese high school nerd Byron. He continued stalking Katie through the end of 2005.

As Craig and Rosanna remarried and planned to adopt Gwen's baby, Jennifer went into labor, and Craig toyed with the idea of switching the babies, which he proceeded to do. "Jennifer's" baby (which was actually Gwen's baby) died, and Jennifer went into hysterics—upon looking at the dead baby's body, she remarked that it was not her child, but her family felt that her objectivity had been obscured and convinced her she was mistaken. Craig attempted to comfort Jennifer, but his wife Rosanna realized that he was not nearly as sad as was characteristic for Craig, considering that the dead baby was supposedly his.

Meanwhile, while flipping through a family scrapbook, Carly came upon a picture of her father at Mabel's Red Hots, a popular fast food restaurant in Oakdale. Carly, not aware that her father had ever been to Oakdale, showed the picture to many longtime Oakdale residents, including Lisa, Nancy, Kim, and finally to Susan, who told her that the man in the picture had been involved in "something horrible" at a clinic which had closed. Jack, wanting to get to the bottom of it, asked Jessica to open the file on the event. Jack decided it was too horrible for Carly to ever know, but the determined Carly paid Henry to find the woman who was with her father in the picture. The woman (Iris Dombrowski, played by Terri Garber) revealed that Carly had done something to her son, and then began to blackmail Carly.

Rosanna found out Craig switched the babies, but before she could tell Paul, Craig ran her car off the road. Rosanna was rendered comatose and Craig was shipped off to jail (written off the show, his trial presumably happening off-camera, though none of the other characters, including his sisters Katie or Margo ever referred to it), which kicked off an umbrella story focused on the struggles of those most affected by the baby switch. Carly and Gwen fought for custody of baby "Rory", neither realizing that child died at birth. The child's natural mother, Jennifer, was devastated by her loss. Paul (and soon Emily) found out about the switch, but kept quiet because he wanted Jennifer to be free of Craig. During the custody hearing, Gwen was forced to reveal the name of her baby's father. She told the truth (Casey Hughes was the father) but because of the baby switch, "Rory"'s DNA results did not match Casey's, and everyone thought Gwen lied. Gwen began to suspect Rory was not her real child. Paul began to work to undermine his brother Will's close friendship with Gwen, doing anything to keep Jennifer from her child. All the while Jennifer slid further and further into a crystal meth addiction, and Carly drugged Gwen to make her look like a bad mother. Gwen then reconnected with her deadbeat mother, Iris, who unbeknownst to her was blackmailing Carly. As Gwen suffered more and more setbacks, she became one of the breakout stars of the show. Paul had Jennifer committed after he realized she was on meth. Dusty, who had a casual sexual relationship with a fixated Meg Snyder, became very protective of Jennifer, or "Jenny" as he called her.

Lucinda contracted breast cancer and struggled to deal with showing weakness to the outside world. She discovered that Lily's boyfriend Keith smuggled human organs, and blackmailed him into helping her find experimental treatments for her cancer. The secrecy put a strain on Lily and Keith's relationship, and drew her closer to Holden.

The show remained in a consistent third place in the ratings for most of summer 2005, as other, more established shows such as "General Hospital" at times went into freefall. In September 2005 Procter & Gamble announced their daytime division head, Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin was leaving and the position was being eliminated, which led some fans to doubt about whether or not they wanted to continue producing "As The World Turns" or "Guiding Light".

Under Passanante's ongoing tenure, the baby-switch story continued, with Carly finally realizing that she had not in fact killed Iris' baby, after all (Iris had orchestrated it to look that way), and that Iris had not even had a son but rather a daughter, who turned out to be Gwen (this made Gwen and Carly half-sisters, a plot twist that was criticized by a number of fans, since it contradicted Carly's age and history, in that she had to be rewritten as being eight to ten years younger to make the ages and dates correspond.) As both women struggled to absorb the fact that they were half-sisters, custody of the baby was given to Gwen (under the stipulation that she move back into her estranged, alcoholic mother's house for "stability"), when it came out that Carly had drugged Gwen. Meanwhile, Paul and Emily continued to work to keep Jennifer from learning the truth about the baby, going so far as to draw Meg (who had put the pieces together on her own) into their efforts. Meg eventually couldn't take the guilt and revealed to Dusty that she knew that Gwen's child couldn't possibly be hers. Paul and Emily were caught trying to delete hospital records concerning the child, and the child was ordered to be returned to Jennifer within the night. Gwen discovered that her baby had died and Casey finally apologized for not being there for her during her pregnancy.

In October 2005, Lucinda's cancer had metastisized to the point where she was forced to undergo an mastectomy, while Luke became consumed by an infection he'd picked up in Mexico (when he'd stowed away with his grandmother and Keith), which destroyed his kidneys. Lily turned to Keith, who agreed to find Luke an illegal kidney on the condition that she agree to marry him. Lucinda and Holden soon discovered that Keith had obtained the kidney, but Lily feared that karma would allow something to happen to Luke if she went back on her word to Keith. She still could not deny her attraction to Holden, and after the two made love, Keith finally left town.Emily continued to stand by Paul after their role in keeping the baby switch was discovered, until Paul dumped her on their wedding day. Emily then shot him. When B.J. Green tried to blow up the WOAK studios shortly before the new year, new character Nick Kasnoff (who replaced Jack on the police force) heroically stopped him. Dusty dumped Meg Snyder on New Year's Eve as they were about to get married because Dusty found out that Meg had a hand in covering up the baby swapping scheme by keeping silent that she knew that Jennifer was the mother. An injured Paul made it to a cabin out in the snowy woods, and Meg (who had been fired from Memorial) started taking care of him. Paul started losing a lot of blood, and Meg tried to get him to rest but Paul was becoming delusional that Emily and his sister, Jennifer, were trying to kill him. Susan became increasingly concerned for her daughter, Emily's, mental health and asked Hal to investigate. Hal put new cop, Nick, on the case. Jack was rehired by Hal at the police part-time, and had trouble getting along with Nick. Carly also had to contend with Nick’s flirtations, which she really didn't want. Mike and Katie became engaged after Jennifer consented to a divorce, and they also forgave Maddie when she confessed that it was she who initially lured B.J. to Oakdale, not realizing how dangerous and unstable he really was. Conditions improved slightly for Gwen, when Lisa offered her a room and a job at the Lakeview. (Will went to stay with Bob and Kim.) Gwen's good fortune was short-lived, however, as Barbara caused Lisa to think Gwen stole an expensive piece of jewellery from a hotel guest, resulting in her being fired.

2006

As February 2006 began, Will and Gwen were once again homeless and jobless. Desperately, Will decided to steal a thousand dollars from Barbara's Lakeview suite, and while Gwen tried to talk him out of it, she eventually agreed to the plan, going along with him. When Barbara turned out to be present in the suite, she threatened to call the police, and in his struggle to get the telephone away from his mother, Will pushed her, and she hit her head. When she regained consciousness in the hospital, she claimed it was Gwen, not Will who had "intentionally" pushed her, and that Will was not even present. Will countered that it was he who had pushed his mother, but when Margo attempted to request the teens come into the station to be questioned, they fled, and a warrant was issused for their arrest. Meanwhile, Luke sneaked out of the house to meet Kevin, but when he decided to return home shortly thereafter, he struck a girl with his car. She turned out to be okay, but revealed a startling fact to Luke, Lily and Holden: she was Rose's daughter, Jade, who had been given up for adoption at birth.

Around this same time, Holden began to suspect that Luke might be gay and eventually Luke confirmed this when he came out to his parents. Lily was shocked, as was Damien, who had returned to town in June 2006. Damien convinced Lily he would solve the "problem" with Luke and attempted to send him to a summer camp that advertised "gender re-alignment." Luke rebelled against his mother, hurt by her reaction to his revelation that he was gay. Things were strained between them for quite a while and Luke eventually agreed to go to Krieger's "summer camp" and went upstairs to pack his things. Lily, discovering at the last minute that Damien had lied to her about the true purpose behind Krieger's "de-gaying" camp and regretting her alignment with him, rushed home in an attempt to reconnect with Luke. Still hurt and angry at his mother's continual rejection, believing she alone was behind the idea to send him away, Luke pushed a pregnant Lily away from him causing her to fall down a long flight of stairs and lapse into a coma.

In April 2006, town matriarch Nancy Hughes McClosky was honored by the Women's Guild for her fifty years of service. Lisa, Lucinda, Kim, Barbara, Susan and Emma all joined Nancy at a luncheon honoring her, but on their way back, the bus they had chartered went off the road (when Barbara, upset at having just learned of Paul and Emily's marriage) attempted to gain control of the steering wheel from the driver). Though no one was seriously injured, the seven women were stranded in woods all night long. To pass the time, they reminisced about their lives and loves through the previous several decades. (The special episode was written to commemorate ATWT's fiftieth anniverasry.)

Emily, too, became pregnant during her short-lived sham marriage to Paul, and Paul convinced her not to have an abortion. Emily did, however, use stem cells from her baby to help Johnny, Jennifer's ill son. Jennifer (against the advice of Dr. Lucy Montgomery, who had just returned to Oakdale) signed her self out of the hospital when she had pneumonia. It developed into a rare virus and Jennifer died--but not before she married Dusty Donovan. On her deathbed, Jennifer asked Gwen to make a videodisc recording of her for Johnny.

Will and Gwen, now married and living with Hal, struggled to complete high school after missing months. Gwen graduated, but Will got caught cheating when Jade convinced him to buy papers off the internet. A drunken Will also slept with Jade, while Casey and Gwen got closer when they began working together at Lisa's new club, Crash (which moved onto the premises of what was Mabel's Red Hots.) Maddie and Casey decided to have sex, during which Maddie began to experience flashbacks of a dorm room. It was later brought to light (during a conversation with Oakdale's newest police officer, Dallas Griffin--Jessica's nephew) that she had been sexually assaulted a year before at a frat party in Chicago. She abruptly ended her relationship with Casey, leaving him wanting and confused. "Snotty teen" Lia then began making advances on Casey in such a way as to make Maddie even more jealous. When Lia was killed everyone accused Maddie of being her killer, and her friends turned her back on her. It was later revealed that Maddie's rapist was her Brother-in-law Louis, who Maddie protected in fear. Later evidence seemed to indicate that Louis was also the Oakdale Slasher.

All the show's teens -- Gwen, Will, Maddie, Casey, Luke, Kevin (a friend of Luke's since the second grade as well as someone Luke has been pining for throughout the years), Jade, the final three being contestants of "As the Worlds"' In Turn contest (the winner of which would secure a thirteen-week contract on ATWT) and a busload of others -- headed to Raven Lake for an end of summer bash at a campsite in the woods. During their time there, various teens reunited, apologized, and reconciled (Casey apologized to Maddie for thinking she was crazy after she confessed that she was raped, Gwen apologized to Will for not speaking up for him after he was accused of being the slasher, and Kevin apologized to Luke for calling him a faggot when Luke told him he was gay.) Various other teens (6 or 7 of them at least) as well as Maddie's brother-in-law/rapist Louis bled to death after being stabbed by the "Slasher." Maddie's sister, Eve, was revealed to be the "Slasher."

Soon afterwards, a freak ice storm paralyzed Oakdale, leading to several important developments. Emily had decided to run away, but instead found herself trapped at the Snyder farm with Meg; Emily went into pre-mature labor, and despite the best efforts of Meg and Paul, who arrived at the last minute, she lost the baby, a daughter named Jennifer in honor of her late aunt.

While driving a sick Johnny to the hospital, Lucy had an accident, and was freed from her car by a mysterious stranger, who turned out to be her father Craig, who had been released from jail on a technicality. Craig's return, naturally, upset Dusty, Barbara and Paul; Barbara, particularly, accused Lucy (who was growing close again with Dusty) of helping her father, but Lucy proved her independence by revealing to Jack (who had a restraining order against Craig) that her father was faking the severity of his injuries (a tree had fallen on him during the storm). Craig further incensed Barbara when he proposed to donate funds to Oakdale Memorial to establish a stem cell research center in Jennifer's name.

Lily came out of her coma during the ice storm (during the coma, she gave birth to a son, Ethan), with visions of Rose before her, compelling her to resume her search for Rose's daughter, Theresa. At the same time, Jade, who had claimed to be Theresa earlier in the year, was forced by Luke to reveal that she was not, in fact, pregnant by Will.

Meanwhile, Carly, now divorced from Jack, was developing both a romantic and business relationship with Katie's ex-husband, Simon, who had returned to Oakdale, much to Katie and Mike's displeasure. (Mike and Katie had married in May, and ran into Simon and his then-girlfriend Vienna during their honeymoon.) Simon purchased a dilapidated building with the intent of refurbishing the site and renting it out; Carly signed on to be an interior decorator. During the ice storm, a telephone pole crashed into the building, nearly killing Carly. Desperate to find the funds to cover the re-building, Simon first tried to get money from Lucinda, but Mike told Lucinda that the building had a weak structure, so Simon turned to a notorious loan-shark for the money, much to Carly's displeasure.

Finally, Katie gave in to Simon, who was supposedly trying to say goodbye to her, and had sex with him. Katie tried to keep this a secret, but she typed it all on her laptop for her new Oakdale Confidential book. Lucinda convinced Mike over the phone to look at the story on Katie's laptop because the deadline for the story was that night. Mike read it all and left Katie.

On the night of the Oakdale Halloween Gala, Simon convinced Carly to help him steal the one of the Prince's jewels, supposedly worth millions of dollars. They succeeded, and Simon gave the diamond to Carly as a necklace. Meanwhile, Carly's SORASed daughter Sage found a "magic crystal" which she included in her science project. Katie ransacked Carly's house and found what she thought was the diamond, but it turned out that the diamond had been accidentally switched with Sage's Cubic Zirconium. Simon got the crystal and threw it in a trash bin, but it came back to bite them again. A worker had found the jewel in the trash, and Bob and Kim got ahold of it...and Katie saw it, and has the 'proof' to arrest Simon and Carly.

Lucy, now desperate over what to do, tricked her father, Craig, telling him that he needed to go to the hospital for a doctor to examine his wound. She was really kidnapping Johnny, and taking him away; she thought that it would be better for Johnny if Dusty and Craig were out of his life. She took money from her father's safe, and convinced Lucinda to let her go. Lucy and Johnny are now out of town.

Faith, Lily's daughter, has caught on to her mother...they are both self-conscious about their weight. Faith also ran away because she though that her parents were splitting up, when they really weren't. They found Faith hurt with her horse.

Casey now has a gambling addiction. He has lied to Maddie countless times, and blamed it all on Elwood (who has been pushing him to do it more), and was even visited by the poker site 'thug'.

Vienna, Carly and Katie had a catfight on Christmas Eve, ruining Emma's dinner. Carly broke up with Simon because of Jack's warnings.

Iris, Gwen's mother came back from jail to cause more trouble. She saw Gwen and Adam kiss in L.A. Gwen told Will about it, and he seems to be forgiving.

Paul wrecked his car on Christmas Eve, leaving Emma's rifle at the Snyder barn. Meg saved his life, and he is still critical, and had quite a freaky dream. He also had a vision that someone would give him medicine that would kill him...and it came true, to the shock of Susan!

2007

Emily interrupts Paul and Meg's wedding with the news that she had witnessed Paul trying to kill Craig, and Meg calls off the wedding in response. Emily and Meg free Dusty from jail. Craig is not arrested, but he swears revenge on Emily for her betrayal. Shortly afterward, Craig sells his half of "The Intruder" to a gangster, who then tries to force Emily to sign over her share of the paper to him. When she refuses to do so, he has her son Daniel kidnapped. Emily attempts to seek Tom's help in locating Daniel, but upon hearing the news, Tom has a heart attack and is rushed to Oakdale Memorial.

Jade enlists Cleo Babbit to impersonate Gwen, and end her relationship with Will. However, Cleo falls in love with Will. On their trip to Branson she gets mad when Will doesn't want to kiss her and knocks him over the head and then ties Jade and Gwen up to the train tracks. Will gets up and unties them just in the knick of time and Cleo goes off to a mental institute and Jade apologies and leaves town. The next thing is when this Ava Jenkins comes to town she wants a box from J. J. but he won't give it to him and she kidnaps him and takes him to her husband Silas and eventually Carly and Jack save him.Then there is Noah Mayer whose father is Col. Winston Mayer and he killed his ex-wife known as Cheri Love and everyone thought it was Dusty but the truth came out. It was then revealed the Noah and Luke Snyder were in love. That was not ok for Noah's father who on a hunting trip shot Luke and he ended up in a wheelchair and Winston was off to prison.Eventually Katy and Jack married but when Carly was dying, and was later a misdiagnosis, so Katy and Jack split and him and Carly are about to get married when Carly tells him and he leaves her at the alter.Then there is Meg Snyder who got married to Craig and was only going to marry him to get the company Worldwide back but after Paul went over a cliff after a fight with Craig she stayed married to him. A month later Paul was alive and in a hospital in Switzerland, where Rosana was. She eventually wakes up from her coma and they head back to town and get married on Halloween day. But then Meg and Paul sleep together and she finds out she's pregnant and later finds out the father is Paul by Rosana still doesn't trust him.Later a Cole comes to town with his girlfriend, Sofie and she gets pregnant. Since Will and Gwen can't have a baby, they are going to adopt there, not know who's it is.Craig finds out that the baby Meg is carrying is Paul's not his and he tries to drug her getting cut in the process.

*Adopted: Hallie Jennifer Munson {Will and Gwen Munson}
*Births: Hallie Jennifer Munson {Soffie Duran and Cole Norbeck}
*Breakups: Sofie Duran and Cole Norbeck
*Deaths: Cheri Love (AKA Charlene Wilson){Shot by Winston Mayer}
*Annulled: Jack Snyder and Katie Peretti
*Entered Rehab: Lily Snyder
*Left Town: Mike Kasnoff, Simon Fraiser, Maddie Coleman, Jade Taylor, Casey Hughes, Cole Norbeck
*Married: Katie Peretti and Jack Snyder; Meg Snyder and Craig Montgomery; Rosanna Cabot and Paul Ryan
*New in Town: Noah Mayer, Col. Winston Mayer, Charlene Wilson, Cole Norbeck, Sofie Duran, Kit Fowler, Evan Walsh IV, Sam Hutchins, Eli King, Cleo Babbit, Silis Jenkins, Ava Jenkins
*Pregnant: Meg Synder
*Presumed Dead: Paul Ryan
*Recast: Craig Montgomery, Dalas Griffin (2x)
*Returned from the Dead: Paul Ryan
*Returned to Town: Brad Snyder, Aaron Snyder, Alison Stewart, Iris Dumbrowski, Christopher Hughes II, Bonnie McKechnie
*Separated: Lily and Holden Synder


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