By Editors

Originally published on December 08 2009 1:30 PM ET

The ailing soap industry took another hit Tuesday with the announcement that CBS will cancel As the World Turns, which has been on the air more than 54 years, in 2010.

The soap boasts one of the most visible gay characters in daytime. As Luke, actor Van Hansis is a three-time Daytime Emmy Award nominee for his sensitive portrayal of a gay teen who overcomes the initial rejection of his mother to have one of the most buzzed-about gay relationships on television.

Luke and Noah (dubbed Nuke by fans) have had their ups and downs like any soap couple, but the fans have been rabid. Just last month, a media alert went out celebrating Nuke’s 50th television kiss.

As the World Turns producer Procter and Gamble initially faced some criticism for caving to pressure from the show’s conservative viewers and watering down the romance. The company’s other soap, Guiding Light, faced similar criticism for its lesbian romance. That show was canceled earlier this year.

“We are disappointed and saddened by the news that the show is not being renewed,” said ATWT exec producer Chris Goutman in a statement. ”It will certainly be a loss for all of us, and for the show’s loyal audience.
Brian T. Cahill, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for TeleNext Media, Inc, the production company behind the show, said that while CBS has canceled the show, the soap could possibly live on.
“We are proactively seeking a new outlet to carry the show, and are open to exploring innovative formats and relationships that will enable the future success of ATWT."

The show is expected to end its run in September, leaving just six daytime soap operas on television.