As the World Turns (often referred to as ATWT) is an American television soap opera that aired on CBS from April 2, 1956 to September 17, 2010.
Set in the fictional town of Oakdale, Illinois, the show debuted on April 2, 1956, at 1:30 pm EST. Prior to that date, all serials had been fifteen minutes in length. As the World Turns and The Edge of Night, which premiered on the same day at 4:30 pm EST, were the first two to be thirty minutes in length from their premiere.
At first, viewers did not respond to the new half-hour serial, but ratings picked up in its second year, eventually reaching the top spot in the daytime Nielsen ratings by fall 1958. In 1959, the show started a streak of weekly ratings wins that would not be interrupted for over twelve years. In the year-to-date ratings, As the World Turns was the most-watched daytime drama from 1958 until 1978, with ten million viewers tuning in each day. At its height, core actors such as Helen Wagner, Don MacLaughlin, Don Hastings, and Eileen Fulton became nationally known. Irna Phillips created As the World Turns as a sister show to her other soap opera Guiding Light.