'As the World Turns' canceled

Final episode will air in September on CBS

Long-running CBS daytime serial "As the World Turns," which premiered on April 2, 1956, has amassed 58 Daytime Emmys and launched the careers of such actors as Julianne Moore and Dana Delany, will conclude its more than five-decade run in September.

It has become the latest daytime soap to get the ax as daytime viewership is dwindling, forcing the networks to look for cheaper alternatives.

Top-rated from 1959-71, "As the World Turns" switched to color in 1967 and expanded to one hour in 1975. It is the longest-running daytime drama airing on TV following the cancellation of CBS' "Guiding Light."

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

The show's producer, Procter & Gable's TeleNext Media, vowed to search for a new home for the show, but the odds of "As the World Turns" continuing are slim.

The producers of NBC's soap "Passions" sold the show to DirecTV after NBC canceled it in 2007 but it lasted on the satcaster less than a year before shutting down for good.

In September, CBS's veteran "Guiding Light," also produced by TeleNext, went off the air after 57 years. It was replaced it with an updated version of game show classic "Let's Make a Deal," hosted by Wayne Brady, which has done respectably in the ratings.

There has been no announced replacement for "As the World Turns" but the network is expected to go a similar route, looking at talk shows and game shows for potential replacements.

ABC also had been exploring potentially subbing one of its daytime soaps with a talk show and in the summer moved production on veteran "All My Children" from New York to Los Angeles.

This fall, the genre got a boost by film star James Franco who signed on to do an arc on ABC's "General Hospital."

"It's extremely difficult to say good-bye to a long-running series that's been close to our hearts for so long," said CBS' senior vp daytime programming Barbara Bloom. "The almanacs will show 'As the World Turns' as a pioneer of the format, a hallmark for quality with its numerous Emmys, the launching pad for many television and film stars and a daytime ratings powerhouse for parts of three decades."