I don't know how things are going to change yet or what we're going to do but I will say that our plan is to continue telling great story. We're not slowing that down.
This quote, coupled with executive producer Chris Goutman's quote to TV Guide Magazine, is a bit troubling.
We still have exciting stories in the works and we’re sticking to them. We’re not ready to start inviting back old favorites and do the nostalgia thing.
By all accounts ATWT is taping ahead by two months. They are taping scenes set to air in February already. While the show has improved lately, there is still quite a bit of ridiculousness in the form of Tom Pelphrey's Mick Dante character. Despite what Passanante and Goutman think, now is absolutely the time to take a step back, reassess the canvas, figure out the best way to end this show and begin doing it right. If there is a story line not tied to the very core of Oakdale and actors that fans care about, it needs to be dropped immediately. Being two months ahead gives ATWT this luxury.
If the show is racing toward a June production finish, three months prior to the final episode, that does not bode well for fans. I personally do want actors to return, boatloads of nostalgia and I'll happily accept an abrupt conclusion to stories that do not involve the Hughes family or other longtime favorites. Not "slowing down" and evaluating what fans want over the past few years has definitely contributed to its demise. This has started to slowly change the past few months but the show is nowhere near its true potential. And if any soaps needs to go out on top of its game, it's the soap that was number one in the ratings for 20 years.
Perhaps Goutman and Passanante have sincere hope the show will be picked up elsewhere and that is the basis for their comments. But even so, a real evaluation of what this show is about, where it should go and what it might look like on another network must be figured out. I hope this is all determined very soon. If ATWT is definitely going to end, it really needs to end right and that doesn't mean a few returns and clips the last week. It means several months of solid story, new romances for Lisa and Barbara, Bob and Kim front and center, the return of Martha Byrne, Liz Hubbard in all her glory, and actually seeing Tom Hughes more than once a month. Time will tell which direction the show will choose to go and how satisfying that conclusion will be.