By Bob Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
In 2005, scientists added a “leap second” to the year to account for the Earth’s slowing rotation. Fortunately, initial efforts to blame President Bush were disproved, so physicists blamed “tidal friction” instead.While the Moon’s pull on the oceans may slow the Earth’s rotation, only one entity has the power to stop the world from turning at all: CBS. On September 17, the network aired the last episode of As the World Turns, ending its 54-year run.The venerable soap opera’s replacement? “The Talk”–a talk show resembling ABC’s “The View,” with another panel of liberal women chattering about the news. The new CBS show’s featured panelist: Julie Chen, the spouse of Les Moonves, coincidentally the President of CBS.Yet if the world no longer turns, it would be as unfair to blame Moonves as it would be to blame the Moon for the fact that New Year’s Eve 2005 lasted an interminable “leap second” longer, causing even more excessive drinking. Rather, soap operas, which began on radio when most of America’s women spent their days at home tending children and chores, have been succumbing to changing times. As more women moved into careers outside the home, advertisers found their target audience shrinking.Scripted dramas’ production costs – writers, actors — couldn’t be offset as audiences shrank, so daytime TV has been moving toward cheaper fare: reruns, quiz shows, talk-fests, and the tawdry real-life soap operas of shows such as Maury and Jerry Springer.Some would argue that the media’s coarsening of the culture reflects the dumbing-down of American education and the erosion of moral standards. Maybe so.Meanwhile, thanks to CBS, two composers may finally get their wish, if only symbolically. It was in 1962 that Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse premiered their Broadway musical: Stop the World. I Want to Get Off.