As the World Turns will be getting new head writers - but only temporarily. Hogan Sheffer, the show's head writer since 2000, has opted to take a break from the show. It will be the charismatic scribe's first break since assuming the top scribe position.
"Hogan Sheffer has elected to take a 17-week sabbatical effective immediately," an As the World Turns spokesperson said in a statement. "Sheffer will return to As the World Turns in May 2005."
Procter & Gamble Productions' announcement in June 2000 that Sheffer had been hired as the new head writer of As the World Turns was met with a great deal of skepticism. At the time, Sheffer had admitted to never having watched any daytime dramas. Moreover, he hadn't had much experience in writing for television either; he had worked for Dreamworks SKG for several years developing screenplays.
Sheffer, however, and executive producer Christopher Goutman are credited with the dramatic turn around of the once struggling CBS soap. In three of the past four years, As the World Turns has been honored with the Outstanding Writing Team trophy at the Daytime Emmys.
A spokesperson for As the World Turns insists that Sheffer's 17-week personal hiatus is not a harbinger of his eventual exit from the program. Speculation that Sheffer might leave the fictional town of Oakdale has popped up before. In June 2004, a fake press announcing Sheffer's firing release made its way across the Internet. Prior to that, in December 2002, rumors hinted that Sheffer was being wooed by ABC to take over as head writer of All My Children.
During Sheffer's absence, co-head writer Jean Passanante will partner with recently-hired associate head writer Trent Jones will fill in for Sheffer. Sheffer is expected to return to his head writing position in May.