DC #577: The End of the ‘World’ with Colleen Zenk

For 32 of As The World Turns’ 54 years Daytime Confidential’s Special Guest Colleen Zenk dazzled audiences as the insurmountable Barbara Ryan. Today Zenk joins Luke, Jamey, Mike, J. Bernard and Melodie to reflect on the passing of television’s most popular soap opera of all time. Download this moving chat to hear from an insider’s perspective what it was like during As The World Turns last few months. How does Zenk feel about the job ATWT’s last show runner Chris Goutman and head writer Jean Passanante did in wrapping up this iconic serial? When did she feel the soap opera first began to lose its footing? Her answers may surprise you, not to mention provide a new perspective.

Zenk also discusses the many loves of Barbara’s life—James, Gunnar, Hal, John and finally that rascal Henry Coleman, revealing moving, poignant and at times humorous details about what it was like to work with each of her leading men over the years. Who does she feel was the love of Barbara’s life? You’ll have to tune in to find out. Zenk also shares how the end of the "World" parallels what she’s going through in her own life, following a battle with a deadly disease and divorce. Hear how this passionate oral cancer survivor plans to chart the next phase of her life. The world may have stopped turning on CBS, but something tells us, Colleen Zenk is headed for a whole new world.

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20 Responses

  1. Profile photo of

    As a person with a hearing disability, it was extremely difficult to hear Colleen at all during her interview with you folks at DC. Is there anyway that you can enhance and make the sound much better so that I don’t have to strain to try and hear your podcasts?

  2. Profile photo of kcgeban

    JBJ, I have been one of your harshest critics during your series of features about ATWT. I humbly apologize. After reflecting a little and listening to your interview with the diva-licious Colleen, I think you are, first of all, a fan. In the echo chamber of the internet a few views tend to become pre-dominant, not allowing room for divergent views. Your views on the ending of the show are no less valid than mine and are probably more so since you stuck with the show. I left several times and came back.

    I take this opportunity to address the issue of bringing back veterans. Yes, some fan favorites were not brought back. However, there was a wealth of veteran talent on our screens that never left the show. Barbara, Bob, Kim, Lucinda, Holden, Emily, Margo, Tom, etc. These characters and their portrayers were all there and all had vibrant storylines up to the very end.

  3. Profile photo of Silver44

    Loved the interview!

    Colleen Zenk is such a great actress, I’m going to miss her dearly as Barbara. She was the main reason the storage/clown story line was bearable.

    ETA: Good to hear Mike again.

  4. Profile photo of craigcp

    She is great lady, can’t believe she never one an Emmy I hope the Emmy people give her a win next year. I can’t see her play anyone else, hope she can get on to another soap. Or just stay out of them not going to last much longer. I remember she married my doctor son here in Kansas.

  5. Profile photo of Everett

    What a wonderful interview! DC you should very proud that you are respected enough in the industry for Ms. Zenk to share this very special time in her life with you.

    I was happy to hear her thoughts on Chris Goutman. God knows I have not agreed with some of his decisions but I think we should be grateful that he kept so many vets on the show during his tenure.

  6. Profile photo of Joan76

    Thank you for your dedication, I loved what she said about the vets, only soap that really kept the vets in the show. I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I’m sure you’ll keep up updated on what they are doing. Bring the Series Finale on DVD to see the unedited version the whole series Guiding Light and other canceled soaps, and what they took out of Nancy.

  7. Profile photo of whitney

    The pairing of Barbara/Henry, Barbara/Paul, Barbara/James, Barbara/Em, Barbara/Audrey and Barbara/anyone breathing has brought so much enjoyment to my small screen over the years. I will miss her so much! A gifted and beautiful actress like her should never stop performing….! BTW, Daytime Confi, I just love the intro/outro music on your blog!

  8. Profile photo of craigcp

    I finally brought myself to listen to the rest of interview. I first really got into ATWT when I was working for my aunt in Florida in the time of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Working in her gift shop but we had a two TV’s, networks weren’t covering launches, But they had a Florida channel for the shuttle, and we had a TV for ATWT. It was a cold day by Florida standards 55, freezing the night before, I’m a Kansas Boy, I was even wearing shorts,they thought I was weird. I had a bad feeling that the shuttle shouldn’t fly even had a dream, being from Kansas I know what cold does to machines that aren’t use to it. Now with the shuttle program ending, and then ATWT, it’s very hard for me.

  9. Profile photo of Ami

    shame on procter & gamble for threatening to pull the ATWT content and kick the fans in the teeth while we’re already down! i for example need the content to remain as i’m still playing catch up with all the years i’ve missed! i’m essentially a neophyte to ATWT in that i started watching the show in 2005 (after Hurricane Katrina left me jobless for 3 months and sulking in front of the tv) and got hooked on it! there are so many barbara moments and amazing storylines i’ve yet to see!! i really hope that P&G is just iffing at removing the content but won’t really do so. however, i’m no fool and know that this is a classic example of how self serving and grabby corporate america can be. i’m sure the content will reappear as a wrapped up bundle of dvds offered at some ridiculous price….and we’ll all buy it…..

  10. Profile photo of Ami

    Oh, but i think that Colleen will definitely be in contention at next year’s emmy awards! She gave one emmy worthy performance after another this past year….

  11. Profile photo of whitney

    Oh but of course Colleen will be on the road to the emmy awards in 2011! I think that countless people would agree that she has a very strong shot of winning it too!

  12. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott

    I have loved Colleen and Barbara since I was introduced to Barbara in 1991 when she was pg with Daryl’s child (Frannie’s husband!) who ended up being Jennifer and she was going to Lynn Michaels about it.
    Special mention to when Hogan Sheffer brought Barbara back into the fold with her marriage to Craig and all the story that rolled from that.

    Good luck to her. xo
    She is truly fabulous.

  13. Profile photo of henry007

    I read somewhere that Martha Stewart show was a huge bomb. Just hope that The talk bombs as well. And there was trouble on the set already. I hope that we can make them sorry for canceling these beloved soaps. Make them never forget the name As The World Turns and The Guiding Light. I been hard on Chris Goutman but it was a fine ending. Having Dr. Bob narrate made it kind feel like the old days again. And have him say goodnight. Of course I fell apart picking up his name plate, what the show was about. I hope get to interview more stars. Finest group of actors. Thank you DC you have been very supportive of ATWT, even when you found some bad, you always find something good to say that’s why I came hear.

  14. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    kcgeban, I accept your most gracious apology but know one thing: I harbor no ill will to even my most harshest of critics for my recent ATWT posts. I understand that emotions have been running high among many over yet another loss of the genre, a show still beloved by many and another salvo against the genre.

    I did not write what I did to deliberately provoke anyone, but I knew what I wrote (and will write) would provoke negative reactions. We love "our" shows and anything expressed that seems to validate those who we hold responsible for their loss is not going to win anyone popularity contests. I know where you and others were coming from. In other words, to paraphrase a certain ex-President, I feel your pain. It’s mine, too.

    Thank you again.

  15. Profile photo of sodsince16

    Loved the interview. I doubt any morning show that may have interviewed Ms. Zenk today would have been able to show the respect to her of knowing her entire character’s history.

    My question is still – How did Coleen feel about the change in her character from hero to vixen under Doug Marland? It kept Barbara relevant and created the core conflict that defined her – the struggle between good men who wanted to change her (Hal, Tom, Brian) vs. bad guys who appreciated her cunning (James, Henry).

    I also wonder how she felt Barbara changed having played her over the course of so many writers?

  16. Profile photo of Dariclone

    I’ve never watched ATWT regurlarly, but Colleen Zen seems like a lovely woman! I feel so bad that her sow’s being cancelled. I must Youtube some of her older scenes quicly before Oct. 22.

  17. Profile photo of PJF

    Great interview. Ranks up there with Chris LeBlanc’s interview. I appreciate Colleen for giving us viewers the gift of watching absolute greatness with her scenes. Man, the chemistry with Barbara and Henry was INSANE and RIDICULOUS. Those scenes in particular had my 90 year old grandmother’s body temp just rising. If Colleen doesn’t go for another soap, then she should teach a class on how one can bring out his or her inner FIERCENESS because she has that capability down to a science!!!!!!!!!!

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