The peacock network is announcing today that the eight-year-old soap Passions has been cancelled. This comes as a shock to some but the writing has been on the wall for awhile. Still, things may not be as grim as they may seem.
Passions debuted on July 5, 1999 and was created by Jim Reilly, a writer from Days of Our Lives. Reilly is the head writer on the soap and is an executive producer with Lisa de Cazotte. The supernatural sudser takes place in fictional New England town Harmony and replaced the long-running Another World. Now it looks like Passions will be replaced itself.
The soap has been in danger for quite some time. When NBC renewed the series in May 2006, the network renewed it only for one year and required significant budget cuts. As a result, $4-5 million was slashed from the yearly budget and caused several crewmembers and performers to be let go. Now, nearly a year later, NBC has cancelled the soap. Why?
NBC recently announced that they would be expanding the popular Today Show from three to four hours weekdays. The Today Show is a great cash-earner for NBC and has been around for 55 years. The cast, including Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and Al Roker, is scheduled to hold a news conference today at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter preview tour to announce the news show expansion.
That “super-sized” version of Today will leave NBC affiliates with one less hour in their mid-morning slot. To compensate, NBC is releasing the Passions timeslot to affiliates. As a result, Passions will be pulled — though not for awhile.
The present Passions contract runs out in June but the new expanded Today won’t debut until Fall 2007. To fill the summer months, NBC is expected to negotiate with the Passions cast and show creatives to extend the soap until August. That could be the end.
But, like Tabitha and any good soap fan knows, there are always possible ways to cheat death. How could Passions survive?
NBC is proud of the soap. As recent as last week, the network issued a press release touting the fact that Passions was fourth in the ratings for all soaps in the very desirable female 18-34 demographic. Passions even tied for first place (with Days of Our Lives) for that demographic for the first week in January. As well, NBC owns Passions completely, allowing the network to keep all profits.
Because of its strong popularity with young women, there are rumblings that NBC may try to keep the series alive elsewhere. Possibilities include producing the soap (perhaps in a shortened version) for Disney’s SoapNet cable station, the struggling MyNetwork TV or even on the Internet.
The soap won’t go off the air for several months so we probably won’t know what the future holds for Passions and the Harmony residents for quite some time.
What do you think? We know there are lots of Passions fans out there. Would you like to see the soap continue? If so, consider signing our petition (leave a comment) so NBC and Passions executive producers Jim Reilly and Lisa de Cazotte will know how you feel. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments. Stay tuned — and in the meantime, let’s save Passions!
Please note, due to the overwhelming response, 4,500 petition comments have been archived (for bandwidth issues).
To NBC Daytime Programs
cc: Jim Reilly and Lisa de Cazotte
We, the undersigned have enjoyed much of your programming, particularly the ongoing Passions series. We have enjoyed the stories and the work of the cast each week and are dismayed about the announced cancellation.
We believe that the ratings have not accurately shown the show’s popularity and potential for future revenue.
We respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to cancel Passions and to find a way to keep it on NBC daytime. If that is not possible, we implore you to find another venue to continue telling the engaging stories of the people of Harmony.
Thank you in advance for your attention and consideration.
The Undersigned fans of Passions