In January, NBC announced that the network would be canceling the eight-year-old soap Passions in the Fall. Millions of viewers were understandably upset. After weeks of uncertainty, it looks like fans of the residents of Harmony will be able to rest easy — at least those who have satellite television.
The soap will end its eighth season on NBC on September 7th with a series of cliffhangers. DirecTV will begin airing the ninth season of Passions starting on September 17th. Passions will remain in its usual 2pm timeslot and DirecTV will also air encore marathons on weekends. This will be the first scripted drama series for the satellite TV provider who has been offering other original programming to its subscribers.
Executive vice president of Entertainment for DirectTV Eric Shanks said, “Passions fans no longer need to mourn the demise of their beloved program as it has found new life on DirectTV. We care about this show and are extremely proud to give it an exclusive home here at DirectTV.”
Marc Graboff (president of NBC Universal Television, West Coast) added, “This new arrangement with DirectTV is truly a landmark development that allows NBC Universal to extend the Passions brand in a fresh and entirely new way, to DirectTV’s 16 million homes. It will reward the dedicated fans of the daytime drama who can continue to enjoy it on DirectTV and also opens up a great new model for other television programs to find new life on other non-traditional platforms.”
It is unclear how much DirecTV will be paying NBC Universal for the soap. Passions will be cut back from five to four episodes a week and will probably endure additional budget cuts. How these cost reductions would affect the soap cast and crew is unclear. The ninth season will begin filming in August.
The satellite provider is encouraging Passions fans to subscribe to the DirecTV service and is offering several incentives. Episodes of Passions are currently made available for free online at NBC.com and via iTunes. It’s unknown if online distribution will continue in some form but it’s looking doubtful thus far. Stay tuned!