NBC PREPARES TO SCRUB A SOAP - THE QUESTION IS WHICH
By Richard Huff
New York Daily News
December 1, 1998
One of NBC'S daytime soaps appears to be headed for the scrap heap.
Within a year, it's a virtual certainty that either the 34-year-old ANOTHER WORLD or two-year-old SUNSET BEACH will be folded in order to make room for a new soap, called PASSIONS.
The new daytimer, scheduled to debut July 5, will revolve around four families living in a small New England town. The show was created by James E. Reilly, former head writer of DAYS OF OUR LIVES (the popular NBC soap that definitely is in no danger of disappearing in the shuffle).
As for whether it will be SUNSET BEACH or ANOTHER WORLD that bites the dust when PASSIONS arrives, that depends on a number of factors, sources said.
In the coming months, each show will be pulling out all stops to lure viewers to the set in hopes of assuring its survival.
"It's sort of up in the air, anything can happen," said an NBC spokeswoman. "The only certainty is DAYS OF OUR LIVES will be on the air for the next five years."
While a decision is still at least a couple of months away, there are a few possible scenarios.
In one, PASSIONS would be put in the time slot currently occupied by the talker LEEZA, which ends its run on NBC in August to enter the syndication market. If that happens, SUNSET BEACH and ANOTHER WORLD could buy themselves a few more months before the decision is made about which goes. (It's possible, though highly unlikely for financial reasons, that NBC might keep all three.)
Industry observers suggest the choice of show to go may not be based on ratings alone. While SUNSET BEACH is the lowest-rated daytime soap, the fact is that NBC owns a piece of the show, which is said to be very lucrative because of overseas distribution.
Conversely, ANOTHER WORLD which ranks just a little higher, but does average about a million more viewers than SUNSET BEACH is owned by Procter & Gamble, and provides no additional revenue for NBC. However, according to industry insiders, packaged-goods giant P & G has threatened to pull advertising from NBC if its show gets dumped.