By Richard Huff
NY Daily News
April 13, 1999
After months of handwringing, NBC yesterday canceled ANOTHER WORLD ending the soap's 35-year run.
ANOTHER WORLD will air its last episode June 25.
NBC's decision followed a lengthy and surprisingly public review process. The network had stated that either ANOTHER WORLD or the two-year-old Aaron Spelling soap opera SUNSET BEACH would be cut to make room for a new sudser. That one, titled "Passions," will debut July 5.
"It was a very tough decision, which one to go with," said NBC Entertainment President Scott Sassa. "We felt there was a little more momentum with SUNSET BEACH."
Maybe, but NBC's vote of confidence in SUNSET was rather lukewarm the network yesterday announced that it has only exercised an option for another six-month run of the show.
As for what it might have in mind if the sun sets on SUNSET BEACH in six months, Sassa wasn't tipping his hand. He said the network does not have another soap in development to fill the SUNSET BEACH slot should it become vacant.
ANOTHER WORLD, launched on May 4, 1964, is the network's longest-running daytime drama. The show was the first in TV history to air in an hour format (1975) and later in a 90-minute format (1979-1980).
Actors who worked on the show before finding wider fame include Ray Liotta, Morgan Freeman, Charles Durning and Anne Heche. Emmy-winner David Canary, now starring on ALL MY CHILDREN, toiled earlier at ANOTHER WORLD.
"We've known for quite some time that NBC's decision could go either way," said Mickey Dwyer-Dobbin, executive in charge of production at Procter & Gamble Productions, which owns the show. "Although we certainly wish the outcome were different, it is a sad comment on the television industry as a whole that a soap, especially one with so much history, has to be canceled to make room for a new one. The loss of the show is a loss for the industry."
For the season, ANOTHER WORLD is ranked No. 9 out of a 12 daytime dramas, averaging 2,960,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. That's better than ABC's PORT CHARLES (No. 10, 2,500,000 viewers) and SUNSET BEACH (No. 12, 2,010,000 viewers).
No. 1-ranked THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, on CBS, is averaging 8,100,000 viewers every afternoon.
NBC's Sassa said SUNSET BEACH'S better performance with younger viewers, compared with the older-skewing ANOTHER WORLD, was a big factor in the decision.
A spokeswoman for P & G said the company is "reviewing our options" about the future of the show, which theoretically could be sold to another network or to ABC's new all-soap cable channel.
In axing ANOTHER WORLD and starting up PASSIONS, NBC is attempting to shore up a daytime lineup that has for many years been an also-ran behind those on CBS and ABC.