Passions is dead...for real this time
There is no chance that Passions is coming back to NBC. The soap was yanked from the daytime lineup last year, but in a deal with DirecTV, Passions has remained in production. The satellite provider has been showing episodes of the bizarrely-plotted show for months. However, in a recent development, DirecTV has decided to pull the plug. Universal Media Studios, which produces the one-hours, has been trying to find a new place on the dial for Passions without any luck.
There was a wrap party for the cast and crew last week, and there was some scuttlebutt that Passions would survive as an Internet soap, but that's a pipe dream. It costs too much to be sustained on the net. Then came this nail in the coffin: on Monday, UMS and Premiere Props announced a two-day blowout sale this weekend of props and costumes from the show.
It's not really surprising that Passions has bit the dust. NBC has been systematically destroying the soap opera genre since it canceled Santa Barbara -- an Emmy-winning, classy romantic drama that starred A Martinez and Marcy Walker -- in 1993, then did the same to Another World in 1999. Another World had been on the air for 34 years and was a beloved daytime drama with a loyal, huge following. Tepid alternatives on the network, like the youth-oriented Sunset Beach (1997-99) were never destined to survive, and Passions was a long-shot at best. It was a latter-day Dark Shadows, a twisted comedy-horror soap that was too outlandish to last. Some viewers embraced the goofiness, like evil spells, witches, elves, etc., but most soap fans simply tuned out.
And now that it's gone for good and all, NBC has just one soap opera left on the air, Days of Our Lives. If it survives the decade, I'll be shocked. My feeling is that Jeff Zucker believes the future of daytime is all about cheap, unscripted entertainment and syndicated fare. Or maybe he'll just opt for Today all day -- it takes up four hours of the daypart now. Perhaps he can get Kathie Lee, who just signed to co-host the fourth hour of Today, to stay on all afternoon. Yeah, that's the ticket. That's entertainment.