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Soap Opera Digest, October 27, 1992

In a move that will surprise only its fans, NBC cancelled Santa Barbara on September 25. "The saddest part for me is that Santa Barbara is in terrific shape," laments Susan Lee, NBC's Vice President of Daytime Programming. "Everyone has worked incredibly hard over the last year to get the show in excellent condition. I can't say enough about the creative staff. Everyone Paul [Rauch, Executive Producer], Pam [Long, Head Writer], and the cast has been incredible. I'm sort of in shock that we're doing this," Lee continues. "We were hoping to buy a reprieve and we just couldn't."

Plagued with low ratings since its debut in 1984, the show struggled to move up the Nielsen ladder without much success. According to Lee, the death knell sounded when SB was dropped from major markets like Philadelphia and Boston. "The reality was NBC really wanted to hold on to Santa Barbara but the affiliates were not going to hang with us."

"It was just bad timing," mourns Nancy Grahn, who has portrayed feisty Julia Wainwright Capwell since 1985. "You couldn't ask for a better cast, [and the writing] is incredibly bright and articulate. But we were always pitted against the number one show." Grahn is referring to The Young and the Restless, which was SB's competition in most markets. "I'm deeply sad," she continues, "but I'm optimistic about everyone's future."

Lee indicated that SB will be replaced with an hour-long game show. "We actually have three in development," she confides. Why not a new soap? "Everyone knows it takes about two years for a soap opera to catch on," Lee explains, adding that the affiliate stations have made it clear they prefer a game show (or a talk show) which won't take so long to attract viewers. "[Bill Bell, Jr.'s] Coming of Age and the Days of Our Lives spinoff are both good shows. I'm sorry people aren't going to see them."

"There are no regrets," declares Long. "We just couldn't fight the affiliate coverage. But don't stop watching Santa Barbara now," she cautions. "We're going out with a bang." The last airdate is set for Friday, January 15, 1993.

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