|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
"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.