Fans of Santa Barbara are encouraged to write to the groups planning to launch the soap opera channels and tell them how much they would love to see SB again. The best known addresses are listed here. If anyone has more information or a more appropriate address, please send me e-mail and I'll post it here.
A new e-mail discussion group has been formed dedicated to the discussion of what fans can do to help bring Santa Barbara back on the air. You can subscribe or view the messages on the web here.
On April 8, 1999, ABC and its parent corporation, Disney, announced that they plan to launch a new soap opera channel in January 2000. Although no programming was officially announced, the channel is expected to feature same-day repeats of ABC's current daytime dramas, including All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital. It is also likely that this channel would re-air canceled ABC soaps like Ryan's Hope or Edge of Night and possibly other canceled soaps as well.
SoapNet launched on January 24, 2000. DirecTV, the nation's leading satellite television service, announced that it will carry SoapNet beginning May 25, 2000.
SoapNet has a web site at http://www.soapnet.com which includes a page where you can sign up and encourage your satellite or cable provider to carry SoapNet.
As reported in Soap Opera Digest, a toll-free number has been established where you can call to encourage cable operators to carry SoapNet: 1-877-WANTSOAPS
There is now an online petition sponsored by The Coalition to Rebroadcast Santa Barbara that will be forwarded to SoapNet.
Write to:Columbia Tri-Star's SoapCity
President, ABC Daytime
77 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
SoapCity already has a web site at http://www.soapcity.com which contains soap opera news. The web site for Columbia Tri-Star TV is at http://www.spe.sony.com/tv/
According to "Broadcasting & Cable" magazine, Columbia Tri-Star TV owns the rights to Santa Barbara and that they plan to re-air it on the SoapCity channel.
According to Joseph Kapsch, the Assistant Producer of SoapCity, they are planning to rerun Santa Barbara when the cable channel launches.
Michael Logan, the soap opera writer from TV Guide, also reports that the SoapCity channel will be airing Santa Barbara.
The Hollywood Reporter is also reporting that SoapCity has acquired the rights to rebroadcast Santa Barbara.
According to CableVision magazine, the launch of the SoapCity channel is scheduled for July 2000.
October 4, 1999: SoapCity has added a page on their web site about the cable channel. http://www.soapcity.com/information/channel.html
December 19, 1999: It was reported recently by Entertainment
Weekly Online that the SoapCity channel is encountering financial
difficulties that may delay or cancel its launch. But there was speculation
that a merger with Disney/ABC's SoapNet channel is possible. The following
is from the December 10th issue of EW Online:
One of two soap opera channels planned for early 2000 is already in a bit of a lather: Columbia TriStar TV's SoapCity--which was to air reruns of The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives (among others)--may be looking to either delay its launch or scrap the idea entirely, due in part to the exorbitant costs of launching a cable net. Alternatives, according to Columbia insiders, include Sony offering reruns of its soaps on pay per view, much like last year's deal with DirecTV, which airs Days eps right after they appear on NBC. Or, better yet, merging with Disney/ABC's SoapNet, which debuts in January with repeats of Disney-owned All My Children and General Hospital. "It would be better for everyone if there were one channel," says ABC network prez Pat Fili-Krushel, "but it would have to be the right deal." Stay tuned.
There is a new online petition at http://www.geocities.com/santabarbarafans that will be forwarded to the SoapCity executives encouraging them to show Santa Barbara when the channel launches.
January 28, 2000: Hollywood Reporter reports that Sony has
scaled back its plans for SoapCity and may instead offer reruns of Days
of our Lives and The Young and the Restless on a pay-per-view
October 15, 2000: Although it was not widely noticed until now, In January, Mary Coller from SoapCity posted a message on the SoapCity Vintage Soaps message board asking if there is interest in purchasing videos of Santa Barbara. Try this link to get to the SoapCity Vintage Soaps board.
Several folks on the SantaBarbaraLives list have been calling SoapCity recently. The current contact information for the people who seem to know the most about SoapCity's plans form Santa Barbara are Mary Coller at (310) 840-8838, Steven Moscow at (310) 244-8535, and Peter Iacono at (310) 244-3083. Call them to express your interest in seeing Santa Barbara, but please be courteous.
Michael K. Fleming
c/o The Game Show Network
10202 West Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Telephone: (310) 244-4200
Fax: (310) 244-0922
Note: The Game Show Network is owned by Columbia Tri-Star. Michael Fleming is president of the Game Show Network and is also in charge of launching the SoapCity network. If you write to his office, your voice will be heard and perhaps you will even get a response such as this one.
Apparently Michael Fleming is no longer in charge of SoapCity. The appropriate people are as listed above Fleming's name, Peter Iacono, who is in charge of international righs to SB, and Steven Moscow, who is in charge of domestic rights to SB.
December 20, 2000: Here is the latest response from SoapCity to The Coalition to Rebroadcast Santa Barbara. It's not too encouraging about their plans for SoapCity, but they still hope to do something with SB in the future.
European Soap Channel
There are reports that RTL Plus is launching a new digital channel dedicated to soap operas on the Astra satellite. The channel will be available throughout Europe with a multi-lingual soundtrack (English and German).
Anyone with more details on the European channel, please let me know.
There were other attempts at creating a soap opera cable channel that never got off the ground, as explained in the July 13, 1996 issue of TV Guide:
ABC's plans for a 24-hour news channel have been side-lined for now. Included in the deal for the news channel was a soap-opera channel, an unusual side deal designed to give the news operation a needed boost. In order to induce Comcast, a major cable-system operator, to carry the new channel, ABC had agreed to grant the cable company rights to the network's daytime dramas for reshowing in the evening. Their plan for the channel would have included home-shopping during the day and repeats of the ABC soaps in primetime. When it became obvious that the deal wouldn't go through because of financial troubles, ABC quickly retreated from giving up the valuable rerun rights to its soaps.
This current plan may be dead, but the idea for a soap network continues. ABC will have to work with affiliates who fear that evening reruns will cause fewer people to watch their stations during the day. However, according to insiders, Sony Corp. who owns and produces Days of Our Lives has talked with Comcast's programming subsidiary, C3 about working together on a channel. "Sony wants to move forward," says a source involved in the talks. "One way or another, a soap channel could still happen."
The question remains...what would viewers want in a soap channel? Reruns of current soaps, the evening or day after their broadcast, or reruns of greatly missed soaps such as Santa Barbara, Capitol and Search For Tomorrow? Would the plan include other soap-related programs, such as interviews with stars, etc.?
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