|Created by||James E. Reilly|
Kim Johnston Ulrich
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||2,218+|
|Running time||60 minutes|
July 5, 1999 – September 7, 2007
September 17, 2007 - August 7, 2008
Passions is an award-winning American television soap opera created by veteran writer James E. Reilly. The series directed by Jim Sayegh, debuted on NBC July 5, 1999 (replacing Another World). In January 2007, NBC announced that it canceled Passions after eight years but later handed it over to DirecTV. The show taped its final scenes for NBC on August 15, 2007, and its final episode on the network aired on September 7, 2007. DirecTV then picked up the series with new episodes airing on DirecTV-exclusive channel The 101 starting September 17, 2007. However, DirecTV has decided to not renew its contract for the series with NBC, and NBC was unable to find a new home for the show. The final DirecTV episode aired on August 7, 2008.
Passions follows the various romantic and paranormal adventures of the residents of Harmony, a fictional New England hamlet. Storylines center around the interactions among members of its multi-racial core families — the African American Russells, Caucasian Cranes and Bennetts, and half-Mexican half-Irish Lopez-Fitzgeralds — as well as the supernatural including town witch Tabitha Lenox.
Many noteworthy stories was shown over the show's run, but the most constant ones were the triangle between Ethan Winthrop (Travis Schuldt; Eric Martsolf), his true love, Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald (Lindsay Korman) and Gwen Hotchkiss (Liza Huber; Natalie Zea); which was resolved in the finale, when Gwen and her conniving mother, Rebecca (Maureen McCormick; Andrea Evans) were exposed for their villainy (not to mention the fact that Ethan's marriage to Gwen was not even valid, as she was already married to another man after her first engagement to Ethan was broken); the constant machinations of evil Alistair Crane; the star-crossed love between Sheridan Crane (McKenzie Westmore) and Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald (Galen Gering); the supernatural misadventures of Tabitha (Juliet Mills), who began as an evil witch, until the end when she relinquished her powers and became a Christian to save the town; Tabitha's daughter, Endora, who went against her mother's evil bent and was a good witch; Ivy Crane's (Kim Johnston Ulrich) discovery that Ethan was her former lover Sam Bennett's (James Hyde) son; Julian Crane's (Ben Masters) continual woes in love, until he reconnects with his first love, Eve Russell (Tracey Ross); the fighting between Pilar (Eva Tamargo) and Rebecca over their daughters; and Kay Bennett's magical misadventures.
During its NBC run, Passions ran for 60 minutes (including commercials, about 40 minutes without) every weekday (excluding some holidays). After the move to DirecTV, the schedule was shortened to four days a week (Monday through Thursday), then later whittled down further to three days a week (Monday through Wednesday) starting January 2008. Weekend marathon encores of the show are played on DirecTV, and it is also available via online paid subscription from NBC within the United States and on the paid cable SuperChannel in Canada.
The show starred veteran actress Juliet Mills (a member of the Mills acting dynasty, her sister is well-known Disney actress Hayley Mills), and known for her role on the seventies sitcom, Nanny and the Professor) as Tabitha Lenox, a conniving and evil witch who gave the residents of Harmony quite a number of headaches (ironically, Juliet Mills' daughter, Melissa Caulfield, played a character named Phoebe Figalilly, which happened to be the name of her mother's character on Nanny and the Professor).
Kim Johnston Ulrich (Ivy Crane) was also known from her earlier role as Kim McColl on As The World Turns.
The late Georgia Engel (best known from The Mary Tyler Moore Show) played Esmeralda, the good witch and head of a good witches school where Endora attended. She was also revealed to be an old friend of Tabitha.
Robin Strasser (best known as Dorian on One Life to Life) played over-the-top evil witch Hecuba and won a Soap Opera Award for best Scene-stealer.
Actress Marla Gibbs (best known for her roles as sassy Florence on The Jeffersons and as level-headed Mary Jenkins on the sitcom, 227) had a guest turn as Eve Russell's bitter and spiteful Aunt Irma.
]]Passions debuted in 1999 with major fanfare. Creator Reilly had been credited for a large surge in the ratings for Days of Our Lives years before, thanks to innovative storylines like that of heroine Dr. Marlena Evans being possessed by Satan that drew new viewers, but also tended to alienate stalwart fans. With Passions, Reilly was able to start with a blank slate and no pre-existing fan base to please. In the early days of the show, Passions heroine Sheridan Crane is identified as a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales; soon Sheridan recalls speaking to Diana on the phone immediately prior to the 1997 car accident which took the Princess' life. Sheridan also has a similar accident in the same Paris tunnel, and speaks to a "guardian Angel Diana" who urges her to fight to survive, which drew considerable controversy. Sheridan later adopts the name Diana after a boating accident that results in amnesia.
For much of the first three to four years of the series, supernatural elements such as witches, warlocks, and closet doors leading to Hell were major plot points, many surrounding the machinations of the centuries-old witch Tabitha Lenox and her doll-brought-to-life sidekick, Timmy — named by Entertainment Weekly as one of their "17 Great Soap Supercouples" in 2008. In 2001, HarperEntertainment released Hidden Passions, a tie-in novelization presented as Tabitha's diary, exposing the secrets and pasts of the town's residents. Passions featured a story-line involving Tabitha and Timmy promoting the book, which reached #4 on the real-life New York Times Best Seller list and garnered the series two alternative covers of TV Guide in July 2001.
In 2003, Passions submitted a trained orangutan named BamBam, who had been portraying the recurring role of Precious, for a Daytime Emmy Award. Precious was the non-speaking live-in nurse and caregiver for elderly Edna Wallace, and held an unrequited love for Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, which was depicted in elaborate fantasy sequences. In early 2004, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which administers the awards, disallowed the entry with the following statement:
Our ruling is based on the belief that the Academy must draw a line of distinction between animal characters that aren't capable of speaking parts and human actors whose personal interpretation in character portrayal creates nuance and audience engagement that uniquely qualifies those performers for consideration of television's highest honor.
In mid-2004, Passions underwent major changes to the show in response of a new change of direction of storylines. That summer, storylines of Passions saw the departures of long-time characters of Charity, Miguel, Reese, Grace, Antonio, David, and Norma, due to the reconstruction of the daytime soap opera. New storylines saw TC and Eve's marriage ending, with TC beginning an affair with Eve's sister Liz, and Eve dating her ex, Julian Crane. Grace and Sam's marriage also came to end as well, as he had an affair with Ivy Crane and Grace falling in love with her supposed ex, David and leaving Harmony together. Simone and Fox schemed during that summer to break up star-crossed lovers supercouple of Whitney and Chad and nearly succeeded. However, Simone began dating women exclusively a year later after she realized that Chad would never love her like he loves Whitney. At the end of 2004, the introduction of new-series regulars such as Rae Thomas, Alistair Crane, Spike, Martin Lopez-Fitzgerald, Katherine, Paloma, Noah, and Fancy were introduced with huge storylines, which gave Passions its highest ratings in nearly four years.
In summer 2005, the prominent character Simone Russell came out as gay; Passions made daytime history by being the first serial to show two women — Simone and love interest Rae Thomas — in bed making love. In 2007, it was revealed that longtime hero Chad Harris-Crane was cheating on his wife with another man. This was also a daytime first, with the men portrayed in bed together, committing -albeit unknowingly- incest. Passions also broke new ground in 2007 with its portrayal of Vincent as an intersexual who becomes pregnant with his own father's son.
Nearly seven years after the debut of Passions on July 5, 1999, the NBC-owned Sci Fi Channel began airing the series from its first episode starting February 13, 2006. Due to low ratings, the reruns were taken off the air as of May 25, 2006. On August 15, 2006, Passions became the first daytime drama to make full episodes available for download and purchase from the online music store iTunes. On November 6, 2006, the show also became the first daytime drama to make full episodes available for free viewing via streaming on NBC.com.
Though plagued since its inception by low overall Nielsen ratings, Passions was historically top-rated in key demographics. The series was not renewed by NBC for a full ninth season in 2007 because of its low ratings coupled with the network's decision to extend its morning news and talk show Today to a fourth hour. Since NBC owned the series entirely, NBC began shopping for other networks, especially cable networks, to pick up the series for a ninth season, however there was no luck in other networks willing to pick up the series because of devastating low ratings and extremely expensive production costs. In April 2007, Satellite provider DirecTV bought exclusive rights from NBC to continue airing Passions, with most principal cast members staying on. As the series was coming to an end on NBC, Passions Live talk show hosted by Eric Martsolf premiered in August 2007 every Thursday night on DirecTV's The 101, giving fans the chance to telephone the show and interact live with Passions cast members, making Passions the first and only soap opera to ever have a live talk show in U.S. history. The Passions Live talk show continued to air on Thursday nights after moving to DirecTV until October 2007. The live show was also streaming live on the Official Passions Site at NBC.com. The series ended its NBC run on September 7, 2007, and new episodes began airing on DirecTV's original-programming channel The 101 on September 17, 2007, making Passions both the first soap opera broadcast on a direct broadcast satellite service and the first series to make such a transition from broadcast television. The series on DirecTV ran Monday to Thursday at 2:00 pm ET/11 am PT, with repeats airing later in the day and on weekends. NBC.com continued to cover the series' official website with updating features, video clips of each episode aired, updating news, and products relating to Passions, including all of the full videos of Passions Live show, once the series left NBC and had moved to DirecTV. However, initially, new episodes were no longer available for free viewing on the Passions official website at NBC.com or for purchase at iTunes.com since NBC's broadcasting decisions were entirely sold to DirecTV and the NBC.com Passions site promoted a DirecTV link letting fans know that Passions was no longer airing on NBC and was only available on DirecTV. On September 27, 2007, DirecTV announced they would provide an All Access Pass to Passions to view all new episodes on the Official Passions Site at NBC.com for a monthly fee. This service began on October 1, 2007 for $19.99 a month then reduced to $14.99 a month when Passions' schedule was cut from four episodes a week to three episodes a week. After the series moved to DirecTV, the subscription service added a special feature where a trivia question relating to Passions would pop up, on each episode airing on The 101, for viewers to use their remote control to answer. Passions was the first soap opera to ever have this type of feature.
On December 10, 2007, Variety magazine and various cast members confirmed that DirecTV had decided not to renew Passions for another year, but ordered 52 additional episodes to be taped through March 2008. New episodes of the series were broadcast until August 7, 2008, with DirecTV airing three new episodes per week starting January 2008. Universal Media Studios wrapped up production of Passions on March 28, 2008. The cast and crew were told at the wrap party that efforts to find a new outlet had failed and that the cancellation was final. Cast member McKenzie Westmore confirmed the news. Though Passions had been the highest-rated original program on DirecTV's The 101, it was reported that the network had failed to meet the projected number of new subscribers they had hoped to attract with the series.
Crossovers with Bewitched
In keeping with the series' fantasy themes, several episodes established that the series may take place in the same (or a similar) fictional universe as the 1964-72 fantasy sitcom, Bewitched, with actor Bernard Fox appearing as Dr. Bombay, his warlock character from the earlier series. The character of Tabitha Lenox, while not intended to be the same character as Tabitha Stephens, nonetheless includes references to Bewitched through naming her daughter Endora and stating that her parents were a witch named Samantha and a mortal named Darrin.. Alice Ghostley, who played Aunt Esmerelda in Bewitched, appeared as another character in Passions, while Ruth Buzzi appeared as a character named after Mrs. Kravitz from the original series.
Actor Character Duration Eva Tamargo Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald 1999–2008 Silvana Arias Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald (#1) 2004–2007 Hannia Guillen Paloma Bennett (#2) 2007–2008 Galen Gering Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald 1999–2008 Lindsay Hartley Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald Winthrop 1999–2008 Jesse Metcalfe Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald (#1) 1999–2004 Adrian Bellani Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald (#2) 2006–2007 Blair Redford Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald (#3) 2007–2008 Christopher Douglas Antonio Lopez-Fitzgerald (#1) 2001–2004,
(recurring thereafter) 2008
Richard Steinmetz Martin Fitzgerald (#2) 2004–2006 Ben Masters Julian Crane 1999–2008 Alan Oppenheimer Voice of Alistair Crane(#1) 1999–2004 David Bailey Alistair Crane
(#2) || 2004–2005
John Reilly Alistair Crane
(#3) || 2005–2006
Melinda Sward Pretty Crane 2007–2008
McKenzie Westmore Sheridan Crane 1999–2008 Kim Johnston Ulrich Ivy Winthrop 1999–2008 Emily Harper Fancy Lopez-Fitzgerald 2005–2008 Justin Hartley Nicholas Foxworth Crane (#1) 2002–2006 Mark Cameron Wystrach Nicholas Foxworth Crane (#2) 2006–2007 Liza Huber Gwen Hotchkiss (#1) 1999–2000, 2002–2008 Natalie Zea Gwen Hotchkiss (#2) 2000–2002 Sharon Wyatt Rachel Barrett 2005–2006 Travis Schuldt Ethan Winthrop (#1) 1999–2002 Eric Martsolf Ethan Winthrop (#2) 2002–2008 Leigh Taylor-Young Katherine Barrett 2004–2006 Dana Sparks Faith Standish
1999, 2004 (#1)
Molly Stanton Charity Standish (#1)
James Hyde Sam Bennett 1999–2008 Dalton James Hank Bennett (#1) 1999–2001 Ryan McPartlin Hank Bennett (#2) 2001–2004
Dylan Fergus Noah Bennett 2005–2008 Taylor Anne Mountz Kay Bennett (#1) 1999–2000 Deanna Wright Kay Bennett (#2) 2000–2003 Heidi Mueller Kay Lopez-Fitzgerald (#3) 2003–2008 Mary Elizabeth Winstead Jessica Bennett (#1) 1999–2000 Jade Harlow Jessica Bennett (#2) 2000–2002 Danica Stewart Jessica Bennett (#3) 2003–2007 Juliet Mills Tabitha Lenox 1999–2008 Josh Ryan Evans Timmy 1999–2002 Jason Olive Frank Lomax 1999 Rodney Van Johnson T.C. Russell 1999–2007 Tracey Ross Eve Russell 1999–2008 Brook Kerr Whitney Russell 1999–2007 Lena Cardwell Simone Russell (#1) 1999–2001 Chrystee Pharris Simone Russell (#2) 2001–2004 Cathy Jeneen Doe Simone Russell (#3) 2004–2007 Donn Swaby Chad Harris-Crane (#1) 1999–2002 Charles Divins Chad Harris-Crane (#2) 2002–2007 Kacie Borrowman Cracked Connie 2002 Brandi Burkhardt Siren 2006 Erin Cardillo Esme Vanderheusen 2007–2008
Justin Carroll David Hastings (#1) 2001–2004
Jack Krizmanich John Hastings 2001–2004 Bruce Michael Hall Reese Durkee (#1) 2000–2002
(recurring previously and thereafter)
Kyrie Maezumi Maya Chinn 2006
(recurring previously and thereafter)
Amelia Marshall Liz Sanbourne 2001–2006
(recurring previously and thereafter)
Kelli McCarty Beth Wallace 2002–2004
(recurring previously and thereafter)
Kathleen Noone Edna Wallace 2003–2004
(recurring previously and thereafter)
Victor McCay Doc 2001–2002
Alisa Reyes Syd Valentine 2003 Daphnee Duplaix Samuel Valerie Davis (#1) 2004–2007
James Stevenson Jared Casey 2006–2007 Adrian Wilson Christopher Boothe 2005–2007
Recurring cast members
Actor Character Duration Jorge Alberti Roberto (#1) 2004–2006 Mitchell and Shane Albin Marty Lopez-Fitzgerald 2005, 2006 Victor Alfieri Gianni Valentino 2006 BamBam Precious 2003–2005 Nicole Cox Endora Lenox 2003–2008 John Beck Bruce 2001, 2003 Alain Benetar Pierre 1999–2000 Michael Bergin Nick Bozman 2002 Eric Bizot Jean-Luc Moulin 1999 Sarah and Thomas Buhl Little Ethan Crane (#1) 2002 William Bumiller Faux-Martin Fitzgerald (#1) 1999–2000 Owen Bush Orville Perkins 1999–2000 Colby and Grayson Button Little Ethan Crane (#2) 2002–2003 Amy Castle Viki Chatsworth 2007–2008 Chea Courtney Little Angel Girl (#2) 1999–2003 Roark Critchlow Dr. Ackland (#2) 2003–2004 Marita DeLeon Tina Alvarez 2000 Bill Dempsey Alistair Crane (#2) 1999–2004 http://www.actorbilldempsey.com/pages/reveal.html Emiliano Diez Francisco Lopez 2001 Marta DuBois Maria Lopez 2004, 2007 Brenda Epperson Doumani Crystal Harris 2000 Andrea Evans Rebecca Hotchkiss Crane (#2) 2000–2008 Deborah Flora Nurse Susan Bain 2002–2008 Bruce French Father Lonigan 1999–2007, 2008 Arturo Gil Cecil 2002 Marie Greco Paloma Lopez 2003 Jackson and Ryan Keane James Boothe (#1) 2005–2006 Marianne Muellerleile Norma Bates 2001–2008 Jill Remez Juanita Vasquez 2007–2008 Jean Paul San Pedro Roberto (#2) 2008 Colton Shires Little Ethan Crane (#3) 2004–2008 Seth Stern James Boothe (#2) 2006–2007 Danny Woodburn Demon Elf 2007–2008 David Farkas Brian 2007
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- ^ Template:Wayback, September 27, 2007
- ^ a b DIRECTV PROVIDES ALL-ACCESS PASS TO PASSIONS WITH NEW ONLINE FEATURE STARTING OCTOBER 1
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- ^ Cite error: Invalid
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- ^ "Passions: The Soap is Really Over This Time" - TVSeriesFinale.com, March 31, 2007
- ^ Kroll, Dan J. (December 24, 2007). Passions cancelled... again. SoapCentral.com. Retrieved on December 26, 2008.
- ^ Tabitha Lenox. TV Acres. Retrieved on 2019-12-10.