Passions is an American television soap opera created by veteran writer James E. Reilly. Produced by NBC Studios, the series debuted July 5, 1999, on NBC (replacing Another World), and its last airdate on that network was September 7, 2007. DirecTV picked up the series with new episodes airing on DirecTV-exclusive channel The 101 starting September 17, 2007. In December 2007, DirecTV decided not to renew its contract for the series, and the studio was unable to sell the show elsewhere. The final episode aired on DirecTV 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.
During its NBC run, Passions ran for 60 minutes every weekday (excluding some holidays). After the move to DirecTV, the schedule was shortened to four days a week (Monday through Thursday) plus weekend marathon encores, then later three days a week (Monday through Wednesday) starting in January 2008 until the finale. The series was also available via online paid subscription from NBC within the United States and on the paid cable Super Channel in Canada.
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. One central character was Charity, a saccharine young woman who would regularly become possessed by the "forces of evil."
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.
During the summer of 2005, the prominent character Simone Russell came out as a lesbian; 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. Passions also broke new ground in 2007 with its portrayal of Vincent as a hermaphrodite 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; the reruns had originally been announced to begin on February 6. 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 popular 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 as a result of the network's decision to extend its morning news and talk show Today to a fourth hour. Satellite provider DirecTV soon picked up Passions — with most principal cast members staying on — and began airing new episodes on its original-programming channel The 101 on September 17, 2007. The series ran Monday to Thursday at 2 pm ET/11 am PT, with repeats airing later in the day and on weekends.
On July 3, 2007, it was reported that new Canadian premium television service Super Channel would air Passions in Canada when the channel launched in October 2007, and the series premiered on Super Channel on October 8, 2007. Though Passions episodes were no longer available via iTunes once the series left NBC, DirecTV announced on September 27, 2007 that new episodes of Passions would be made available online 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.
On December 10, 2007, Variety magazine and various cast members confirmed that DirecTV had decided not to renew Passions for another season, 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.
On August 11, 2008, Super Channel began to air Passions from the premiere episode.
Characters on the show have flashbacks to earlier events quite often, so much so that a significant portion of an episode may be repeated scenes.
Roman Catholicism and its principles figure greatly into the show's themes. Several characters, including Grace Bennett and Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald, are portrayed as being particularly devout Catholics, often praying with a rosary. Father Lonigan, the blind priest, has the ability to sense evil, causing lots of trouble for Tabitha over the years. Many theological debates on the importance of Catholic marriage vows have arisen over the years as well, as various characters attempt to divorce or remarry.
In 2005, so many plotlines came to involve an element of rape that fans began to refer to that year as the "Year of the Rapes". Early that year, Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald was sexually assaulted and nearly raped during a club raid. The show then carried a plotline over whether they should do a rape test while Paloma was in a coma (at the time she was a virgin) and Jessica Bennett was also raped a few weeks later while at a club. Also early in the year, Alistair Crane repeatedly raped his wife, Katherine Crane, while at the Crane Compound. Late in May, heiress Fancy Crane was nearly raped by a man in Las Vegas who demanded "payment" for letting her into a party after she lost her invitation. During the tsunami and later in November, Liz Sanbourne attempted to rape Julian Crane at knifepoint. In August, Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald was raped by Alistair Crane when she refused to pay him (with sex) for helping her with visitation of her infant daughter, Jane; Theresa later married Alistair, and he continued to rape her throughout their marriage. Also in August or September, Kay Bennett was attacked by a gang of men while walking through the park at night, though Fox Crane soon arrived and the two defeated the group. Liz Sanbourne also revealed during the tsunami that Julian Crane had raped her in Boston many years previously (she later revealed that it had been Alistair who had done the deed, thus producing a son, Chad Harris-Crane).
The most prominent rape storyline began in December 2006, when Crane heiress and police cadet Fancy Crane was raped during a sting operation designed to catch a peeping tom. The brutal attack left Fancy in a brief coma and emotionally traumatized the young woman. Fancy was also the show's first rape victim to visibly experience prolonged effects; her bubbly demeanor disappeared, and she became extremely nervous and could not stand to be touched for several months. Fancy was eventually raped for a second time in January 2007, and her boyfriend, Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, was framed for the crimes; the rapist was later revealed to be Vincent Clarkson, Fancy's biological half-brother through their father.
Rape also played prominently into the 2007—2008 storyline involving Mexican drug cartel leader Juanita Vasquez. Sometime between the births of Pilar's second and third children, the Lopez-Fitzgerald matriarch returned to her native Mexico to visit with her childhood best friend, Juanita Vasquez. There, she discovered that Juanita's husband, Carlos, was still involved with his family's drug cartel and was planning a hit on a rival family; when Pilar confronted Carlos, he raped her, and she accidentally killed him in self-defense. Pilar then called the police in an attempt to stop the hit, but the police ended up murdering the entire Vasquez family, including Juanita and Carlos' young children, except for Juanita. Juanita refused to believe that her husband had raped Pilar and made it her life's mission to murder Pilar's entire family, eventually murdering Pilar's sister and two nephews.
In April 2007, Kay was watching the sixth [sic] hour of The Today Show (an apparent jab at NBC's decision to extend it at the expense of the Passions timeslot) when it was interrupted with a news report that Luis had been arrested. In one August 2007 episode, Tabitha said that a certain soap opera was starting on DirecTV and she would have to tell her friends not to call her between the hours of two and three PM, blatantly referring to Passions itself. At the beginning of the show's final week on NBC, as Whitney was preparing to move to New Orleans, Theresa asked if she was sure she wanted to go, and Whitney commented that she had already arranged to have her DirecTV hooked up in Louisiana so she could "keep up on everything happening in Harmony." And also in 2007, Endora flat-out made a reference to the "audience" in one of her thought balloons, prompting Norma to look in the camera and respond, "Audience? What audience?" Endora also pointed out in one of her thought balloons that when Miguel returned to Passions, he looked nothing like Jesse Metcalfe ("Nope, not even close!"). In May 2008 while Juanita was looking for clues in a book store as to where Pilar was, the bargain shelf was full of copies of Hidden Passions. In June 2008, Tabitha mentions the fourth hour of Today being a ratings-grabber, poking fun as to how they canceled the soap making way for this fourth hour trying to bring the ratings on NBC up. In the June 30, 2008, episode, Sheridan mentions Pretty's fake scar with references to her real family the Westmores. Michael Westmore did make up for Star Trek. In the July 30, 2008, episode, Tabitha tells Endora about the volcano in Harmony referring to it as how Passions was canceled at the last moment and the actors not knowing. She tells Endora to look in the bowl and Endora says she sees a man sitting a desk with the initials J. Z. this is referring to NBC President Jeff Zucker. Tabitha looks at the audience mentioning Universal forces and Direct Intervention. This is a nod at both Universal Studios and Direct TV for canceling the series twice in one year.
In a 2004 episode, TC watched an NBC ad for Days of our Lives on his TV, and went on to praise the writers of Days of our Lives for coming up with such good storylines; Days, at that time, was under the helm of James E. Reilly, head writer of Passions. In the September 4, 2006, episode, Fox was sucked into a black hole; he then told Tabitha that it was the kind of black hole that one gets sucked into on the Sci Fi Channel, which was the channel on which Passions repeats aired in 2006. Tabitha then told him stick with NBC (Passions' network). In an episode later in September 2006, Siren tried to get Miguel into bed by singing her Siren's song. Miguel told her that she should not audition for America's Got Talent, which airs on NBC. In another episode, Tabitha talked about The Biggest Loser season finale, which was also aired on NBC. A more recent episode featured characters watching a trailer for the 2007 Diane Keaton film Because I Said So (produced by Universal Studios, which, like NBC, is owned by General Electric).
For a time, Jessica Bennett was an Avon mark saleswoman, and more recently the show featured Johnson & Johnson's K-Y Jelly personal lubricant, and characters were seen drinking from Brita water pitchers. Both Jessica and Theresa were seen using Clearblue Easy pregnancy test products. After Kay and Miguel's wedding in 2008, Norma gave Miguel the 2 in 1 K-Y Jelly personal lubricant by Johnson & Johnson telling him how it is so great for her and Edna and that Miguel and Kay will find great enjoyment in it.
In July 2007, Passions began to promote its own move to DirecTV the following September. Several characters' homes were seen sporting DirecTV dishes on their roofs, and characters began to make frequent references to switching to DirecTV.
The theme song for Passions is titled "Breathe" performed by Jane French and written by French and John Henry Kreitler. A long version of this theme was also released but was never used on the show.
The opening title sequence used since the show's premiere in 1999, features shots of the city of Harmony and its landmarks (actually the real-life town of Camden, Maine). The sequence opens and closes with the show's logo in an italic typeface and in an Arial Black typeface in generic caps posted in front of the cursive form of the title. From time to time, the opening theme is shortened to the last two verses to fit in extra scene time.
Passions is one of the few long-running American serials that, with the exception of occasional abbreviated versions of the intro, never changed its opening theme from the series debut through its cancellation.
Passions debuted on NBC ahead of fellow NBC soap Sunset Beach with a 2.1 rating (1.9 million viewers) and remained there after Sunset Beach was canceled in December 1999. From January 2000 until early May the show remained dead last among all 10 soaps. During May Sweeps 2000, Passions was gaining in popularity and pulled ahead of ABC's Port Charles. Passions remained ahead of Port Charles until its cancellation in October 2003. Passions once again was dead last, and would stay there for virtually the rest of its run. It did top Guiding Light on occasion, but never for more than one week at a time. During 2001-2003 when Passions was at the peak of its popularity, it averaged a weekly 2.1-2.3 rating (which at that time equaled roughly 2.4 million viewers). However, the ratings slowly declined with each passing year, to the point that the show averaged a 1.5 weekly rating (about 1.9 million viewers) throughout much of the 2006—2007 season. The final episode on NBC had a household rating of 1.3/4 (1.68 million viewers).
While Passions was never a big hit in household ratings, the show was a powerhouse in the younger-skewing demographics. For its entire NBC run it ranked as the #1 soap in Girls 12-17, Women 18-24 and Girls 12-24. The show also ranked #2 in Women 18-34 and even overtook fellow NBC soap Days of our Lives for a short period during the 2004-2005 season. In the crucial 18-49 demographic, Passions usually ranked #7, ahead of the long running CBS soaps As The World Turns, and Guiding Light. The highest ranking Passions ever achieved in 18-49 demographic was 4th place in November 2002 and once again in January 2007.Passions aired in Canada for its entire NBC run, first on CTV in 1999 and then on Global TV in 2000. The series lasted there until its final airdate on NBC in September 2007, at which time it was then succeeded by Guiding Light in the same time slot. NTV in Newfoundland and Labrador also aired Passions for almost its entire NBC run and was replaced by As the World Turns just before the series ended on NBC. Beginning on October 8, 2007, Super Channel began airing the DirecTV episodes until the series finale on August 7, 2008. On August 11, 2008, Super Channel began airing Passions from the very first episode. Re-runs air Monday through Friday at 2 and 4 PM ET. Passions was broadcast nationally in Australia on the Seven Network each weekday at 3 pm, beginning in 2001 with the series' 1999 episodes. In 2005, the series was moved to an earlier 9:30 am time slot, before the show's international licensing was cancelled due to the music copyright fees. Passions then went into re-runs in a 2 am weekday morning timeslot, ultimately ending with a "series finale." Passions aired in Croatia for two seasons on Nova TV, which broadcast 520 episodes until the 2005 cancellation of international licensing. Passions aired in France for 2 months on TF1 starting July 31, 2001, at 5:10pm CET after the end of Sunset Beach. The soap ended on October 8, 2001.
It is still early days for Passions, but a review published in the Orlando Sentinel gave the soap opera a rather bleak prognosis. Their critic wrote: "A show's dearth of creativity is evident when it shamelessly keeps picking over the bones of the dead. Passions seems to have a death wish."
|Silvana Arias||Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald (#1)||2004—2007|
|David Bailey||Alistair Crane (#1)||2004—2005|
|Adrian Bellani||Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald (#2)||2006—2007|
|Kacie Borrowman||Cracked Connie||2002|
|Erin Cardillo||Esme Vanderheusen|| 2007—2008|
|Lena Cardwell||Simone Russell (#1)||1999—2001|
|Justin Carroll||David Hastings||2001—2004|
|Charles Divins||Chad Harris (#2)||2002—2007|
|Cathy Jeneen Doe||Simone Russell (#3)||2004—2007|
|Christopher Douglas||Antonio Lopez-Fitzgerald||2001—2004, 2008|
|Josh Ryan Evans||Timmy||1999—2002|
|Dylan Fergus||Noah Bennett||2005—2008|
|Galen Gering||Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald||1999—2008|
|Hannia Guillen||Paloma Bennett (#2)||2007—2008|
|Bruce Michael Hall||Reese Durkee|| 2000—2002 |
(recurring previously and thereafter)
|Jade Harlow||Jessica Bennett (#2)|| 2000—2002 |
(recurring previously and thereafter)
|Emily Harper||Fancy Lopez-Fitzgerald||2005—2008|
|Justin Hartley||Nicholas Foxworth Crane (#1)||2002—2006|
|Lindsay Hartley||Theresa Winthrop||1999—2008|
|Liza Huber||Gwen Hotchkiss (#1)||1999—2000, 2002—2008|
|James Hyde||Sam Bennett||1999—2008|
|Dalton James||Hank Bennett (#1)||1999—2001|
|Brook Kerr||Whitney Russell||1999—2007|
|Jack Krizmanich||John Hastings||2001—2004|
|Kyrie Maezumi||Maya Chinn||2006|
|Amelia Marshall||Liz Sanbourne||2001—2006|
|Eric Martsolf||Ethan Winthrop (#2)||2002—2008|
|Ben Masters||Julian Crane||1999—2008|
|Kelli McCarty||Beth Wallace|| 2002—2004 |
(recurring previously and thereafter)
|Victor McCay||Doc|| 2001—2002 |
|Ryan McPartlin||Hank Bennett (#2)|| 2001—2004 |
|Jesse Metcalfe||Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald (#1)||1999—2004|
|Juliet Mills||Tabitha Lenox||1999—2008|
|Taylor Anne Mountz||Kay Bennett (#1)||1999—2000|
|Heidi Mueller||Kay Lopez-Fitzgerald (#3)||2003—2008|
|Kathleen Noone||Edna Wallace|| 2003—2004 |
(recurring previously and thereafter)
|Jason Olive||Frank Lomax||1999|
|Chrystee Pharris||Simone Russell (#2)||2001—2004|
|Blair Redford||Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald (#3)||2007—2008|
|John Reilly||Alistair Crane (#2)|| 2005—2006 |
|Alisa Reyes||Syd Valentine||2003|
|Tracey Ross||Eve Russell||1999—2008|
|Daphnee Duplaix Samuel||Valerie Davis|| 2004—2007 |
|Travis Schuldt||Ethan Winthrop (#1)||1999—2002|
|Dana Sparks|| Faith Standish|
| 1999, 2004|
|Molly Stanton|| Charity Standish|
|Richard Steinmetz||Martin Fitzgerald||2004—2006|
|James Stevenson||Jared Casey||2006—2007|
|Danica Stewart||Jessica Bennett (#3)|| 2003—2007 |
|Donn Swaby||Chad Harris (#1)||1999—2002|
|Melinda Sward||Pretty Crane|| 2007—2008 |
|Eva Tamargo||Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald||1999—2008|
|Leigh Taylor-Young||Katherine Barrett||2004—2006|
|Kim Johnston Ulrich||Ivy Winthrop||1999—2008|
|Rodney Van Johnson||T.C. Russell||1999—2007|
|McKenzie Westmore||Sheridan Crane||1999—2008|
|Adrian Wilson||Christopher Boothe||2005—2007|
|Mary Elizabeth Winstead||Jessica Bennett (#1)||1999—2000|
|Deanna Wright||Kay Bennett (#2)||2000—2003|
|Sharon Wyatt||Rachel Barrett||2005—2006|
|Mark Cameron Wystrach||Nicholas Foxworth Crane (#2)||2006—2007|
|Natalie Zea||Gwen Hotchkiss (#2)||2000—2002|
|Jorge Alberti||Roberto (#1)||2004—2006|
|Mitchell and Shane Albin||Marty Lopez-Fitzgerald||2005, 2006|
|Victor Alfieri||Gianni Valentino||2006|
|Nicole Cox||Endora Lenox||2003—2008|
|John Beck||Bruce||2001, 2003|
|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||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||1999—2003|
|Roark Critchlow||Dr. Ackland||2003—2004|
|Marita DeLeon||Tina Alvarez||2000|
|Bill Dempsey||Alistair Crane (#1)||1999—2004|
|Emiliano Diez||Francisco Lopez||2001|
|Marta DuBois||Maria Lopez||2004, 2007|
|Brenda Epperson Doumani||Crystal Harris||2000|
|Bruce French||Father Lonigan||1999—2007, 2008|
|Phillip Jeanmarie||Vincent Clarkson||2006—2008|
|Jackson and Ryan Keane||James Boothe (#1)||2005—2006|
|Marianne Muellerleile||Norma Bates||2001—2008|
|Alan Oppenheimer||Voice of Alistair Crane||1999—2004|
|Jean Paul San Pedro||Roberto (#2)||2008|
|Colton Shires||Little Ethan Crane (#3)||2004—2008|
|Seth Stern||James Boothe (#2)||2006—2007|
|Actor||Character||Year of Death|
|Owen Bush||Orville Perkins||2001|
|Josh Ryan Evans||Timmy Lenox||2002|
|David Bailey||Alistair Crane||2004|
|Harrison Young||Palmer Harper||2005|
|Alice Ghostley||Matilda Matthews||2007|
|Actor(s)/Performer(s)||Character||Year of Appearance|
|Melissa Caulfield (Juliet Mills' real-life daughter)||Nanny Phoebe Figalilly, a role her mother originally played in the short-lived sitcom Nanny and the Professor||1999, 2005|
|Julia Duffy||Mother Superior at the convent Whitney Russell ran off to after discovering her lover Chad could also be her half-brother||2005—2006|
|Georgia Engel||Tabitha's old school rival Esmerelda||2007|
|Judge Mablean Ephriam||Herself, in a fantasy sequence where T.C. Russell takes wife Eve onto Divorce Court||2003|
|Bernard Fox||Doctor Bombay (Bewitched)||1999—2000|
|Alice Ghostley||Matilda Matthews, Tabitha's former witch friend (and later enemy)||2000|
|Alternative band Scissor Sisters||Themselves||2007|
|Ruth Buzzi||Nurse Kravitz, An eccentric nurse who discovers that Endora has a demon tail.||2003|
|R&B Star Mýa||Herself||2003|
In January 2001, HarperEntertainment released Hidden Passions: Secrets from the Diaries of Tabitha Lenox, an inside look into the history of Passions involving all the major characters, written from the viewpoint of Tabitha Lenox. A storyline involving the characters Tabitha and Timmy and the promotion of this book was written into the show, and the book reached #4 on the New York Times Best Seller list. The novel was billed as being canonical, but the televised canon has diverged significantly from the novel since its publication.