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Santa Barbara is an Americanmarker award-winning television soap opera, first broadcast in United Statesmarker on NBC on July 30, 1984, and last aired on January 15, 1993. The show covered the exciting, eventful lives of the wealthy Capwell family of Santa Barbara, Californiamarker. Around the Capwells there are several other families, from the rival Lockridge family to the more modest Andrade and Perkins families, whose lives know the same torments.

It was co-produced by NBC and Dobson Productions (in February 1985, New World Pictures joined NBC and Dobson as a production partner and served as the distributor for the show, through their newly created New World Television division), and co-created by Bridget and Jerome Dobson. It aired at 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM C on NBC the same time as General Hospital on ABC and Guiding Light on CBS and right after Another World.

It aired in over 40 countries around the world. The show's popularity continued to rise, and it even had fans in the White Housemarker. In 1985, when character Augusta Lockridge was blinded following a tunnel collapse, Ronald Reagan sent actress Louise Sorel a letter saying he and Nancy were praying for her and hoped she recovered.

Santa Barbara has won 24 Daytime Emmy Awards and was nominated 30 times for the same award. The show also won 18 Soap Opera Digest Awards, and won various other awards.


Santa Barbara was notable for having a central plot around which many of the others revolved: the murder of Channing Capwell Junior. This killing takes place five years before the series actually begins, at which point Joe Perkins, jailed for the murder, is paroled and returns to Santa Barbara determined to prove his innocence and renew his relationship with Kelly Capwell, sister of the victim. Over the course of the soap, almost every major character would be accused of the murder of Channing Capwell Jr. or find their life involved in it one way or the other: from his illegitimate son to his mysterious, presumed dead, mother and his homosexual relationship.


Santa Barbara began on an uneven foot, with one reviewer deeming the series "the worst program on television... maybe ever." However, creators and executive producers Bridget and Jerome Dobson tightened the show's cast among a handful of popular characters and proceeded to kill off weaker links via natural disaster and a serial killer storyline. When a major earthquake hit Santa Barbara, core character Danny Andrade slept through the entire thing. Minx Lockridge was unfazed, saying that the 1984 Santa Barbara earthquake was nothing like 1925. She was later locked into an empty sarcophagus. Luckily, her grandchildren were around to let her out and she escaped with merely a bruised ego.

By concentrating on such popular characters as Eden Capwell and Cruz Castillo, C.C. Capwell and his wife Sophia, Mason Capwell and Julia Wainwright, Gina Blake Lockridge, Augusta Wainwright and Lionel Lockridge, the program managed to achieve critical acclaim as well as slowly but surely rising ratings. The show was famous for its comedic style and offbeat writing. For example, in July 14, 1986's episode, former nun Mary Duvall McCormick (Harley Jane Kozak) was killed by having a giant neon letter "C" (for "Capwell" atop the Capwell Hotel) land on her while she was standing on the hotel roof (this was later referenced in the American Dad! episode "Homeland Insecurity"), and despite an irate letter-writing campaign by the show's fans (and an offer from the soap to come back), Kozak was reported as saying that she had "no desire to return to SB", or in fact any other daytime soap.


In 1988, the Dobsons were locked out of NBC studios after repeated attempts to fire the head writer. They sued, and were eventually allowed to return to the program, but the magic was gone. Ratings never recovered, even as the show won 3 Daytime Emmys in a row for Best Daytime Drama. The first of those wins involved a mini-melodrama of its own as the extremely controversial Jill Farren Phelps (who had replaced Mary-Ellis Bunim as executive producer) shared the stage with Bridget Dobson, who raced on stage and captured the trophy a few seconds before Phelps could reach the podium.

Under Phelps' tenure most of the show revolved around Cruz and Eden. One controversial storyline involved Eden being brutally raped, and later discovering that her assailant was her gynecologist Zack Kelton, who had examined her after her rape. Leigh McCloskey, the actor that portrayed the role, himself stated that he was uncomfortable with the storyline, as he felt that women had enough concerns about visiting gynecologists. After Zack's death, McCloskey returned as a new character, cold DA Ethan Asher.

Phelps left the series in the early 1990s shortly after being demoted and replaced by John Conboy as executive producer. Finally Paul Rauch became the last executive producer (interestingly, all three would later be producers on long running daytime series Guiding Light). Many important actors had left the series for one reason or another (Robin Wright, Lane Davies, Marcy Walker, Justin Deas). Popular actress Louise Sorel was fired because she did not want to have a romance with Dash Nichols, the man who had raped Augusta's sister Julia. Eden, Cruz, and most of the Lockridges had been written out while new characters played by stars from other shows such as Kim Zimmer, Jack Wagner and Sydney Penny took up most of the airtime.

Ratings continued to collapse as more and more affiliates canceled the program. The final episode aired in January 1993. In the finale, Sophia and C.C. Capwell moved towards a reconciliation, Kelly found love with Connor McCabe, and at Warren and BJ's wedding, unbalanced Andie Klein aimed a gun at the crowd. The final shot consisted of executive producer Paul Rauch standing in front of the camera, smashing a cigar under his shoe, and walking away. Some soap critics, such as Michael Logan, were deeply angered by what they saw as the crassness of the final shot.

Cast and characters

the years of running, Santa Barbara was known for recasting its original characters multiple times. By the end of the series, almost every original long-running character had been recast, excluding Eden Capwell, Cruz Castillo, Lionel Lockridge and Augusta Wainwright. Out of those four, none of them stayed with the show during its entire run. The characters of Kelly and C.C. Capwell had the highest number of recasts, four. Some recasts proved to be popular with the fans, most notably the fourth actor to play the role of C.C. Capwell, Jed Allan, or the second actress to play Sophia Capwell, Judith McConnell, or the second actress to play Gina Blake Lockridge, Robin Mattson. Each of those actors made the role their own, but some recasts affected the show's ratings.

The first notable departure happened when Robin Wright exited her four-year run as the original Kelly Capwell, followed by the departure of Todd McKee as the original Ted Capwell, and the most shocking departure, the exit of Lane Davies as Mason Capwell. By 1992, most original character had either been recast a few times or written out, and new characters arrived at the scene, causing the ratings to continue collapsing, until the show was finally canceled. In the final episode there were no original actors/actresses from the pilot, but there were still various characters with a recast, including C.C., Sophia, Kelly, Mason, Ted, Warren Lockridge, Lionel, Rosa, Gina and Minx.

Crew history

During the first three years of the show, the main crew of SB stayed the same, with the Dobsons taking on a double duty as both head writers and executive producers. Jeffrey Hayden served as co-executive producer during the first year, and Mary-Ellis Bunim took over after him. In 1987, after the Dobsons were abruptly fired, the show's associate head writer Charles Pratt, Jr. received head writing status and Anne Howard Bailey joined him as the co-head writer until 1989, when Sheri Anderson took over that duty.

Jill Farren Phelps took over as the executive producer and kept the position until 1991. In 1990, Pratt was fired and replaced by another associate writer, Maralyn Thoma but her tenure, along with John Conboy's as the new EP was cut short the following year, when the Dobson finally settled in court and returned to the series. However, they were also fired a year later, in 1992, when Paul Rauch was hired as the executive producer, and writer Pam Long was hired as the final head writer of the show. Long's introduction of new characters only pushed the series to its cancellation.

Ratings history

Although Santa Barbara enjoyed considerable worldwide popularity, it never achieved the same heights in the United States. In its debut (1984–1985) season it finished in 11th place and 3.4, and edged up to 10th and 4.2 the next year. By 1987–1988 however it was beginning to generate respectable numbers: it was still in 10th place but achieved a 4.9 rating, the highest in the history of the show. (Incidentally, 1987–1988 also proved to be the best ratings performance for NBC's daytime soap lineup in the 1980s, which had been in ratings trouble since the late 1970s). Unfortunately, this growth in popularity was not sustained although Santa Barbara remained above Loving until it was canceled.

Santa Barbara's ratings dropped when Lane Davies left the show as Mason Capwell in the Summer of 1989 for good. Davies has been reported as saying that his departure this time is permanent. Davies never returned to the role of Mason Capwell. His friend, Terry Lester replaced Davies as Mason Capwell. A year later, Gordon Thomson became the third actor to play Mason Capwell.

In the early 1990s, some NBC affiliates tried airing Santa Barbara late morning timeslots. NBC's flagship station WNBC in New York moved the show from 3pm to Noon where it aired in its remaining years on the air. NBC replaced Santa Barbara with game shows Scrabble and Scattergories before eventually adding a new soap, Sunset Beach, to its daytime lineup. Shortly before the program was canceled by NBC, New World Television (the distributor) tried to shop the show to other broadcast and cable networks but they failed to find a network that would air it.

Broadcasts outside the United States

  • In Australia, the show aired from 1987 to 1994 on Channel 10.
  • In Austriamarker, the show aired on ORF from 1996 to 1997.
  • In Bulgariamarker, the show aired from 1994-1997.
  • In Canadamarker, the show aired all episodes from 1984 to 1993, on NBC and TVA.
  • In Chinamarker, Hong Kongmarker, Indiamarker, Nepalmarker, Pakistanmarker, Philippinesmarker and South Koreamarker, all episodes aired on Star Plus from 1990 to 1999.
  • In Croatiamarker the show aired from 1990 to 1998 on HRT1.
  • In Cyprusmarker Santa Barbara began in 1992 on LOGOS tv, and in 1993 in ANT1 until 2002 when it was completed.
  • In the Czech Republicmarker, it was the first American soap opera to air on the television. It aired on Premiera TV.
  • In Egyptmarker, the show aired on M-NET from 1996 to 1998.
  • In Estoniamarker, where Santa Barbara was also the first American soap shown there; it aired on Kanal 2 and basically kept the channel on the air. It ended in 1999.
  • In Finlandmarker, the show aired from 1994 to 1999 on Nelonen.
  • In Francemarker, the show ran 1044 episodes from 1985 to 1994 on TF1marker, and from 2000 to 2001 for 106 episodes on TF6.
  • In Germanymarker, the show aired 2123 episodes under the title California Clan from 1989 to 1997 on RTLplus (as of 1992: RTL Television). It also aired repeats from 1998 to 2000 on TM3.
  • In Greecemarker, the show aired on MEGA Channel from 1990 to 1996.
  • In Hollandmarker, the show aired on RTL4 from 1990 to 1991, and from 1992 to 1999.
  • In Irelandmarker, the show aired on RTE One at the same time as in America, from 1984 to 1993.
  • In Israelmarker, the show aired briefly from 1995 to 1996 on Channel 2.
  • In Italymarker, the show ran all 2137 episodes from 1989 to 1990 on Rai Uno and from 1991 to 1999 on Rai Due.
  • In Japanmarker, the show aired entirely on Star World from 1990 to 1999, and also aired on SkyPerfecTV from 1991 to 1999.
  • In New Zealandmarker, the show aired from 1988 to 1995 on TVNZ.
  • In Norwaymarker, the show also aired almost all episodes (except for the last two seasons) on TVNorge, from 1988 to 1998. The last 4 years the show ran the episodes were split in two half-hour episodes instead of the original hour long episodes.
  • In Polandmarker, the show first aired from 1990 to 1992 on TVP1, and was later bought by ATV1, aired from 1997 to 1999.
  • In Romaniamarker, the show aired from 1994 to 2000 on TVR2.
  • In Russiamarker, the show was the first Americanmarker program to air there after the collapse of the Soviet Unionmarker. It aired on RTR from 1992 to 1999 and from 2000 to 2002.
  • In Sloveniamarker, the show aired on POP TV from 1995 to 1998.
  • In South Africa, the show aired entirely on SABC3 from 1987 to 1998.
  • In Spainmarker, the show aired 520 episodes on TVE1 from 1989 to 1991 when the television refused to buy more episode even though the show was very popular. However, Antena 3TV bought the right to the show and continued airing it right after it concluded on TVE1 in 1991. It aired until 1996 with several breaks in between. The show never concluded due to failing ratings attributed to constant timeslot changes.
  • In Swedenmarker, the show first aired on TV5 Nordic from 1991 to 1995, and briefly in 2000 on TV4.
  • In the United Kingdommarker, the show's episode were split in two half-hour episodes instead of the original hour long episodes. It aired from 1984 to 1989 on ITV network. Sky Television picked up the show and aired it from 1986 to 1990, also in half-hour format.
  • In Zimbabwemarker, the show aired on ZBC TV1 from 1991 to 1997.
  • In Pakistanmarker, the series was aired on Hong-Kong based satellite TV channel Star World from 1993 to 1997.


Year Ceremony Award(s)
1993 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series
1992 Soap Opera Digest Awards Best Death Scene: Daytime: Marcy Walker
1991 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Drama Series
Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team
Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team

Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Lead Actor: Daytime: A Martinez
1990 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: A Martinez
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Henry Darrow

Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Comic Actor: Daytime: Joe Marinelli
Outstanding Comic Actress: Daytime: Robin Mattson
Outstanding Daytime Serial
Outstanding Lead Actor: Daytime: A Martinez
Outstanding Lead Actress: Daytime: Marcy Walker
Outstanding Storyline: Daytime: Eden's Rape
Outstanding Super Couple: Daytime: A Martinez and Marcy Walker
Outstanding Supporting Actress: Daytime: Jane A.


Casting Society of America Best Casting for TV Soaps
1989 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Drama Series
Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team
Outstanding Juvenile Male in a Drama Series: Justin Gocke
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Marcy Walker
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Justin Deas
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nancy Lee Grahn

Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Comic Performance by an Actress: Daytime: Robin Mattson
Outstanding Heroine: Daytime: Marcy Walker
1988 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Justin Deas

Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role: Daytime: Nicolas Coster
Outstanding Hero: Daytime: A Martinez
Outstanding Heroine: Daytime: Robin Wright Penn
Outstanding Villain: Daytime: Justin Deas

1987 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series
Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series: John Wesley Shipp
Young Artist Award Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime Series: Brandon Call
1986 Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role on a Daytime Serial: Harley Jane Kozak
Outstanding Villainess in a Daytime Serial: Linda Gibboney
Young Artist Award Outstanding Young Actor - Regular Daytime Serial: Brandon Call
1985 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Graphics and Title Design

See also


  1. Santa Barbara in other countries, Fan site, last accessed 2008-06-16"
  2. Popularity of Santa Barbara, Project 80s, last accessed 2008-06-16"
  3. Emmy Awards for Santa Barbara NBC, URL last accessed 2008-06-16
  4. Joe leaves prison, Joe released
  5. Uneven show, Video Link
  6. SB hit by an earthquake, Earthquake
  7. Mary's death, C Falls on Mary
  8. Awards for Santa Barbara, IMDb. URL last accessed 2008-06-16

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