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NBC sticks with daytime ‘Days’

NBC and Columbia Pictures TV have finally come to terms, following extended negotiations, on a three-year renewal for the long-running serial “Days of Our Lives”–the top-rated daytime show on NBC’s third-rated lineup.

The announcement, which indicates a significant commitment to the daypart, comes after a recent overhaul of NBC’s daytime schedule in which the web canceled another of its soaps, “Santa Barbara,” as well as “Dr. Dean” (Daily Variety, Sept. 30).

“Barbara” will have its final airing Jan. 15, to be replaced by an as-yet-unspecified game show.

The agreement will result in 780 additional episodes of “Days” and also guarantees at least two prime time spex to air in conjunction with “Soap Opera Digest Awards”–a daytime-goes-prime time strategy the network tried out with some success last January.

It’s been expected for some time that NBC and CPT would eventually make a deal on the sudser, though ABC may have upped the ante by reportedly pursuing the show with an eye on trying to create an all-soap daytime block.

“Days” celebrated its 27th year on the network during a ceremony last Friday and generally pulls about a 16 share, while NBC’s daytime sked averages only an 11 share overall. NBC’s other remaining shows are “Classic Concentration,””Faith Daniels” and “Another World.”

With the cancellation of “Doctor Dean” NBC will reduce its daytime schedule to four hours each weekday, down from 5 1/2 hours.

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