Somerset (TV series)


Somerset (TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Somerset


caption = "Somerset" opening titles from 1971-1974
format = soap opera
rating = TV-14 (U.S.)
runtime = 30 Minutes
creator = Robert Cenedella
country = USA
network = NBC
first_aired = March 30, 1970
last_aired = December 31, 1976
num_episodes = 1710
imdb_id = 0065346

"Somerset" (sometimes called "Another World: Somerset") was an American television soap opera which ran on NBC from March 30, 1970 until December 31, 1976. The show was a spinoff of another NBC serial, "Another World".

Overview

Initially, the show revolved around Missy Palmer Matthews (Carol Roux), Lahoma Vane Lucas (Ann Wedgeworth) and Sam Lucas (Jordan Charney). These were three popular characters who were first seen on "Another World". They moved to the fictional town of Somerset, Illinois and started their lives anew.

The first stories on the serial revolved around the trio's progress in starting new friendships and romantic entanglements. In 1972, though, the show changed writers, with Robert Cenedella leaving the show in favor of Henry Slesar. Further, "Somerset" moved away from the traditional soap format, and started telling stories that dealt heavily with the Mafia and other types of crime, not unlike its sister soap, CBS' "The Edge of Night". After the departure of Slesar, several other writers attempted to bring the show's ratings up with varying mixtures of the two previous formats. One of them, Roy Winsor, who was the creator of "Search for Tomorrow," "Love of Life," and "The Secret Storm."

Cast

Some of the more familiar actors who appeared during the program's run:
* Bibi Besch
* Richard Bright
* Joel Crothers
* Ted Danson
* Alice Hirson
* Barry Jenner
* Lois Kibbee
* Audrey Landers
* James O'Sullivan
* Michael Nouri
* Jameson Parker
* Gary Sandy
* Tina Sloan
* Lois Smith
* Sigourney Weaver
* JoBeth Williams
* Edward Winter

Broadcast History

NBC and packager Procter and Gamble Productions first launched "Somerset" as an extension of the mother show, adding the locales to each program's title. They titled the parent program "Another World--Bay City" and the new spinoff "Another World--Somerset," in the hopes that the large loyal following of the mother show, which aired an hour earlier than "Somerset" at 3 p.m./2 Central, would stay tuned for several of their favorite characters to appear in a new storyline. When this did not occur, NBC shortened the title to simply "Somerset" and reverted "AW" to its original name, separating the two shows' identities and phasing out the cross-over characters.

Running at a timeslot prone to affiliate preemption, 4/3 Central, "Somerset" struggled throughout its nearly seven-year history to gain a foothold in the daytime pantheon. Upon its 1970 debut, ABC's "Dark Shadows" held the ratings and clearances lead and maintained it through the next year, when a successful revival of the game show "Password" entered the network's schedule at that slot. Some signs of hope occurred during the Slesar period (CBS' "The Secret Storm" ended a long run against "Somerset"), but by the time he left in 1974, the other networks had plugged surprisingly strong games (CBS' "Tattletales" and ABC's "The $10,000 Pyramid") at 4/3.

Things went downhill from that point, as numerous affiliates began defecting the soap in favor of cartoons, syndicated sitcom reruns or talk shows, and old movies. Perhaps the nail in "Somerset's" coffin came when ABC acquired "Edge" from CBS in December 1975 and placed it against its sister show. With "Somerset" having nowhere near the ratings figures "AW" had solidly maintained during the early 1970s, NBC cancelled it on New Year's Eve 1976, replacing it with another P&G effort, "Lovers and Friends," in a scheduling shuffle with "The Gong Show."

"Somerset" is noteworthy in daytime scheduling history as one of three soaps to premiere on the same day, along with ABC's "The Best of Everything" and "A World Apart." This was the only occurrence of more than two serials beginning at the same time; neither of the ABC shows lasted past 1971.

External links

* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065346 "Somerset" at the Internet Movie Database]
* [http://somersetonline.bravepages.com/ Somerset Online]
* [http://lavender.fortunecity.com//casino/403/somerset.html Somerset Fan Page]
* [http://www.igs.net/~awhp/spinoffs.html AWHP Tribute]


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