Somerset (TV series)

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Somerset
Somersetlogo.jpg
Somerset opening titles from 1971-1974
Genre Soap opera
Drama
Created by Robert Cenedella
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 1,710
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run March 30, 1970  – December 31, 1976

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

Overview[edit]

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, an area in the northern Detroit suburbs in Michigan 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 Somerset, the other families of importance were the Davis family, the Buchanans, the Grants and the Delaneys, who ran Somerset's major employer, Delaney Brands. Within six months, Missy was gone and new characters were added, including a new family, the Kurtz family and several female characters to act as love interests for Dr. Stan Kurtz and Peter Delaney.

In early 1971, the show changed writers, with Robert Cenedella leaving the show in favor of Henry Slesar.

Further, Somerset slowly moved away from the traditional soap format, and started telling stories that dealt heavily with the Mafia and other types of crime, not unlike 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, each of them slowly removing nearly all of the original characters. One of them, Roy Winsor, was the creator of Search for Tomorrow, Love of Life, and The Secret Storm.

The Somerset County Courthouse in Somerville, New Jersey, was used for exteriors.

Cast[edit]

More than 150 actors appeared on Somerset over its near-seven year run.[1] Some of the more familiar actors who appeared during the program's run were:

Broadcast history[edit]

NBC and packager Procter & 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 in Bay City and the new spin off Another World in Somerset, in the hope that the large loyal following of the mother show, which aired an hour earlier than Somerset at 3:00 PM/2 Central, would stay tuned for several of their favorite characters to appear in a new storyline. By March 1971, NBC shortened the title to simply Somerset and reverted AW to its original title, separating the two shows' identities and slowly phasing out the crossover characters by February 1972.

Airing in a timeslot prone to affiliate pre-emption, 4/3 Central, caused Somerset to struggle throughout the whole of its nearly seven-year history to gain a foothold in the daytime pantheon. ABC's Dark Shadows held the ratings and clearances lead at the time Somerset went on the air, but an unpopular storyline that had been running for months combined with the premiere of Somerset. This enabled NBC's new show to push Dark Shadows' ratings down considerably, and Somerset achieved promising ratings during its first year. Dark Shadows had, during the 1969-1970 season, achieved a ratings of 7.3, but by the end of the 1970-1971 season, Somerset had a rating of 7.0 and Dark Shadows a rating of 5.3. A successful revival of the game show Password entered ABC's schedule at that slot during the 1970-71 season, and its ratings success cut into the Somerset audience. Ratings continued to improve during the Slesar period (CBS' The Secret Storm ended a long run against Somerset), but by late 1971 after the end of a successful murder storyline, the show began to dip in ratings. By 1974, the other networks had plugged in surprisingly strong games (CBS' Tattletales and ABC's The $10,000 Pyramid) at 4 pm.

Things went downhill from that point; numerous affiliates began defecting the show 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 Somerset. With Somerset having nowhere near the ratings figures AW had solidly maintained during the early 1970s, NBC cancelled it mid-December of 1976 and the show aired its last episode on New Year's Eve. Somerset's place on the schedule was given to another P&G soap, Lovers and Friends, and its time slot was given to The Gong Show once it ended.

Somerset, along with ABC's The Best of Everything and A World Apart, marked the last time that multiple American network daytime serials premiered on the same date. Neither of the ABC shows lasted past 1971.

However, this was not the only occurrence of more than one serial beginning at the same time. On July 5, 1954, five long-forgotten serials debuted (four on NBC, one on CBS), while fellow Procter & Gamble-produced serials As the World Turns and The Edge of Night both premiered on CBS two years later, on April 2, 1956. On April 1, 1963, three serials debuted (ABC's General Hospital and NBC's The Doctors and Ben Jerrod), and on September 27, 1965, four short-lived serials debuted (ABC's The Nurses and Never Too Young and NBC's Morning Star and Paradise Bay.)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]. The Somerset Register