Just as one soap opera received a two-season renewal that’ll keep it on the air through its 37th season (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), another soap will end its run after 37 years on the air, albeit a non-American produced series.
Fremantle announced this morning that after a failed attempt to find a new financial backer from the United Kingdom for its Australian soap “Neighbours,” the drama series that helped launch the careers of such superstars as Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, and Kylie Minogue, among others, will conclude its run later this year.
“We are so sorry to say that after nearly 37 years and almost 9000 episodes broadcast we have to confirm that ‘Neighbours’ will cease production in the summer,” read an announcement on the show’s Twitter page which has amassed more than 500 comments, over 1,000 retweets and nearly 2,700 likes.
“Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show,” the message continued. “To our amazing, loyal fans, we know this is a huge disappointment, as it is to all of us on the team. We thank you for all your messages and support and promise to end the show on an incredible high. From here on, we are celebrating ‘Neighbours.’”
In memory of the show’s long run, and throughout its final days, the show will utilize the hashtag “Celebrating Neighbours” in social media posts going forward.
According to Deadline, ITV quickly emerged as a possible new home for the soap opera following last month’s news of the show’s possible cancellation. The outlet cited sources who claimed the network would be a “natural home” for the series. Unfortunately, with a renewed focus on UK content and the launch of its new streaming service ITVX, there was no room for the Australian-produced “Neighbours” on the schedule.
Debuting March 18, 1985, “Neighbours” is currently the longest-running drama series in Australian television history. The series first aired on Seven network before it was canceled a few months later due to its poor performance in the Sydney market. The show was later moved to the 10 network in 1986 and remained on the channel until 2010. In 2011, the show moved to 10 Peach, a free-to-air television channel run by 10 network.
Channel 5 which had been airing “Neighbours” in the UK since 2008 noted in a statement last month, “Neighbours will no longer air on Channel 5 beyond this summer. We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision, however our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers.”