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Passions Lives on DirecTV

In a further expansion into original programming, DirecTV reached a deal to keep soap opera Passions,which NBC canceled, alive for a ninth season.

Under the agreement, NBC Universal Television Studio will produce brand-new episodes of Passions that will air Monday-Thursday on DirecTV’s original-programming channel, The 101.

Passions will be the first scripted drama series to join The 101’s original-program lineup, which includes Project MyWorld,The Fizz, havoc on The 101 and Championship Gaming Series.

Passions -- which currently averages more than 2 million viewers and enjoys an intensely dedicated fan base -- will end its network run on NBC Sept. 7 with a series of cliffhangers. It will resurface on DirecTV Sept. 17, picking up where the series left off. The daytime drama will remain in its current 2 p.m. time slot, and DirecTV will air encore marathons of the show each weekend.

Passions fans no longer need to mourn the demise of their beloved program as it has found new life on DirecTV,” DirecTV executive vice president of entertainment Eric Shanks said in a prepared statement. “We care about this show and are extremely proud to give it an exclusive home here at DirecTV.”

The majority of the cast and crew is expected to return when the one-hour series begins shooting the new DirecTV episodes in August.

The series will broadcast four one-hour episodes per week, as well as a weekend marathon of that week’s shows so fans can catch up on the action each week.

The direct-broadcast satellite provider will make it easy for Passions viewers to keep track of the happenings in Harmony by providing fans free installation, a digital-video-recorder or HD-receiver upgrade and a portable DVD player by calling a special phone number (866-788-0003) or visiting the Web, giving those without DirecTV plenty of time to switch before the new season begins. Passions fans can also visit NBC’s site for more information about the show.

Passions explores the lives, loves and losses of four core families in the small New England town of Harmony: the Cranes, the Lopez-Fitzgeralds, the Bennetts and the Russells, each of whom have their own distinct and diverse personalities. The series debuted on NBC in 1999 and has routinely been among the top daytime programs for women 18-34. It is currently tied for No. 1 among all daytime dramas in both women ages 18-24 and females 12-24.

New episodes of Passions will begin shooting in August and will continue to be taped at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, Calif. The show is produced by NBC Universal Television Studio in association with Outpost Farms Productions.