News+notes

Soap? Nope

A curious lack of soaps on network TV -- The success of ''Desperate Housewives'' has surprisingly not led to any clones

Lather, rinse. . .Don't repeat!

Despite talk that TV networks wanted to clone Desperate Housewives, none picked up a classic soap for fall 2005. A few serialized dramas come close, like Fox's school-themed Reunion and UPN's twentysomething show Sex, Lives & Secrets, but otherwise the new class of 2005-06 is curiously soap-free. Roughly 20 sudser scripts were in development at ABC, CBS, UPN, and Fox for fall, including three Texas-based epics. (Sounds familiar, don't it, J.R.?)

''I was a little surprised,'' says Brad Adgate, an analyst for Horizon Media. ''I guess the nets were more interested in copying Lost than Desperate Housewives.''

Indeed, at least four new fall shows have a supernatural element, among them NBC's Fathom (about an underwater creature) and CBS' Threshold (government investigation of aliens). Still, don't assume soaps are being scrubbed.

''This development season didn't bring a traditional soap that was compelling enough for pickup,'' says UTA TV agent Jay Sures, ''but every network is trying to develop one, and it will only be a matter of time before that happens.''

Originally posted May 30, 2005 Published in issue #823 Jun 03, 2005 Order article reprints