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When TF1 broadcast for the first time in France on Monday, October 14 1985, the first episode of Santa Barbara, its executives are far from imagining the tidal waves that are going to surge in France. Aired in access primetime in a country unaccustomed to soap-operas, the show finds its public very quickly. Only the American nightime soaps are then aired on our screens : Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Knots Landing.
The Santa Barbara madness grabs France, and on average between 6 and 7 million televiewers are passionate about the adventures of the Capwells and the Lockridges. The craze is such that between 1987 and 1992, the French TV magazines (from
TÚlÚ 7 jours to TÚlÚ Star, and from CinÚ TÚlÚ Revue to TÚlÚ Loisirs), will write and write articles in the Burbank studios to satisfy the curiosity of the French viewers.
Very quickly, some characters stand out, taking a place in the viewers' heart : Marcy Walker - Eden Capwell, Robin Wright - Kelly Capwell and A Martinez - Cruz Castillo. On several occasions, the main actors of the show will be invited in France to unveil the new adventures of their characters. CinÚ TÚlÚ Revue will even publish three special issues summarizing a big part of the articles already published : only Knots Landing and Falcon Crest have had already known this privilege.
Santa Barbara is undoubtedly largely responsible for the awareness by the advertisers and the broadcasters of the importance of the access prime-time slot. At the time, Antenne 2, rival of TF1, had then launched to win the ratings war the airing of The Bold and the Beautiful ace to Santa Barbara, hoping to ride the same wave. Even today, TF1 and its advertisers must dream of the ratings of that time. What new program, what new TV show does not wish to get the coverage known by Santa Barbara in the late 80s and early 90s ?
To nowadays, no other program can present a number of press coverage so important : even the TV reality shows and the other soap-operas aired with success in France (The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless) never managed to monopolize all the editors of TV magazines. The media extent and the television success of Santa Barbara are so far unmatched in France. This phenomenon is even more remarkable than the airing of the show on its last years has known many timeslots and than, to this day, the final episode have not been aired yet, leaving a taste of unfinished business...

Lilian

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