He saved the Daytime Emmys when no one at ABC, CBS or NBC wanted to produce them anymore. Now Jim Romanovich, of Associated Television International, plans to work his magic on the hot internet sudser The Bay. Romanovich tells TV Guide Magazine that ATI has acquired the soap star-studded series — created by Gregori J. Martin — with plans to sell it as a half-hour cable or syndicated program to air in 2012.
"Even though more and more people are gravitating to the web, TV is still the place to reach the widest audience," says Romanovich. "This is a little risky but I'm a huge fan of The Bay and have great respect for Gregori and his cast and crew. They've poured their hearts and souls into this project and I want to help grow them an audience."
The Bay hit the web last September to terrific reviews andfeatures a staggering array of current and former suds faves, including Mary Beth Evans, Charles Shaughnessy, Martha Madison and Matthew Ashford (Days of Our Lives), Lane Davies and Nicolas Coster (Santa Barbara), Real Andrews and Lilly Melgar (General Hospital), Marie Wilson (As the World Turns), Jade Harlow (Passions) and Tristan Rogers (The Young and the Restless).
Martin will re-edit the Bay webisodes (each running seven to eight minutes) into a package of 13 half-hour shows. "We'd like to get it on a cable station such as WGN or TV Guide Network or Hallmark — that's the audience for this," says Romanovich. "At the very least, we feel confident we can get it on key independent stations around the country, such as KTLA in Los Angeles, as well as affiliates in smaller markets. There are also great possibilities overseas."
Romanovich is equally hopeful ATI will helm the Daytime Emmys for a third year in a row. NATAS recently announced that the 2011 awards will be presented June 19 in Las Vegas, yet failed to mention any TV deal. Will CBS agree to air the show as it did last year?
"It looks good," Romanovich says. "CBS was very pleased with the look of last year's show as well as the ratings, but there are still details to be ironed out for it to work for all of us. It's a very difficult and expensive show to do, and we certainly don't want to do less than we did last year. If anything, we want to do more!"