NBC has canceled the daytime soap, Passions after nearly eight years on the air.

Known for its young-skewing supernatural storylines, the news comes with the announcement of the fourth hour of Today, notes Variety. to four hours (Daily Variety, Jan. 15).

NBC's contract for Passions runs until June, but since the extra hour of Today won't begin until the fall, it's expected the Peacock will try to extend the show through August. Net still needs to negotiate those deals with talent and producers.

Peacock was proud of Passions, often touting its young femme numbers. Just last week, net issued a ratings release noting the sudser's No. 4 ranking among all serials among women 18-49 and its first-place tie with Days of Our Lives as the top sudser among women 18-34 for the first week of January.

NBC also pointed to the fact that it owns Passions outright, allowing it to keep any profits from the skein.

Cancellation of the show points to the increasingly harsh economic climate for sudsers. Daytime insiders say it's likely one or two more daytime dramas could be killed by the end of the decade.

Because Passions is such a strong brand among young femmes, it's believed NBC will try to find a way to keep the show alive somewhere other than the network. An Internet platform is a possibility, while NBC might also talk to Disney to see if the conglom would be interested in producing a shortened version of the sudser for its successful SoapNet cabler.

Another potential home might be News Corp.'s barely breathing MyNetwork TV, which has had no luck drawing auds with its cheaply produced telenovelas.

Launched in July 1999, Passions was created by former Days of Our Lives writer Jim Reilly, who remains exec producer and head writer. Lisa de Cazotte also serves as exec producer.

The show is set in the town of Harmony, and at various times featured characters such as Timmy the doll-turned-human and Tabitha, the 300-year-old witch.