The serial was co-produced by NBC and Dobson Productions until February 1985, when New World Pictures joined NBC and Dobson as a production partner. The newly created partnership, New World Television, then served as the distributor for the show.
Santa Barbara aired in over 40 countries around the world. The show's popularity continued to rise, and it even had fans in the White House. In 1985, when character Augusta Lockridge was blinded following a tunnel collapse, Ronald Reagan sent actress Louise Sorel a letter saying he and Nancy were praying for her and hoped she recovered. Santa Barbara has won 24 Daytime Emmy Awards and was nominated 30 times for the same award. The show also won 18 Soap Opera Digest Awards, and won various other awards.
In 1993, NBC replaced Santa Barbara with game shows Scrabble and Scattergories. Shortly before the program was canceled by NBC, New World Television tried to shop Santa Barbara to other broadcast and cable networks, but failed to find one that would air the show.