Through its short existence, Sunset Beach remained in the daytime ratings basement.However, during the Shockwave storyline, it received its best ratings and showed signs that it might move off the bottom.The show was renewed again for another year, and then picked up in six-month intervals for its final year in 1999.Before getting cancelled, the show was renewed twice, but it failed to grab the show's audience.Although there is a town in California called Sunset Beach, the show's beach scenes were shot on nearby Seal Beach.
The first recast happened soon after the show started airing.
Aside from Meg's family, Ricardo got his family expanded, including the introduction of his mother Carmen (Margarita Cordova), brother Antonio (Nick Kiriazis), and the sudden reappearance of his sister Maria (Christina Chambers), Ben Evans' presumed dead wife.
The teen scene was revived in 1998, when Bette's daughter Emily (Cristi Harris) arrived in town and fell in love with Sean, prompting Amy (Krissy Carlson) and Brad (Michael Strickland) to intervene. Deschanel, was also cast in the form of Gordon Thomson, and a villain named Francesca (Lisa Guerrero) was added to the cast in mid-1998. In 1999, the show cast only three contract roles, the first two being in March, when Tracy Lindsey Melchior and Chase Parker stunned the soap with their sudden arrival in town.
This spike proved to be brief and was not sustained.
When the show first aired, it started with 21 contract characters, of which 7 had left the show during its first year and a half.