Home Television “General Hospital” Ratings Outflank New “Good Afternoon America”

“General Hospital” almost got the axe this summer. It was saved by the failure of ABC’s godawful “Revolution,” which involved watching people iron, sew and cook after an hour of watching them only cook on the just-as-bad “The Chew.” These dregs of reality replaced “All My Children,” which had been hobbled, and “One Life to Live,” which was booming. The executioner, Brian Frons, was himself given the axe, not a lot of consolation for fans of what used to be called ABC Daytime.

Anyway, now “GH” has sort of merged with “One Life” and it’s booming by comparison with the reality shows. On Monday, “Good Afternoon America” debuted to a limited run–it’s a place holder for Katie Couric’s new talk show, and replaced “The Revolution.” “GAA” brought in 1.370 million viewers, of which 297,000 were in the desirable age range of 18-49.  “GAA” was up 40% over “The Revolution.”

But “General Hospital” is still doing much better than that. Despite ABC’s attempts to kill it, “GH” had 2,277,000 viewers last week. The key demos had 558,000 women 18-49. So there. The fact is, if ABC had just put some money and real talent into the soaps, they wouldn’t now be in this weird whirlpool of ratings anxiety. “GAA” is totally unnecessary. It’s just more of “The Chew” with less bite.

If Katie Couric is smart, she’ll bring on every cast member of “GH” over the first week just to win over their viewers. It’s like inviting the neighbors when you know you’re having a big noisy party. But something tells me that won’t happen. And if “Katie” fails, ABC should just re-start “One Life” and admit their mistake.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
10 replies to this post
  1. ABC, have the guts to admit you were wrong. Daytime tv watchers are tired of talk shows, tired of news programming. Give us what we can count on, our mid-day escape from reality. You’ve bitten the hands that feed you. Put the soaps back on and get your ratings up. Sorry, Katie. You should have stayed on the Today show. No intention of watching you in the afternoon.

  2. I want One life to live back so badly. My heart is still crying. There is no talk show that will ever replace it. Please bring it back and ABC think about your viewers and what they want, not just about your already over stuffed pockets. You broke people’s spirits and made millions cry. I hope you’re thrilled One Life was # 10 on the daytime ratings. You will never do better than that!!!!

  3. Any show that ABC puts on to replace a soap will never have a loyal following. I have never taped/DVR’d a talk show daily, nor have I discussed one on a daily basis.

    Fans want serial drama in the afternoon. We have enough news with GMA, local news, nightly news and CNN. The market is oversaturated with news shows, it is lacking in scripted serial drama.

  4. Thanks for a great article, Mr. Friedman. It is incredible to me that ABC would be surprised at the fact that it’s daytime ratings are tanking (with the exception of the fabulous GH). Personally, there is no guest Katie Couric could have on her show (or any other talk-type show for that matter) that would ever get me to watch. I want OLTL and AMC brought back. Unless and until that happens, the only ABC show on in my home is General Hospital.

  5. Who wants to watch news and fluff all day long. No one – instead of advertising this junk – they just promote GH and get the ratings up to where they belong rather than looking for a cheap alternative. Bring Back OLTL!

  6. What these idiots will never understand, it doesn’t matter how smart Katie C. is when she invites all the GH cast members to be on her show…the people who watched AMC & OLTL for 30 or 40 years, or even longer, generation after generation, will never, ever support anything in that time slot…that’s just how angry they are. Combining a bit of GH & OLTL is the first smart thing that ABC’s done in a really long time, so now combine AMC & OLTL into one show and get rid of all the crap they keep trying to serve us with all these terrible new shows…which, by the way, nobody is watching!!

  7. Once again thank you Mr. Friedman for telling it like it is. ABC’s abysmal failure to “fix what ain’t broke” continues to plague them. OLTL was at the top of it’s game and it’s cancellation was nothing more than one of the worst decisions in the history of television. It was nothing more than a way to line top executives pockets with the “savings” that came from the production of the drivel they call television (ie. the Chew and the Revolution). Thank you for continuing to call the ABC/Disney company out for their absurd decisions and subpar daytime programming offerings.

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