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“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.