Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Soap Opera: “Young & Restless” Loses 180,000 Viewers in 1 Week, Gains Unpopular Headwriter


CBS’s former powerhouse soap opera “The Young and the Restless” is in trouble. For the week of Sept 15-19 the show lost 180,000 viewers from the prior week. That’s a huge drop considering 42,000 of those viewers were ages 18-49. In the same week, the ever-crazy but fun “General Hospital” was up 6,000 in 18-49.  And “GH” lost only 9,000 total viewers. That 180,000 drop is alarming. They were also down 94,000 from the same week in 2013. “GH” was up 219K.

“Y&R” has been destabilized for some time, with a parade of bad executive producers dictating crazy story lines to headwriters. Last year CBS and Sony brought in Jill Farren Phelps, known for taking shows to their deaths. She almost got “General Hospital” cancelled. Now she’s hired a new headwriter named Chuck Pratt, reviled among soap fans for destroying “All My Children.”

Is CBS setting the stage for a “Y&R” finale? They did the same thing to “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” turning viewers off with unpopular stories until the audience was small enough to kill them. I know Les Moonves would have rather have cheap reality programming, talk shows or game shows. If  the combination of Pratt and Phelps  really murders “Y&R” ratings, we may be seeing “The Match Game” again.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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.

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