Thursday, April 18, 2024

Soap Opera Chaos: “Young and Restless” Ratings Drop, Actors Leaving, Old Exec Producer-Headwriter Returning


Things are getting worse, not better, at CBS’s “The Young and the Restless.”

The ratings are dropping fast. Actors are leaving. And now an old executive producer-headwriter has returned. This spells a 911 call.

For the first time ever, “Y&R” was dethroned last week in the key demo by ABC’s “General Hospital.” The CBS show is now number 2 in the 18-49 demo. “Y&R” also had two days between August 13th and 17th below 4 million viewers.

This news must have sent the folks in the executive suites at CBS into war mode. So they brought back Josh Griffith, an old Y&R hand. He will have to sort out an un-win-able plot in which four main characters killed and buried another one without a possible realistic resolution. Maybe it will all have been a bad dream.

Mal Young, the current EP-HW, is on his way out. After a promising start, he’s more or less sent the show into a tailspin. Since December he’s lost 800,000 viewers with very unpopular stories and an inability to keep popular actors.

I’ve already reported the departures of Eileen Davidson and Mishael Morgan, over money issues. Morgan made public that the show hasn’t given raises for five years. Losing Davidson, who’s the star of the show since 1982, is a devastating blow. Another long time favorite, Christel Khalil, just announced she’s out, too. Morgan and Khalil also happen to be African American, so that raises other issues.

Soaps should be so easy to maintain. They’re on every day, the fans respond in real time. Just give ’em what they want. But executive producers– like Jill Farren Phelps, some others, and now this guy, Young– get crazy with power. Not one of them re-watches the great parody ,”SoapDish.”


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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