Corona virus is no joke, but it’s the best thing to happen to daytime TV maybe ever.
After OJ Simpson’s 1995 trial destroyed the soaps’ ratings, and the Impeachment hearings threatened to finish the job, afternoon soaps were having their own cliffhanger. Four major shows vanished in 2009-2010: “All My Children,” “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “Guiding Light.”
Two weeks ago, “The Young and the Restless” had its run at number 1 broken for the first time since 1998.
But then, the world was sent home. Suddenly no one had anything to do. And apparently a lot of them watched TV.
For the week of March 23-27th, “Y&R” added 768,000 viewers. It returned to number 1.
“The Bold and the Beautiful” picked up 40,000. “General Hospital” was upped by 103,000. “Days of our Lives” went up 152,000.
Here is a unique moment for the remaining four soaps. As long as people are kept home from work, the soaps should rise dramatically in the ratings. If only they could react to it. But the shows tape six weeks in advance, and now they are on hiatus. “Days of our Lives” tapes six months in advance, so they’ve got shows through the fall.
To parse out what’s left of their taped shows, “General Hospital” is cutting back to 4 days a week of new episodes, and showing “classic” episodes on Fridays. “”Y&R” and “B&B” will likely do the same.
Of course, the funny part of fans returning after many years is seeing the same actors still playing those parts from 20 years ago. That actually may prove to be comforting in this unsettling time. It’s unusual, but, yes, comforting to see Deidre Hall hasn’t aged since 1985. But that’s the magic of TV.