Monday, May 27, 2024

Soap Opera: Without New Episodes During Pandemic Ratings are So Bad ABC Doesn’t Release Them Anymore for “General Hospital” Reruns


The pandemic is killing the remaining four soap operas.

Things are so bad for the soaps, three of which are showing greatest hits from the past, that ABC has stopped sharing the ratings for “General Hospital.”

The other shows are fessing up, but the results aren’t good.

Even though “Days of Our Lives” is showing new episodes, they’ve fallen into a ratings ditch. It doesn’t help that Gov. Andrew Cuomo cuts into their show at 12:30pm on a daily basis.

For the week of June 1st, “Days” had an average of 1.8 million viewers. The number was up slightly from last week. But it was off from last year by 153,000 viewers.

Number 1 soap “The Young and the Restless” scored 1,950,000 for the week’s average. They’re down, too, from the prior week, by 68,000, and their audience is halved overall.

Sister CBS soap “Bold and the Beautiful” is really flailing without new shows. They were down to 1.5 million average, down 86,000 from the week before.

The last “General Hospital” numbers I got, unpublished, were 1.2 million from the last week of May. We can surmise they fell again the week of June 1st.

Even though Los Angeles is “open” starting today, June 12th, there’s still no sign of the soaps returning to their sets anytime soon. When the shows do rev up again, it’s not like they’ll be back on the air the next day. The three shows besides “Days” shoot six weeks in advance. So they’ll need that much time to get back on air from the day they resume production. They’ll need a production hook to get viewers back. One gimmick that always works is live shows. If they can all three agree on staggering it, a month of live weeks– one for each show– would at least get curiosity up among stalwart viewers. And stunt casting might not hurt. Maybe they can get famous alumna to return for cameos.

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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