Friday, April 12, 2024

Strike Fallout: ABC’s “General Hospital” Has Lost 300,000 Viewers Since May 1st, Hit Lowest Ever This Month


What is going on with ABC’s “General Hospital”?

I told you earlier today that one veteran actor is taking time off to battle blood cancer, so that’s first.

But now it seems that the show’s ratings are also ailing. Two weeks ago, the number of total viewers dropped to 1.8 million, the lowest ever or in anyone’s recent memory.

On May 1st, the soap had 2.1 million viewers, and that was also the case a year ago.

What’s happening here? Since the middle to end of June the show has been using scripts supplied by scabs of writers who’ve elected to be fi-core (keep writing, forfeit union benefits like voting). The new writers may have changed storylines and characters’ prominence. These things can make fans unhappy.

Disney-ABC has also had fights with various carriers resulting in their shows not being broadcast everywhere. But a lot of that is recent, and doesn’t account totally for the drop off.

Of course all three remaining broadcast soaps have had big dips this summer. A fourth show, “Days of our Lives,” airs on NBC’s Peacock and doesn’t release numbers.

“General Hospital” is starting to try stunt casting to bring back viewers. They announced today that Rena Sofer, last seen on the show 26 years ago, is returning. They’ve also been bringing back characters from now defunct ABC soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

Something had better goose the numbers soon, or there will likely be changes when the strikes are over.

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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