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December 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm #423323
According to this article in The Hollywood Reporter, all four soaps have been enjoying ratings rebounds and soaps will one day be in again. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-hospital-young-restless-soap-397885
I’m pasting the text below, because the article was pretty brief. It was short on details, but long on optimism:
Surprise! Soap Operas Ratings Bubble Up
A year after ABC ditched two daytime dramas, the remaining shows are seeing a resurgence.
This story first appeared in the Dec. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When ABC canceled One Life to Live and All My Children
a year ago, the network cited declining ratings, higher production
costs and changing viewer tastes as the reasons. But this season, all
four surviving daytime broadcast soaps — General Hospital on ABC, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on CBS and Days of Our Lives on NBC — have seen a surprise uptick in ratings and are outpacing the talk shows that replaced Life and Children.
“What’s happened is the core audience realized these treasures might go away,” says Bill Carroll,
vp and director of programming at Katz Television Group. “They decided
they’d better watch, or the shows are not going to be there.”
Consolidating that audience was a goal of recent casting moves, according to Frank Valentini, executive producer of General Hospital (and formerly of One Life to Live). “We brought three actors from One Life to Live to General Hospital, so I’m sure we brought some fans over,” he says.
Valentini cites other recent improvements — storylines don’t drag
out as long, portrayals of women are more contemporary, and there are
fewer flashbacks and more intrigue, romance and humor. The result: GH, which moved up an hour to 2 p.m. to make room for the new talk show Katie, is seeing ratings gains.
Social media and increasing use of DVRs also are helping drive
viewers. “There’s a water-cooler sort of effect in social media,” says
Valentini. For instance, a mid-November episode of Days was
seen live by about 1.8 million people. Another 409,000 time-shifted to
later that day, and an additional 178,000 watched within seven days.
(That means about 25 percent of overall viewers watched a recording.)
Costs also have been trimmed from what a source says was the $170,000
it took to produce a network episode in 2011 (about $42 million a
At the same time, ABC’s One Life to Live replacement The Chew is averaging 2.4 million total viewers. That’s competitive with GH, but in the key demo of women 25-to-54 (which is what advertisers care about most), Chew generates only a 0.9 rating, about one-third less than GH delivers. Katie also is failing to attract as many women 25-to-54 as GH. (ABC’s other soap replacement, the lifestyle self-help show The Revolution, already has been canceled.)
Given the resurgence, could this mean new dramas soon will be coming
to daytime? Says Carroll, “At some point in the future, the trend will
once again be soap operas.”December 6, 2012 at 7:18 am #423326
I wasn’t sure if Valentini’s comments about the recent improvements was specifically in reference to changes at GH since he came over or just things he was mentioning in general. The comment about romance, intrigue and humor really struck me because that’s pretty much the classic notion of what soaps are. People who are less familiar with the genre usually fixate on the melodrama, but during soaps’ heyday in the 80s, it was all about blending intrigue, humor and romance. That’s what people were tuning in for. But I agree with you about Valentini’s view of GH, and I’ve had that thought from when he first started bringing in the OLTL elements. He seems very unconcerned with GH’s identity and just wants to make it as much like OLTL as possible.
Reviving older soaps would be an improvement over starting totally new ones. I’d say when AMC and OLTL were cancelled that there were definitely ways to keep the soaps alive, even if not with daily episodes, though things like specials, TV movies, or primetime mini-series centered around certain character or events. But if actually creating new soaps is something that is on the table (I don’t feel like this is something that’s going to happen anytime soon, no matter what the article says), it would be great to rather revive and tweak the cancelled shows instead. Shows like Another World, As The World Turns, Guiding Light, and All My Children got pretty messy toward the ends of their runs, but they have such rich histories and so much to play on that they could provide a wonderful starting point for making something old new again. The show that’s now in the worst position for this is probably OLTL, since Valentini/Carlivati have been poaching its characters and storylines for use on GH.December 7, 2012 at 11:54 am #423327
I am happy for the cast and crew and fans for still having their jobs and stories, but I have basically checked out. I am not invested anymore, but do still look here, the blogs, and boards from time to time to see what is happening.
As for Frank’s comments, I think he’s ridiculous if he think’s his women are modern (CONNIE!). They are the same archytypes, but the have better hair/clothes and lighting.December 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm #423328
I for one have always been a fan of flashbacks, when done correctly. i think a good flashback can provide for great drama and can fill in gaps in the storyline. I also think that when bringing a character back to the canvas a good series of flashbacks can get viewers re-acquainted with the character. For example, with the Nurses Ball coming up on GH for the first time in over a decade, I’d personally LOVE to see a few flashback clips of previous performances.December 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm #423330
I hope the four remaing soaps continue to improve and survive.
Y&R, however, is not going through some kind of creative renissance. Its gotten even worse and if there is serious trouble in Daytime its over in Genoa City.