MSN TV Blog - TV Buzz

A good year for soap operas

Daytime dramas made a comeback in 2012

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert Dec 7, 2012 4:53PM

Recent years have brought much chatter about the decline of soaps, not to mention several daytime drama cancelations. 2011 was another rough year for soap fans, with the cancelations of ABC's "One Life to Live" and "All My Children," but it looks like the slump has ended. Fans flocking to support their beloved genre, paired with behind the scenes shakeups have brought a 2012 ratings boom for CBS' "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful," ABC's "General Hospital" and NBC's "Days of Our Lives."

Bing: More about "Bold and the Beautiful" | "Young and the Restless" | "General Hospital" | "Days of Our Lives" 


"What's happened is the core audience realized these treasures might go away," Bill Carroll, Vice President and director of programming at Katz Television Group explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "They decided they'd better watch, or the shows are not going to be there."


"General Hospital" executive producer Frank Valentini, who told MSN TV this fall that the wrecking ball threatening daytime was no longer hovering, told THR that storytelling shakeups and the addition of his "One Life to Live" characters helped bring the rating hike to his show. 


Other soaps have also taken to snapping up fan favorites from other shows, hoping to lure in new fans. The most recent example is "The Bold and the Beautiful," which signed "Guiding Light" alums Karla Mosley and Lawrence Saint-Victor, who get into the action Jan. 17 and Jan. 29, respectively, according to TV Guide. The show will also tap into the Telemundo fan base with an appearance by Cindy Luna on Jan. 30.


Across the board in daytime, there's also been a move to bring back core characters and return to the roots of what made each show work back in the day. That may be a more powerful play than just grabbing a name from another show, but it all helps. 


Valentini also credited "the water-cooler sort of effect in social media" for the recent ratings surge, while THR added that DVR and online viewing have also increased viewership, citing this example:

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.)

The story goes on to note that the talk shows aren't keeping up with the soaps. While overall ratings may be decent to better than the soaps, newcomers like "The Chew" and "Katie" aren't luring in the coveted daytime demographic of women aged 25-to-54. Not only do soap fans come together to boycott new offerings and/or the networks that cancel their fave soaps, but these days, the talk show circuit is saturated with contenders, which only serves to thin out the ratings.

Plus: TV's best Scrooges | 2012's most memorable TV moments


As MSN TV has noted before, however, it may still be too soon to tell how these new talk shows will fare as they build momentum. "The Talk," which touts itself as the fastest-growing daytime talk show, took a few years to build an audience, and now there are so many contenders it can make one's head spin. For those keeping track, fledgling talkers "Katie," "The Steve Harvey Show," "The Jeff Probst Show," "Ricki Lake," "Marie" and "Trisha" are hoping to get re-upped next fall and new talk show are in the works from Bethenny Frankel, Queen Latifah, Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis and maybe even Kris Jenner. ABC is also filming a reality show based at UCLA Medical Center, which is already generating negative buzz from "General Hospital" fans.


Nonetheless, Carroll tells THR that this soap ratings surge is good tiding for drama fans.


"At some point in the future, the trend will once again be soap operas," he previewed.


That's a twist soap opera fans would love to see. Stay tuned. 

Dec 11, 2012 10:59AM

The daytime viewing audience has dwindled. Not only are there more people in the workforce, we're all busier and it's a commitment to watch 5 hours of recorded programming a week (3.5 if you speed through the commercials). While it was hard to see shows go with such a history, even the ones I had quit watching, I would rather have a few good daily shows in the serialized format than 20 mediocre ones. And yes, to an advertiser it DOES make a difference whether 2 million viewers are watching one show or if that same audience is spread out across three or four shows.

Dec 9, 2012 1:00PM
Guiding Light was the best soap ever and is still missed by so many...I will never watch Let's make a Deal or whatever show they put on in place of Guiding Light. I don't watch The Talk either for the same reason..I want my soaps not a talk show or cooking show or anything else..
Dec 9, 2012 10:47AM
If this is indeed true then the ABC network should look to see if they can revive All My Children and One Life to Live. That is the only way that network will get me to watch daytime tv again. I have boycotted every show that has taken the time slots of my favorite soaps since they were canceled.
Dec 8, 2012 11:42PM
Dec 8, 2012 7:15PM

Please bring back All My Children and One Life to Life, I miss my family members.

Let Katie and The Chew go............they are not appreciated.

As for your rating information,  it is wrong, you're not  counting all the people that record and have recorded their favorite shows all along.

Dec 8, 2012 5:17PM
Thank you Deanna for your continued coverage of this issue that means so much to so many soap fans. As always, we are staying tuned for tomorrow. :) 
Dec 8, 2012 4:44PM
ABC needs to bring back OLTL asap.  Their experiment with The Revolution didn't work, Katie is boring, and the OLTL actors still have a following, they are watching GH.  Have the shows do crossovers with characters to keep things more interesting. 
Dec 8, 2012 4:23PM
Really?? More daytime talk shows, will they ever learn??????
The people who watch daytime live are home during the day and I don't think they are the 18 to 49 demo the advertisers so yearn for, this 18-49 dem are working during the day HELLLOOOOOOOOOO advertisers, so I'm wondering where they are getting their stats. Let me see could Nielson be manipulating the ratings and getting kickbacks from let's say . . . . . . .  ABC/DISNEY. It's not like ABC/DISNEY doesn't have the cash to pay off Nielson, who I believe to be as corrupt as they come. Yes, I'm calling out Nielson, they are the cause of our beloveds being cancelled and also ALL of the good show's on nighttime, can I get a shout out for Emily Owens, MD? This awesome and funny show was just cancelled because the CW would rather have pathetic shows like Gossip Girl and Heart of Dixie, all full of sex and no substance, then a great witty show like Emily Owens. I could go on and one.
TPTB are not looking into the future, they are looking only at the past. It's time to WAKE THE HELL UP!

Dec 8, 2012 12:42PM

Stupid people think more people are watching soaps, it is the same amount we are just concentrated to watching the ones that are left!!! 

   I SAY BRING BACK  All My Children  and One Life to Live!!!!>>>I HAVE NOT watched the first CHEW and whatever else is on ABC after I watch Y&R. I REFUSE TO EVEN PUT ABC ON MY TV during daytime TV..

   Baby boomers are the ones watching daytime tv. WE are the majority. WE are the ones sitting home and watching daytime TV. WE ALL HAVE GROWN UP WATCHING SOAPS... I GET MAD WHEN THEY PUT SPORTS EVENTS ON DURING SOAP TIME. I have even called ABC station and complained.. Most of the people who watch basketball play offs etc are at work at that time.  

     I used to switch from cbs to abc at noon.. Now I just leave it on cbs or turn it on the western channel or foodnetwork ( there are some cooks on there I like) I do watch DR OZ on ABC and then they lose me again. 1 talk show a day is ENOUGH!! Ellen is enough!!! NO COOKINg shows!!!.. IF I want a recipe there are all over the internet and they have their own channel. DR Oz Is a good show!! Only need one of those too!  BRING BACK AMC AND OLTL!!


Dec 8, 2012 10:03AM

What has happened to the minds of the powers that be from these networks to have their decision making of what shows to televise go all to hell? Seriously, how many talk shows and reality shows must there be? There are so many depressing things in this world and to engage in watching these shows just adds. We all have something , bad times and good times, this is life. So why add on by watching others misfortunes and devestation in other's lives on these pathetic shows. Give us the viewers enjoyment in watching shows that add a more positive dimention in airing tv shows. Get rid of the talk shows and get rid of the reality shows.


The best is Ellen Degeneres. This is not a "talk" show, this is an entertainment show.  There are medical shows that are informative. There are game shows that are still viewed. This is all  enough. 


The only soap that has integrated characters from another show, is  the brilliance of General Hospital. Soaps that are and were viewed is generational and is thoroughly enjoyed. It makes us want more, hence, the dedication and comittment to the Soaps. I have watched Y&R since day one, B&B since day one and GH since 1983. I used to watch GL and ATWT since 1965, when I got home from school with my grandmother, as well as The Edge of Night.  She called  these shows her stories. 


Here I am unemployed, would love a job and then there's something like 'Honey Boo Boo" and all the ridiculous "Realilty" shows and "Talk Shows" that these people are earning an ungodly amount of income.  Who cares what goes on in who's life  in any area? I sure as hell don't.  I think reality shows are the powers that be, being unable to come up with anything of substance or worth, so let's  hit an all time lower then low and have a show that airs whoever's business in reality or facad. Totally pathetic and a waste of airtime.


Daytime is daytime and this means, Soaps.  Eliminate most of the talk shows and  do away with the upcoming ones as well.  The Chew is not the least bit appetizing and Katie Couric, an absolute NO.  Bring back OLTL and of course keep GH.


On CBS, bring back ATWT and move "The Talk" to another time slot.  It most definitely can be done because, oh wait, who is Julie Chen's husband? That's right, the president of CBS.  It is who you know or who your married to.  ATWT replaced with The Talk is a huge mistake and as far as I am concerned, The Talk is a wannabe The View. I'll take The View anytime.


The powers that be are loosing their imagination for good tv and attracting the viewers.  The decisions for what is televised needs to be revised. 

Dec 8, 2012 9:46AM
There are great actors on Y&R and B&B! Guiding Light was also an execellent show. Have no desire to watch talk and cooking shows. If I want to watch an incredible cook I tune in to Barefoot Contessa!
Dec 8, 2012 8:46AM
Kris Jenner having her own talk show?????  PLEASE TELL ME YOU ARE KIDDING!!  Do not believe anybody would watch it.  We get enough trash stuffed down our thoats already about that family.  There are too many talk shows on now and I really don't care to hear the opinions of the hosts.
Oh this make me so happy.  I've watched soaps since 1960 and can't imagine them not being around.
Dec 8, 2012 7:26AM
I was a lifelong AMC and OLTL fan until Brian Frons and the other big whigs at ABC decided to kill them.  I'm still upset about it.  Not only have I boycotted the new shows that replaced them, I have migrated to Y&R and B&B because I want to watch SOAPS, not that lame cooking show (Hello!  There's a whole network that plays cooking shows all day if I want to watch) or any other show you put in that time slot.  Bring back AMC and OLTL!!!
Dec 8, 2012 5:52AM
Mr. Carroll..."the core audience" ALWAYS tuned in!  We didn't just realize we "had better tune in".  We are the soap fans.  We know all of the soaps, even the ones we don't watch.  General Hospital is on fire!  From the writing to the sets, to the makeup/hair, to the acting to the special effects like the flashbacks we one is just phoning it in.  They are showing the talents they possess in every way.  I think everyone was shaken by the demise of beloved shows.  If this continues, they may just beat the trend of soap killing.   How many talk shows, judge shows, doctor shows, food shows do we need on TV?!  The soap genre has been around since radio.  We all grew up with them.  People that didn't really even watch knew the characters and stories.  The powers that be dumbed down the shows.  They had no budget to show any of their talents.  I still cringe at what they did to Guiding Light.  We can do this.  The fans are there, they always were! 
Dec 7, 2012 6:00PM
I will be the first to admit I am a Soap Opera fan, having watched Days of our Lives since it's beginning.  Having said that I have to ask - how many talk shows can there be???  Come on - there are a lot of subjects that shouldn't be on TV during the time when children are home. What ever happened to game shows?  They were fun and sometimes could be educational - lol. (well at least for me).  Have we gotten so desperate that anyone who is a "star"  has to have their own talk show?  How many times do we have to see the same celebrity promoting their book - going from one show to the next, and saying the same thing on each one.  A few of the top rated ones are fine, but we are on overload on talk shows!  Can't anyone come up with a new idea for a TV show???
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