"You ought to be thankful for the little things,
But little things are all you seem to give,
You're always putting off what we could do today,
Soap opera says you've got One Life to Live,
Who's right? Who's Wrong?"
Janet Jackson — "What Have You Done For Me Lately?"
The cast and crew of soap operatic underdog One Life to Live should be standing outside of Anne Sweeney and Brian Frons' offices singing the above song by pop goddess Janet Jackson. Oh who am I kidding? They wouldn't be afforded the budget allocation to license the doggone song! The dismally promoted, longterm stepchild of the ABC Daytime lineup just pulled in its highest total viewers since November of 2008 (Source: Soap Opera Network).
OLTL was watched by almost 3 million viewers the week of Aug. 1-5, and was up year-to-date a whopping 547,000. To further put the soap's ratings dominance on the Mouse House's daytime lineup into perspective, OLTL was watched by over 400,000 more viewers than who watched either All My Children or General Hospital. OLTL was No. 3 in households for the week, separated by CBS Daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful by a mere two-tenths of a point, and was tied with GH among women 18-49 and women 18-34 at No. 2.
Since Frons is once again giving interviews to the soap opera press (he reportedly declined to talk with Soap Opera Digest, Soap Opera Weekly and Soaps In Depth last April when he cancelled AMC and OLTL, yet now he's gushing about how much he "loved" the ABC soaps to the mags), perhaps he would like to explain the blatant disregard he's shown specifically to OLTL during his disastrous tenure as steward of the ABC Daytime lineup and SOAPnet?
Since his favoritism ended up tanking AMC and likely GH as well, Frons showing OLTL more care and consideration no doubt wouldn't have helped, but why exactly is OLTL being cancelled when it costs the least to produce and has had the highest ratings for like the past five or six months? Does ABC really think a fat porn fest like The Revolution is going to nab 3 million viewers a week? Not to mention the amount of ink, advertising, etc. it's going to take to promote the sucker. OLTL is proving it can bring the ratings without so much as a consistent press release schedule.
Sans big name guest stars, a costly move across the country, so much as a hint of CGI and/or one Llanview denizen Dancing With a Star, OLTL has managed to be the only ABC Daytime soap consistently turning crumbs into a feast. If Prospect Park were smart, they would repackage OLTL as a weekly, hour-long cable series with 13-episode arcs. Shows like Torchwood: Miracle Day and Teen Wolf are considered "hits" when they nab one million viewers. Imagine what a success this show could be with an executive who actually gave a damn about it.
In story, the Mannings were stunned when they finally saw the man with Todd's original face (Roger Howarth). The reveal was daytime soap opera at it's best. By the time Todd 1.0 pulled a gun with plans to shoot Todd 2.0 (Trevor St. John) all bets were completely off. There was no getting up to go to the bathroom, or turn off that pot of tea that was brewing over, because this shiz was soap opera that could not be missed. Although I guess I could have paused it, but yeah, I didn't wanna risk it!
Elswhere on the ABC dial, AMC and GH lost 70,000 and 5,000 total viewers respectively. AMC also dropped a tenth of a point in households, yet inched up one-tenth of a point among women 18-49. The serial held steady among women 18-34.
Good suds were to be found in Pine Valley the week of Aug 1-5 as well. I thoroughly enjoyed Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and Co. escaping from Oak Haven, as well as Tad and Cara's blossoming-yet-doomed romance. Kudos to Michael E. Knight and Lindsay Hartley because when I first learned Tad would be paired with Cara I was totally skeeved. Who knew the pairing would turn out to be so romantic and fun? Sorry Cara. She Who Eats Pancakes (Cady McClain as Dixie) is back, girl!
I was also moved by the amazing performance Melissa Claire Egan gave when Annie snuck away to see Emma. It was nice that for once AMC decided not to have Ryan (Cameron Mathison) filled with righteous indigestion, as he generously let Annie spend time with their child. My only gripe is why didn't Annie get to see the love of her life, JR (Jacob Young)? Lord knows his drunk behind needed her!
While Dr. David of Doom (Vincent Irizarry) saving everyone who ever died in Pine Valley via some top secret, medical tomfoolery has me shaking my head, the only storyline on AMC that week which had me ready to fast forward was the one featuring some dude named Mookie (Jesus take the wheel) roughing up some girl I could give a good kitty about. Meanwhile, poor, blind Angie (Debbi Morgan) yelled at him. Why are those dayplayers on my TV when this show only has a month and some change left on TV?
GH—which inched up one-tenth of a point in households and as previously mentioned was tied with OLTL at No. 2 among women 18-49 and women 18-34—was all over the place the week of Aug 1-5. I was appalled by the plot point that saw Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) forced back on drugs by some weirdo. I hate it when soap characters are tricked or forced off the wagon. The Young and the Restless just did a similar plot with Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott), which was at least better paced. Now that's not something I say a lot about Y&R these days, but I digress. DAYS also did this same story years ago when Krista Allen's awful version of recovering junkie Billie Reed was forced back on heroine while helping Bo (Peter Reckell) investigate international baddies. It was stupid then and it's stupid now.
For Lucky to announce one day he's taking on a drug case, causing everyone in his life from his boss to his brother, to his sister-wives to weigh, then on the next day (give or take an episode) he's being shot up, it was just ridonk! Sonny (Maurice Benard) continuing to tank his life post-Brenda (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) was a much more believable development.
As much as it's the Dimpled Don's own fault that love never remains in his life, it was still heartbreaking to watch him deal with the pain he caused himself. Speaking of painful, the character assassination of Jasper Jacks (Ingo Radamacher) continued, with the once dashing corporate raider skulking back into town for a little babynapping. Sigh. It was good to see Skye (Robin Christopher) though!
Over at CBS, Y&R held fairly steady from the week before ratings-wise. In story, Diane Jenkins (Maura West) proceeded to royally piss off each and every single person in Genoa City in order to set up a contrived, vulgar murder mystery. Oh well, another Barbara Bloom hire is out, so I guess an angel gets his wings, there's more money for pointless stunt casting and Maria Arena Bell can sleep well at night. It's just a shame an amazing talent like West had to fall prey to such petty, network TV parlor games.
Maria to a reporter at a fundraiser for cojoined wombats in the Hollywood Hills next week: Like, it was so not about the fact that Babs Bloom wanted her for the role! This was all about story. I write from character. I whip my hair back and forth, I whip my hair back and forth!
B&B saw the biggest jump among total viewers of any soap opera the week of Aug 1-5, adding 119,000. B&B held steady at No. 2 in households and went up one-tenth of a point among women 18-49. Among women 18-34 however, the older skewing sudsers was in last place. The fallout from Dollar Bill (Don Diamont) and 50 Cent Steffy's (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) affair reverberated across SoCal like an aftershock following a .8 richter scale quake. While the actual affair bored me (Seriously, it was all just a bunch of heavy petting!), the drama that followed has been soaptastically good. No one does ferociously angry quite like Heather Tom (Katie). Although I would like it if someone pointed out to Katie that this is all karma for her stealing Nick (Jack Wagner) away from her own niece.
Days of Our Lives had another rough week in the Nielsens. The NBC soap was dead last in total viewers, households and among women 18-49, tying its all-time low in the latter. DAYS hit a new low among women viewers 18-49 as well. The high point on DAYS the week in question was VIctor and Maggie (John Aniston and Suzanne Rogers) making sweet, sweet love. The low point was everything else. This Hatfields vs. The McCoys b.s. between the Kiriakis and DiMera clans came from left field and was not at all interesting to watch. Also Dena Higley managed to do what was once unimaginable; she's made me dislike a character played by Tamara Braun. At any rate, I am going to take heart because of the amaze-tastic promo DAYS released this past week for their September reboot.
I've given Ken Corday plenty of hell in this column over the years for having his head in the sand and/or up his own arse, but by the looks of the promo and everything I'm hearing about the "New DAYS" he has finally come up for air. See you next Ratings.
For the complete Nieslen ratings for the daytime soaps visit Soap Opera Network!