"I'm Erica Kane. Everything I do is breaking news!"
All My Children went out with a bang, not only in Adam Chandler's (David Canary) living room, but in the Nielsens (Source: Soap Opera Network). The sudser went up 499,000 total viewers to reach almost 3 million the week of Sept.19-23. The soap was up year-to-date 720,000. AMC went up four-tenths of a ratings point in households for a No. 2 finish at 2.3. In that demo, AMC was up an incredible six-tenths of a ratings point year-to-date!
Among women 18-49, Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and Co. shot up three-tenths of a ratings point and was up year-to-date by two-tenths of a ratings point. AMC also inched up among women 18-34, rising one-tenth of a ratings point. On Friday, Sept. 23, the day AMC's network TV finale aired, the show saw a 2.6 in households, separating it from daytime's top soap The Young and the Restless, by just six-tenths of a ratings point. Over 3.475 million people watched the last ABC episode of All My Children, that's a million more viewers than watched the premiere of The Chew. AMC also bested the 2010 finale of As The World Turns (2.5 million) by almost a million viewers!
A lot of chatter has been made about how cheap talk shows don't have to match soaps ratings to be more profitable. I wonder how ABC feels about The Chew's lukewarm debut numbers, considering the millions they spent on marketing and promotion for that sucker? If these cheap talkers end up becoming just as expensive because of the amount of money it takes to promote them, while not managing to pull in the numbers soaps achieve, I wonder if Disney will still see getting out of daytime soaps as a smart move a year or two from now? Good thing for ABC soap fans, the stewardship of our beloved sudsers will be out of Mickey Mouse's wreckless hands by then and hopefully airing successfully online and on cable, courtesy of Prospect Park!
All My Children's final week served as a five-part novela, featuring episodes focusing on the Hubbards, Kanes, Martins and Chandlers. Special guest alums like Eva La Rue (Maria), Justin Bruening (Jamie), Alexa Havins (Babe) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (Mystery Patient) provided nice treats for the audience, but it was the well-written, superbly acted episodes that saw long-suffering heroine Dr. Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan) regain her eyesight, thanks to the villainous Dr. David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry); Joe and Ruth Martin (Ray MacDonnell and Lee Meriwether) return just in time to overhear Tad (Michael E. Knight), the mischievous waif their family first took in as a 10-year-old, propose to his returned-from-the-dead true love Dixie Cooney (Cady McClain); Erica Kane's Hollywood ambitions pitting her against daughters Kendall (Alicia Minshew) and Bianca (Christina Bennett Lind), as well as fiance Jackson (Walt Willey) and Adam and Dixie's son JR's (Jacob Young) continue to come undone — possibly to a deadly end for someone in the not-so-sleepy hamlet.
The week also saw the resurrection of one of Pine Valley's most beloved characters, Stuart Chandler (also Canary), who reunited with his loved ones, including wife Marian Colby (Jennifer Bassey). I'd say AMC is in pretty damn good shape for that jump online and to other platforms come January 2012. And for anyone nervous about the technology required to potentially keep watching our soaps off network, relax. Every day there's a new headline about how we're soon going to be able to watch web series on our televisions via basic gaming consoles. Trust me, if my tech challenged ass can figure it out, so can you! That is, if you truly love your soaps the way you say you do.
The rest of the Mouse House dial also did impressive business the week of Sept. 19-23. One Life to Live shot up 110,000 total viewers and was up year-to-date 558,000. OLTL didn't budge in the demos, however. In story, that little poop stain Jack Manning (Andrew Trischitta) lied that he witnessed Todd (Roger Howarth) killing Victor (Trevor St. John), landing his bio pop in the slammer next to his campy Mama Weirdest, Irene Manning (Barbara Rhoades). I have to be honest, I was hoping we'd seen the last of this fruitcake. "The Tale of Two Todds" was an amazing story despite the whole Irene Manning angle. The thing I love about OLTL is that they can do something just as absurd as other sudsers pull, but because of the intense pacing, comedic infusion and high stakes, you buy it. But, having a woman, whose only crime prior to this caper, was being a randy coed who kept banging her best galpal's daddy, morph into some psycho, rogue superspy, who wants to kill her children and grandchildren, is a bit much.
I did like seeing nasty-yet-hilarious porn peddler Rick (Austin Peck) back and worming his way into Starr's (Kristen Alderson) budding music career. Now if that doink Brody (Mark Lawson) can just finally be exposed for his plot to keep Natalie (Melissa Archer) and John (Michael Easton) apart. I was sympathetic the first time the Brodster became all creepily obsessed with another dude's son, but two times is two too many.
General Hospital went up 103,000 total viewers and was up year-to-date 164,000. GH went up one-tenth of a point in households, but held steady in the other key demos. GH was once again the least watched show on the ABC Daytime lineup. Is it me, or did Brian Frons bet on the wrong horse, in terms of the soap opera he gave the most time left on the ABC lineup? Prior to this week, OLTL has been ABC's most watched soap for months now. GH has undergone a head writer change, a couple of big name exits and returns, yet the viewers just don't seem to be coming back as fast as this show needs them to.
Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) continued to lurk around Port Chuck the week in question, spying on his Spanky Buns (Jane Elliot) breaking bread with that ridiculous goof Anthony ZaCrazy (Bruce Weitz). As if Anthony wasn't enough silliness for one soap, Franco (James Franco) returned to cause problems for the JaSam wedding. Too bad, so sad, Jason (Steve Burton) and Sam (Kelly Monaco) got married in a Chinese restaurant. How romantic. Oh yeah and then Za Cray-Cray shot Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) in a warehouse. What part of this is the type of storytelling fans are sick of, didn't Garin Wolf understand?
While a lot of his stuff has proven interesting, i.e. slightly humanizing Sam, bringing back Skye (Robin Christopher) and Monica (Leslie Charleson), etc. GH is still a very uneven hour of soap opera five-days-a-week. The Luzetta bakery/dope ring story has been beyond stupid and seeing grieving mother Liz (Rebecca Herbst) running around like some Nancy Drew, R.N. has been an insult to the character and her fans. Additionally, having another Spencer fall off the wagon, so soon after Luke's depressing tumble is dark and depressing.
The Young and the Restless went up 99,000 total viewers over the previous week, but was still down year-to-date a whopping 705,000 total viewers. Y&R went up one-tenth of a point in households and among women 18-49. Among women 18-34, the show held steady. In story, the asinine "Who Bashed Diane in the Dome?" story continued, along with the "Sharon Didn't Really Push a Bitch Into a Volcano a Year Ago, But She Still Had to Dye Her Hair and Sleep With a Lot of People, Live in a Barn and Spend a Lot of Time in Prison Orange" saga. As if those stories didn't scream "Watch me!" Billy (Billy Miller) allowed Victor (Eric Braeden) to force him to stay away from his sick child and wife all because of some shenanigans he got himself into overseas. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
The Bold and the Beautiful went up an impressive 201,000 total viewers over the previous week. B&B also went up one-tenth of a point in all key demos. Maybe AMC viewers decided to sample the sudser in advance of Jacob Young reprising the role of Rick Forrester? The Brothers Forrester squared off the week in question as Thorne (Winsor Harmon) came out of the basement and into the boardroom, challenging Ridge (Ron Moss) every step of the way. The Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle also finally began to get interesting, as dirty Dollar Bill (Don Diamont) decided to team up with his ex-booty squeeze partner Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) to bust up Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope (Kimberly Matula)!
Days of Our Lives was the only soap to lose total viewers for the week, going down a miniscule 11,000. The week before its reboot, DAYS was at the bottom of all demos, save for women 18-34. The week of Sept. 19-23 saw the last of the show's bad storytelling finally purged.The Hooker Beater was caught, Vivian (Louise Sorel) left for Bollywood and the Hortons reminisced about Gram and Dr. Tom (Swoon!). As I already reported, DAYS saw an impressive turn out this past Monday, so here's hoping the soap continues to climb out of the ratings basement. See you next Ratings!
Photo credit: ABC