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Ratings, Rants and Raves: Almost 4 Million Tune in For One Life to Live Finale; Cancelled Soap No. 1 Among Girls 12-17, Ties Y&R For No. 1 Among W18-34


The full ratings picture is in for the final week of One Life to Live. One thing that's clearly in focus is that the people who run ABC Daytime are blithering idiots to have cancelled a soap opera watched by more people than tune in for most of NBC's current primetime lineup. 

OLTL finished Number 3 in total viewers for the week of Jan. 9-13, with over 3.1 million watchers. That was a whopping 403,000 more viewers than the previous week's numbers. OLTL also finished No. 3 in households, going up three-tenths of a ratings point. The 43-year-old sudser was No. 2 among women 18-49, inching up two-tenths of a point over the previous week in that most important demo. Among women 18-34, OLTL was tied with The Young and the Restless at No. 1, while the ABC serial topped the ranking for female viewers 12-17.

Over 3.8 million people tuned in for OLTL's finale on Jan. 13, making it the most watched daytime soap finale in the last five years. As previously reported, OLTL also bested ABC's centerpiece talk show The View in the coveted W18-49 demo during its final week. I wonder if this will make TIIC rethink their shortsighted decision to clutter their daypart with a bunch of derivative View knockoffs? 

Storywise, OLTL wrapped up 43 years of drama by embarking on a fast-paced, mini arc that saw the denizens of the fictional Llanview, PA. in mortal danger one last time. A prison break brought some of the soap's most dastardly villains—Mitch Laurence (Roscoe Born), Alison Perkins (Barbara Garrick), Dr. Troy MacIver (Ty Treadway) and Hannah O'Connor (Meghann Fahy) back to town, as well as fan fave vixen Lindsay Rappaport (Catherine Hickland) and a certain "Starr X'd Lover" named Cole (Van Hughes).

When the lethal machinations of Llanview's supervillains resulted in Viki (Erika Slezak), Clint (Jerry VerDorn), Bo (Robert S. Woods), Ford (David Gregory), and Cole all ending up near death's door, OLTL was able to pay homage, not only to Viki's numerous trips to heaven, but also creator Agnes Nixon's original working title for OLTL, "Between Heaven and Hell."  In the end, classic OLTL characters Clint, Viki and Bo all surived (as did Cole), while Ford, a character who had been fairly polarizing for the audience, perished.

The supernatural storyline allowed OLTL to bring back popular deceased characters like Megan (Jessica Tuck), the daughter Viki gave birth to in an underground city called Eterna; Luna (Susan Batten), the psychic wife of Max Holden (James DePaiva) and Gabrielle Medina (Fiona Hutchinson). The story also brought back two of the soap's least popular villains — Crystal Hunt's blood bag-snatching, stripperStacy Morasco and John Wesley Shipp, as abusive SOB Eddie Ford. However, we didn't even mind them, since their appearances as demons from hell actually worked for the campy sequences.    

OLTL also corrected one of its worst plot points ever, by revealing that Viki's youngest daughter Jessica (Bree Williamson) really was Clint's child and Natalie's (Melissa Archer) full fraternal twin sister. Speaking of Natalie, she found her way back into the arms of strong-but-oh-so-silent type John McBain (Michael Easton); while a grieving Messica was paid a visit by Brody (Mark Lawson), fresh from Saint Ann's funny farm for snatching up his non-baby Liam. This left Brody and Jessica fans with a bit of hope that the two might one day find their way back to each other—on the web and other platforms! (Commence drinking game)

One couple OLTL didn't risk waiting until the Prospect Park continuation that never happened to reunite, was Todd and Blair (Roger Howarth and Kassie DePaiva). At long last, the reformed rapist and the fiesty Cramer gal made sweet, red-hot love, only to be interrupted by McBain, with plans to arrest Todd for the murder of his twin brother Victor Lord, Jr. (Trevor St. John). Good thing for Todd—and Tea (Florencia Lozano)— old Vic is alive (if not well), thanks to wackadoodle Alison Perkins.

Who knows if we'll ever get to see exactly how that story turns out, but much like Gone With The Wind lovers were left to let our own imaginations complete the story of Rhett and Scarlett, I'm okay with allowing my inner soap scribe the chance to run wild about what happens with the Tomas/Blair/Todd/Tea/Victor saga. Or, maybe I won't have to, as several players featured in that story are spinning off to General Hospital?

While the final week of OLTL could have easily have been dismissed as too plot driven—thanks to Prospect Park's mandate that the series end with cliffhangers—the soap's executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati, smartly balanced all the action with a meta story arc that had the townsfolk mourning the loss of their favorite soap-within-a-soap Fraternity Row.

The desperate efforts of Roxy (Ilene Kristen), Nigel (Peter Bartlett), Shaun (Sean Ringgold) and a very pregnant Destiny (Shenell Edmonds) to save their "story" mirrored what we soap fans had been going through. By affording precious airtime during the show's last week to Roxy and Co. saying goodbye to Frat Row, Frank and Ron showed they understand what soap lovers have been going through, having had to say our own real-life goodbyes to Passions, Guiding Light, As The World Turns,  All My Children and now One Life to Live, all in recent years.

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The final week also gave us a couple of teary goodbyes—Sayonara, Rex (John-Paul Lavoisier), Gigi (Farah Fath), Shane (Austin Williams) and Starr (Kristen Alderson)!—and a new life to live, that of Matthew Buchanan (Eddie Alderson) and Destiny Evans' son Drew. Thanks to Matt's usually silly big brother David Vickers Buchanan (one of TV's best comedic actors, Tuc Watkins), the teen dad finally got over himself and made it to the birth of his kid on time. As Matthew and Destiny welcomed another Buchanan into Llanview, their proud-yet-nerve wracked parents, Bo and Nora (Hillary B. Smith), Phylicia (Tonye Patano) and Richard (Frankie Faison), looked on, creating a new, diverse family for Llanview. All in all, OLTL's finale was the best daytime soap finish I've had the bittersweet pleasure of watching. 

GH saw a ratings spike the week of Jan. 9-13, no doubt a benefit of all those extra eyeballs tuning in to say goodbye to OLTL. GH went up 263,000 total viewers, two-tenths of a point in households, one-tenth of a point among W18-49 and one-tenth of a point among W18-34.

In story, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) told Patrick (Jason Thompson) what was really going on with Robin (Kimberly McCullough). Sam (Kelly Monaco) continued to be tormented by what happened with Franco (James Franco). Michael (Chad Duell) was still raging about stripper-beater-uppers. Carly (Laura Wright) asked her Uncle Luke (Tony Geary) for help, and Johnny (Brandon Barash) leaned on Steve (Scott Reeves). Don't ask me to give any real analysis as to what any of this meant for this soap the week in question. None of the storylines on GH right now are even remotely engaging. I am basically just trying to hang in there as a viewer until Frank and Ron's material starts airing.

Over at NBC, poor Days of Our Lives just can't seem to catch a break in the Nielsens. DAYS was in last place in total viewers, households and women 18-49. Now to be fair, there isn't much difference betwen the ratings for DAYS, GH and The Bold and the Beautiful these days, but DAYS is the only one of those three soaps to have undergone a massive, critically-acclaimed overhaul in recent months, yet the ratings haven't shown any sustained improvement.

Storywise, DAYS launched an electrifying, inappropriate and quite erotic new dynamic the week in question, as Sami's (Alison Sweeney) gay son Will (Chandler Massey) attempted to blackmail his ex-stepfather EJ (James Scott), only to have the tables turned on him and ending up a "slave" to EJ's "master." Elsewhere in Salem, Bo and Hope's (Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso) marriage hit a bit of bump, as they continued to investigate the late Alice Horton's (Frances Reid) finances; and Jack (Matt Ashford) found out his rival's secret. There was also a contrived set up that found Carrie (Christie Clark) and Rafe (Galen Gering) half naked in their law office; while Madison (Sarah Brown) was offered the top spot at Titan.   

To say DAYS is vastly improved would be the understatement of the year. The show is enjoyable, smart and timely these days. However, it's also a bit anemic and talky. Now that the talented new regime has managed to ground the show again—following the horrors of Higley—it's time to pick up the pace storywise in order to create a bit more energy and buzz.

CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless lost 132,000 viewers over the previous week. Y&R held steady in households, but dipped one-tenth of a point among W18-49. The sudser went up one-tenth of a point, however, among W18-34.

In story, the gruesome 'Who Bashed Diane's Head to The White Meat?" story finally headed for home plate. Nikki (the brilliant Melody Thomas Scott) thought she had it all figured out. She believed Deacon (Sean Kanan) had killed Di (Maura West), after spying a sex tape of the pair. Come to find out, it was Nikki, in the park, with a rock, who bludgeoned Diane to death — apparently in self defense. Did you ever think you'd see the day when Victor's wives went from trading catty barbs at the Colonade Room, to smearing each other's brain matter across the grounds of a public park?

Across town, Chelsea (All My Children transplant Melissa Claire Egan) admitted she raped Billy (Billy Miller), which he got on tape. I am loving Egan in this role, I only wish she hadn't had to drug Billy to get him into bed. He and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) were broken up. Why couldn't he have just banged Chelsea on a drunken bender? Even still, Egan is delicious as yet another unhinged woman, so I won't crap all over this story too much.

What I will crap all over, is the positively icky twist of Sharon (Sharon Case) marrying her father-in-law Victor (Eric Braeden). While women marrying their way through a family is a common soap staple, the practice is usually reserved for scheming vamp characters, like Guidng Light's Reva and Blake, or Santa Barbara's Gina. Isn't Sharon supposed to be Y&R's romantic heroine? Of course her motives for marrying Victor aren't sexual—she needed his help to get Faith back— but it's still unsettling.

The Bold and the Beautiful went down 118,000 total viewers over the previous week. The sudser, which celebrates its 25th anniversay in Marxh, held steady in households and W18-34, but dipped one-tenth of a point among W18-49.

The big story on B&B the week in question was Bill (Don Diamont) continuing to play games to keep his son Liam (Scott Clifton) hitched with Bill's ex-mistress Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood). This storyline makes absolutely no sense to me. Bill obviously wants Steffy for himself, and Diamont and Wood have oodles of chemistry. Why not go forward with a balls-to-the-walls Katie/Bill/Steffy triangle and move Hope (Kimberly Matula) and Liam into a different orbit? The motivation for Bill going to such lengths to keep his son married to a woman that Bill wants for himself is not coming through whatsoever. 

A character who's intentions I totally understand these days is Amber Moore (Adrienne Frantz). The ever scrappy desert doll convinced her ex-hubby Rick (Jacob Young) to use the designs she crafted from his concepts in order to snatch the Forrester CEO spot from Ridge (Ron Moss). Now this is the kinda B&B story I fell in love with. I can't wait to see what style shenanigans Amber comes up with next! See you next Ratings.