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Ratings, Rants and Raves: CBS Soaps Shoot Up and Why a Slipping Days of Our Lives Needs to Take a Page From TNT's Dallas

June 25-29 was a good week for the Bell family soaps on CBS, ratings-wise. (Source: Soap Opera Network) The Young and the Restless went up a whopping 272,000 total viewers, and was up year-to-date by 25,000. Y&R increased two-tenths of a ratings point in households and among women 18-49, one-tenth of a point among W18-34.


In story, beloved, private dick Paul Williams (Doug Davidson) gunned down his son, Ricky (Peter Porte), to prevent him from making Eden (Jessica Heap) a shoe-in to dress up as the headless horseman at the GCAC's Halloween party in a few months. Michael (Christian LeBlanc) suspected foul play, at the hands of Daniel (Michael Graziadei), in Daisy's (Yvonne Zima) disappearance. Carmine (Marco Dapper) thought he had kidnapped Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson), but it was a Twitter-fame seeking Abby (Marcy Rylan) in his trunk and Adam (Michael Muhney) proposed to Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan). 

I haven't said this in a really long time, but Y&R was damn good the week in question. Davidson should be a lock for a Daytime Emmy nod next year.The brilliant actor bravely slobbered, begged, shrieked and cried buckets of tears, as Paul had to do the unimaginable. Porte proved to be scary as hell, as a completely unhinged Ricky. Finally, Y&R is back to giving us villains who actually terrify the audience, not just nasally-voiced wannabes. So Long, Sister Daisy. 

I groaned when I first learned Michael would become district attorney, fearing it would mean more 13-week, Law & Order: Genoa City storylines. While that does seem to be the case (Welcome home, Ronan Malloy!) it was a smart move putting BFF's Michael and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) on the opposite sides of the law. Speaking of Phyllis, did she not look like she was having an insta-orgasm the moment she spied Ronan (Jeff Branson)? I could totally get on board with a Nick/Phyllis/Ronan triangle. 

Abby and Carmine are rom-com gold. The Guido from an unsavory background and the spoiled, fame-whoring, Naked Heiress are a welcome respite from all the bloody scarves and knife wielding. As for Adam and Chelsea, while I like them as a couple, Adam in love is a bit boring. Now that he's found his perfect match, let's get them back to scheming and conning the good citizens of Genoa City!

Y&R's sister sudser, The Bold and the Beautiful, went up 198,000 total viewers for the week and was up year-to-date an insane 438,000. B&B was up two-tenths of a point in households and among W18-49, one tenth among W18-34.

Despite the handiwork of his menacing father, Dollar Bill Spencer (Don Diamont), Liam (Scott Clifton) finally married Hope Logan (Kimberly Matula) in the land of the big olives. Hope's ability to get her man, against all odds and Deacon Sharpe (Sean Kanan), finally made her worthy of Liam in Bill's eyes.

 Back in SoCal, Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) filled everyone in on the nuptials, but kept a few details for herself. Karen (Joanna Johnson) and Dani (Crystal Chappell) were gearing up to tell Bill they love to recite the works of Sappho and Katie (Heather Tom) found out she was carrying another male Spencer scion.  

Kudos to Brad Bell and Co. for delivering an old school, splashy location shoot that actually paid off in the ratings. While I am more than weary of the Hope/Liam/Steffy saga at the moment, transplanting them to Italy, inserting the always fantastic Kanan and allowing Diamont to be as malevolently nasty as he could muster in those skin tight pants, made for a fun week. Now, PLEASE, let Betty, Veronica and Archie spend a little time splitting malteds on the backburner and come up with a big, intriguing Forrester Creations saga, with my Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang) back where she belongs, in the driver's seat!

Days of Our Lives lost 47,000 total viewers over the previous week. DAYS also went down one-tenth of a point in households and among W18-34, hitting a new all-time low in the latter demo. Among W18-49, DAYS held steady, tied at its all-time low in that demo as well.

In story, Will (Chandler Massey) was dealing with being outed publicly and blackmailed his way back into a job with EJ (James Scott). Meanwhile, Sonny (Freddie Smith) revealed to Lucas (Bryan Datillo) that he was crushing on his son. Daniel (Shawn Kristian) rubbed his 80's body hair all over Nicole (Arianne Zucker), who also managed to snoop around EJ's loft to find evidence linking him to Stefano's (Joe Mascolo) "murder" the week in question. 

Elsewhere in Salem, U.S.A., Melanie (Molly Burnett) continued to be held captive by Andrew, while Gabi (Camila Banus) asked her personal sociopath to pretend to stalk her again.

Other than the EJill scenes, DAYS is becoming a chore to watch again. Besides finding out Melanie was his kid and Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) laid his egg, there hasn't been one ounce of character development for Daniel Jonas since he arrived in Salem, yet TPTB insist on having him sleep his way through the canvas. Couldn't they at least wait until Elvis' baby was out of Nicole? Yuck!

I sincerely hope this upcoming, 75th overhaul works, because DAYS can't afford to be in this shape so close to renewal time. Since the soap is hurting in W18-34, Greg Meng needs to get on the horn with as many Last Blasters as he possibly can. Hello, Kirsten Storms is still "in talks" with GH, but in the words of Pork from Gone With The Wind, "asking ain't getting"! DAYS needs to start a bidding war for Ms. Storms' services. If that doesn't work out, bring back the more than capable Martha Madison, alongside Jason Cook as Shawn.

Belle and Shawn could return home with major marital problems, which threaten to derail Jarlena and Bope's decades-long friendship. Imagine several tense exchanges where Hope wonders if Belle is once again cheating on her son, as a defensive Marlena tries to defend her daughter, by pointing out what a screw up Shawn has always been!

 Maybe Belle is fed up with Shawn's lack of direction about his career and future? Since leaving Salem, Sailor Man could have embarked on several get rich quick schemes, while Belle, now a high-powered executive, has had to be the bread winner for the family.

DAYS also needs to bring Jay Kenneth Johnson back as Philip Kiriakis. After finding out he has a terminal ilness, Victor (John Aniston) could lure Philip home to run Titan. When Shawn and Belle show up around the same time, Victor pits his son and grandson against each other, in order to see who is best to run the vast Kiriakis empire. Shawn-D could finally find his calling, learning the ruthless world of international business from his grandfather, much to his parents, in-laws and Aunt Maggie's chagrin. 

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 DAYS could take a page from what TNT is doing with the rivalry of John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe) on Dallas. Philip would be the John Ross archetype — the spoiled, volatile heir apparent; while Shawn Douglas—son of Victor's bastard— could be DAYS' answer to Christopher, the earnest, illegitimate offspring, desperate to prove himself.

Belle would be the Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster) in this scenario, the girl both boys can't seem to get out of their system. Throw in Farah Fath as Shawn's ex-wife (and Belle's former bestie) Mimi Lockhart, who returns to Salem to inform Philip the adoptive parents of their child has made contact with her—the kid is sick and Philip and Mimi need to be tested to see if they are a bone marrow match—and DAYS' would have a strong quadrangle for their late 20's/early 30's set.

Insert Kate Roberts DiMera (Lauren Koslow) into the mix, as a mad, purple-haired, Sue Ellen-esque, manipulative mother, determined to see that her son receive his birthright, clashing with Maggie, the dutiful, new Mrs. Kiriakis, in the process. I know casting budgets are tight these days, but Corday/Sony can accomplish the necessary returns by firing Shawn Kristian, Galen Gering, Camila Banus, Schuyler Yancy and Josh Taylor.

General Hospital also had a tough week in the Nielsens. GH lost 145,000 total viewers, but was up-year-to-date by 78,000. GH fell one-tenth of a point in households, yet held steady in the other major demos.

Kate (Kelly Sullivan) struggled to remember Connie's culpability in the deaths of Starr's (Kristen Alderson) family, while Johnny (Brandon Barash)—the real killer—continued to allow the out of work (and her mind) fashionista to blame herself. Sam (Kelly Monaco) got a job at Manning Enterprises, in order to dig up dirt on Heather (Robin Mattson) and Todd (Roger Howarth); while Liz (Rebecca Herbst) worried her big brother, Steve (Scott Reeves) by bringing up Jason (Steve Burton) when discussing her love life. Patrick (Jason Thompson) lost it on Maxie (Jen Lilley), when he caught her wearing Robin's (Kimberly McCullough) bathrobe and Robin's mama, Anna Devane (Finola Hughes), clued Tracy (Jane Elliot) in on her relationship with a missing Luke (Anthony Geary). 

I've been saying this for weeks, but I am really digging how so many of GH's storylines are intersecting. Sam investigating Todd and Heather, who unbeknownst to Mrs. Morgan, are aware that her baby is alive, well and living in Llanview, Pennsylvania, is a smart move.

Liz and Jason finally re-entering the same orbit, all because of deceptions perpetrated by her brother's unhinged mother, doesn't change the fact that the former lovers still share intense feelings. However, those factors should certainly make things dicey once the truth is revealed!

Likewise, McBain (Michael Easton) catching feelings for Sam, when his homegirl Tea (Florencia Delgado) holds the key to his new pint-sized paramour's happiness, is tragically romantic.Then there's the fact that John is kissing Sam, while still very much involved with Todd's niece, Natalie. Am I the only one counting the days until Melissa Archer can pay Port Chuck a visit?

Heather and Todd forming a tenuous alliance to spread gossip and scandal throughout Port Charles—when they're the ones causing all the gossip and scandal—is rich with gleefully-vicious irony. Top cop Anna looking for the man she loves, who is being held captive by the one woman who could blow apart the lives and lies of just about everyone in Port Charles, brings it all full circle. Umbrella stories like this are why I fell in love with soap operas.

Not that everything is rosey in PC, Kate Howard and all of her alters need to go! This character and every story that spins off from her is dragging what is an otherwise stellar GH down. At least we got a few laughs when Connie was running amuck. Now that she's Kate again, I could care less. Paging Megan Ward.

I don't give three smelly farts about Joe Scully Jr. Sonny (Maurice Benard) needs a new mob rival like ABC Daytime needs a new talk show. Trey (Erik Valdez) is a keeper, because he has enormous chemistry with Starr, but I wish they'd re-write his origin story to forget any mention of Bensonurst, rape, Kate and Joe. In fact, GH needs to whitewash this entire storyline and come up with a fresh saga for Sonny.

Why not put the dimpled don in a relationship with Blair (Kassie DePaiva) or Tea, thus tying him more closely to the GH/OLTL baby switch umbrella arc? Or, reconnect him with Baby Mama No. 1, Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero).

Kate being sent away to Shadybrook, with perma-drool oozing down her porcelain chin, could cause Sonny to turn to Liv to commiserate. How would cuckoo Heather react if she misjudged a perfectly innocent embrace from Sonny and Liv on the docks? There's no way Heather would allow her pesky, not-quite-daughter-in-law to make a cuckold out of her precious Steven Lars?

Heather would become so incensed that Olivia was covorting with the local mob boss, she'd have to take action! When Sonny manages to rescue Olivia from one of Heather's deadly, camptastic attacks, the high school lovers' feelings could be reignited in earnest, just as Steve proposes to Olivia.

How would Dante (Dominick Zamprogna) react to the thought of a SoLivia reunion? Sure, every kid dreams of their parents being together, but would the do-gooder cop want his mother to marry the mob, or make the sensible choice and become a doctor's wife?

This could all lead to an interesting, fish-out-of-water arc where brash, Bensonhurst broad Olivia Falconeri has to adjust to being betrothed to a prominent doctor, and contending with a viper's den of snooty doctors' wives.The recurring doctors' wives (soap vets like Colleen Zink, Maura West and/or Victoria Rowell in fun cameos) would insist an unpolished Liv be on all their fancy committees, only to constantly make snide remarks about Olivia's lack of breeding and carriage.

Frustrated, Liv could turn to Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson), who's been both a doctor and a doctor's wife. Jason's adopted mom could become a friend and mentor to Olivia, drawing the wrath of Heather. Monica would no doubt recall all the social pressures she and then-husband Jeff Webber—Steve's dad—were under when they first came to work at GH as "Mr. and Mrs. Intern". During all of this, a big part of Liv would be secretly wishing she was at home, sharing more than a cannoli with Sonny, who in an attempt to go legit, has bought up controlling interest in GH and is now Steve's boss. See you next Ratings!