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Ratings, Rants and Raves: McBam, Liason Smooches Cause GH Spike; DAYS Hits New Low

Execs at Corday Productions and Sony TV must be chewing their finger nails to the quick over Days of Our Lives' ratings. The sudser hit a new all-time low among female viewers 18-49 the week of July 9-13. (Source: Soap Opera Network).


DAYS also lost a staggering 179,000 total viewers over the previous week, and tied its all-time low among the women 18-49 demo. DAYS managed to hold steady among the household, W18-49 and W18-34 demos, but that was little comfort, with the soap fast approaching a two-week Olympics-necessitated hiatus.  

In story, someone continued to make it look like EJ (James Scott) "killed" Stefano (Joe Mascolo), as Will (Chandler Massey) kept on defending his man, er, employer. John (Drake Hogestyn) decided he wanted to claim his DiMera birthright. Chad learned from an offscreen Carly Manning that Melanie (Molly Burnett) hadn't been in contact with her and Brady (Eric Martsolf) did everything he could to convince Madison (Sarah Brown) that Ian (Ian Buchanan) had been doping him.

I'm not crazy about DAYS revisiting the whole "John is Stefano's brother" bit. That regrettable storyline was the retcon that broke the camel's back in terms of John's complicated, ever-changing backstory. I was really hoping DAYS would just continue to act like it never happened.

I won't be sad to see Ian Buchanan or Sarah Brown leave Salem. Both are amazing actors, but we've seen the older-man-trying-to-keep-younger-lovers-apart story done much better on this soap. It was called the Victor/Kim/Shane triangle. The big difference was, TPTB spent a considerable amount of time getting us to fall in love with Shane (Charles Shaughnessy) and Kim (Patsy Pease) as a couple in the 80's, before inserting the villainous Victor (John Aniston) into their mix. DAYS successfully mimicked the Victor/Kim/Shane template in the 90's, once again with Victor as the spoiler for his son Bo (Peter Reckell) and Carly (Crystal Chappell).

I know it's 2012 and things move much faster and blah, blah, blah, but I never had time to invest in Brady and Madison's insta-romance. Adding a nefarious, older dude, hellbent on keeping them apart really didn't help matters. This coming Friday, July 27, DAYS is set to quite literally explode. Let's hope when the purple dust settles two weeks later, we'll find a compelling, contemporary, fun, brazen soap, capable of luring back legions of lapsed viewers, because we're in the home stretch of DAYS' current contract at NBC.

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want to see Star Jones and those other Today "professionals" get a full hour to snidely diss the news of the day. Way to keep it classy by suggesting Anderson Cooper came out for ratings, Ms. "Sponsor My Wedding (Please)!" Jones. 

DAYS' Sony soap cousin, The Young and the Restless, dropped 103,000 total viewers over the previous week. Y&R held steady in households and among W18-49, but dipped one-tenth of a point among W18-34.

Genoa City was hopping the week of July 9. Cricket Blair (Lauralee Bell) found evidence linking her mortal enemy, Phyllis Newman (Michelle Stafford), to the hit-and-run that could have squashed The Bug and Paul (Doug Davidson) almost 20 years earlier. While I found it all kinds of contrived that Ricky (Peter Porte) would have been able to turn up a rental car credit card receipt from 1994, I gladly suspended my disbelief to witness an epic storyline, almost two decades in the making, play out.

Revisiting Cricket vs. Phyllis is the type of storyline Maria Arena Bell did successfully during her first year helming Y&R, which resulted in us praising her so heavily (Remember, Auntie Ri Ri?). She brought the Abbotts back to the forefront, re-centered Jabot as their driving force, brought Marge (Jeanne Cooper) back in a touching, far-reaching arc and wrote Billy (Billy Miller) reminiscent of Terry Lester's deliciously-caddish version of Jack Abbott.

Then before we knew it, things went terribly wrong. Poor, green Thom Bierdz was back, attempting to explain that Philip faked his death because he was afraid his two drag queen mothers wouldn't love him. Greg Rikaart was dressing up like rodents. Michael Muhney was in purple evening wear and the rest of the core cast suddenly had evil doppelgangers and/or were being accused of pushing people into volcanoes.

All of that being snarked, I am perfectly happy to let bygones be bygones, and bad storylines be bad storylines, if Y&R stays on a sane and seemly track toward smart, relevant, sexy storytelling, which honors history, as opposed to making a mockery of it. Oh, and as long as they end Shictor and back burner that groody Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) for a good, long while.

The Bold and the Beautiful lost 50,000 viewers over the previous week. B&B held steady in households and among W18-49, but dipped one-tenth of a point among W18-34.

Do I really need to tell anyone which three characters B&B's top story was about the week of July 9? Didn't think so. When everyone wasn't fretting over Moondoggy (Scott Clifton) getting fresh with Annette (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) on his wedding day to Gidget (Kimberly Matula), they managed to help Marcus (Texas Battle) and Dayzee (Kristolyn Lloyd) get ready for their own insta-wedding.

I can totally understand Marcus getting cold feet about marrying Dayzee. They've only shared four scenes during their entire courtship. Okay, I'm exaggerating. It's more like six.

B&B has to get better about balance and pacing. We've barely seen these characters during the last few months, now their wedding jumps from the Q story to the B story?  I like the Dayzee/Marcus pairing, really, I do. It just would have been nice if we'd seen a bit more of their courtship actually happen on our screens.

I realize B&B is a 30-minute soap, but for much of its run, the frothy sudser was able to balance A/B/C stories just as well as an hour-long soap. What the heck happened? I get that B&B wants younger viewers, but it is possible to accomplish this without telling the exact same story for the exact same characters day after day, week after week.

The programs younger people are actually watching, MTV's Awkward, ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, manage to tell more than one story at a time. I strongly suggest Brad Bell and his wriiting team start doing some marathons of those series.

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General Hospital was the only soap to go up in total viewers for the week (+76,000). GH held steady in househiolds and among W18-34, yet went up one-tenth of a point among W18-49.

After spying a McBam liplock, Jason (Steve Burton) had a "Liason" of his own, by kissing Liz (Rebecca Herbst)— much to Steve (Scott Reeves) and Sam's (Kelly Monaco) chagrin. Maxie (Jen Lilley) and Lulu (Julie Marie Berman) learned Patrick (Jason Thompson) was popping pills. Todd tried to buy Starr's (Kristen Alderson) contract from Johnny (Brandon Barash). Michael (Chad Duell) and Starr began officially dating. TJ  (Krys Meyer) accused Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) of being a racist. Anthony's (Bruce Weitz) body was found and Luke (Anthony Geary) was still in mortal danger, courtesy of Heather Webber (Robin Mattson).   

Jason/Liz/Sam/John is the hottest quadrangle daytime has done in a decade. ABC Daytime has been very smart to finally let GH capitalize on the fervert JaSam vs. Liason debate. There's a reason these pairings cause such heated devotion online. Throw in Michael Easton as a sexier, more humorous version of his One Life to Live alter ego John McBain, and GH has a new Fab Four that could drive story well into its 50th season.

Not that I want to leave out Ewen (Nathin Butler). As diehard of a Liason fan as I am, I still dig Liz's healthy relationship with the Aussie shrink. It's good to see my girl attempting to get on with her life—on her own terms—after the dysfunctional, disastrous post-Liason relationships she had with both of Laura Spencer's sons.

It's cool that Sam isn't all about getting back with Jason, or moving on with John. When she isn't checking for McBain's teeth marks in her neck, Sam is busy helping Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) investigate mysterious, publishing mogul Todd Manning, and his connection to Sam's new nemesis Heather Webber. Sam has no idea Todd and Heather switched her infant son with his ex-wife Tea's (Florencia Lozano) dead fetus, but her instincts tell her something is up. This makes the Sam character intriguing to me for the first time since, well...ever!

Michael seems to have had quite the sturdy, fibrous bowel movement, which is wonderful, as it allows Duell to showcase his killer smile more often. It's still a bit weird seeing Starr singing and smooching when poor, dead Cole and Hope are smashed up against some rocks somewhere beneath the town of Port Chuck.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see Starr back snotting and shrieking, or pulling guns on people. However, I do think there's a happy medium in the soap operatic grieving process between daily crying fits and slicking your hair up in a Madonna circa 1991 ponytail, to sing pop music and make out with a One Direction background dancer. Hope was Starr's baby after all, not a Cabbage Patch doll.

Nice touch having TJ accuse Alexis of not wanting him to be with Molly (Haley Pullos) because he's black. Of course we knew that was b.s. Alexis is so liberal, even leftist documentarian Michael Moore might call her a Commie, but it was a good beat to play.

It frustrates me when TV shows try to act all post-racism, when the country certainly isn't. Sure, interracial couples don't face the same bigotry they once did, but it definitely still exists. Now that GH has addressed the chocolate elephant in the room, TJ and Molly can go on to achieve tween supercouple status. That is, if the TJ recast works out...

Robin Mattson is still a revelation as Heather Webber. As a huge fan of this actress, dating back to her days as Gina Blake Demott Capwell Capwell Timmons Capwell Lockridge on my beloved Santa Barbara, I am so glad to see Mattson get another turn at the proverbial bat and knocking a base-rounder, smack dab into the nads of all those network suits who have championed putting actors of a certain age out for grazing. Brian Frons, I hope you have on your cup if and when you watch GH these days.

Now about that NuKristina (Lindsey Morgan). I am going to need an acting coach to start working with this baby. Someone must explain to her that mean-mugging for the camera and yelling at the top of her purty lungs are not the only tools in an actor's kit. 

Okay, so Morgan is more va-va-va-voom than predecessor Lexi Ainsworth. Ainsworth is 10 times the actress. I'm not being mean, but this needs to be said. GH keeps recasting amazing, younger actors (Drew Garrett, anyone?) for Seventeen models and I'm sorry, but that just ain't cute. Pretty is fleeting, but talent lasts forever. See you next Ratings!