It's been awhile since I wrote a ratings column for Daytime Confidential. With all of the soaps enjoying such lengthy upswings in the Nielsens this TV season, I kinda felt week-to-week obsessing over the digits wasn't as necessary.
Over the past few cycles, however, several sudsers have been bumped and bruised a bit. Lest we forget how quickly things can go from good to grotesque for the genre, I figured it's time to start shining a light on the ratings again.
All four daytime soaps were down among total viewers the week of April 7-11 (Source: Soap Opera Network). This was the second cycle in a row for The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives and General Hospital to all shed eyeballs.
Maybe we can chalk it up to Spring Break? After being trapped inside by the most brutal winter in years, peeps must be out smelling the roses, when they should be inside watching stories!
Y&R dropped 112,000 total viewers and was down 98,000 over this time last year. The No. 1 soap in daytime fell to a less-than-stellar 3.3, shedding one-tenth of a point in households.
Y&R also fell by a tenth among women 18-49, allowing GH to tie it in the coveted demo. The 41-year-old sudser fell among W18-34, tying its all-time low ratings for both demos. Among W25-54, the CBS serial was down as well.
B&B fell 94,000 total viewers, but was the only daytime soap still above its numbers from this time last year. B&B held steady in the demos.
DAYS was down 87,000 total viewers (-133,000 down from this time last year) and dropped a tenth of a point in all major demos.
GH fell 95,000 total viewers (-91,000 down from the same week last year) and was down one-tenth of a point in households. The ABC sudser dropped two-tenths of a point among W18-34,but held steady in the other demos.
Rather than rant and rave about what happened story-wise during those specific cycles, I'm going to do a quick run-down of what's working for me and what isn't working on each sudser.
I love that glitz and glamour have returned to Genoa City on The Young and the Restless. The launch of Chelsea By Jabot was a throwback to all those fun Bill Bell extravaganzas, like the launch of Jill's Jabot Men's Line and Danny Romalotti's (Michael Damian) epic concerts — though on a more scaled down, budget-friendly scale.
Lily (Christel Khalil) vs. Hilary (Mishael Morgan) is totes fun. In Morgan, Y&R finally has their heiress apparent to Victoria Rowell (ex-Dru), allowing us to all get on with our lives. Neil (Kristoff St. John) and Devon (Bryton James) pitching twin tents in their trousers whenever she walks into a room certainly helps.
The ugly end of Villy's marriage has been good soap, and such a necessary occurrence, now that Billy Miller is no longer in the role of Billy Abbott. Tom's Billy just doesn't share the same spark with Amelia Heinle's Victoria. It's smart for the show to move the new/old actor into another starlet's orbit. Speaking of smart, Stitch (Sean Carrigan) and Victoria's forbidden tryst got me over my Villy love in the time it took a nearsighted, bisexual hedge fund manager to mow down a grade schooler.
Victor (Eric Braeden) is at his malevolent best, while alternating between using Evil Cassie (Camryn Grimes) and trying to run her out of town. Is it just me, or is Grimes the first screen partner in a long time to give Braeden just as good as he gets?
Here's hoping Grimes is signed on to a lengthy contract, and whoever she really is, turns out to be Sharon's (Sharon Case) real daughter and Cassie's twin!
Shick's sexual escapades have been great to watch, mostly because Case and Joshua Morrow (Nick) have the taut, lick-able bodies of those late-night workout video models. I do feel it's a bit skeevy for Nick to be so ready to jump Sharon's bones post-electroshock therapy. He should be more concerned with her applying her Lithium right now, as opposed to KY-Jelly.
Abby (Melissa Ordway) and Tyler (Redaric Williams) are snoretastic together. God, make it stop! Williams had great chemistry with Khalil. Ordway in kind had heat with Ignacio Serricchio (Chavez). This forced pairing makes my ass itch.
Since we're talking forced pairings, haven't Jessica Collins (Avery) and Steve Burton (Dylan) suffered enough? No one wants to watch scene after scene of Davery discussing the pros and cons of a career as a TV baker vs. that of a lawyer. Who cares?
WTF has this show done to Leslie (Angell Conwell)? Why would they have her screw over beloved Neil, unless they want fans to hate the character? Conwell is too cute and too viable for this madness.
Is anyone under 25 ever going to get a decent storyline on this show again? Robert Adamson is gorgeous and has impressive acting chops. When is Noah going to get an arc worth this guy showing up to work every day? Same goes for Hunter King (Summer).
I love me some Jill (Jess Walton) and Colin (Tristan Rogers), and I thought I would HATE them. Who knew?
What I do hate is Lauren's (Tracey Bregman) 50-something pregnancy scare. The quickest way to kill a soap dead is to start letting 50-year-olds have babies.
How many times do I have to point out Lauren owns a chain of ritzy department stores? Should I send the Y&R writing stafff copies of Judith Krantz'sScruples?
Sex and the City, Devil Wears Prada, there are tons of examples of fashion-forward women of a certain age leading the glamorous life. Why is this so hard? Bregman does most of the work for them, by simply looking like a posh bombshell every air show.
Let's move on to GH. As I said on a recent podcast, I'm still entertained by the show daily. The quick pace of the scenes and action-packed dialogue make it so even when a storyline is a turkey, it isn't on my screen long.
The turkey stories and/or characters moving quickly doesn't always make them less foul, er fowl. This show is overrun with new denizens of the fictional city of Port Charles, New York!
Detective Nathan West is beautiful, but if the guy playing him isn't going to bother to act, why should I care? This really isn't Ryan Paevey's fault. Antonio Sabato Jr. (ex-Jagger) was green early on, but he wasn't driving major story right out of the gate. Nathan is in too many plots for me to have to watch the actor thinking about how to respond to his screen partner.
Why did Maxie (Kirsten Storms) have to come home with that odd person? Fans are in sack cloth over the death of another Quartermaine. Wouldn't it be better to fill the young adult scene with characters like Dillon Quartermaine and Brook Lynn Ashton?
I get that it is a hoot to write for the wonderful Kathleen Gati, but Dr. Obrecht needs a trimmer for that metaphorical moustache she's twirling. She makes some of those silly villains on Scandal seem plausible.
GH could really stand to cut about 10-15 contract and/or recurring parts. I was okay with—and readily defended—such a large cast during the 50th anniversary season, but it's time to move on to a tighter, sharper-focused cast of characters.
It's hard to stay invested in the arcs I am enjoying, when I don't see those characters for weeks. What's up with my gay boys love triangle? I live my life for Donna Mills (Madeline), but I don't need day-after-day of Whatever Happened When Baby Jane Went to Prison?
I'm also way bummed about the state of Morgan (Bryan Craig) and Ava (Maura West). I need more of one of hottest, most illicit pairings in soaps, not less.
Now for what I am loving about GH, two words: Luke Spencer!! Oh my freaking GAWD, Tony Geary is giving me life as the newly-lethal Luke.
I haven't enjoyed this character as much since Claire Labine was writing the show. Forget all the conspiracy theories of goofy bad guys in plastic masks, I pray this is truly Lucas Lorenzo Spencer, Sr.
Geary must be having fun too. For the first time in 10 years he isn't playing a court jester. The mob scene in Port Charles actually feels dangerous again.
Goodfella-with-a-heart-of-gold Sonny (Maurice Benard) would never run drugs or guns in his town (Sidenote: What exactly does Sonny import that's so vile?). Luke and Julian (William deVry) make no apologies for being scum, and that's refreshing.
Wouldn't it be soapgasmic if Molly (Haley Pullos) OD'd on some of the drugs Alexis' (Nancy Lee Grahn) new man is pushing? Especially if TJ's (Tequan Richmond) mama is somehow involved. Jordan (Vinessa Antoine) is very intriguing and has chemistry to spare with Sean Blakemore (Shawn) and deVry.
What if Jordan was the illegitimate daughter of Bradley Ward, making her a long-lost Q? Imagine Tracy's horror as Jordan and TJ moved into the Q manse, with Luke running around pinching her nubile niece on the bottom!
It's great having Rick Hearst (Ric) back. I wasn't a LiRic fan the first time around, but the way Ric looks at Liz (Rebecca Herbst) with so much adoration in his eyes has made a believer outta me. Ric should team up with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) to keep Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) and Liz apart.
A couple I don't want kept apart is Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Bill Spencer (Don Diamont) on The Bold and the Beautiful. The torrid, twisted love affair between the fashionista and her sister's ex-husband has resumed, and I couldn't be happier!
Brill's reunion was a direct result of jilted Katie (Heather Tom) shacking up with Brooke's one-time "destiny" Ridge Forrester (Thorsten Kaye). Mousy tomboy Katie has been in blonde beauty Brooke's shadow since they were children. Now, with Ridge in her bed and control of Spencer Publications, Katie finally knows how it feels to be the Logan "It" girl. Not for long, if Brooke has anything to say about!
Kaye is one of the best soap recasts of all time. His arrival reignited this soap's grown and sexy crowd, after a few years stuck in teenybopper hell.
And whaddya know? The youngsters are actually interesting for a change! Wyatt (Darin Brooks) snatching up Hope (Kim Matula) made fickle Liam (Scott Clifton) realize how much he took Ms. Logan for granted. Aly Forrester, played by brilliant newcomer Ashlyn Pearce, is also a fascinating, unstable, fragile hot mess to watch.
Of course I can't conclude a B&B gush session without a shout-out to Rena Sofer. As pervy jewelry designer Quinn Fuller, Sofer has given this soap its most snarly superbitch since Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown). B&B truly is the gold standard right now.
A few months back, I would have given such accolades to DAYS. While I am still hooked on the antics of Salem U.S.A, things became a bit disjointed and boring once maniacal rapist Kristen Blake (Eileen Davidson) beat a hasty retreat. Good thing Davidson is on her way back!
The 40-something Horton cousins, Hope (Krstian Alfsonso), Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) and Lucas (Bryan Datillo), all have sucky, uninteresting love lives. Sexy teen bad boy JJ Deveraux (Casey Moss) has been neutered. Ageless sexpot Kate (Lauren Koslow) is alone in her bed (Which is where JJ should be!) and the raunchy EJAbby tryst was cut way too short for my liking.
There's still plenty of reasons to tune in to DAYS. Mark Collier is a revelation as stalker pharmacy rep Liam. Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) and feral Theresa Donovan (Jen Lilley) are drugged out, booze-swilling delights—together or apart—and Salem U.S.A. throws one helluva gay wedding. See you next Ratings!