Ratings, Rants and Raves: Daytime Needs Another Motherfreaking Wake-Up Call

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Scott Clifton, Rena Sofer

Daytime soaps closed out February on a low note in the Nielsens. (Source: Soap Opera Network) While all four daytime sudsers fell, the CBS Daytime dramas were especially hit hard the week of February 29–March 4.

The Young and the Restless lost 270,000 viewers over the previous week and was down 441,000 from the same time period last year.  Y&R averaged a 3.3 in households and tied its all-time low among women 18-49. 

Eric Braeden

Eric Braeden

In story, Victor Newman's (Eric Braeden) chickens finally came home to poop on his mustache. The Black Knight was arrested after word spread he was behind bringing a Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) doppelganger to town to wreak havoc. I haven't been able to get enough of Y&R's storytelling of late. No, not anything to do with the aforementioned asinine doppelgangers. It's the fallout I've loved, sillies! Too bad I'm not a Nielsen household.

I will say this, while the storytelling for the Newmans and Abbotts has drastically improved, many fans are constantly tweeting me their frustration over the Winters and Baldwins not getting the same kind of love. Maybe that's a factor in these sad numbers?


Don Diamont, Katherine Kelly Lang, Heather Tom

The Bold and the Beautiful fell 244,000 total viewers over the previous week and was down 287,000 from the same time period last year. B&B averaged a 2.54 in households. The 30-minute soap hit a new low among female viewers 18-49 and tied its W18-49 demo low. 

I've been thoroughly disappointed with B&B for most of 2016, but considering I'm loving Y&R and its ratings are also in the toilet, what do I know? B&B continued to race through Katie's (Heather Tom) insta-alcoholism storyline the week in question. As if that wasn't maddening enough, Quinn (Rena Sofer) was still holding an amnesiac Liam (Scott Clifton) as her unknowing sex slave, so her son could make moves on his brother's girl. Oh, and because no one on B&B can ever simply date, Wyatt (Darin Brooks) was pressuring Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) to accept his marriage proposal. 

There were a few bright spots. I love Dollar Bill (Don Diamont) finally realizing Wyatt should be working at Spencer Publications and trashy Sasha (Felisha Cooper) constantly trying to hunch Zende (Rome Flynn) is fun.

Bryan Craig, Anthony Montgomery, Hayley Erin

Bryan Craig, Anthony Montgomery, Hayley Erin

ABC Daytime's General Hospital shed 30,000 total viewers over the previous week and was down 304,000 compared with last year. GH averaged a 2.17 in households.

The soap's heavy-handed "The Mob is Like Really, Really Bad" storytelling reached a fever blistered pitch the week of February 29. Kiki (Hayley Erin) fought for her life, as Ava (Maura West) and Franco (Roger Howarth)—played by two of the biggest stars in the daytime galaxy—sat vigil. Good times.

Carly (Laura Wright) decided some random girl — who boned and came between both of her sons — getting shot was the straw that broke the mob moll's back. This led to the beginning of what I can only fear will be weeks and weeks of really preachy dialogue about how uncool organized crime is. I can just see Montana Moorehead and David Seton Barnes writing up the story notes over vodka and social media. 

Kudos to Wright and Maurice Benard (Sonny) for managing to sell those agenda-driven scenes. Now remember kids, Smokey the Bear says Mobsters are BAD.

Arianne Zucker

Arianne Zucker

Days of Our Lives lost the least amount of total viewers of all four daytime soaps. The NBC soap only dropped by 14,000 and was down 104,000 over last year. DAYS was at a scary 1.75 in households. Numbers like those were what convinced P&G to ditch their suds and start producing cheesy movies of the week for NBC. DAYS tied its all-time low among W18-34.

Murder, mayhem, rape and never-before-mentioned offspring were the talk of the town in fictional Salem U.S.A. the week in question. Hope (Kristian Alfonso) started to realize she offed the wrong Mediterranean evil-doer. Patch (Stephen Nichols) confessed to murder to protect an actual killer — his just-sprouting-gonad-fuzz son. Did I mention one of the other new teens recently raped his step-sister? Anyhoo, Brady (Eric Martsolf) was over in California adding a new sister-wife for Nicole (Arianne Zucker) and Theresa (Jen Lilley). 

Okay, wait. I am sorry for being flip. I need to give this particular storyline the serious analysis and contemplation it deserves. What actually happened was, the late Daniel Jonas's (Shawn Kristian) transplanted heart caused Brady to dream Daniel's dream. This led Brady to California. There he found Summer (Marie Wilson), who, like Daniel, is one of Maggie Horton's (Suzanne Rogers) long-lost children.

For some reason, the veteran cast ad-libbed their lines during a memorial for Stefano (Joe Mascolo). Don't believe me, go back and watch. People just sat around repeating what the previous person said, while giggling oddly. Only Alfonso and Lauren Koslow seemed to be truly committed to the material. Not that I can blame the actors.

I fear it's once again time for daytime to get a reality check. Being "positive" while this genre slides back into the abyss won't keep so much as one soap on our airwaves; so spare me.

While I am admittedly loving Y&R, it's mostly because they're actually making Victor pay for bringing a drug-dealing, murderous, rapey doppelganger to town. Do you know how stupid I feel writing that sentence?  

Save for B&B's groundbreaking 2015 transgender story, the writing for daytime has become dangerously inept again. No one is trying to tell contemporary arcs, or explore relevant social issues. 

No one is thinking about having refugees move to a soap opera town, dividing the townsfolk; or about introducing a Muslim teen for one of the Vapid Little Nothings to befriend, sparking a tale about Islamophobia and religious tolerance. Speaking of the Vapid Little Nothings, by and large, daytime casting directors have simply forgotten how to find promising young talent. Where are the modern day equivalents of tween Jonathan Jackson, Kirsten Storms, Jason Cook and Amber Tamblyn

No one is stretching their well-paid imaginations beyond the next brain tumor, or long-lost offspring and to be quite frank, Frank, Ken, Greg, Brad, et al., it's really starting to piss me off.

This kind of malaise and backwards arse thinking is what led to five soaps getting cancelled in five years not too long ago. Get it together, people. See you next Ratings