Ratings, Rants and Raves: Did The Olympics Bring an End to The Dog Days of Soap Summer?

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Maura West

After a summer of positively yucky ratings things are beginning to look up for our four remaining daytime soap operas. Maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic, as three out of the four are still tying all-time lows in key demos. However, with Days of Our Lives preempted the week of August 15-19 for the Olympics, the competition managed to go up in households, according to Soap Opera Network.

The Young and the Restless benefited the most from its Sony cousin being on a temporary hiatus. The CBS Daytime sudser went up 124,000 viewers over the previous week. Additionally, Y&R went up in all key demos. Unfortunately, the daytime drama tied its all-time low in the key women 18-49 demo for the third straight week and was down in total viewers by 196,000 compared with the same time last year. 

Eric Braeden, Melissa Claire Egan, Christian LeBlanc

Eric Braeden, Melissa Claire Egan, Christian LeBlanc

I spent much of the winter and spring raving about how fired up Y&R's stories were in 2016. Someone must have blown out the pilot light. The show has been positively tepid this summer. I'll give them a break due to post-JFP growing pains, but sheesh it's been hard to watch. 

The only storyline I find remotely enjoyable is the forbidden love affair of Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson), with the magnificent Jill Foster (Jess Walton) proving a spoiler. Even that once red-hot tale has cooled way off. 

Adam's (Justin Hartley) most recent prison caper was the worst, the absolute worst.  I get that Hartley's NBC pilot put Y&R in a pickle, but that's no excuse for sour storytelling.

Can TPTB at Y&R just retire that awful prison set? We see it every day, yet haven't spied the Abbott mansion, Fenmores Department Store or Tracey Bregman since Jesus was turning water into Mad Dog 2020 for Neil (Kristoff St. John) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) to share on a bench in Kay Sterling Park.

Diehard viewers do not watch this show for endless stories about crime, punishment and illogical courtroom theatrics. Fans want glamour, intrigue and compelling, romantic stories about characters they've known and loved for decades. 

Y&R fans want to see warring cosmetics moguls, bitchy gossips, strivers from the wrong side of the tracks, department store heiresses and private dicks with blonde chest fur. Hey, Doug Davidson

They want to see the help dressed like the help, while their employers dine at posh establishments, dramatically raising their perfectly-sculpted eyebrows as a secret lover or sworn enemy walks into the room, all set to Nadia's Effing Theme. How many times must I tell you people this? 

Springing for one funky boat won't fix what ails this soap opera, especially if we keep getting more spine-tingling scenes of Hillary (the beautiful and wasted Mishael Morgan) talking about securing donations for that g#$ d@!* foundation. 

The Bold and the Beautiful went up 11,000 total viewers over the previous week and was up 105,000 viewers over the same week last year. Like Y&R, B&B saw spikes in key demos, yet still tied its W18-49 all-time low for the seventh straight week. 

John McCook

John McCook

B&B is starting to gel again. Quinn (Rena Sofer) hooking up with Eric (John McCook) added some much needed substance to that silly, never-ending Liam (Scott Clifton), Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Wyatt (Darin Brooks) triangle. I'm also digging the show chem-testing sultry Sasha (Felisha Cooper) with Thomas (Pierson Fode). Here's hoping B&B actually follows through on this promising new couple for a change. 

Now for the bone I have to pick with Brad Bell. It's downright shameful how he's backburnered Maya Avant after bragging in the press that Karla Mosley was the show's new leading lady. 

I'm starting to think Bell is like Lucy with that football and viewers are Charlie Brown. Why get our hopes up about B&B being committed to progressive, provocative storytelling centered on a black transgender heroine, only to completely chicken out and shelve Maya after using the character to garner tons of LGBT press and accolades?

Genie Francis, Jane Elliot

Genie Francis, Jane Elliot

General Hospital went up 47,000 total viewers and was up 81,000 over the same time last year. The demos, however, were a mixed bag of Corinthos coffee. While the ABC soap went up in households, W18-49 and W25-54, it dropped among W18-34, tying the 53-year-old serial's all-time low in that demo for the fourth straight week.

I'm enjoying GH for the first lengthy stretch in a long time. In fact, it's been one of TV's best bets this summer. I even occasionally skip my new fave sudser, Capitol: The Trump and Clinton Years, to watch.

Around the time of the Cassadine Island adventure, the soap became fun again. I live this life for every wicked machination of Ava Jerome's (Maura West). I can't wait to see her lay waste to Morgan (Bryan Craig) and Kiki's (Hayley Erin) insufferable no-mance. 

Nell (Chloe Lanier) is a fascinating character sketch. Who wants to bet she's about to take a wrecking ball to Carly's (Laura Wright) life the same way Carly destroyed Bobbie's (Jacklyn Zeman) all those years ago? Dr. Tony Jones (Brad Maule) is smiling down from Soap Heaven. 

Laura (Genie Francis), Kevin (Jon Lindstrom), Lucy (Lynn Herring) and Scotty (Kin Shriner) are charming as mixed doubles, though I do wish I saw them more than twice a month. I've even stopped hating Franco (Roger Howarth). Ah, the magic of my Lizzie Beth (Rebecca Herbst). 

GH still has its problems (like those damned dropped story threads), but I no longer find myself wanting to throw my TV off the Port Charles docks when I watch, and that's a very good thing. See you next Ratings.