The ratings have posted for the week of August 27-31 and the numbers are slowly bouncing back for Days of Our Lives. (Source: Soap Opera Network). The same cannot be said for the CBS soaps - especially The Young and the Restless.
DAYS posted a modest gain of 25,000 total viewers (2.16 million/1.57) this week and is up 105,000 viewers over the past two weeks. This slow growth in total viewers began with the Jarlena (Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn) wedding storyline that brought back Kristen DiMera, Susan Banks, (Stacy Haiduk) and Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney). The numbers continued their slow climb with John and Belle's (Martha Madison) battle over Marlena's advance directive. The same growth was not demonstrated in the key demos. DAYS is basically holding steady in the numbers for women 18-34 (308,000/0.47) and 18-49 (60,000/0.17). All numbers for year to date are slightly down for the lone NBC sudser.
General Hospital posted three reruns during this ratings cycle, so I won't discuss their ratings in comparison to the other three daytime dramas. What I will say is the two days that GH put up new episodes, they garnered slightly higher numbers (2.56 million/2.42 million) than the average number of total households from the week before (2.36 million).
The CBS soaps did not fair as well. The Bold and the Beautiful was down 152,000 viewers in total households (3.25 million/ 2.36) for the week and 190,000 year to date. In addition, they were down for the week and year to date in each of the key demos. On screen, Katie (Heather Tom) wondered if she could fight Bill (Don Diamont) for custody of Will (Finnegan George). Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) debated what was best for him. Perhaps viewers were not thrilled with these stories . . . or perhaps it was the result of the lead in.
Y&R has been experiencing up and down ratings over the past few months, but each time they fall, the lows get a little bit lower. This week, the CBS soap hit an all time low in total viewership with 3.93 million and a tie for all time low in households with a rating of 2.85. The #1 daytime drama is down 281,000 viewers year to date. Even more jarring is something I discovered when reviewing the last month of day to day ratings. On Wednesday, July 25th, Y&R hit its highest daily rating of 4.51 million viewers. This high point was in the middle of the week of Hilary's (Mishael Morgan) death. The low point came on August 31st, when it sunk to 3.47 million viewers. This low point was leading up to Lily's (Christel Khalil) sentencing hearing.
I am well aware that ratings can fluctuate within and across weeks. It becomes a bit more noteworthy when there is a shift of over 1 million viewers in less than one month. Although it is impossible to know specifically what causes a decline in ratings, we can review what has been occurring on and off screen over the past few months. There has been much talk of Y&R mainstays. Mainly, Christel Khalil and Doug Davidson being placed on or choosing to go from contract to recurring status. These changes in status come on the heels of Morgan's exit and the subsequent death of her character, Hilary Curtis Hamilton. There are other changes that have recently rocked the show, including the quick arrival of a new family, new sets, and long term characters acting in ways that are, well, out of character.
It is entirely possible that the downward trend in ratings is due to growing pains. Change is difficult to deal with, especially on a show that has been around almost half a century. Perhaps it's not the type of changes that are afoot, but the speed at which they have occurred. These are just my musings on the topic. I'm more interested in what you think. Sound off in the comments below!