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Ratings, Rants and Raves: Daytime Soaps Return to All-Time Low Ratings

How can soaps lure back lapsed viewers?
Phyllis Summers, Abby Newman, The Young and the Restless

Michelle Stafford, Melissa Ordway

The ratings are in for the week of August 10th-14th, 2020 (Source: Soap Opera Network). These numbers represent the first week that all four daytime dramas are back with brand new episodes, and the news is not great, folks. All four soaps posted all-time lows in either total viewers, key demos, or both. Let's get into it...

The Young and the Restless returned with brand new episodes this week featuring the scintillating tale of Adam's (Mark Grossman) pre-adolescent manslaughter of some character we've never heard of. Meanwhile, Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) is tiptoeing through the mud with eBay dinosaur bones. 

While Y&R returned to its #1 position, it was watched by just 2.7 million total viewers (a new low). The show is down a gut-punching one million viewers over the same time period last year.  Y&R averaged just over four million viewers the week of April 20 when it last featured first run episodes. In the key demos, Y&R returned in last place in Women 18-49 and W18-34. In somewhat better news, the CBS soap placed 2nd in Women 25-54.

The Bold and the Beautiful returned with new episodes on July 20 making it the first television production to return from the COVID-19 shutdown. This week on air, B&B featured the decimation of Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Ridge's (Thorsten Kaye) umpteenth marriage at the hands of Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer). The episodes drew 2.4 million total viewers, up 240,000 viewers over the previous week. When it left the air on April 23, B&B netted just under 3.3 million viewers. For the year, the 33-year old daytime drama is down 891,000 viewers. B&B placed first in W18-34 and 2nd among W18-49.

Rena Sofer

Rena Sofer

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General Hospital returned with new episodes on August 3. The ABC soap featured Valentin's (James Patrick Stuart) take over of ELQ and Ava's (Maura West) portrait reveal at Wyndemere. GH drew 1.9 million total viewers. down only 9,000 viewers from last week. For the year, GH is down 323,000 viewers. When it left the air on May 21, GH was drawing approximately 2.1 million total viewers. The key demos brought some good news for GH. The soap placed first among both W18-49 and W25-54.

Ava Jerome, General Hospital

Maura West

Days of Our Lives never stopped airing new episodes. The NBC soap was approximately 8 months ahead of air at the time of the shutdown, due to its aggressive production schedule. While the other sudsers were airing classic episodes, DAYS initially saw ratings go up. The show peaked at just under 2.3 million viewers the week of March 30. Since that time, the NBC daytime drama has seen a slow slide into all-time lows. T

During the ratings cycle in question, Ben (Robert Scott Wilson) was home from Eve's (Kassie DePaiva) nekkid torture chamber and Gwen (Emily O'Brien) laid lips on Chad (Billy Flynn). DAYS drew 1.6 million viewers, down 137,000 viewers from previous week. The soap was down 324,000 from the same time period last year. DAYS was #2 in W18-34 and #3 in W18-49. 

Eve Donovan, Days of Our Lives

Kassie DePaiva

Let's not mince words, the ratings for all four daytime dramas are not great. The numbers for the CBS soaps are downright alarming. Have viewers gotten out of the daily habit of watching their favorite soap operas? If so, how can the shows lure them back? Sound off with your opinions in the comments!