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Viewing Single Post From: GH: Night Shift Gives SoapNet ratings boost

Originals Clean Up SoapNet's Summer
Three New Series Bolster Channel’s Upfront Numbers

It’s tough when most of the cast and writers of your new top-rated show are committed to another project. But if you are SoapNet General Manager Deborah Blackwell, it’s a small worry because the network is bubbling all around her.

On the heels of adding 13 million households to its subscriber base, SoapNet enjoyed record viewership in July. The channel’s first original scripted drama, "General Hospital: Night Shift," is outdrawing SoapNet’s prime-time reruns of the popular ABC soap it was spun off from, averaging 915,000 total viewers and 397,000 women 18 to 49.

Ms. Blackwell said she would love to renew the show, but when "General Hospital" ends its summer schedule of producing five episodes in four days, it’s going to be tricky to continue to pump out episodes of "Night Shift."

"I’m talking to the writers and producers now to see if that’s something they can accomplish," said Brian Frons, president of daytime for Disney ABC Television, to whom SoapNet reports.

"We didn’t know what kind of physical and creative toll it would take on the ‘GH’ team, and while the ‘GH’ numbers have been great, people are getting tired. So I have to figure out how we can sort of keep the energy in both programs."

In the meantime, SoapNet is also getting buzz for its newest reality show, "The Fashionista Diaries," and next week launches the fourth edition of "I Wanna Be a Soap Star."

The fourth episode of "General Hospital: Night Shift," which aired Aug. 2, was the highest-rated since the premiere, showing gains in the network’s key demographics of women 18 to 49 and women 18 to 34.

"The idea we could put it on and actually have better ratings than ‘General Hospital’ is kind of a jaw-dropper to me," Mr. Frons said. SoapNet gets promoted on ABC Daytime and as part of ABC Daytime media buys. He said about 10 percent of "Night Shift" viewers had never watched SoapNet before and 38 percent of women 18 to 49 watching "General Hospital" on ABC are watching "Night Shift" on SoapNet.

With the success of "Night Shift," SoapNet will look at extending other soaps on its air. "I think we do have to look hard at what ‘One Life to Live’ might be able to do for us in terms of an original spinoff," Mr. Frons said.

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