What a difference a year makes. Between 2009 and 2012, daytime soaps went from 8 to 4, and by the end of 2012, Prospect Park’s effort to revive two of the departed, All My Children and One Life To Live, had hit a dead end. Then within the last month, NBC renewed its daytime drama, Days Of Our Lives, and Prospect Park got its plan for AMC and OLTL online series back on track. Now I hear that CBS is poised to renew The Bold And The Beautiful, and ABC has no plans to cancel General Hospital (the series is on a perpetual production track and doesn’t need formal renewals if the network wants to keep it on the air). CBS’ Young & The Restless, the highest-rated daytime drama, is two years into a three-year pickup, and casting and pre-production on AMC and OLTL is in full swing. That means that we will likely have more daytime dramas on next fall than we have this season — the first such year-to-year gain in 15 years, since NBC added Passions in 1998.
Daytime soaps’ improving fortunes is not a coincidence. After years of ratings erosion, numbers for the daytime dramas have stabilized, and they’ve even posted year-to-year gains this season. Bold And The Beautiful and General Hospital have made their networks’ decisions to keep them easy with impressive ratings increases. B&B averages 3.44 million total viewers (+6%), 1.6/9 in women 25-54 (+14%) and 1.1/7 in women 18-49 (+10%). Airing in an earlier slot to make room for Katie Couric’s new syndicated talk show, GH, which will mark its 50th anniversary April 1, averages 3 million viewers (+16%), a 1.6/9 in women 25-54 (no change) and 1.2/7 in women 18-49 (+9%).
Y&Rand Days Of Our Lives are down slightly: 4.74 million (-3%), 2.1/13 (no change) and 1.4/9 (-7%) for Y&R; and 2.64 million (no change), 1.3/7 (-7%) and 1.0/6 (-9%) for Days.