Latest Soap Opera Ratings: August 27
CBS Soaps Looking Young and Bold. Is There a Crisis Brewing at GH? Steady DAYS Before ‘Salem”
As the four remaining soap operas close out the 2020-2021 season, the CBS soaps continue to see positive trends across all categories. Meanwhile, General Hospital and Days of our Lives are facing demographic drops as same-day linear viewing is no longer their audiences’ method of watching content.
Better By The Week: Y&R tops 3.5 million viewers
Young and the Restless led all four soaps once again in total viewers, women 18-49 and women 25-54. Y&R managed to pull in 3.502 million viewers, up 60,000 viewers from the previous week. This week was the second most watched for Y&R this season just behind the 3.523 million who tuned in for the week ending 8/6 (not counting the 3.622 million viewers who tuned in during late February in which the impeachment hearing preempted schedules resulting in only one episode airing that week for any of the soaps) and was up 2% from last week.
So far this season, the hour-long CBS soap opera is averaging 3.247 million viewers, a decline of 9% compared to last year when it averaged 3.575 million viewers. However, Y&R has seen its audience grow over the course of the season. This is very encouraging for the CBS soaps. The first episodes back after the pandemic production severely underperformed. In fact, the same week last year saw Y&R collapse to its lowest ratings in the soap’s 48 year history with just 2.542 million viewers watching. Compared to the same week last year, Y&R added 981,000 viewers for an excellent 39% increase.
August was Y&R’s Most Viewed Since April 2020
August marked most watched month since before it went on hiatus in April of 2020 with a total audience of 3.48 million viewers. August was up 120,000 viewers from 3.36 million in July and up 240,000 from the month of June’s 3.24 million. Any way you look at the audience for Y&R, one things is clear: viewers who were slow to return to watching the soap are returning with each passing week.
The positive message continues in the soap’s demographic performance as well. Y&R averaged a .45 for the second week in a row among women 18-49. The network is averaging a .43 for the season to date, down 13% from last year’s .49 average. Despite the decline, Y&R has seen consistent gains in the demographic as the season has progressed. In the last fifteen weeks, Y&R has dropped below the .43 mark just once, a sign of the stable performance and upward momentum of the show.
Y&R obliterated LY Performance in Demos
Compared to last year, the soap opera was up .16 from a series low .29- a massive increase of 55% year over year. In the last fifteen weeks, Y&R has dropped below the .43 mark just once, a sign of both the stability of its audience and upward momentum. In women 25-54, Y&R hit a .75 up .01 from its performance a week earlier. Y&R was up from last year’s disastrous .52 increasing by 44% in the key demographic.
The soap is down year to year in women 25-54 by 15% with an average of a .70. Y&R currently leads its competition in every category season to date. Oddly enough the audience response appears to be mixed as to what’s happening on-screen. For every viewer honoring Victor Newman on Twitter, that many more are incensed that Stitch was revealed to be the culprit in the kidnapper story and further complaints about the show’s glacial pace. But the pacing is as it always has been, keeping the show at number one since 1988.
’Bold’ Moves Have Turned B&B Around Since Shutdown
CBS continued to have reason to celebrate as Bold and the Beautiful continued to improve its season averages while surging versus last year. 3.047 million viewers tuned into B&B giving the half-hour soap its second best performance of the season after the week ending 8/6 (not counting the 3.622 million viewers who tuned in during late February in which the impeachment hearing preempted schedules resulting in only one episode airing that week for any of the soaps). B&B was up 605,000 viewers from the 2.442 million viewers who tuned last year, an increase of 25%.
For the 2020-2021 season to to date, B&B is down 200,000 viewers from last year, marking a 7% decline in total viewers- the second smallest drop of any of the four soaps (after General Hospital). Like its peers, B&B saw huge declines after returning from the pandemic-fueled production shut down last summer. The soap was the first to return to the air in July 2020 and saw its audience drop to series lows. B&B has rebounded from its low of 2.033 million viewers during the week of July 27, 2020 by over a million viewers. This past month saw B&B’s best month since April of 2020, averaging 3.045 million viewers, up 50,000 from July’s average of 2.945 million. Compared to last August when the soap averaged 2.368 million viewers, B&B is up 27%.
Secret To Success? Strong Steffy, Scary Sheila
B&B also continues to perform well in the key demographics of women 18-49 and 25-54. This past week the soap ranked second with a .39, up .01 from the previous week and ahead of its average season to date. In women 18-49, the half-hour soap opera is in second place season to date with a .38 rating. Compared to this week last year, B&B averaged a .31 and increased 26% .
B&B is down 14% in the demographic year over year. B&B is averaging a .64 rating in women 25-54, a decline of 11% compared to its performance last season. B&B has dropped the least in the demographic year over year compared to the other three soap operas on the air. B&B is doing these numbers for one reason: the audience is loving it. Chalk it up to Steffy acting as much more than a damsel in distress since the wedding reveal and the insidious return of Sheila. Add in the continued fall-out of Quinn and Carter, the soap has definitely put in the work in recent months and it has paid off.
GH May Have to Pay the Piper Over Peter
Is there an emergency brewing on General Hospital? There is a lot to be said for ABC’s one soap opera. None of its peers are offering the twists and turns that GH does nor have they been able to keep up the pace. America’s longest running drama is able to tell stories that generally are anything but boring. However, the return of Peter, alive and in Nixon Falls? The response on Reddit has been one of full-on rage.
The complaints don’t stop there. The recent on-screen blessing to Jason and Carly’s wedding by Anna in which the super-spy compared the mob duo to a younger version of her and Robert- I could feel #Soaptwitter’s stomach turn. Cameron Matheson’s arrival as Drew Cain has left a mixed reaction (I liked Billy Miller in the role, but more as Jake Doe than anything else. I can handle Matheson in the role and he’s likable enough thus far. I look forward to seeing him work with Finola Hughes.) with many viewers.
In Viewers, GH is Holding Up Better Than Peers
In total viewers, GH lost 75,000 viewers week to week going from 2.177 million to 2.102 million. That was a 3 percent decrease week to week, which in itself isn’t too alarming. In fact the number is down just 15,000 from the ABC soap’s season-to-date average of 2.117 million viewers. GH is, down less than 3% from the 2020-2021 season and has performed better compared to last season’s average than any of the four soaps.
However, the soap has seen an uneven trajectory over the past few months, seesawing from increases to decreases. In May the ABC soap averaged 2.136 million viewers, was up in June by 40,000 viewers to average 2.176 million viewers, then down 67,000 viewers to 2.109 million viewers last month and back up to 2.144 million viewers this month. In that same span of time some of the highest rated weeks of this season have aired, topping 2.2 million viewers four times. On the flip-side some have underperformed, with GH dipping below 2.1 million four times. Still, GH is performing well above the series lows the show saw just after its return from the shutdown in August.
Consistent Audience But Volatile in 18-49 and 25-54 Demographic
Something has to be said for consistency, the soap has performed in a narrow range between 2.029 million and 2.276 million since the beginning of October. Compared that to Y&R in the same time frame, where its peak of 3.523 million compares to the low of 2.993 million, B&B’s high of 3.067 million viewers compared to the 2.588 million and DAYS high of 1.947 million to the season low of 1.489 million viewers. DAYS had a gap of 478,000 viewers between the low and the high, B&B’s gap of 479,000 viewers and Y&R’s 530,000 viewer gap while GH has had just a 247,000 viewer difference since October.
The demographic numbers are not nearly as promising. This week in women 18-49, GH dropped to a .30 from last week’s .35 ratings- a drop of 14%. That’s also 14% below the season average of a .35. Season to date, the soap is down 21% in adults 18-49, the second biggest drop of the four soaps year-to-year. The soap has been stagnant the last three months with a .33 in the demographic- back in December the soap averaged a .39 rating, a level that GH has seen once in the last 5 months. Meanwhile in women 25-54, GH dropped .03 from the previous week to a .54 from the .57, a less alarming decline of 5%. GH’s women 25-54 rating for the week was also just 5% below the season-to-date average of .57. The soap is down 17% year to year, compared to the 14% drop of Y&R, the 13% decline of B&B and the 27% drop that DAYS has faced.
Not the Full Ratings Picture
Despite warning signs, GH increases more than any other soap in total viewers, women 18-49 and women 25-54 in Live-Plus-7-Day viewing.The soap opera’s streaming numbers have not been released but one imagines they are just as strong. The soap opera also leads in the less mentioned social media conversation. Good or Bad, GH has the most active and aggressive community on Twitter as evidenced by the recent controversy involved stars Nancy Lee Grahan and Ingo Rademacher over vaccinations. That recent uproar spilled into the non-soap press, whether or not that impacts the shows ratings will be next week’s story.
Brighter DAYS Ahead as NBC Looks ‘Beyond’ Same-Day Ratings
The case of Days of our Lives may be something to keep the minds of GH viewers, fearing low ratings wlll lead to imminent cancellation, at ease. NBC’s little soap opera that could (have a lead character become possessed by the devil and thrive post-OJ trial) has been on one of the wildest ratings rides in soap history and based on Same-Day ratings is not in great shape. The soap opera added viewers week to week, up to 1.722 million viewers from last week’s 1.705. The additional 17,000 viewers marked a one percent increase. On the bright side, DAYS managed to pull in 1.7 million or more viewers for the third week in a row, something the soap has not been able to do since February.
Another plus for DAYS, was the soap opera’s increase from last year. DAYS added 25,000 viewers from last year’s 1.697 million, up just under 2%. More than anything else, DAYS appears to have bounced off its all-time lows from a couple months ago. For the month of June, DAYS average 1.548 million viewers, hitting a bottom of 1.489 million during the week of 6/25. The following month (shortened by the Olympic Games on NBC) had an average of 1.638 million viewers, up 90,000 month over month for a solid 6% increase. The recently ended month of August (also shortened by the Olympic Games) has DAYS up once again, this time adding 89,000 total viewers, to an audience of 1.727 million viewers-up another 5%.
While audience levels are low but improving, the demo numbers aren’t encouraging. DAYS dipped in both categories By .01 with a .27 in women 18-49 and .40 in women 25-54, the second straight week of declines in both demographic groups. The average for the month of August was a .28 in women 18-49, which is a 12% increase over July’s dreadful .25 average. The numbers are stagnant in women 25-54 month or month. But compared to last year when DAYS pulled in a .31 in women 18-49, the soap was down 13%. DAYS took the biggest hit in women 25-54, losing 20% of last year’s .48 in the demographic. Season to date, DAYS has dropped from a .39 to a .31 in women 18-49 for a 22% drop and tumbled from a .62 in women 25-54 by 27% to a .45- the largest annual percent decrease for any of the four soap operas.
DAYS: BeYond Ratings?
Even with some pretty grim seeming numbers, these are some of the brighter days of our lives. NBC has renewed DAYS for an additional two years guaranteeing that the soap opera will live to see its 53rd anniversary, and it did so knowing full well the state of the show’s audience. Not only that, but DAYS: Beyond Salem, the 5-hour limited series spin-off of the soap premieres next week exclusively on the streaming service owned by NBC, Peacock. The five part event drops each night on the streaming service beginning 9/6 and has been heavily promoted by the network- certainly receiving more promotion than any daytime series has in recent memory.
DAYS has obviously shown NBC the value a soap opera brings to the network on its streaming service. Enough so that the network has been able to overlook its same-day ratings performance. And the network hasn’t just decided that the soap’s valuable enough to simply let it act as a place-holder in the afternoon. The renewal, the spin-off, the promotion and the prominent place on the network’s streaming service is a huge vote of confidence.
DAYS and GH Differ from CBS Counterparts
ABC’s General Hospital and DAYS share a lot more in common than with CBS’ more traditional soap operas and generally appeal to a younger audience that seems to have abandoned the traditional network option of viewing their soap. However, both still outperform Y&R and B&B in DVR playback and we have implicit confirmation that DAYS is doing well on Peacock. I am really interested in seeing Hulu’s numbers for General Hospital, in the meantime I am cautiously optimistic.
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Love your take & style, but proofing could use a nudge.
Nice interview. Thanks to both of you for being so open and sharing private personal experiences. It helps others.
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