CBS Soaps Get Coal For Christmas
Last week was a snoozefest in the ratings for this soap opera fan- but man, the week of Christmas brought the excitement. It may be halfway through January, but it feels like Christmas to me! Both ‘GH’ and ‘DAYS’ made Santa’s list for their networks, who are sure to be happy about these numbers. While CBS saw Y&R bounce back from a season-low in viewers, the top-rated soap hit a different season-low this week. The biggest loser was B&B, which got served a big lump of coal during the holiday week.
The ABC soap opera benefitted from CBS’s misfortune and took second place in both key demographics. Plus, ‘GH’ saw a bump in total viewers after two weeks of declines. Over at NBC, the devil may have been menacing the people of Salem onscreen, but the spooky storyline helped ‘DAYS’ surge to a 10-month high in viewers.
This week, Y&R broke its losing steak in total viewers as 3.457 million viewers tuned in. The network had spent three straight weeks hitting new lows but was up by 2 percent to hit a five-week high in total viewers. The CBS soap also saw a 12 percent jump from its general audience last year. On a positive note, Y&R did not lose any ground among women 18-49 compared to the previous year and even surged 10 percent in 25-54. Unfortunately, the good news ends there.
Among women 18-49, Y&R dropped 7 percent to a season-low .36 rating in the demographic. While Y&R remained in first place in the critical category of younger women, this was its worst performance in a year. This result was the third lowest-rated week of Y&R ever in the demographic. The only two times that the soap opera performed worse were in August 2020, when it struggled to regain viewers after a months-long hiatus.
The news was not nearly as bad in women 25-54, although Y&R did fall 5 percent to tie a season-low .63 rating. While the number is not good, it isn’t the worst. Y&R hit the number twice this season and fell lower as recently as September. Plus, the soap was in no danger of losing its place at the top spot in this category- not a single of its competitors came close to beating it on any day this week.
I’ll touch on the daily ratings for Christmas later this week!
‘B&B’ Hits Season-Lows Across the Board
Let’s start with the positive. B&B did not lose any viewers in any category from last year. The soap matched its rating in women 25-54 from last year, increased its numbers in women 18-49 by 6 percent, and was up in total viewers with a 9 percent increase. Unfortunately for B&B, as nice as it may sound, this week was anything but good.
In total viewers, B&B was down 2 percent week to week, with 2.724 million viewers catching, among other things, the wicked Sheila tenderly holding her grandson for the first time. This was the least-watched week of the season and the lowest-rated for B&B since the end of May. And this wasn’t the worst news for the half-hour soap opera.
The demographic of women 25 to 54 generally is reliable for the CBS soaps; B&B dropped 14 percent from last week to a .50 rating. Not only was this week the lowest-rated of the season, but it also cost B&B second place. GH to take its spot at number two in the demographic. B&B rarely found itself outside of the number two spot in the older of the two demographics. However, GH has either beaten or tied B&B in women 25-54 during three of the last five weeks and a total of six times this season. GH was only able to beat B&B six times in the entirety of last season.
The news was far worse in women 18-49, as B&B fell a massive 18 percent from last week’s .35 to .29 this week. GH has beaten the CBS soap four times in the demographic this season, but this is the third time in five weeks. But that isn’t even the biggest shocker: B&B finished in fourth place behind DAYS in women 18-49. Last week, B&B beat the NBC soap by 40 percent. Ouch.
GH steals second place
GH got a pleasant surprise for the holidays, and it didn’t even have to try too hard. The ABC soap, which got torched online by critics of its horrendously inappropriate for Christmas, “pulling a plug on a brain-dead infant” plot point, saw its audience increase by 4 percent. GH had 2.204 million viewers tune in for the week of Christmas, an improvement of 1 percent from the same time last year. The increase could not have come at a better time since GH had spent the previous three weeks straight losing viewers.
GH did get second place in both demographics under the tree as well- and it didn’t need to post impressive numbers. GH was up 2 percent in women 25-54 to a .51 rating on the lower end of its usual range. In women 18-49, GH didn’t budge from its .33 rating, which is precisely what the soap has averaged so far this season. Unfortunately, GH was down by double-digit percentage points in these categories from last year, losing 12 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
However bad that may seem, remember this: GH performs better in viewers who watch in the seven days after an episode airs live on ABC than any of its peers. Nielsen reports’ overall numbers do not account for the many viewers who watch on Hulu and video-on-demand services either. GH is pulling in more viewers so far this season than the past two years, but less in these demographics is likely an indicator that they have chosen a different way to watch.
Satan Comes Bearing Ratings Gifts for DAYS
People thought NBC was crazy when it had the devil possessing Marlena on DAYS in 1994, and many critics threw barbs at the network this time around. Just like Marlena levitated above her bed then and now, the ratings have slowly moved higher as this storyline progresses. DAYS hit a season-high in total viewers, drawing its biggest audience in 10 months. The NBC soap was up 6 percent from last week to pulling 1.809 million viewers.
DAYS has pulled in more than 1.7 million viewers for four consecutive weeks, something the network has not done since it came back from its Olympic hiatus in August. Once the numbers for New Years’ week are released, DAYS will likely have its most substantial streak in viewers in nearly a year. But the real surprise came in the key demographics.
DAYS has been hurting demographics every week, most likely because of its strong performance on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock. While NBC has shown confidence in the series by renewing the show for multiple seasons and ordering numerous spin-offs- its performance among women 18-49 and 25-54 have seemed bleak. Last week is a case in point, as the soap was down 31 percent from last year in both categories. This week, while still down 17 and 19 percent from last year, DAYS surged from the week prior by 20 percent in women 18-49 and 18 percent 25-54. In women 25-54, DAYS pulled a season-high with a .43 rating- which ties for the second-highest in the demographic since March.
The soap’s performance tied for the highest rating among women 18-49 since March. The soap’s .30 rating was a massive increase from the previous week and helped the soap out of last place for the first time since last winter. DAYS has long been an afterthought to its competitors in any category. Last week, B&B held a 40 percent lead and DAYS held a 3 percent lead on B&B.