Soaps have a slow week heading into XMAS
This was not the worst week for the four remaining soap operas- not by a long shot. Although there were some declines for every soap opera, these shows have seen worse. Compared to last year, every show is either building or maintaining its overall audience to some extent. The demographics of women 18-49 and 25-54, however, are another story. While the CBS soaps are looking good, ABC and NBC are down a bit. But does this tell the whole story? Read on for more about how Young & The Restless, Bold & The Beautiful, General Hospital, and Days Of Our Lives performed the week of December 17, 2021.
‘Y&R’ dips slightly, but way up from last year.
For the week ending December 17, Y&R only lost 12,000 viewers week to week- which isn’t exactly the end of the world. In fact, the soap’s decline was so small- it’s statistically insignificant. Despite the drop, Y&R‘s audience was basically flat to last week.
However, this week marked the number one soap opera’s lowest-rated week of the season, and making matters worse, this is the third straight week in a row that has earned that distinction. Another unfortunate fact- this was the CBS soap opera’s lowest-rated week since the end of July. On another positive note, Y&R was up 13 percent from last year’s performance, the most of any soap opera.
‘Y&R’ ranks first for the season in all categories
There was better news for Y&R in the key demographics of women 18-49 and women 25-54. Y&R held on to its audience among women 18-49, matching last week’s .39, and also was up 2 percent in women 25-53 with a .66 rating. The soap saw an increase of 5 percent from last year in women 18-49 and 10 percent among women 25-54.
There’s also this fact worth mentioning, that seems to get ignored. Since Y&R has ranked in first place for so long, it barely gets mentioned. The fact remains that this series has been able to remain number one longer than any series of any kind. Reagan was still president when the show took the top spot. The show will celebrate 34 years at number one at the end of this season- barring any kind of earth-shattering event. And it’s not just a record-long streak of winning the season overall. Y&R has ranked first every week except one (but there was a preemption that hurt Y&R and benefitted B&B that week). Pretty incredible.
Y&R holds the lead for all three categories this week,season-to-date, and has been number one every week this season. Season-to-date, Y&R is averaging a .65 rating among women 25-54, a .39 in women 18-49, and 3.496 million viewers overall.
‘B&B’ held steady in key demos, despite losing the most viewers week-to-week
B&B was the only soap to lose a statistically significant amount of viewers this week. The half-hour CBS soap dropped 75,000 viewers from last week, a 3 percent decline, but the bad news stopped there. B&B was up 9 percent in total viewers from last year and had a strong showing in the demos.
Among women 18-49, B&B was up three percent from last week’s .34 to a .35 rating. This was B&B’s second-highest ratings in women 18-49 in the last 11 weeks and the third-highest of the season. B&B was also up in the demographic from last year by 6 percent.
Viewers take a liking to Krista Allen as “NuHunter”
In women 25-54, B&B was flat from both last week and last year with a .58 rating. This is the best back-to-back performance for the show in the demographic in over six weeks. The soap has climbed .07 in the last two weeks. A contributing factor? Personally, I think Krista Allen is doing one hell of a job as the recast of Dr. Taylor Hayes. The actress had a tough act to follow in Hunter Tylo, but she has done a great job of making the character her own. Overall, B&B remains one of the most consistent performers in daytime television. At this point in the 2012 season, a full ten years ago B&B
‘GH’ up in demos week-to-week, down year-to-year.
GH, much like Y&R and DAYS this week, dipped only slightly in total viewers. The ABC soap opera lost only 4,000 viewers, a statistically insignificant drop. The soap climbed in both demographics for the week ending December 17th. GH was up to a .33 rating in women 18-49 from last week’s .31 in the demographic. In women 25-54, it was up to a .50 rating from last week’s .49, which had tied as the second-lowest performance of the season.
But there may be some troubling signs for GH that may indicate a loss of momentum. So far this season, GH has managed to pull in its highest audience since 2018 in total viewers. This week marked a rare occasion where the ABC soap was down from last year in that measurement.
Viewers turned off by depressing infant death plot device during the holidays
The soap began the season with its highest ratings in nearly 18 months. But in four of the last five weeks, the show has hit season lows. While the show is up from last year at this point in the season’s average- GH has struggled to top those numbers as easily as it once did. Compared to the CBS soaps, GH’s lead on the previous season has shrunk while B&B and Y&R have seen their audiences continue to grow by double digits from last year.
In the demos, where all of network television has struggled amid the changing television landscape, GH is no different. Compared to its performance in the key demographics of women 18-49 and 25-54, GH has declined by 16 percent and 12 percent respectively.
Are ‘GH’ fans boycotting over vaccination terminations?
Is this a sign that the soap made a mistake by letting Steve Burton go? Absolutely not. The demographic declines are an indicator that viewers have found new ways to watch their daytime dramas- look at DAYS on NBC. The real culprit for the soap opera’s loss of momentum? A devastatingly and depressing death of an infant during the holiday season. While Y&R and B&B have kept things light, GH seems to have turned some viewers off. Hopefully, the soap can correct the course.
Season-to-date GH is averaging 2.19 million viewers, its best start to a season since 2018. In the demos, GH is averaging a .32 in women 18-49 and a .53 in women 25-54. The ABC soap ranks third in all three measures.
NBC is indifferent to ‘DAYS’ apparent demographic collapse on linear television
At first glance, DAYS numbers may seem terrible. Just look at the gap between GH and DAYS-the ABC soap is running ahead of DAYS by 20 percent in total viewers. The difference between the two series is even larger among key female demographics. GH has a lead of over 30 percent both women 18-49 women 25-54.
The most troubling data maybe just how far the soap opera has fallen year-to-year in those very demographics. While younger viewers are tuning out of network television as a whole, as evidenced by General Hospital’s demographic drops- DAYS dropped a massive 31 percent in both categories. That’s almost double the decline of its ABC competitor in women 18-49 and nearly triple in women 25-54. And remember, both CBS soaps managed to show double-digit increases from last year
However, this week marked the longest run above 1.7 million viewers that DAYS has had since August of this year- three weeks and counting. While the NBC soap lost viewers this week, it was only 9,000 viewers lower than last week- a statistically insignificant drop in its audience. DAYS also had the distinction of holding onto its audience in women 25-54 from last week.
‘DAYS’ continues powerful streaming performance despite daytime decline
Meanwhile, the NBC soap is thriving in its performance on the network’s streaming service Peacock. Despite the big year-to-year declines in both key demographics, this week marked the premiere of the soap’s first made-for-streaming holiday special. That special premiered exclusively on Peacock on December 16th and features the return of various fan favorites like Chandler Massey and Eileen Davidson.
As a reminder, despite being at a record-low rating, NBC has renewed DAYS through the end of the 2023 season. The NBC soap opera is also the only daytime drama given a limited-series spinoff, the first of any kind for the genre in the streaming era. With the premiere of the holiday special another milestone for the long-running series, DAYS must be doing something right in the eyes of its network.