#Sprina has been building social media buzz for ‘General Hospital’ and its paying off in the soap opera’s ratings
After months of build-up, the teens of ‘General Hospital’ finally went on their cabin getaway. It was traumatic for the teens (especially Trina), difficult to watch for viewers at home, and an all-around flop in the Nielsen ratings. Viewers gave the ABC soap opera a chance to redeem itself the following week and apparently liked what they saw.
During the week of February 4th ‘GH’ was up 17 percent week-to-week in women 18-49 and 6 percent in women 25-54. Those numbers aren’t just god, they are great. But the data doesn’t show the full picture of just how bad the cabin trip performed or how much the soap bounced back the following week.
There were five consecutive episodes centering on the teens beginning Tuesday, January 25th through Monday, January 31st. Tuesday’s episode featured Spencer and Trina’s flirtation at Kelly’s followed by the official beginning of the trip on Wednesday; viewers saw Esme drug Trina during the drinking game on Thursday, and on Friday, we saw the fallout (sans Trina for reasons that defy reason) from Esme’s gotcha-questions.
On Monday’s episode, all five teens are featured as they discuss the events of their ill-fated excursion. Then on Wednesday, February 2nd episode Ava and Trina talked about the trip while Spencer contemplated his jail sentence, culminating with Spencer walking into the gallery to see Trina, and Thursday saw Trina and Spencer have their almost-kiss.
Let’s look at the episodes chronologically: Tuesday’s episode featured twenty different characters (I shit you not, twenty), but a big chunk of the episode centered on Spencer and Trina. Among women 18-49, GH had a 0.33 rating and a 0.54 among women 25-54. That episode was well-received on social media, but as previews/spoilers revealed the story’s direction that week, things took a turn.
Social media buzz turned negative after Trina was drugged
Based on the preview spoiler, word spread online that Trina would be the only character targeted by Esme on the trip, which upset quite a few members of the audience. However, the potential for some GIF-worthy moments between Spencer and Trina or some insights into why Esme is so crazy was cause for many viewers to tune in. Wednesday’s episode dropped in women 18-49 by 6 percent, with a slight fluctuation from 0.33 to 0.31. Among women 25-54, GH was steady at a 0.54 rating.
Esme drugged Trina’s drink on the now infamous Thursday episode and embarrassed her with probing questions about her thoughts of Cam and Joss. #SoapTwitter was rightfully annoyed (not even a PSA about the dangers of underage drinking/opioids), but viewership in the younger demographic only fell to 0.30.
The drop may not seem alarming, but GH had lost a tenth of its audience across three episodes where a long-awaited camping trip finally took place. The older demographic of women 25-54, fell 8 percent from the previous day pulling in a 0.50 rating.
Cameron and Joss had their moment- at the wrong time and place.
Then came the Friday episode- a total shitshow. Those who tuned in expecting to see what happened to Trina were disappointed- she wasn’t in the episode. The focus shifted first to Joss attacking Esme, which fell flat because viewers didn’t see any of her checking on her best friend. Esme and Spencer left the cabin- with Spencer not checking on Trina either.
Cameron and Joss then chose to make love at what felt like a weird moment. The added dimension of Esme recording their first time was jarring- although her drugging of Trina was just as gratuitous. I won’t even get into the racial overtones of Trina’s situation during these episodes- but you can check that out here.
Lowest rated ‘GH’ episode of the season
As an active member of Twitter, I keep my eye on #SoapTwitter in particular. #GH fans are the most active on social media, and they make their opinions known; the responses I saw from Twitter were universally negative.
The ratings seemed to echo the opinions on social media, as Friday’s episode fell 17 percent in women 18-49 to 0.25 rating, the lowest of any episode of GH this season. Over four days, GH fell 24 percent and 22 percent, women 18-49 and 25-54 respectively.
But Monday’s episode promised a look into Trina and Spencer’s perspectives on the cabin trip, which were crucial pieces missing from Friday’s episode. And in many ways, it delivered as viewers got to see that Trina was unharmed while Spencer questioned Esme on her intentions.
In the end, Trina and her friends were on the same page over Esme while Spencer was concerned about Trina above all else (regardless of what he told his girlfriend)- which were all steps in the right direction.
The numbers seem to agree with the online sentiment. Compared to Friday’s episode, Monday was up 48 percent to 0.37 in the demographic of women 18-49. On Monday, GH beat the other three soaps handily. The increase in women 25-54 was slightly more subdued but still upbeat, increasing 21 percent to a 0.51 rating. Tuesday’s episode was a non-#Sprina episode and dropped 22 percent in women 18-49 and 10 percent among the older demographic.
‘GH’ bounced back with better storytelling and higher ratings.
Despite the decline on Tuesday, GH fans seemed keen to return to the show on Wednesday. GH was up 41 percent in women 18-49 for a 0.41 rating from the previous day. And compared to the Monday’s episode featuring Trina and Spencer, ratings were up 11 percent. Wednesday’s performance in the ratings could indicate viewers enjoy Trina and Spencer’s relationship in particular since Joss and Cameron were absent.
There was also a heavy focus on the generational dynamics, with Trina opening up to her mentor Ava and Spencer mixing it with Kevin and Victor. The connection of past and present always plays well with long-time viewers. This may explain why the show surged in both demographics when the #Sprina episodes seemed to skew younger. Women 25-54 showed up for the episode as the ratings increased by 22 percent compared to Monday and 35 percent on Tuesday. GH was a solid second place in both of the demographics on Wednesday.
Leading up to Sprina’s almost-kiss, ‘GH’ has it’s best Wednesday episode since September
Through twenty weeks of the season, GH has averaged a 0.32 rating in women 18-49 and a 0.52 rating in women 25-54. The #Sprina Wednesday outperformed the season-to-date performance on Wednesdays in women 25-54 by 19 percent and 28 percent in women 18-49. The episode also ranks as the second highest-rated Wednesday episode in women 18-49 and 25-54 and comes in third place out of the 95 first-run episodes that aired this season in the younger demographic.
Thursday’s episode slipped a bit to a 0.36 rating, still good enough to tie for second place. And while the show fell to a 0.53 rating in women 25-54 on Thursday, it was more substantial than the week before. Overall, GH was up in both demographics and added viewers for the week.
‘GH’ has some important dates in the near future
‘GH’ has had a strong start to the season and is currently performing better than the last two years. The ABC soap opera will air it’s 15,000th episode sometime in March and celebrates its 59th year on the air on April 1, 2022. ‘General Hospital’ is the longest running soap opera on television today and is the longest running scripted show on television.
These numbers are proof positive that the #Sprina is a good thing for ‘GH’. I hope the network capitalizes on the popularity of Spencer Cassidine and Trina Robinson.