A few years ago, there was a decline in US daytime soaps. Long running soapies, All My Children and One Life to Live were cancelled, a move which shocked many. Soap operas in general were posting lower ratings, mostly because of the way that traditional families are changing. More men are becoming stay at home dads, while more women are working, which essentially means that the daytime soap genre had waning interest. So it made sense then for broadcast networks to cancel non-performing soapies.
Yet there's apparently been a rise in soapies again. According to an article in Variety, the four top soapies are enjoying a ratings increase. CBS's The Young and the Restless (on e.tv in SA) and The Bold and the Beautiful (SABC 3's top ranked show), NBC's Days of our Lives (on SABC 3) and ABC's General Hospital have shown an increase in ratings.
It does make sense that if there's not that many shows to watch during the morning and daytime, one would watch on the TV to watch daytime soaps. It's mindless entertainment that is weirdly addictive and the soap opera genre's popularity around the world, especially The Bold and the Beautiful, is understandable.
We see it daily in South Africa, where soapies are extremely popular. And example is that people watch The Bold and the Beautiful, Isidingo, Generations and Muvhango repeats, after watching them the previous evening. The same shows. The same episode. And it's mostly because morning TV is made up of a lot of TV infomercials- there are no talk shows or other interesting shows other than soapie repeats to watch. It's worth nothing that viewers get fresh content after 1pm.
An interesting angle to the Variety piece is that it's actually younger people tuning in to watch the US soaps, rather than the older audience who have watched the show for a long time.
"But if it were simply the same viewers moving from one show to another, the gains would be only among the core, older soap opera fan base — and that’s not the case. It’s clear that some new blood is being pumped into the genre."
The article showed that General Hospital, has grown from last year by 9% in total viewership (to 3.32 million) and Days of Our Lives is up 10% (to about 3 million viewers). The Young and the Restless averages 5.3 million viewers daily and The Bold and the Beautiful bags nearly 4 million.
So maybe it's not so over for soap operas? I guess we then need to get ready for 20 more years of Brooke Logan and her shenanigans.