Soap Opera Resurgence? Two Years After Facing Cancellation, Network Drama Is Picked Up

Jan 23, 2014  •  Post A Comment

A long-running network soap opera has been picked up for another season, two years after it appeared to be on the chopping block. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that ABC has renewed its veteran daytime drama “General Hospital.”

The news comes two years after the series was facing an uncertain future when the network gave its 3 p.m. time slot to Katie Couric’s new talk show, “Katie,” the report notes. Now, however, “Katie” is set to end in May after a disappointing two-year run, while “General Hospital’s” ratings have been on an upswing.

“ABC does not officially renew its soaps, but I have learned that, not surprisingly, ‘General Hospital’ will continue next season,” Andreeva writes.

The renewal comes on the heels of CBS and NBC’s decisions to renew competing soaps, which means the “entire lineup of daytime dramas will remain intact as the genre experiences a resurgence,” she notes. CBS has renewed “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” while NBC has renewed “Days of our Lives,” as we reported separately.

The story adds, “Consider this: All four soaps are in positive territory year-to-year. Leader ‘The Young & the Restless’ (5.2 million viewers season to date, 1.5 in Women 18-49) is up 9% in total viewers and 7% in the female demo as it marks its 25th season as the most watched daytime drama.”

Meanwhile, “The Bold and the Beautiful” is up 14% in viewers, while “General Hospital” has boosted its total viewership by 8% and “Days of Our Lives” is up by 10%.

“The reasons for the resurgence are hard to pin down. Most observers attribute the ratings growth to the fact that, after so many daytime dramas went away, soap fans are migrating to the remaining series,” Andreeva notes.

All the soaps are online, which makes it easier for viewers to keep up with the stories. “The series’ storylines themselves also have been getting positive reaction from fans, possibly helping bring in new viewers,” Andreeva notes.

Nevertheless, the situation is grimmer for two soaps that migrated to online-only, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” the piece notes.

“Both stopped production a while ago as producer Prospect Park has been embroiled in a legal battle with ABC and chances for any of them coming back appear infinitely small,” Andreeva reports.

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