Friday, October 9, 2009

Soap Opera TV Ratings For Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2009

Compiled from a list of several sources, here are the Nielsen ratings for the week of September 28 through October 4, 2009 for all the daytime and primetime television soap operas.

GREY'S ANATOMY (15.4 million, 9.8/15)
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (14.3 million, 9.0/14)
THE GOOD WIFE (13.4 million, 8.9/15)
PRIVATE PRACTICE (11.5 million, 7.6/13)
FLASHFORWARD (10.8 million, 6.7/11)
BROTHERS & SISTERS (9.6 million, 6.5/11)
GLEE (7.3 million, 4.4/7)
EASTWICK (6.6 million, 4.4/8)
HEROES (5.8 million, 3.6/5)
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (4,96 million, 3.6/13) - daytime airing only
FLASHFORWARD (3.7 million, 2.6/5) - Friday repeat
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (3.5 million, 2.2/4)
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (3.3 million, 2.4/8)
DAYS OF OUR LIVES (2.9 million, 2.1/7) - daytime airing only
GENERAL HOSPITAL (2.6 million, 2.0/6) - daytime airing only
ONE TREE HILL (2.6 million, 1.7/3)
90210 (2.5 million, 1.7/3)
ONE LIFE TO LIVE (2.5 million, 1.9/6) - daytime airing only
ALL MY CHILDREN (2.45 million, 1.9/6) - daytime airing only
AS THE WORLD TURNS (2.4 million, 1.8/6)
GOSSIP GIRL (2.3 million, 1.6/2)
MELROSE PLACE (1.5 million, 1.2/2)
MELROSE PLACE (1.1 million, 0.8/1) - Wednesday repeat
LINCOLN HEIGHTS (0.86 million)
GREEK (0.74 million)


  1. This is remarkably sweet and clever. Your message comes through loud and clear.

    But it won't matter. There is an underlying and fundamentally discriminatory narrative that devalues daytime soaps, despite the hierarchy you present.

    That said, it is a beautiful way to put this in perspective.

    I know how much work this took, but I really hope you do this weekly :-)

  2. Thanks, Mark. At the end of the day these are all television shows telling continuing stories and all facing many of the same issues to get their shows on the air. The daytime shares are bigger indicating a lot less people are around watching TV during the day (of course). I wish the SOAPnet data was available more frequently so that could be added in which would bump the five daytime soaps up that air on SOAPnet each day.

    I do plan on creating this list every week.

  3. you forgot Vampire Diaries its a soap as well.

  4. Good catch. I just added them in. (3.5 million, 2.2/4)

  5. Amazing list. The daytime vs nightime perspective is fascinating! Gossip Girl gets fewer viewers than the lowest rated daytime soap. But which are in danger of cancelation?!

    I truly appreciate you putting all the work into compiling this list. Hope some people in positions of power see it and re-evaluate their attitudes.

    Many thanks.

  6. Roger,

    Glad you made this change. It's something I suggested a while ago. The ratings for the CW shows and ABC Family are on par or worse than those received by soaps.

    You might want to consider adding Fringe along with Lost and 24 when they return.

    I think nighttime soaps have the advantage in terms of the ability for their producers to make money via DVD sales and other merchandising. I wish that soaps could effectively package storylines. Given the number of episodes involved, it might be easier to sell them as an online package via YouTube, iTunes or cable on demand.

    I still think the networks are making a mistake by not showing soap reruns on their digital subchannels. Most of them just have junkie infommercials. Wouldn't it be cheap to show Santa Barbara or Sunset Beach? They could hire some of the actors to make commentary blurbs like a DVD. Those shows aren't making any money just sitting in archives..

  7. You might want to consider adding Fringe along with Lost and 24 when they return.

    Here is where it gets murky. I'd have a hard time adding Fringe, because those episodes were explicitly intended to be more self-contained (almost like a procedural) in the context of a narrative backstory.

    I also strongly believe that The Office is a serial--albeit a verite/dramedy. I'd add it to the list. But we're now in the realm of great subjectivity. Thus, I accept Roger's list, because each of our lists will differ.

    I think nighttime soaps have the advantage in terms of the ability for their producers to make money via DVD sales and other merchandising. I wish that soaps could effectively package storylines.

    I agree. A small number of diehards would be interested in owning every available episode.

    Others might be willing to own "greatest hits" playlists related to particular characters or storylines. However, it would take $$ to select, edit, and digitize. Here is where I think soaps could (like Doctor Who with the classic episodes) use volunteers to do some of this work. Seriously.

    The only model that could work, I think, is digitizing to a service like I-Tunes. The money will never be stupendous. But if the shows would be willing to use a long-haul strategy (make back their digitizing costs over many years), I think it could pay off.

  8. As Mark said, there are some clear cut primetime soaps and then a few shows that are sort of that middle ground and then the procedurals that pretty much never continue anything. Even SCRUBS had continuing stories, pregnancies, romances, as did FRIENDS.

    I thought the P&G Classic Soaps Channel on AOL was a great idea. But the technology wasn't incredibly user friendly. I know a lot of people had a hard time getting those episodes to load. And that's not the mention that much of the classic stuff is now gone. I would totally love to buy the highlights of the Steve/Rachel/Alice triangle for example but not that much remains.

    At the Paley Center event for GL, someone asked about the show on DVD. A P&G rep stood up and asked the audience how many people bought the Reva Shayne VHS tape from years ago. I think a bigger number than he expected said yes.

    The Nuke story on ATWT, for example, could easily be put onto DVD. It's hardly been on more than once a week and fans have already done this on YouTube. If current stories were going to be used, over the course of a year, an intern could pull scenes and put them together not costing the producers much of anything at all.

  9. This is how I've imagined soap opera TV Ratings in the age of timeshifting. Thanks for the work to put this composite of ''serial drama'' together.

    My only suggestion is to add the ratings for the Spanish language serial dramas (telenovelas) that air on American television each evening M-F on such commercial broadcast networks as Univision and Telemundo, etc.

    For a daily, one-hour soap, one like Univision's ''Manana Para Siempre'' is beating Y&R every ''day'' - sometimes surpassing 6 million viewers. I myself am watching ''Ninos Ricos Pobres Padres'' on Telemundo.

  10. Excellent point, FoxCrane. In the first draft of this I actually included the most popular Univision show. I must have accidentally deleted that somehow. I definitely want to include those telenovas as they beat several of the other broadcast networks in primetime some nights.