Thursday, November 20, 2008

GL is the new low

Earlier this week I reported that ATWT, with its 30% loss of viewers (between the maximum and minimum of the calendar year) was the biggest proportional loser of viewers in 2008.

Well, ratings released today at SON show GL hit a new household low rating of 1.4. With that, GL takes the "biggest loser" slot, with a loss of 31%.

I am not a regular viewer of GL, so I cannot comment on the show's creative state. Casual readers of the soap fan networks reveals that many long time viewers do not like GL's new production model, but more importantly, they feel the show has little narrative connection to its' history. Most fan favorites are gone or rarely seen, and some claim there are few intersecting stories with long-term payoff. I don't know if any of that is true.

I know that constant doom-filled signs for GL bring me no joy. Daytime's most venerable soap should not fade out like this. For a long time it has not been helped by less than 100% clearances on CBS and a wide array of timeslots (e.g, 10 am in New York).

At the point, with the clearly faster-rate-of-decline than other shows (ominous since the show was already at the bottom of the heap), it seems clear that fans have not accepted the new writing style or production model. While I applaud the experiment (I have in another post), if this were a drug trial, it would be time to say "stop--the experimental drug is killing the patient".

In contrast, two of the other bottom soaps (OLTL, AMC) have experienced much less proportional decline this year...and lately there are some hints of rebound

Now what, for GL?

There are signs that GL is trying some repair. Heralded returns of Grant Alexander, David Andrew McDonald might...just might...suggest that the show realizes it needs some anchor in popular legacy characters.

At the same time, the history of daytime soaps shows that when fans leave, they don't come back, and new viewers do not replace them (Jack Peyton axiom).

It really is like watching cancer ravage a loved one, and nothing can stop it. There comes a place when you pray for euthansia or merciful release. As a long-time viewer of another soap (Y&R), a piece of my soul -- really, I'm not being melodramatic -- will be lost forever when that show dies. But at some point I'd rather see that than what seems to be happening to GL now.

No comments: