Time for ABC/Disney to Improve Product Before It Is Too Late
For the week ending June 19, 2009, the ratings for GENERAL HOSPITAL (GH) plummeted to all-time lows. GH lost more viewers than ALL MY CHILDREN (AMC) and ONE LIFE TO LIVE (OLTL) combined in both total viewers and in the women 18-49 demographic according to the numbers reported by The Nielsen Ratings Corporation. GH also recorded its first ever 1.6 rating in total viewers and, for the first time in the history of any ABC soap, had a market share of 5. As GH fell to sixth place out of the eight daily soap operas rated (which will soon be seven when Guiding Light's cancellation takes effect), the question raised is: Will ABC/Disney continue with the status quo at GH and can they afford to?
One year ago, GH, led by fan favorite pairings Sonny and Kate, Jason and Elizabeth, Patrick and Robin, and Jax and Carly, was comfortably in third place in total viewers and in second place by a wide margin in the women 18 to 49 demographic. Each of the four couples mentioned is consistently rated eighth or higher in polls by ABC Soaps In Depth or Soap Opera Digest weekly, even while two of them are no longer allowed to share screen time. This separation is depriving many viewers of what used to be an enjoyable experience. Evidence of this is apparent in last week's numbers when only 754,000 women in the 18-49 demographic watched the show, down 7,000 viewers from GH’s previous all time low of 761,000 (week ending April 24, 2009).
All of this, combined with analysis of last week’s ratings (June 15-19, 2009) vs. last season's numbers, shows ABC's GH is currently down 25% in total viewers and down 31% in the 18-49 demographic. Given this continued steep decline in viewership, and over six months of complaints from GH fans who are loyal ABC/Disney customers, it is clear that management has not listened to the viewers by taking steps to improve its product.
Having joined together to form the SOS/Save Our Soap! GENERAL HOSPITAL Campaign, fans of Sonny and Kate, Jason and Elizabeth, Patrick and Robin, and Jax and Carly share a common goal in asking ABC/Disney to listen to the viewers and make changes. Over 12,000 postcards have already been sent to ABC/Disney executives to that end. All involved in this campaign want GH to be successful and want to help restore GH to the position it once held. However, as one fan stated, “women, who are the backbone of GH’s viewership, and obviously the most important demographic, resent being virtually banned from their screens by being forced to endure the degradation of strong, independent and professional female characters in favor of showcasing immoral, manipulative, lying female characters on a day-to-day basis. Women viewers have had enough and have decided that GH is no longer entertaining or enjoyable to watch and the ratings reflect that.”
The number of fans joining the SOS/Save Our Soap! General Hospital Campaign continues to grow in support of working for a better GENERAL HOSPITAL. For more information on the campaign, contact Dana L. Meyer or Kecia K. Picard firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the SOS/Save Our Soap! GENERAL HOSPITAL page on Facebook.
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