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‘The Talk’ Bags Biggest Crowd Ever When Co-Hosts Tell Secrets

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 1:20pm PDT

CBS’ The Talk bagged its largest weekly audience ever in its fourth season premiere – 2.80 million viewers. That’s 20% higher then last year’s premiere crowd (2.33 million). Among women 25-54, the season debut (1.2 rating) was up 20% and matched the show’s all-time high. In its season return, The Talk had featured its co-hosts revealing personal secrets, including Julie Chen’s much-talked-about news she’d had plastic surgery on her eyes two decades ago to make them look larger, after her boss at a local TV station told her they were holding back her career. Sharon Osbourne revealed she’d dated Jay Leno, while they were each single.

With The Talk nipping at its heels, ABC’s The View trotted out its overhauled gaggle, featuring new host Jenny McCarthy and minus Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and hit a five-month high of 3.01 million viewers. In women 25-54, The View hit a 1.2 rating – a seven month high.
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‘Revolution’s Renewal Chances Slim After Series Lows, ‘General Hospital’s Look Better

By | Wednesday March 28, 2012 @ 5:43am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE TURSDAY AM: No miracle bounce for Revolution, which slipped a fraction to a new series low of 1.32 million viewers for the week of March 19. General Hospital (2.25million) was steady, while The Chew (2.04 million) was down 5%.General Hospital Renewal

PREVIOUS: With the deadline looming for ABC to make a decision about which shows will take the two remaining daytime slots on its schedule next fall, things are looking brighter for the network’s embattled soap General Hospital. It is still the least-watched among the four surviving daytime dramas on ABC, CBS and NBC, averaging 2.3 million viewers for the most recent week we have data for (March 12-16). But the series had a ratings uptick recently (it hit an 18-week high among women 18-49, 657,000, for the week of March 5, which featured the death of a character), and in the female demo, it’s been actually running ahead of NBC’s Days Of Our Lives.

But boosting GH‘s chances of survival the most is the poor ratings performance of new lifestyle series The Revolution. ABC has given the series time to find its legs — it only premiered in January — but I hear the network brass are starting to lose faith in the show, which hit series lows for the last two weeks with Nielsen data. For the week of March 5, it drew 1.4 million viewers, and for the week of March 12 — 1.33 million viewers. Compare that to 2.25 million for GH and 2.14 million for The Chew for the week of March 12; that 2.14 million was a 10-week low for The Chew but still dwarfed The Revolution’s viewership. The two lifestyle series were introduced this season as replacements for departing soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. While The Chew has consistently delivered more than 2.1 million viewers, peaking at 2.6 million in December, The Revolution never took off despite airing behind The Chew. What’s more, The Chew‘s ratings are actually on par with those of the soap it replaced, AMC, at a fraction of the cost, sealing the new show’s status as a keeper. Meanwhile, The Revolution is down 40% from OLTL‘s numbers.

Related: Why ‘General Hospital’ Fans Could Hate Katie If Soap Cancelled Read More »

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‘The Chew’ And ‘The Talk’ Hit Highs

By | Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 6:24pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s The Chew and CBS’ The Talk, which replaced long-running daytime soaps, both posted highs last week. According to averages released today, The Chew, which replaced All My Children this fall, averaged 2.16 million viewers, growing for a fourth consecutive week and posting a series high for a second straight week. Meanwhile, CBS’ The Talk, which replaced As The World Turns last fall, delivered 2.08 million viewers for a season high. Vs. the same week last year, The Talk was up 1% in total viewers.

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ABC’s ‘The Chew’ Posts Series Highs

By | Thursday November 3, 2011 @ 12:23pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Increasing its audience for a third consecutive week, ABC’s The Chew hit series highs in total viewers and all key demos last week: total viewers (2.156 million), women 18-34 (179,000), women 18-49 (500,000) and women 25-54 (658,000). After a curiosity spike for its September 26 premiere, which drew 2.5 million viewers and 590,000 women 18-49, the ratings for The Chew, which replaced canceled soap All My Children, took a slide over the course of its premiere week. But the lifestyle series has been on an upswing lately. For now, fans of General Hospital shouldn’t worry much as the only surviving ABC daytime drama is comfortably ahead in the ratings, averaging 679,000 women 18-49 last week (though at a much higher production cost). That puts an enormous pressure on the upcoming weight-loss series The Revolution, which will replace One Life To Live in January. Because come September, something’s got to give to make room for Katie Couric’s new syndicated daytime talk show.

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OK Ratings Start For ABC’s ‘The Chew’

By | Tuesday September 27, 2011 @ 11:52am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

All My Children fans probably won’t be too happy about this, but ABC Daytime’s new lifestyle program The Chew, which replaced the canceled ABC soap, launched to solid numbers yesterday. The food-themed series drew 2.5 million viewers for its premiere and 590,000 women 18-49. That was higher than last year’s series premiere of CBS’ The Talk (2.2 million viewers, 568,000 women 18-49), which also replaced a long-running soap. (The Chew did better than The Talk debut in the other women demos too.) Additionally, The Chew matched AMC‘s most recent available weekly audience (for September 12-16) and beat the departing soap in women 18-49 (590,000 vs. 532,000). It exceeded AMC‘s 2010-11 season averages in total viewers (2.5 million vs. 2.4 million) and women 18-49 (590,000/0.9 rating vs. 541,000/0.8 rating). At a fraction of the cost of a daytime drama, if The Chew doesn’t drop dramatically, it should improve ABC’s bottom line significantly. Ironically, the level of interest in The Chew may have surpassed ABC’s own expectations — I hear the show’s website crashed yesterday because it couldn’t handle the incoming traffic. Or it was die-hard AMC fans sabotaging their show’s replacement …

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TCA: ABC Daytime’s Brian Frons Says Outcry Over Canceled Soaps “Proves We Did A Good Job These Last 40 Years”

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

The not-altogether-surprising intense protest sparked by ABC’s announced axing of its long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live demonstrated to ABC Daytime president Brian Frons that “we actually did a good job (promoting and nurturing them) for all of these last 40 years,” he told Deadline privately during a TCA lunch designed to promote one of the soaps’ daytime successors, the food show The Chew. “I think we’ve spent 40-plus years trying to keep the soap-opera audience happy. So in an odd way, (the outcry) is actually good. It’s just sad that we don’t have a solution.” However, a deal with producer Prospect Park has been cemented to relaunch both soaps during first-quarter 2012, and there’s been talk of enlisting a second production partner in cable television as well. But that remains uncertain.

Frons said that after the Prospect Park deal fell into place, All My Children‘s producers were forced to scramble to make the series ending more open-ended rather than final, since the series would now be continuing on after all. (All My Children is scheduled to leave ABC on Sept. 23; One Life to Live in January.) He added that the cancellations became necessary due to diminishing returns at the network. “We were at that point where we had to sit and look at what we were doing, and see if there were different opportunities for us in terms of serving a bigger audience. We looked at what was happening on cable — in the food space, the lifestyle space, the talk space, the reality space — and we just saw a very large audience and an opportunity.” Read More »

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FRONS SPEAKS: ABC Daytime Chief Explains Why ‘AMC’ & ‘OLTL’ Were Axed; Says ‘GH’ Is “Safe For Time Being”

Nellie Andreeva

ABC DAYTIME SHAKEUP: Network Cancels BOTH ‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life To Live,’ Replaces Them With Lifestyle Series

EXCLUSIVE: ABC’s daytime president Brian Frons is the most hated man among soap fans today after the announcement that the network is canceling both All My Children and One Life To Live. He even quipped that he “pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.” The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making, Frons tells me. “A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go,” he said. When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them. Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew, The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama, Frons said. But “the way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”

The call to go ahead with canceling a daytime soap was made a couple of weeks ago, while the final decision to axe both AMC and OLTL was made within the past week, Frons said. He confirmed that there was a brief discussion about a year ago to combine the two soaps into one, bringing together some of the best characters from each series. “It was one of my craziest ideas,” Frons said. Other crazy ideas he had for the soaps’ slots? “I looked at (Bravo executive/talk show host) Andy Cohen and thought maybe I should have talk show.”

While ABC also developed more traditional daytime fare like talk and game shows, genres CBS recently used to replace its soaps The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, the network ultimately opted for more non-traditional fare with The Chew and The Revolution, both hybrid unscripted/talk shows. That was by design, said Frons, noting that he was following advice by his former boss at NBC Brandon Tartikoff not to go for shows others already have on.

“I wanted to do shows that were unusual for daytime,” Frons said. “What’s happening now is people are looking for information to make their lives better, they’re obsessed about what they eat and they’re obsessed with weight,” Frons said about going with The Chew and The Revolution, whose titles were chosen to complement ABC’s daytime talk show The View, with which they are designed to run in a “block of talk and information that you can build your day around,” Frons said. It probably doesn’t hurt that the new shows are also much cheaper to produce than the two soaps they are replacing, even after AMC was moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2009 to cut costs. Frons declined to discuss the size of the orders to The Chew and The Revolution but noted that “daytime shows take awhile” to take hold, indicating that ABC will give both series time to establish themselves.

As for the only remaining ABC daytime drama, General Hospital, it is safe “for the time being,” Frons said, adding, “We feel very positive about its place on the schedule.” Read More »

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ABC DAYTIME SHAKEUP: Network Cancels BOTH ‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life To Live,’ Replaces Them With Lifestyle Series

By | Thursday April 14, 2011 @ 11:23am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

FRONS SPEAKS: ABC Daytime Chief Explains Why ‘AMC’ & ‘OLTL’ Were Axed; Says ‘GH’ Is “Safe For Time Being”

UPDATED: Goodbye Erica Kane. It is a sad day for soap fans, who are losing two more long-running daytime dramas. After relentless speculation over the past couple of months that ABC will cancel at least one of its three daytime soaps, the network today announced it will pull the plug on both All My Children and One Life To Live. All My Children will end its 41-year run in September, One Life to Live will bow out in January after 43 years. They will be replaced by two new unscripted shows, The Chew and The Revolution, respectively. The move leaves General Hospital as the only soap in ABC’s daytime lineup.

Produced by Gordon Elliot (Paula Deen’s Home Cooking), The Chew is a live show about anything and everything related to the world of food and beyond. Hosts include Mario Batali (Iron Chef America), Clinton Kelly (TLC’s What Not to Wear), Carla Hall (Bravo’s Top Chef), Michael Symon (Iron Chef America), nutrition expert Daphne Oz and chef Danny Boome. The Revolution, from JD Roth and 3 Ball Prods. (The Biggest Loser), is a daily show about health and lifestyle transformations. The show, starring fashion expert Tim Gunn as well as celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and American Idol alum Kimberley Locke, each week follows one woman’s five-month weight loss journey, which unfold in five days, with daily results and a final transformational reveal on Friday.

With the drumbeat of a pending ABC daytime drama cancellation getting louder, attention focused on this week, which marked ABC daytime president Brian Frons’ return from vacation, as decision time. The writing had been on the wall: With ratings for daytime dramas continuing to decline, CBS and NBC had already pared down the number of their soaps, with CBS canceling The Guiding Light and As The World Turns and NBC pulling Passions. With three daytime dramas, ABC had as many as CBS and NBC combined, with AMC and OLTL ranking dead last in total viewers and AMC recently hitting a series of all-time lows in the key women 18-49 demographic. The only possible reason for ABC to keep that many soaps around, sister cable network SoapNet, which repurposes the series, is going away, replaced by Disney Jr next year. So the only question was what type of shows ABC would replace its soaps with. “While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can’t help but recognize how bittersweet the change is,” Frons said today in making the announcement. “We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days. They are telling us there is room for informative, authentic and fun shows that are relatable, offer a wide variety of opinions and focus on ‘real life’ takeaways.” He also stressed the new shows’ “enormous opportunity for the creation of ancillary businesses and growth.” They also appear much cheaper than the dramas they are replacing.

As for AMC and OLTL, “they are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history,” Frons said. Both shows were created by Agnes Nixon. AMC is headlined by one of the most recognizable soap stars, Susan Lucci, who has been on the show since the very beginning playing Erica Kane, dubbed the most famous daytime soap character of all time. All My Children, which revolved around the lives of the residents of fictional Pine Valley, premiered on ABC on Jan. 5, 1970, as a half-hour show; it was expanded to an hour seven years later. One Life to Live, set in the fictional town of Llanview, debuted on ABC on July 15, 1968, also as a half-hour show. Ten years later, it was expanded to a full hour. Notable alumni of the two soaps include Kelly Ripa, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Melissa Leo, Christian Slater and Amanda Seyfried (AMC) and Ryan Phillippe, Nathan Fillion, Marcia Cross, Tommy Lee Jones and Judith Light (OLTL). Read More »

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