[Soap Opera] Ratings History

Soap are often mocked for their campiness and asinine dialogue.  However, they are a durable genre which miraculously survived a deliberate purge in the late 2000's/early 2010's.  Once striking its zenith with 19 entries in the 1969-70 season, 2012 onward has featured 4 durable survivors.  Along the way, nine contenders were crowned 1st place, with The Young and the Restless carrying the crown for a current 29-year run, followed closely by defunct As the World Turns owning the title for 20 years and General Hospital taking an honorable 9 years.

Soaps went through a cavalcade of evolution.  The 50's started by carrying radio soaps over to television, with only Guiding Light surviving the transition.  This decade funded production with product placement sponsors such as Proctor and Gamble, and all of course advertising household soaps.  The 60's featured NBC and ABC entering the arena, and geometry lessons built viewers as NBC launched its soap blocks to prominence with popular love triangles.  The 70's sought relevance and youth, followed by the 80's displaying, glamour, glitz and action-adventure capers.  The genre peaked by 1994, and the OJ Simpson trial of 1995 offset the eternal decline in Nielsen's.  The 2000's and 2010's featured the endings of several franchises which spanned multiple decades, and yet a scant four still remain.  Enjoy the ensemble of Nielsen data.









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