Deep Soap: ‘All My Children’ Finale Delivers Huge Ratings

Susan Lucci on the 'All My Children' Finale (Photo: ABC)

Susan Lucci on the 'All My Children' Finale (Photo: ABC)

Chew on this: “All My Children” Is the Number Two Soap in Its Final Week

The ratings are in for “All My Children’s” ABC finale. The show, which has consistently been the second to lowest rated show in key demos during its final months on the air, shot up as viewers tuned in to see its last television episode. The show was number two for the week across the board, scoring a 2.3/7 in Households, 1.1/7 among Women 18-49 and 1.5/9 among Women 25-54 for the week of September 19th-23rd. AMC’s final episode, on Friday September 23rd, was watched by 3,475,000 people, garnering a 2.6 Household rating. It was AMC’s most watched episode in years.

Watch the Final Episode of “All My Children” Now on

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All of the publicity surrounding the show’s finale clearly inspired some lapsed viewers to tune in to say goodbye. Soap Opera Network put together a chart comparing AMC’s final week performance to the last three canceled soaps. “Guiding Light” experienced a similar boost in its final week, though about a half million more people tuned in for AMC’s final episode. “As The World Turns” and “Passions” did not get much of a bump.  It’s a sign that there is still plenty of life in Pine Valley. People who understandably gave up on the show over the past few years tuned in to say goodbye. Prospect Park has got to feel good about the show’s future on the web.

While I still think ABC canceled the show prematurely, objectively, those are still not great numbers. No soap is doing well right now. As this great article in New York magazine points out, neither is any show on network television, daytime nor prime-time. It’s not that people are no longer interested in daytime soaps. It’s that television viewers are migrating to programs on cable, which are designed to appeal to smaller niches of viewers. Daytime is suffering the consequences of declining revenues and corporate belt tightening.

Rumors About James Scott Leaving DOOL Create Drama

It’s the latest round of my least favorite type of behind-the-scenes daytime news: the public contract negotiation. Fans were shocked when Soap Opera Digest published a report that “Days of Our Lives” star James Scott (E.J.) was leaving the show at the end of his contract because he was not able to make a deal to continue with the show. Then, about an hour later, it amended the story to report that negotiations were ongoing. DOOL would be crazy to let one of its most popular actors leave while it is attempting to relaunch itself. E.J. has driven the show for the past couple years. The talented Scott has made a lot of ridiculous plot twists work, crafting a fascinating character despite inconsistent writing that had E.J. veering from tortured anti-hero to mustache-twirling villain and back again. Scott is one of the few DOOL actors to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the leading actor category, an accomplishment that is even more impressive given that actors under the age of 40 are rarely nominated in the lead categories. I humbly suggest that NBC and Sony, the studio that owns DOOL, sweeten the pot for Scott with a contractual guarantee that he will get to guest star on an NBC or Sony-produced prime-time show. That could be a win-win. He would get both additional exposure and the chance to play a new character, and the prime-time show would get to work with a great actor whose fanbase will tune in to watch him.

In my opinion, it’s unfortunate that the routine back-and-forth of contract negotiations have become news. As with the situation with Susan Lucci and the on-line version of AMC, prematurely reporting that actors have turned down offers gets fans riled up for no reason, and manages to both make the shows look cheap and the actors look greedy. In these budget-conscious times, negotiations are often going to be contentious, with agents and network executives fighting over raises and bumps in guaranteed numbers of episodes that would have been routinely granted a decade ago. By the end of the day, the press-shy actor issued a statement: “It has always been my wish to continue working with “Days of Our Lives” and in light of recent reassurances given, I am optimistic of my future here at DAYS!”

My, What Big Lies You Have Grandma Irene

I fell a little bit out of love with “One Life to Live” when Victor (Trevor St. John) was murdered. This week, the show took me out to dinner, bought me a dozen roses and said, “Baby, now that AMC is gone, the two of us have got to find a way to make this work.” Then, it gave me: a strong, smart Blair (Kassie DePaiva) nearly guilt-tripping Jack (Andrew Trischetta) into admitting he lied about witnessing Todd kill Victor by pretending to believe him; Starr breaking Todd out of jail while displaying her knowledge of science; Cord’s (John Loprieno) return; and Shane (Austin Nichols) flashing back to hitting Jack over the head and realizing he could clear Todd, but only at his own expense.

But the most glorious part of the week has been the Irene and Tina show. Irene is campy, ridiculous and terrifying. Either you’re willing to buy into her or you aren’t. When she showed up at the reading of Victor’s will with caramels for her grandchildren and asked Jack to give her a kiss on the cheek, I was sold. Barbara Rhoades is selling the hell out of this role. I loved that Blair has no qualms about slapping the hell out of her. I loved watching her square off with Viki — and that, as evil as she is, Irene managed to score a point about Viki getting off the hook for every one of her misdeeds thanks to her alters. Then Tina (Andrea Evans) flounced in, with canine David Vickers in tow, in the hopes of getting her piece of Victor’s fortune, even though he would never have considered including her in the will. Tina confronting her rogue CIA agent mother about abandoning her and letting her think she’s dead is an emotional beat that needed to be played in this story, and we got it.

The twist that Irene managed to forge the will to make herself the sole heir to Victor’s fortune is ludicrous, but it’s fun and opens up the tantalizing possibility that maybe she has Victor stashed someplace and they are now working together. Will canine David Vickers manage to make like Lassie and tell everyone that Irene stashed a bomb outside the house before Todd is returned to jail? Will Todd and Blair finally get a meaty one-on-one scene? Will Tina and Cord reunite? Oh, OLTL, I think it’s time we put a ring on it.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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