Deep Soap: ‘One Life To Live’ Finale Breaks Ratings Records

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ABC Fails To Acknowledge “One Life To Live” Finale’s Record Ratings

The January 13th finale of “One Life To Live” was watched by 3,840,000 people, for a strong 2.7 Household rating. For comparison, that is more than watched the final episodes of “All My Children,” (3,475,000) “As The World Turns,” (2.846,000) or “Guiding Light” (2,975,000).  Overall, for its final week, OLTL was the number two daytime program among the coveted Women 18-49 demographic (1.3/7), beating not only other soaps but “The View.” OLTL also tied with “The Young & the Restless” for number one among Women18-34 (0.7.4) and was the number one soap among teens (63,000 viewers). Those younger viewers were not tuning in out of nostalgia. It was the soap’s best week in total viewers since September 3. 2007. OLTL went out with numbers that are better than every primetime show on the CW.

ABC’s response was to issue a press release touting the fact that “The Chew” had its highest rated episode ever January 13th, without mentioning that it was sandwiched between the OLTL tribute episode of “The View” and the final episode of OLTL. OLTL’s finale was not even acknowledged in the network’s weekly daytime press release. In addition to being disingenuous, it’s disrespectful to the hundreds of former ABC employees who worked so hard under unpleasant, uncertain conditions to craft what many consider to be the best finale in daytime history. They deserve to be acknowledged. It’s not as though there would be any negative consequences for ABC if the network praised OLTL’s performance. The show is canceled. Its replacement is airing. If every single entertainment journalist in America wrote an article about how many people tuned in to watch the OLTL finale, most would just attribute the increase in viewership to nostalgic former viewers tuning in out of curiosity. Even if some outside the soap press questioned ABC’s decision to cancel the show, it would not have any impact on the performance of ABC’s current daytime line-up.

ABC is doing everything that it can to promote the final season of “Desperate Housewives.” In May, the network will undoubtedly publicize what will surely be the high ratings of the show’s finale. OLTL deserved the same respect.

The Seduction of  Will Horton

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I am so impressed with the twists and turns in the Will (Chandler Massey) and E.J. (James Scott) storyline on “Days of Our Lives.”  Having all of the gay characters on the show along with E.J., and, possibly, Marlena (Deidre Hall) and Justin (Wally Kurth)  figure out that Will is gay before he has even admitted it to himself is a sophisticated, fresh take on a coming out storyline. It treats being gay as a normal part of life, not a huge, scandalous revelation. It’s also realistic. I think we all went to high school or college with someone who was in a similar situation. When Sonny told Jai from Queer Eye that Will “was not there yet,”  with respect to acknowledging his sexual orientation, it rang true. I can’t wait to find out what finally incites him to come out. Will it be a hot guy? One too many drinks? Or his desire to do as many things as possible that he thinks will hurt his mother?

The most unexpected delight has been Will’s decision to embrace working for E.J. rather than treat it as a torturous ordeal. Yes, he is only doing it because E.J. is threatening to reveal that Will shot him a few years ago, but, as E.J. astutely pointed out in fun scenes that played like a seduction, Will enjoys living on the edge. Sure, he felt a little guilty about stealing campaign secrets from longtime family friend Abe (James Reynolds), but he also found it exhilarating. When E.J. gave him a sports car, Will officially turned to the darkside. The wages of sin are very, very good. When Sami (Alison Sweeney) caught Will and E.J. together, it was Will who defiantly proclaimed his right to work for E.J. He told Marlena that it was an interesting job, and he had no anxiety about working for the DiMeras. Given that his best friend is E.J.’s little brother, and he used to be E.J’s stepson, it’s hard to dispute.

Massey and Scott have so much inappropriate chemistry that Daytime Confidential penned an article wondering whether E.J. and Will should have an affair. I think their relationship is more like a vampire-sire bond. E.J. turned Will into something he did not think he wanted to be, and now Will is both changed and forever bound to him.

It seems like this story is written by a different set of writers than the rest of DOOL. Not only is it smarter and funnier, it’s the only plot on the show with clear emotional stakes. As much as I appreciate the attention the writers are paying to the show’s history, the Will and E.J. saga seems like it’s the show’s future. Welcome to the twenty-first century DOOL. Now have the courage to finish what you started, and let Will kiss a boy.

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

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