At its peak, about 60 million viewers watched daytime soap operas each week. In February 1990, the one-and-a-half hour between 12.30pm and 2pm attracted 30.8% households ratings. Daytime TV usually started at 10 o'clock in the morning until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. "In daytime programming the size and frequency of audiences are important. If we can get the viewer who turns in once or twice a week to watch three times a week, we will be successful," Michael Brockman of CBS made known. 

Agnes Nixon recalled, "When we started 'One Life To Live' (in 1968) and 'All My Children' (in 1970), ABC didn't do any special publicity about them. They just slid onto the air and caught on with viewers by word-of-mouth. But these days (in 1983), soap operas have become so much more popular that the networks now realize their financial importance." 

Soap operas earned an average of 15% ($1.21 billion in 1990) of the networks' total revenues ($10.1 billion in 1990). About 27% of TV households (some 25 millions in total) watched television during daytime. Daytime programming was also less expensive to produce with soap operas costing around $1 million for 5 shows. At the height of its popularity, 'General Hospital' could gross up to $150 million a year in net profit (after expenses). The Luke and Laura wedding in November 1981 attracted 12.7% households ratings. 

Susan Beckley taught the course 'Soap Operas: What They Are And How We View Them' at the University of Alabama in 1979 told 'Knight-Ridder News Service' soap operas were valuable because they relied on human relationships for subject matter. "People relate to the situations and the characters. So watching soaps can provide viewers – from people with doctorates to high school dropouts – with alternate solutions to their problems. Because they spend every day with these characters, living with them in the most intimate part of their lives, some people think the actors are real people. They're good entertainment and they offer some valuable lessons besides." 

Landon Owen of the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry added, "I really think soap operas deal with a lot of basic emotional things that go on with people's lives. They tap into very personal struggles that people encounter in every day living. It's vicarious identification with people on the boob tube in some ways. It's a kind of psychological relief – a measure of how they are compared to these people." 

However putting a soap on the air before noon was a gamble. George Keramidas of ABC told 'United Press International' in 1983, "Sure it's a risk. The truth is, we're not really going to know until fall. But we've done surveys that indicate women (18-49 years old) do want to watch this kind of program and they are available in the morning." It was explained in the summer when school was out, "kids dominate the set." On daytime soap operas, the focus would be on youth-oriented story lines. 

Gloria Monty pointed out, "You have to plan for the future. We have to build long-term characters and relationships. We can't just bring in an actor for 13 weeks and expect it to work. You use realistic actors who play very real people (characters) who are caught in these larger-than-life situations. Our stories have some fantasy in them, but they're not that different from some of the movies. We have a style of playing that's like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. I don't think we'll ever reach the viewer level we had during the wedding (of Luke and Laura). I don't know if all of television will ever reach that level again. All the ratings have gone soft."

Meredith Brown of 'Soap Opera Digest' remarked, "It's basically a business decision. It's a tradition that in the summertime, you have many more kids watching the soaps – and the networks want to cater to these kids. Those young viewers want to see story lines involving people their own age, and the soap producers are hopeful that when the kids go back to school in September, they'll still remain loyal to the soaps they got hooked on in the summer. I'm 31 years old (in 1987), and most people my age started watching the soaps during the summer when they were teens. We've built lifelong habits from those days." 

Gary Warner told 'News American Syndicate', "The networks are aware that if they can grab 'em when they're 16, 17 and 18, they're gonna have 'em, still when they're 25, 26 and 27. They'll continue watching as they grow older, and they'll become the backbone of a program's popularity. So it's pretty crucial for a soap to appeal to that young audience. 

"The audience for the soaps really blossoms in the summertime, even though the nighttime programs are all suffering from low viewing and the main reason for the summer upsurge in the daytime is the college and high school kids – and kids even younger than that. So you can hardly blame the soaps for giving the young characters the storyline and letting them run with it for a couple of months." 

George Keramidas continued, "We knew initially it would be a slow build. This form rarely, if ever, catches on right away. 'The Young and the Restless' (started in 1973) took two to three years to catch on. There's no formula for what will repeat well (programs in reruns) and what won't. 'Dynasty' and 'Dallas' have the highest ratings but they don't repeat well." 

All soap operas regularly introduced new characters, brought in new writers, changed its opening credits and theme music and quickened the pace of its stories to attract viewers. Actor Alan Dysert played Sean Cudahy on 'All My Children' taught five acting classes in Nashville in 1995 observed, "There are always going to be two or three characters that producers want to be melodramatic, and they'll ask those actors to push it beyond what most actors want to do. Most are doing the same acting they'd be doing if they were doing a movie. But when you add the soap opera music and the way they set up the scenes, it looks soapy. Viewers want it to look soapy. They don't want it to look like 'E.R.'" 

Judy McGinley: "I started watching them (her favorite 'The Young and the Restless') when I was first married. We had just moved to Antigo (Wisconsin). My mother-in-law lived there and would call me up and say turn on such and such. It gave us something to talk about. I feel my problems are so small when I watch them. They take my mind off my own problems and worries and it's fun to see what entanglements evolve." 

Mike Sowinski: "My wife had been watching them long before I started. That’s how I started watching them (his favorite 'Days of our Lives') – I got married." 

Jane Lukens: "The reason is timing. It's on when my little boy takes his nap. So I'll watch it when I scrub the floor or do some needlepoint. Once you get started, they are very contagious. That's the reason why I don't watch more (other than 'The Guiding Light'). I would get too involved." 

In the 5 years since 1988, 'Entertainment Weekly' reported in 1993, the total ratings of soap operas had fallen to 14%. Lucy Johnson of CBS told Associated Press, "Because we're on day in, day out, 52 weeks a year, there's a familiarity and intimacy with the product. It's like reading a novel that never ends. The rule of thumb, which is much different than a prime-time psychology, is that we've got a loyal core audience for our shows. 

"That means we do everything we can to retool and rebuild the franchise of a particular show, rather than saying, 'Well, it's slipped a little in the ratings, so we'll put on a new show in its place.' You can't assume the audience will be there for that new show. Daytime is glacial. Something takes a long time to fail, and also a long time to catch on, because people don't automatically sample. Audiences may graze through a syndicated talk show, but not through soaps. Loyalty is a big factor. The daytime soap is the original appointment television, the original habit-forming medium. Its audience is more of a clientele." 

Sharon Frost told 'The Tennessean' in 1995 when 'Days of our Lives' introduced the story about Marlena being possessed by satan, "I always ask people what they think of that story. I'd say 90% of the time, they just roll their eyes and say it's ridiculous. But whenever I've been on the air, and said, 'There's no place for this in daytime television,' I get letters like you wouldn't believe. 

"I think they were so loyal they were defending their soap even if they didn't like the storyline. There are a lot of people who have gotten hooked by having a grandparent or someone at their house watching it. And they've kept up with it for years. They may tape only one or two a week, but they're not able to just cut themselves off of it. If I have one complaint it's that a lot of the time they take movies that have been successful and craft similar story lines for soaps." 

By 1995, 'The Bold And The Beautiful' was the No. 2 soap opera on the CBS network and the most-watched television drama worldwide with an estimated 125 million viewers. Bill Bell, then 68, told 'Orange County Register', "The only reason 'The Bold And The Beautiful' is on the air is because of my family. I had been asked to do another show, and I talked to the kids just to see how interested they were in creating a serial together – and they all said yes. It started with a blank sheet of paper. I certainly was the thrust of it, but everyone factored show." 

Bradley Bell was given free reign on 'The Bold And The Beautiful' stated, "I always learn something whenever I tune into 'The Young and the Restless'. He really gives the characters time to develop. In a scene that you think could be over and done with quickly, he'll give it time. When you give it that time, the subtleties really come out – like the aging of wine. He understands that the human equation is not going from point A to point B, that's it's really invisible."

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