Devoted fans will follow Michael Muhney wherever he goes. But, other sizable chunks of the daytime audience are sure to tune in for his recorded reappearance as well. As of the moment, it appears that the majority of soap fans prefer that the decision-makers at 'General Hospital' offer the favored actor a sweet deal.
Muhney's initial addition to the cast (2009) of 'The Young and the Restless' introduced many Genoa City loyalists to a talented thespian whose work in other dramatic settings foreshadowed a lauded future. The rise of 'Adam Newman' made Muhney a noteworthy star within a genre that always needs charismatic players.
The highly-unusual nature of his announced departure in December, 2013, wasn't logical. Why would executive producer Jill Farren Phelps choose to remove her highest-cued actor from a show that was building ratings' momentum? In lieu of a full, or seemingly plausible explanation, various stories were fed to, or offered by, the viewing public.
Before Muhney's situation played out, YR previously crossed the quarter-century line as daytime's number 1 show. So, conjecture involving corporate hubris seemed possible to believe. But, removing someone who had become a top star? That simply didn't make sense, served to alienate a section of hardcore loyalists and also left a massive hole in CBS' scripted show.
TV fans know that 'General Hospital' reigned in daytime during a different era. Standing at the 3-million viewer line in 2014, ABC's surviving soap remains within distance of 'The Bold and the Beautiful', which runs approximately 500,000 paces ahead. YR still tops Nielsen's list with a most-recent 4.4 million viewers per day, while 'Days of Our Lives' is supported by approximately 2.4 respected viewers in fourth-place.
This particular scribe considers all soap opera fans to be friends, as each person firmly represents the main reason why these four shows are on the air (and can be written about). He also values the role that on-screen and off-screen talent bring to the set.
If Muhney somehow returns to YR, it's reasonable to believe that his dynamic presence could initially attract over two million viewers per day. That number was chosen due to the approximate 1.5 million sets of eyeballs that watched 'Adam's' and 'Billy Abbott's' (Billy Miller) last scenes in late-January, 2014, and accounts for additional fans (including non-traditional soap viewers) who would be drawn to the resolution to this long-running real-life story. A guess is that approximately half would stay tuned after Muhney's first day, or week, passed.
Cue the dream sequence: However, if Muhney is admitted to 'General Hospital' (in whatever role) a different dynamic would be in order. In this instance, those two-plus million engaged viewers would include current and former YR fans, along with new fans sandwiched in between.
While GH doesn't compete directly with YR on the schedule, there's no doubt a seismic viewership shift could easily take place. And with that, a new ratings' champion could surely be seen within one electric week.