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Social media storm surrounds 'The Young and the Restless'

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'The Young and the Restless' has dominated daytime for more than two decades. Now, as the new age loudly dawns, CBS' number 1 soap opera is surrounded by a strong social media storm.

Consider the audience split that occurred since various cast changes took place in the spring of 2013. Jeanne Cooper (who passed away last year), Michelle Stafford, Billy Miller and Michael Muhney, among others, are no longer part of the ensemble. Well-known faces are missed, to varying degrees, by those who understandably feel connected to the actors and to the characters they embody.

Daytime drama fans are known to be expressive when favored players are dismissed, or leave a show fully of their own accord. The difference with today's modern realities involves the real power viewers possess in helping to shape former cast members destinies. Obviously, the entertainment industry at-large is alert to who is trending and if interest in an actor is sustained after a job has ended.

YR stands as one of four remaining daytime dramas available on CBS, ABC and NBC combined. While millions of individuals still count themselves as regular viewers of traditional network shows, percentages within various audience segments no longer follow anything religiously. Societal changes, combined with an intentionally fractured media market, provide some answers to this dilemma.

Like other TV shows, YR promotes live social media interaction during selected broadcasts, as well as direct-to-viewer chats post-episode air dates, in order to sustain, engage, or increase its audience. Whether those efforts sustain, or strengthen, audience numbers is hard to measure because detailed results of this emerging fan-outreach strategy aren't generally revealed.

Publicity (free advertising) results, whenever anyone mentions anything about Genoa City through social media. On the flip side, certain segments of society use social media access to bash individuals, or entities, connected to YR, or to down daytime in general.

Anyone who works in the public eye, be it a famous star, or a modest scribe, knows that varied critiques come with the territory. It's a minor and tolerable part of those jobs.

However, openly attacking a current, or former, cast member, behind-the-scenes power, or others who are linked to the entertainment industry reflects mostly upon the detractor. Digital democracies suffer, just as old-school democracies do, whenever rights are abused. But, when all is considered, seasoned fans know how to distinguish between emotionally-charged opinions and balanced logic that offers respect to an actor, show or the genre in general.

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