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'The Young and the Restless': Nielsen Ratings slide toward 4 million line

 Muhney's unexplained and still unresolved exit has deeply damaged YR.
Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images

As more than just speculation continues to surround Michael Muhney's possible return to 'The Young and the Restless', the show's most recently revealed Nielsen Ratings offered a sobering view of reality. CBS' still-number one soap opera is sliding toward the 4 million average daily viewer line (4.341 million viewers as of May 19-23, 2014). A scant four-plus months ago, YR was attracting nearly 6 million sets of eyeballs per day.

All fans of this long-running steamer understand that Muhney's on- and off-screen exits lured curious occasional viewers to a variety of media platforms last winter. Moving through the 'Delia Dies' storyline Muhney and Billy Miller each offered Emmy-worthy efforts, which understandably created a natural buzz.

With YR's spinoff show, 'The Bold and the Beautiful' now less than three-quarters of a million daily viewers behind (3.577 million per day average), fans are right to wonder how long the 25-plus year daytime ratings' leader will survive it's ongoing fierce fan storm? However, BB isn't the only contender that is closing in from behind.

While 'General Hospital' has a distance to travel, a chunk of self-proclaimed 'former YR fans' continue to say that they are switching to ABC's iconic sudser. It's reasonable to believe that this 50-year-old fictional addiction could maintain momentum and push above the 3 million line. If Muhney chooses to follow in Michelle Stafford's footsteps, GH would likely zoom to daytime's top spot instantaneously.

The entire 'Adam Newman' storyline has truly cast an ominous shadow over what was once a powerhouse media property. The problem with this unexplained and unresolved situation is that loyal viewers have been overwhelmingly vocal in their collective stand against what transpired.

The truth connected to whatever did, or did not, happen behind-the-scenes is still concealed for whatever unknown reasons. And that real-life cliffhanger has damaged the YR brand.

Obviously, Muhney's return would create an enduring ratings' rise. But, in lieu of that electric resolution, are remaining YR fans witnessing their once-beloved show crumble right before their eyes?

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