This feature doesn't predict the imminent demise of daytime's top-ranked steamer because of ongoing fan perceptions involving executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. Instead, the author of this digital space simply wonders if it's reasonable to believe that 'The Young and the Restless' will survive past the 2017 season?
That specifically noted calendar slot marks the end of YR's current contract with CBS. Of course, any show could be stopped before a contract ends. But, in order for that to happen a ratings' disaster would need to take place. As long as YR stands as daytime's number 1 show, or even remains near that top spot, it's likely to deliver every episode ordered.
News that the Daytime Emmy Awards had flown to an online-only home this year can't be ignored. Many award shows are still projected through traditional television screens. So, it's hard to imagine that the three major broadcast networks, which still show soaps every weekday, secondary TV networks and countless cable channels passed on this annual extravaganza.
It's possible that the powers-that-be felt a better financial deal would be realized online and turned down whatever offers may have been received. But, advertiser calculations seemingly ascribed weak demographics with this particular show. If that's true and apparently it is, what is the short- and long-term future of YR, or the other three soaps, that appear on network TV?
Yes, a merging of HD screens with omnipresent internet devices evolves by the day. However, television's power to consistently deliver a mass audience still overshadows all emerging media outlets.
Approximately 13 million combined viewers are still devoted to the final four soaps. So, this genre seems likely to live for awhile. But, no one should ignore what transpired when Prospect Park attempted to digitally extend the lives of 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' after they were eliminated by ABC.
Last spring YR faced the loss of Jeanne Cooper, but subsequently saw viewer trend lines rise through early-winter 2013. Then, after December's stunning Michael Muhney surprise, the show's ratings naturally spiked higher due to expected interest surrounding that actor's final scenes.
Anyone who was aware of, or caused, the social media monsoon that surrounded Muhney's January 30, 2014 exit (along with that of Billy Miller on the same day) knew that many YR viewers had announced their tune out plans. Subsequently, approximately 1.5 million visitors departed Genoa City since that dramatic winter's day.
The future of anything is never certain. However, a convergence of events leads one to believe that daytime dramas can not survive indefinitely in their current forms. Surely fan dissatisfaction never extends the run of any show.