Rejoice! Soap Operas Aren't Dead Yet!

There was much hand-wringing over the future of soaps when All My Children and One Life to Live both got the ax. But it turns out your great-grandma's stories (and, who are we kidding, the only thing that gets you through a sick day) are enjoying an upswing in popularity.

Variety reports that ratings have crept back up at The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital and Days of Our Lives. It could be partly a last-man-standing situation and the fact they've got to have something on the TV down at the auto-repair shop, but at least some of the new viewers are younger:

"General Hospital," for example, has grown from last year by 9% in total viewership (to 3.32 million) but it's also up by 19% in women 25-54 and by 11% among those 12-34, according to Nielsen. As a result, its median age of 55.5 for the current season is down from 56.1 a year ago.

"Days of Our Lives" is up 10% (to about 3 million viewers), but its biggest gains are among females 12-34; its median age of 57.8 is nearly one full year lower than last year.

But that doesn't mean soaps should ditch all their longtime stars in favor of 20-somethings, said Michael Maloney, contributing editor for Soaps in Depth:

"The grandmother used to pass it down to the mother and so on, so one of the reasons (that soaps) took a hit is because mom is out there working," Maloney says. "But that seems to be coming back, and audiences are responding to a multiple-generation canvas of characters. Any soap that has just young people isn't going to make it."

Not to mention sometimes it's just nice to have something to break up the Real Housewives marathons.

Photo via AP Images.