Original series attracts record viewers

SoapNet’s first original scripted series, “General Hospital: Night Shift,” averaged more total viewers during its premiere hour on Thursday night than any other single telecast in the network’s seven-year history.

One million viewers tuned in to the first of 13 weekly one-hour episodes, and “Night Shift” also shattered the SoapNet record for women 18-49 (498,000) and women 18-34 (192,000). Among women 18-49, “Night Shift” beat the programming on all other cablers for the 11 o’clock hour except for “Law & Order: SVU” on USA — even though SoapNet reaches only 64 million subscribers vs. roughly 93 million for the biggest cable networks.

The commissioning of “Night Shift” is part of a SoapNet strategy to lower the median age of the web, which, according to Magna Global, averaged 47 in latenight and 48 in primetime from October through May.

SoapNet’s scheduling of reruns of “The OC” and “One Tree Hill” during the day, beginning in April, has also helped attract more younger viewers.

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