‘Days of Our Lives’ replacement ‘NBC News Daily’ loses around 750K viewers

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

NBC’s replacement for venerable soap opera “Days of Our Lives” dipped in the ratings — though that was probably expected and doesn’t necessarily spell doom for the newscast.

On Aug. 3, 2022, NBC announced that it would move new episodes of “Days” exclusively to its streamer, Peacock, and replace it with “NBC News Daily,” a new network news program.

“Daily” debuted Sept. 12, 2022, and attracted an average of 935,000 viewers in its first week, down around 750,000 from “Days” both year over year and week over week.

It also dropped in the key demos.

Despite the dip in ratings, “Daily” is also a much different production than “Days.”

While soap operas have traditionally been structured to have lower production costs than primetime dramas, “Daily” could be much cheaper to produce given that it is using existing talent and newsgathering resources. This means it could generate low ratings and still be profitable, especially considering the fact the change coincides with the upcoming midterm election advertising season that is expected to bring in record revenue for broadcasters.

Affiliates, meanwhile, traditionally only get a small portion of commercial time during network programming. “Daily” does provide NBC stations the option of offering local news and weather cut-ins during the broadcast, which likely means they pick up some additional ad slots.

Stations being able to sell these spots on a local or regional basis could be appealing during an election year.

Although the numbers don’t look good on the surface, the network still managed to keep a good chunk of its audience. When comparing that to the fact “Daily” is likely less expensive to produce, the move could end up making sense for NBC.

NBC hasn’t commented on the future of “Days” beyond the end of the current season, which has lead to speculation that the move to Peacock is a stop-gap measure that will lead to cancellation.

It’s also possible NBC opted to “park” “Days” on Peacock to both try it out there to see if it can boost signups with the option of returning it to the network schedule after the 2022 elections.

It’s also important to consider how “Daily” could be affecting the lead-in to the rest of the afternoon schedule, which affiliates have control over. Many of these stations fill the time with syndicated programming.

NBC-owned stations in major markets also lost “The Ellen DeGeneres” show this season, leaving another hour to fill in afternoons.

On the west coast, some of the NBC owned stations are airing “NBC Nightly News” and a new local newscast along with the “Daily” debut. In the central and eastern time zones, stations are largely filling the hour with “Dateline” reruns branded under “Dateline Daytime” banner, though it’s not clear if this is permanent (these stations can’t air “Nightly” earlier in the day because it hasn’t aired yet; Pacific time zone stations are better suited to air “Nightly” earlier in the day thanks to the differences time zones create).

NBC’s owned stations division declined to comment on schedule changes earlier in the month, instead noting that each station would be announcing its own changes.

“Days” isn’t the only popular network program to move to streaming — ABC sent “Dancing with the Stars” to Disney+ this season. “Dancing” had been seeing its ratings erode over time from the powerhouse it once was.