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Pierce: KSL won't be airing 'Days of Our Lives' during day

Published September 5, 2013 4:38 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fans of "Days of Our Lives" — those who still watch the venerable daytime soap — aren't happy with KSL-Channel 5.

As of Monday, the local NBC affiliate will no longer air "Days" during the day.

If you want to watch the sand fall through that hourglass, you'll have to either stay up late or set the DVR. KSL is moving "Days" from weekdays at 2 p.m. to weeknights at 1:05 a.m.

Adding to the frustration is that, while Channel 5 can't find room to air "Days" during the day, it can find room to air "Dr. Phil" twice.

Why is the soap opera off the schedule? I'm guessing it's ratings-related. But I can't say for sure, because the folks at KSL have declined to respond to several requests for clarification.

And into that vacuum rushes speculation. If you do a quick search on the Internet, you'll find fans suggesting that KSL made this decision because of the show's gay storyline involving Will (Chandler Massey) and Sonny (Freddie Smith).

I'm not buying that explanation, given that Will and Sonny were first seen in bed together on "Days" 10 months ago. KSL tends to be slow on the uptake, but not this slow.

For that matter, "Days" has featured storylines about everything from adultery to satanic possession since long before KSL became an NBC affiliate in 1995.

And "Dr. Phil" has had lots of episodes filled with gay issues. As a matter of fact, the Advocate described Phil McGraw like this: "People who don't watch his daytime talk show … might be surprised to hear that this host has been speaking out in support of gay interests — especially in support of gay and questioning youth — since day one."

Maybe KSL management hasn't noticed. It did take them several episodes to pick up on the fact that "Hannibal" is violent, after all.

The KSL-is-anti-gay speculation isn't surprising, given that Channel 5 yanked "The New Normal" off the air a year ago and then went through all sorts of unconvincing gyrations claiming it wasn't because the sitcom was about two gay men and the surrogate mother of their baby.

You reap what you sow.

But, honestly, this time it's far more likely it's because "Days" is an anchor on KSL's daytime ratings. Nationally, the soap is the least-watched of the four that remain, with about 2.4 million viewers. And it's down about 400,000 from last year.

Plus, local stations also make less money from network shows than they do from syndicated or locally produced programs

You could argue that KSL is just dealing with the reality that daytime soaps are on the verge of extinction. That station management is doing what it can to maximize ratings and revenue.

Because KSL is, after all, a for-profit business.

But, again, KSL management has declined to comment. Which means we can only speculate.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.