Ratings HistorySee also: List of US daytime soap opera ratings
Although Loving rated poorly throughout its history, its first few years were relatively encouraging. In its debut year it finished in 11th place and 3.9, above the then ailing soaps The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow. The following year it moved to a fairly comfortable 10th place and 4.1, holding that for the 1985-1986 television season with 4.2. A change in timeslot, with Loving occupying the slot previously held by Ryan's Hope, was a major factor in ratings improvement (albeit having the opposite effect on Ryan's Hope).
Unfortunately, the slow but steady ratings growth was not sustained. Loving fell back to 11th place, hitting last place for the first time in early 1989 (between the January series finale of Ryan's Hope and the March premiere of NBC's Generations), and then back to 11th. In January 1991, the series began ranking last again, and stayed there until its cancellation four years later.
When it originally premiered, the show aired at 11:30 ET/10:30 CT/MT/PT. On October 8, 1984, the show was moved to the later 12:30 /11:30 timeslot, bumping Ryan's Hope up to Noon/11:00. (This caused Ryan's Hope's ratings to plummet because many East Coast ABC stations pre-empted network programming at Noon for local news. Some affiliates, such as WSB-TV in Atlanta, chose to keep Ryan's Hope at 12:30.) Despite airing in the 12:30 timeslot, Loving never achieved the ratings Ryan's Hope had during its glory years. In the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, Loving was often pre-empted at 11:30 for local newscasts, airing on a one day delay earlier in the morning or not at all.
In 1992, after ABC stopped airing programming in the Noon/11:00 period, Loving was made available to affiliates at Noon/11 or 12:30/11:30. Some ABC stations outside of the Eastern Time Zone moved Loving to 11:00 AM to air local newscasts at 11:30. Despite the time slot changes on some affiliates, the national ratings for the show never improved.
Although the national ratings were never strong enough to climb above tenth place, Loving did beat the genre's top-rated program, CBS' The Young and the Restless in markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, which were home to four of ABC's owned-and-operated stations; however, Loving only competed with the first half hour of The Young and the Restless.
The series had a short two year run in the early years of UK satellite and cable channel Sky One, starting in February 1989. Loving aired in an afternoon slot, Monday to Friday at 14:45, later moved to 14:30, before being cancelled and replaced by Santa Barbara in February 1991.
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