There are some major changes ahead for ABC's daytime lineup in the weeks ahead. General Hospital is headed back to its original time slot -- 3pm ET/2pm PT -- in eight of the nation's largest television markets.
The markets affected by the change are New York (WABC/ABC7), Los Angeles (KABC/ABC7), Chicago (WLS/ABC7), Philadelphia (WPVI/6ABC), San Francisco (KGO/ABC7), Houston (KTRK/ABC13), Raleigh-Durham (WTVD/ABC11), and San Antonio (KSAT/ABC12).
The move comes as Katie Couric's self-titled talk show ends its run and many ABC stations are left with an hour of programming to fill. Insiders tell soapcentral.com that Katie failed to provide a strong lead-in for affiliates' early evening news programs, and affiliates feel that General Hospital can provide them with a stronger viewing audience.
The push to move General Hospital to a new time reportedly originated from the ABC affiliates and not the network itself. The network did, however, have to grant the affiliates permission to make the change.
Ironically, just two years, GH was evicted from its longtime timeslot when ABC launched Couric's syndicated talk show. Couric's show was canceled after just two seasons.
General Hospital's ratings have soared since it moved to the timeslot previously held by One Life to Live. In 2012, General Hospital recorded a 1.7 rating in the Nielsen measurement of viewers. In the most recent ratings released, GH earned a 2.1 rating -- an increase of more than 600,000 total viewers.
It's unclear if having General Hospital air at different times across the country will have any impact the long-running show's ratings.
The time change will take effect on September 8, and ABC is rolling out commercials and billboards to let viewers in the affected markets know all about the change.