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Even Soap Operas Are Running Out of Episodes Because of the Coronavirus

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

Tune in tomorrow while you can: Long-running daytime soaps The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, which halted production last month in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, are about to run out of original episodes. For the last few weeks, both CBS daytime dramas have been airing installments filmed before the shutdown. But that advanced stockpile will be depleted on Thursday, and with television production unlikely to resume anytime soon, it will likely be months before new episodes are back on the air. That doesn’t mean either show is going away completely, however.

In a bid to keep audiences invested in their daily habit, CBS is dusting off some decades-old episodes of the two soaps and repackaging them as themed weeks. After airing a “classic” episode from 1996 this Friday, Y&R will feature a week of episodes featuring the late Jeanne Cooper and her character of Katherine Chancellor. B&B, meanwhile, will rerun an arc of episodes shot on location in Monte Carlo between 2013 and 2017, as well as a two-part documentary special which never aired on the network. Some of the episodes will also include new commentary and introductions from the show’s cast. CBS says it is planning several other themed events in coming weeks, as well as other stunts to hold on to viewers. “These specially curated episodes are only a small portion of what we hope to be able to present in the coming weeks,” said CBS current programs chief Amy Reisenbach.

CBS isn’t the only network facing a soaps shortage. ABC’s General Hospital has been adding classic footage from past episodes into new installments in order to make stockpiled episodes last longer, while also airing classic reruns once a week. Daytime industry experts, however, expect GH will also exhaust its supply sometime in May. NBC’s Days of our Lives is believed to be in better shape, given its shooting schedule produces episodes months ahead of schedule. But it, too, may face an issue with running out of episodes this summer, since the one-year delay of the summer Olympics likely means Days of Our Lives won’t go on hiatus for two weeks in July and August.

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Even Soap Operas Are Running Out of Episodes Now