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Daytime is a block of television programming taking place during the late-morning and afternoon on weekdays. Daytime programming is typically scheduled to air between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., following the early morning daypart typically dedicated to morning shows, and preceding the evening dayparts that eventually lead into prime time.
The majority of daytime programming is typically targeted towards women (and in particular, housewives). Historically, soap operas, talk shows, and game shows have been fixtures of daytime programming, although daytime soap operas have seen declines in North America due to changing audiences and viewing habits. This type of daytime programming is typically aired on weekdays; weekend daytime programming is often much different and more varied in nature, and usually focuses more on sports broadcasts.
Target audience and demographics
The type of programming is designed primarily to be viewed by housewives and secondarily those viewers who might not usually carry a daytime job, such as the unemployed, senior citizens, evening shift workers, and college students. For most intents and purposes, however, the traditional target audience of daytime television programs has been demographically 18-49 women, as the large majority of daytime viewership has historically consisted of housewives, and as such daytime programming is hosted by women or personalities popular among women, and pertain to subjects such as womens' issues (including health, lifestyles, and fashion), current events, and gossip.
Because of demographic shifts and the decreasing number of people at home during the daytime, the daytime television audience has shrunk rapidly in recent years, and that which remains is largely over the age of 55 and thus considered undesirable for most advertisers.
Another popular audience in this timeframe is the college student; game shows such as the original Jeopardy! (1964–75), Match Game (1973-79'; 1990), Family Feud (1976-85; 1988-93; 1994; 1999—present), Card Sharks (1978-81; 1986-89), Press Your Luck (1983-86), and, since the 1990s and even more so under current host Drew Carey, The Price is Right (1972-present), have targeted this audience.
In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia, talk shows (hosted by a single personality or a larger panel) are a significant part of this timeslot, as well as, to a lesser extent, game shows and soap operas. In the U.S., the Big Three television networks all provide some degree of daytime programming, but the once-popular genre of soap operas have declined; although a few remain active, they have been largely replaced by less-expensive programming such as talk shows (including GMA Day, The Talk, and Today With Kathie Lee and Hoda, which fill timeslots once filled by One Life to Live, As the World Turns, and Passions respectively). Game shows were also common in U.S. daytime lineups, but by the 1990's, only CBS's long-running The Price Is Right remained (which was later joined in 2009 by a revival of Let's Make a Deal, which replaced the cancelled soap Guiding Light).
In the U.S., syndicated programming is most common during the daytime hours on broadcast stations, often within the genres news-based shows, talk shows (including personality-based programs, or tabloid talk shows with a focus on sensationalistic and controversial subjects), as well as court shows, game shows, and syndicated packages of reruns from popular network series (most commonly sitcoms, such as The Big Bang Theory) Notable syndicated daytime programs in the U.S. have included The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, Live with Kelly and Ryan, The Jerry Springer Show, Maury, and The Wendy Williams Show.
Local newscasts may also air during the daytime period, typically focusing on continuing coverage of events that had occurred since the morning news, and other forms of lifestyle-oriented stories. Some stations may produce daytime talk shows designed to feature advertorial segments brokered by local businesses.
Meanwhile, news channels usually program rolling news coverage where a set schedule of stories is followed (as opposed to evening and prime time, which typically focus on personality- and opinion-based programs), but this can be interrupted at any time for breaking news stories and other live events. The stock market trading day similarly falls within the daytime hours for channels devoted to business news, whose audience is concentrated towards out-of-home viewers. Children's television networks usually use the 9 a.m –3 p.m. timeslot before children of school age return home to air preschool programming for young viewers, while PBS member stations might either carry exclusively children's programming, or instructional programming to be taped for later use, programs which can be watched as part of acquiring college credit, or for viewers to eventually acquire their General Equivalency Diploma.
Other basic cable networks generally rerun episodes of their current prime time programming, often in marathon format; stations that devote much of their programming to acquired reruns may also follow this strategy, or use the daytime slot to burn off a contract for a less popular program (in this sense, daytime can be seen, much like the overnight, to be a graveyard slot that is useless to program with high-budget content).
Daytime lineups on sports-oriented networks are typically devoted to studio programs with news, analysis, or debates on sports-related topics (in the United States, some of these programs are simulcast from syndicated sports talk radio shows), but may also feature reruns of recent or "classic" events, lesser-viewed events, or other original programming. It is not uncommon for live events to be aired in the daytime hours, either taking advantage of time differences to air primetime events from other countries (such as European soccer in North America, and Asia-Pacific sports in Europe), or domestic events scheduled within the daytime hours (particularly outdoor sports, including but not limited to baseball, cricket, golf, and tennis).
- Schechner, Sam (June 18, 2011). "As Venerable Soap Operas Die Off, Fans Fight for One More Life to Live". The Wall Street Journal.
| Television dayparts
10:00 AM – 6:30 PM