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.
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, such as The View and Loose Women) 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 Strahan, Sara and Keke, The Talk, and Today with Hoda & Jenna, which fill timeslots once filled by One Life to Live, As the World Turns, and Passions respectively, with two of them serving officially as extensions of their networks' respective morning shows). Game shows were also common in U.S. daytime lineups, but by the 1990s, 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). Daytime game shows are still relatively popular in the United Kingdom: the long-running Countdown has been a fixture of Channel 4's daytime schedule since its launch in 1993 (where it was, also, the first program ever aired by the channel).
In the U.S., syndicated programming is most common during the daytime hours on broadcast stations, such as news-based programs (often dealing with entertainment news and gossip), talk shows (including personality-based programs, lifestyle-oriented programs, or tabloid talk shows with a focus on sensationalistic and controversial subjects), as well as court shows, game shows, and syndicated reruns of popular network sitcoms and dramas. 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 featuring continuing coverage of events that had occurred since the morning news, and "soft" stories on entertainment and lifestyle topics. Some stations may produce daytime talk shows that are built around advertorials 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-based programs, with a focus on opinion and recapping the day's stories), 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, instructional programming to be taped for later use, or other library content.
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, and discussion of 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 and niche events, or other original programming. It is not uncommon for live events to occur domestically during the daytime hours (particularly outdoor sports, including but not limited to baseball, cricket, golf, and tennis). While occasionally encountered on weekdays, this is especially true on weekends, when in the United States, American football is a fixture of weekend afternoon television. Sports channels may take advantage of time zone differences to air prime time sporting events from other regions (such as European soccer on North American channels, and Asia-Pacific sports in Europe).