Saturday, July 31, 2010

The War of 18-49, Week 4 Battlegrounds

I've decided to list every season average of every show I'm looking at in my War of 18-49 posts just to give some context as to just how strong this stuff was in the primetime landscape dating back.  Each week on Saturday, I'll fill in the previous six posts' worth of averages. Now denoting Friday shows!

(Navy) NCIS 2.4/2.8/3.1

Desperate Housewives 8.6/10.66/13.4
Grey's Anatomy 7.2/8.09/9.8
Lost 5.9/6.89/8.4
Medium 4.4/5.5/6.3
House 2.5/5.28/7.7
Dancing with the Stars (summer) 4.3/5.1/6.7
The Biggest Loser 3.7/4.4/5.9
American Dad! 3.0/3.7/4.7
NCIS 2.9/3.3/3.9
The Office 2.3/2.95/5.0

Desperate Housewives 7.5/10.09/12.3
Grey's Anatomy 7.2/9.13/11.2
Lost 6.1/7.92/10.2
House 4.8/7.16/10.2
Dancing with the Stars (winter performance) 4.6/5.1/5.5
Medium 3.7/4.29/5.2
The Office 3.6/4.15/5.1
The Biggest Loser 3.0/4.12/6.7
Criminal Minds 3.3/4.08/6.5
Old Christine 2.4/3.9/5.1
NCIS 3.0/3.87/4.4
Bones 2.8/3.8/5.2
American Dad! 3.1/3.7/4.1
How I Met Your Mother 3.0/3.7/4.4
Dancing with the Stars (winter results) (F) 3.0/3.6/4.0
Ghost Whisperer (F) 2.3/3.1/3.6
Supernatural 1.6/2.2/2.6

Grey's Anatomy 7.6/9.38/11.6
House 5.8/7.94/11.2
Desperate Housewives 6.1/7.57/9.6
Heroes 5.1/6.13/6.9
Lost 4.9/5.85/7.7
Dancing with the Stars (fall performance) 5.2/5.7/7.5
Dancing with the Stars (spring performance) 4.8/5.2/6.4
Dancing with the Stars (fall results) 3.7/4.9/7.1
Brothers & Sisters 3.4/4.67/6.0
Rules of Engagement 3.6/4.57/5.2
Dancing with the Stars (spring results) 3.9/4.5/6.7
Criminal Minds 3.3/4.27/5.2
Lost 3.2/4.13/5.0
Ugly Betty 2.8/3.97/5.0
NCIS 3.1/3.66/4.2
American Dad! 2.8/3.6/4.5
Old Christine 2.4/3.45/4.4
The Biggest Loser 2.6/3.34/4.8
How I Met Your Mother 2.8/3.33/3.9
Bones 2.5/3.3/4.4
Ghost Whisperer (F) 2.5/3.00/3.6
Medium 2.4/2.91/3.7
'Til Death 1.7/2.90/6.3
30 Rock 1.7/2.57/3.2
Friday Night Lights 1.7/2.30/3.5
Supernatural 1.2/1.38/1.7

Grey's Anatomy 5.1/7.16/8.8
House 5.1/7.05/9.0
Desperate Housewives 5.5/6.71/7.8
Lost 4.6/5.31/6.7

Dancing with the Stars (fall performance) 4.7/5.3/6.0
Heroes 4.9/5.24/6.5
Dancing with the Stars (spring performance) 4.1/4.7/5.6
Dancing with the Stars (fall results) 3.9/4.6/6.4
The Office 3.6/4.53/5.1
Brothers & Sisters 3.0/4.22/5.0
Rules of Engagement 3.7/4.05/4.5
Dancing with the Stars (spring results): 3.6/4.0/4.4
Criminal Minds 3.1/3.64/4.5
How I Met Your Mother 3.1/3.50/4.5
Old Christine 2.7/3.46/4.5
The Biggest Loser (spring) 2.9/3.44/4.4
NCIS 2.9/3.36/4.1
The Biggest Loser (fall) 2.7/3.27/4.6
American Dad! 2.4/3.18/4.2
Bones 2.7/3.17/3.6
Medium 2.5/3.11/3.5
Ugly Betty 2.2/3.03/3.9
30 Rock 2.5/2.82/3.4
Ghost Whisperer (F) 2.0/2.50/2.9
'Til Death 1.9/2.47/4.3
Friday Night Lights (F) 1.7/1.85/2.1
Supernatural 1.0/1.19/1.3

Grey's Anatomy 5.0/5.73/7.4
Desperate Housewives 4.1/5.29/7.1
House 4.5/5.21/6.0
Dancing with the Stars (spring performance) 4.2/4.9/6.1
Lost 3.8/4.46/5.2
Dancing with the Stars (fall performance) 3.9/4.3/5.3
The Office 3.4/4.27/4.9
How I Met Your Mother 2.9/4.01/4.8
Dancing with the Stars (fall results) 3.3/3.9/5.1
The Biggest Loser (spring) 3.2/3.78/4.7
Heroes 2.6/3.65/5.0
Rules of Engagement 1.9/3.65/4.4
NCIS 3.1/3.64/4.0
Criminal Minds 3.0/3.61/4.7
Dancing with the Stars (spring results) 2.8/3.5/5.2
Brothers & Sisters 2.8/3.47/4.6
30 Rock 2.4/3.30/4.1
The Biggest Loser (fall) 2.6/3.23/4.6
Bones 2.3/2.93/3.5
American Dad! 2.3/2.91/3.6
Ghost Whisperer (F) 2.1/2.53/2.9
Medium 1.9/2.38/2.9
Ugly Betty 1.7/2.34/3.3
Old Christine 1.6/2.05/2.4
'Til Death 1.4/1.75/2.3
Friday Night Lights (F) 1.1/1.32/1.6
Supernatural 1.1/1.33/1.7

House 3.6/4.85/6.7
Dancing with the Stars (spring performance) 6.4/4.84/4.0
Grey's Anatomy 3.5/4.64/6.7
Lost 3.7/4.49/5.8
Desperate Housewives 3.3/4.25/5.3
NCIS 3.1/4.07/4.8
The Office 3.2/3.97/4.8
The Biggest Loser (fall) 3.1/3.74/5.0
Dancing with the Stars (fall performance) 3.4/3.67/4.1
Criminal Minds 3.1/3.60/4.4
How I Met Your Mother 2.8/3.53/4.0
The Biggest Loser (spring) 2.8/3.36/4.6
Dancing with the Stars (fall results) 2.6/3.33/4.3
Rules of Engagement 2.5/3.00/3.6
American Dad! 2.0/2.89/3.6
Bones 2.4/2.88/3.6
Brothers & Sisters 2.2/2.85/3.7
Dancing with the Stars (spring results) 2.4/2.83/3.9
30 Rock 1.9/2.69/3.3
Heroes 1.8/2.30/2.8
Old Christine 1.5/1.94/2.3
Ghost Whisperer (F) 1.3/1.86/2.3
Medium (F) 1.3/1.84/2.2
Ugly Betty (F) 0.9/1.36/1.7
Supernatural 1.0/1.22/1.4
'Til Death (F) 0.5/0.82/1.3

How big was Jersey Shore's return?

Just a brief update on this since I did a big post on this subject on Thursday before the Jersey Shore ratings came in. This is what TravisYanan posted for Jersey Shore's return:

Jersey Shore (10pm)
- 5.252 million viewers
- 3.3/6 HH
- 2.6/8 A18-49
- 4.8/16 W18-34
- 5.3/18 T12-17
The comparison everyone is making, and rightfully so, is to last year's finale. Compared to that (4.83m viewers, 2.6/7 A18-49, 4.7/13 W18-34 on January 21), it's up 9% in total viewers, even in adults 18-49, and up 2% in "The CW Demo" of women 18-34. Some people have managed to call that a minor disappointment because of all the hype. But the way I look at is this: a lot of other stuff has a lot of hype, and it still blew the pants off of most of that.  For example:

The highest-rated telecast the CW had in women 18-34 in 2009-10 was a 3.4 for the Gossip Girl season premiere, and the Jersey Shore premiere is 41% ahead of that. It's 50% ahead of the season highs of America's Next Top Model (3.2) and The Vampire Diaries (3.2), and nearly double the season highs of stuff like One Tree Hill (2.6), 90210 (2.5), and Life Unexpected (2.5). It's 66% higher than the season high of ABC Family's Secret Life (2.9), 92% better than the Pretty Little Liars high to date (2.5), and it outdrew the season premiere (4.4) and series finale (4.2) of The Hills. It did even better in this demo than three fall episodes of Glee (but still lagged well behind the Idol-charged spring episodes).

So call it a disappointment if you want, but then what do you call all that other stuff?

Friday, July 30, 2010

The War of 18-49, Ghost Whisperer


Why post this on Friday? Ghost Whisperer aired its entire 107-episode run on Friday.

See (who saw) how it all began: By Friday standards, Ghost Whisperer was solid out of the gate, premiering with 11.25 million viewers and a 3.0/10 in the demo on 9/23/05. It dropped 10% to a 2.7 in week 2, then back up to a 3.0 in week 3.  Despite a pretty ugly 2.3 demo for its fourth episode, it found a series high 3.2 in week six and spent most of season one above the 3.0 threshold.

The best of times: Ghost Whisperer's first two seasons were the best by far, and they were similarly rated up until the last several episodes of season 2, the first that saw the show consistently dip below a 3.0. Before that, breaking a 3.0 was a regular occurrence, peaking at a 3.6 demo on 11/4/05, 3/3/06, and 11/3/06. The show almost always started off the season somewhat softly and then made a push during November sweeps...

The worst of times: ...and the fact that the November sweeps rally didn't happen in the 2009-10 season may have been the first really good indication that the end was near.  Ghost Whisperer took a terrible dive in 2009-10 in general, with the only real hope seemingly coming in early calendar year 2010 when it found the 2.2 mark several times. But from there, it dropped into the mid-1's, including a mere 1.3 demo on 4/2/10, and those numbers couldn't save it.

Then vs. now: As stated previously, the show was one of 2009-10's biggest droppers, especially among those shows returning to the same timeslot, and those ugly year-to-year numbers probably stuck out like a sore thumb to CBS execs. Average-wise, season 5 dropped over 25% from season 4. The approximately 40% drop from the debut season isn't that bad, especially considering how much Friday has deteriorated in general, but the big drops from both this and Numb3rs (which we'll be discussing next Friday) prompted CBS to inject some Blue blood on the night (pun - newbie Blue Bloods airs at 10:00 this fall).

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12005-06Friday 8:

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12005-06 77 hit(Fri)1.30 57 89 74 79
22006-07 80 hit(Fri)1.34 +4% 66 96 85 72
32007-08 76 hit(Fri)1.27 -5% 60 88 73 60
42008-09 84 hit(Fri)1.42 +11% 70 96 83 70
52009-10 66 solid(Fri)1.11 -21% 46 82 82 57

For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The War of 18-49, The Office


Scheduling history: The series premiered on Thursday after The Apprentice, then moved to Tuesday for the rest of its very short first season and the first half of its second season, then went back to Thursday where it aired for the last 7.5 seasons. It was the 9/8c anchor from the beginning of season four through the end of the run.

See (who saw) how it all began: The Office had a good post-Apprentice premiere, pulling 11.23 million viewers and a 5.0/13 in the demo, but from there it moved to Tuesday and had the much lower-rated Scrubs as a lead-in. It struggled, dropping immediately below a 3.0 and bottoming out at a 2.3 for the season finale on 4/26/05.

The best of times: But between seasons 1 and 2, the turnaround was instantaneous, thanks in part to Steve Carell's ascension in the wake of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and thanks in part to the breakout performance of lead-in My Name is Earl. The show remained consistent from there, peaking in season 4 with an average above a 4.5. The Office broke the 5.0 barrier seven different times in five different seasons, and outside of the post-Super Bowl airing (not included in the average below, but it had 22.91 million viewers, 11.0/28 demo on 2/1/09) none of those were higher than a 5.1.

The worst of times: This is one of those shows like NCIS or House that took many years to finally approach the depths of the first season before it'd really found its audience. Even throwing in the big out-of-timeslot post-Apprentice premiere, that season averaged a 2.95, and no episode in the subsequent six seasons fell below that mark. But the loss of Steve Carell brought the show's first significant decline in 2011-12, with 17 of 24 episodes going sub-3.0 in that season. The show finally went below its 2004-05 low in April 2012, and it spent almost all of the final season below that mark. It got as bad as a 1.7 demo on 4/25/13, three weeks before the series finale.

Then vs. now: As of 2010-11, The Office was down just 17% from its peak season, and that made it another show that, like The Biggest Loser, looked really, really good by comparison as NBC primetime crumbled around it. But everything changed with Steve Carell's departure in 2011, as the show dropped over 20% in each of the next two seasons. Though NBC as a network showed some minor signs of life in 2012-13, The Office's depressed ratings still looked abundantly renew-worthy. But the powers that be opted to get out before things got truly embarrassing.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12004-05Thu 9:30, Tue 9:302.952.35.0detail
22005-06Tue 9:30, Thu 9:304.15+41%3.55.1detail
32006-07Thursday 8:304.13-0%3.25.0detail
42007-08Thursday 9:004.53+10%3.65.1detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12004-05 72 marginal1.22 56 123 123 56
22005-06 102 solid1.72 +41% 86 126 106 96
32006-07 110 solid1.84 +7% 85 133 114 104
42007-08 137 hit2.30 +25% 109 154 154 127
52008-09 142 hit2.39 +4% 113 163 163 116
62009-10 141 hit2.37 -1% 114 171 146 121
72010-11 147 hit2.47 +4% 126 177 173 153
82011-12 117 solid1.97 -20% 89 165 165 97
92012-13 100 solid1.68 -15% 81 142 100 142

For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.

"The CW Demo" Roundup, Summer 2010

I've done a few posts about the "CW Demo" of women 18-34 before, but it's been several months. So I figured I'd give an update, since the traditional season is over and a lot of new stuff has been going on in the summer. It's also a particularly apt day for a post about this demographic, since Jersey Shore - which grew to become a powerhouse in that demo late in its first season - returns for the season 2 premiere tonight.


First, the original averages in W18-34 for the CW series in 2009-10.  I had a lot of these in my previous post, but I believe it was the averages as of some winter hiatus, and these are for the complete season.

Vampire Diaries 2.67
America's Next Top Model (fall) 2.65
America's Next Top Model (spring) 2.55
Gossip Girl 2.45
One Tree Hill 2.19
90210 1.86
Life Unexpected 1.63
Supernatural 1.45
Melrose Place 1.29
Fly Girls 0.76
Smallville 0.75
High Society 0.66

And one more broadcast note of interest: Fox's Glee was a massive hit in the CW demo, averaging a 5.72 for the season and often holding all of or even sometimes building on American Idol, which is a juggernaut itself in the demo.


The two cable networks that I've looked at in the past for this demo are ABC Family and MTV, which have two pretty different approaches to getting the demo.  Here's how ABC Family's scripted stuff is doing:

The Secret Life of the American Teenager - Its first eight originals this summer have averaged a 2.63 in W18-34, which is up a bit from its early 2010 run. As I mentioned before, and as you can see in this post where it's all consolidated, that 2.63 average would put it right up there with the best of the CW shows in that demo.

Pretty Little Liars - Ever since the launch of Secret Life, ABC Family has never been able to find anything with remotely comparable ratings outside of the immediate post-Secret Life timeslot, until now. The 2.03 average in W18-34 for the first eight episodes would still make Pretty Little Liars a decent performer on the CW, but while it's been somewhat competitive with Secret Life in total viewers and usually beats it in teen demos (the other part of ABC-F's target demo), it continues to lag a bit behind in W18-34. Still impressive compared to most of the rest of what the net has offered, though.

Huge - The first 5 episodes of Huge have averaged a 1.54 in W18-34, retaining ~60% of the mid-2's that its Secret Life lead-in is doing.  Will that be good enough for an extension? It hasn't happened yet, but I would not be too surprised to see ABC Family give this show another chance, especially since (by ABC Family standards) it seems to have some critical praise going for it.

Make It or Break It - This show is the lowest of the bunch, averaging a 1.20 in W18-34 across its first five episodes of the summer. MIOBI got moved to Tuesdays after two episodes, as ABC Family saw they finally had something going on Tuesday with Pretty Little Liars, but it hasn't helped the numbers, which have been just a 1.1, 1.2, and 1.0 in the CW Demo since the move. But like Pretty Little Liars, it's another show that does much better in the teen demos than in the 18-34 ones, so it's tough to gauge its renewal chances from these numbers alone.

And here's an update on MTV's unscripted W18-34 draws:

The Hills - The long-running MTV docu-drama came to an end this summer, but it went out on a pretty good note, averaging a 3.19 in W18-34 for its final twelve-episode season, peaking with a 4.4 for the season premiere and a 4.2 for the series finale. That 3.19 average is up from the 2.8 average of the penultimate run of ten episodes. It probably goes without saying, but that average is well above any of the scripted stuff on the CW or ABC Family.

The City - Lead-out The City will march on without The Hills, and it averaged a 2.48* in W18-34 for its final run with the Hills lead-in. On average, it held more than three quarters of the Hills audience in this demo, but how will it do on its own? To be continued.

*- I'm missing one of the twelve data points for The City's season, so the average may be slightly off of this, but not enough to be significant.

The Real World - The first four episodes of season twenty-four of The Real World have averaged a 1.65 in W18-34, but that average may continue to rise, as it premiered very low (1.1) and has since gotten better.

Teen Mom - We're just starting into the new season of Teen Mom, so I don't have much data, but the 4.2 and 3.6 in W18-34 for the first two episodes mean this show is doing exceptionally well in that demo, even if it doesn't get the press of The Hills and Jersey Shore (probably because it doesn't have the big-personality celebrities of those shows). Like ABC Family with Secret Life, it seems MTV has figured out that this demo has a lot of interest in teen pregnancy and motherhood. (The series from which Teen Mom spun off, 16 and Pregnant, is another strong performer. My cursory glance at its most recent season indicates its W18-34 ratings usually fall in the mid to upper 2's.)

Will Jersey Shore blow all these shows out of the water? It exploded late in season 1 with a 4.7 W18-34 for the finale, and perhaps this is a boneheaded prediction on my part, but I think it will exceed even that number this season. I've never seen the show, but it seems like the celebrity of its stars has only grown since the first season wrapped.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The War of 18-49, Lost


Why post this on Wednesday? Four of Lost's six seasons aired on Wednesday, and the show actually aired regularly in all three hours on Wednesday. The show had six regular timeslots in six seasons, also including two hours on Thursday during season 4 and Tuesday at 9:00 for the final season.

See (who saw) how it all began: Lost was the first of four major series premieres in 9 months that would totally reverse the fortunes of an ABC that was slumping after the decline of Millionaire. And while it wasn't as big as the Desperate Housewives premiere a couple weeks later, it was still strong, attracting 18.65 million viewers and a 6.8/20 in the demo. It declined the next couple weeks, but only by small amounts: to a 6.5 in week 2 and a 6.2 in week 3.  Then it bounced right back up to that 6.8 in week 4 and would only drop below the 6.0 mark once in all of season 1.

The best of times: As strong as season 1 was, the clear peak for Lost was in early season 2, when it premiered with 23.47 million viewers and a 10.2/25 in the demo, the show's only double-digit demo ever. Six of the first seven episodes of season 2 broke a 9.0 demo, while no other airing in any season did, and 11 of the first 12 episodes of season 2 broke an 8.0 demo, while just one other airing did.  Are you getting my point yet?!

The worst of times: Lost dropped a lot from its best days, but not as much as the likes of Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, because while it was never as potent as those two at their peaks, by the very end it was actually a slightly stronger show.  As far as low points, the show dipped below the 4.0 mark on five occasions, including once in season 5 and four times in the last season. The lowest rating was a 3.7 demo on 4/20/10.

Then vs. now: ABC famously announced in 2007, near the end of season 3, that the show would end after 48 episodes across three more seasons. The show was coming off the widely reviled six-episode "pod" and, after a long in-season hiatus, had dropped from a 7.0 before to a 5.7 in the second episode after and was in the low 5's around the time of the announcement. From a ratings standpoint, it seems like a smart decision, as the show's lowest average since then was the 4.46 of the penultimate season, down only about 10-15% from where it was around announcement time. That's a pretty good hold for a serialized drama across more than three seasons, or about two full seasons' worth of episodes. Of course, we'll never know what it would've done without the announcement, but it certainly did better down the stretch than its open-ended peers on ABC. It stayed strong, and it went out strong, and that's probably the best it could've done.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12004-05Wednesday 8:006.895.98.4detail
22005-06Wednesday 9:007.92+15%6.110.2detail
32006-07Wed 9:00, Wed 10:005.85-26%4.97.7detail
42007-08Thu 9:00, Thu 10:005.31-9%4.66.7detail
52008-09Wednesday 9:004.46-16%3.85.2detail
62009-10Tuesday 9:004.49+1%3.75.8detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12004-05 169 big hit2.84 145 206 167 191
22005-06 195 big hit3.28 +15% 150 251 251 187
32006-07 155 big hit2.61 -20% 130 204 204 157
42007-08 161 big hit2.70 +3% 139 203 203 148
52008-09 148 hit2.50 -8% 126 173 166 146
62009-10 160 big hit2.69 +8% 131 206 195 206
AVERAGE:165big hit

For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The War of 18-49, NCIS


Scheduling history: NCIS has aired its entire run on Tuesdays and always been regularly scheduled at 8/7c. That will finally change in fall 2021, when it moves to Monday for season 19.

See (who saw) how it all began: The year was 2003, and on September 23, the premiere was just a 2.6/8. That's a pretty rough beginning in that day and age, but CBS was not in as good a place back then, so the growth from that premiere number (to a 2.7 in week two and a 2.9 in week three) encouraged the net to stick with NCIS in the early going. While the show would break into the 3's several times during season 1, it was still the low 3's, and American Idol stepped in at midseason and seemed to hurt the show down the stretch, dropping it to a 2.4 (preliminary) for the first-season finale.

The best of times: The show gradually grew to a little below a 4.0 average in season 3, but it appeared for awhile that was the peak, as it dropped in seasons 4 and 5 till it was back around season 2 levels. But then, in season 6, the show found a second wind that is highly improbable for veteran TV drama. Maybe it was the pairing with The Mentalist, maybe it was the heavy syndication on USA Network, and maybe it was something that happened creatively (I'm not a viewer) but it perked up in season 6 and then again in season 7 to average over a 4.0 for the first time ever. Season seven would exceed its highest point of the first six seasons (4.4) on four occasions, peaking with a 4.8/14 for the first two episodes of season 7 (on 9/22/09 and 9/29/09). For the peetooplus crowd, it broke the 20 million viewer plateau thirteen times in season 7 compared to zero such times in seasons 1-6. And its eighth and ninth seasons came down by only a tiny amount, making the show into broadcast TV's #1 drama in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The worst of times: For 11 seasons, an amazing statistic remained true: the show's lowest raw numbers still came in season one, back when it was called Navy NCIS. It averaged just over a 2.7 demo for the season and went as low as a mere 2.1 demo on 5/4/04. In season 12, NCIS finally hit a new raw low, dropping to a 2.0 for each of the last four episodes of the season. And it fell below 2.0 for the first time on 4/19/16. But on a historical-adjusted basis, the show was still over twice as strong as in season one. It fell to its first 1.0 on 5/7/19, but still aired 17 seasons without going fractional. But the vast majority of season 18 was sub-1.0.

Then vs. now: I knew when I first started digging up NCIS ratings that this would be a fun post, because it's a very topsy-turvy show.  Most primetime shows peak early and then slide downhill into irrelevance.  This one started low and peaked well into the game. Its slight decrease in season eight despite not having to face American Idol for the first time and then the show's first double-digit decline in season ten means we may finally be past the NCIS peak, but not by much. And this late-game resurgence has really been something to behold. In the opening years of its run, it didn't even belong in the ratings conversation with the CSI shows that defined the CBS drama brand. Now, it easily outshines them all.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12003-04Tuesday 8:002.732.13.1detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

82010-11157big hit0.67+9%138181157157
92011-12159big hit0.68+1%131182182152
102012-13159big hit0.680%128195195161
132015-16150big hit0.64+4%127182168175


The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The War of 18-49, Medium


Why post this on Monday? Fans of Medium have always kind of thought of Monday night as "home" for the show and the place where its ratings would be maximized, mostly because the show was pretty potent on that evening in its first two seasons and dropped big time when moved to Wednesday in season 3. NBC apparently bought in, as the show returned to Monday for the fourth and fifth seasons, but the ratings made at best only a minor recovery.

See (who saw) how it all began: We've got another long-running show that didn't premiere in the fall! Still, Medium premiered really well, with 16.09 million viewers and a 6.3/16 in the demo on 1/3/05. The next week, it added 250,000 total viewers and held on that 6.3 mark, and those two airings would be the series high.  But the show held in the 6.0 area for more than a month after that before dropping into the 5's and then into the upper 4's by the end of its 16-episode first season.

The best of times: The best of times was definitely at the beginning. It broke 6.0 four times in its first five episodes and then never again. It broke 5.0 twelve times in season 1 and then just once in the next five seasons (the second episode of season 2).

The worst of times: Medium's lowest-rated seasons were the final two, following a switch in networks and a move to the always difficult Friday night. Despite airing on a stronger net and getting treated better, including just its second and third fall premieres ever, there was certainly no recovery. It got much worse in the final season when the show lost its Ghost Whisperer lead-in and moved to 8:00, dropping as low as a 1.1 demo for the fourth episode of that season on 10/15/10.

Then vs. now: The drop from season 1 to season 7 is about three-fourths, which is pretty steep, even if it can easily be explained by all the moves and midseason premieres. Still, at least for the 2009-10 season, Medium was a pretty decent player for CBS on Friday nights, frequently holding or building on the Ghost Whisperer audience down the stretch of the season and usually outrating 10:00 offering Numb3rs. It was the only of those three shows to get the 2010-11 renewal, mostly because of its nice syndication deal with Lifetime. But it was clearly not up to anchoring the evening, and so it got its order shortened to 13 episodes and ended in early 2011.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12004-05Monday 10:005.494.56.3detail
32006-07Wednesday 9:002.91-31%2.43.7detail
42007-08Monday 10:003.11+7%2.53.5detail
62009-10Friday 9:00 (CBS)1.84-23%1.32.2detail
72010-11Friday 8:001.36-26%1.11.6detailD+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12004-05 135 hit2.27 110 154 154 110
22005-06 104 solid1.74 -23% 62 128 111 94
32006-07 77 marginal1.30 -25% 64 98 93 69
42007-08 94 marginal1.58 +21% 76 106 100 91
52008-09 79 marginal1.33 -16% 63 96 96 76
62009-10 65 solid(Fri)1.10 -17% 46 78 75 57
72010-11 54 flop0.90 -18% 43 63 55 63

For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.

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