Sunday, July 18, 2010

The War of 18-49, American Dad!


Scheduling history: American Dad! aired for a decade on Fox Sundays, and has had a regular run at the bottom of every single hour. Most of its eps have aired at 9:30, but it made a couple brief moves to the 7:30 half-hour (including in its last season on Fox). It moved to cabler TBS (and to Mondays) in 2014-15.

See (who saw) how it all began: American Dad! premiered with 15.1 million viewers and a 7.5 in the demo after the Super Bowl, though it wasn't directly after the Super Bowl; it was a half hour later, with The Simpsons in between. It then made its official series premiere almost three months later with 9.32 million viewers and a 4.7/10 demo on 5/1/05.  Not bad, but it did lose 19% of the Family Guy lead-in on what was that show's return from a years-long hiatus. Half of its six-episode run took place in June 2005, outside the official regular season, but as many of TV's biggest shows of today can attest, that isn't a death knell.

The best of times: The show's first two seasons (which, in terms of production, only total one season, but I'm counting them as two since they aired in two different TV seasons) were the show's strongest run. Though it never got higher than the 4.7 demo for its aforementioned regular timeslot premiere, the show still got past the 4.0 demo threshold at times in each of its first four seasons. Its best historical-adjusted season was 2009-10, while its best historical-adjusted episodes came in the last couple seasons with the help of the NFL lead-in.

The worst of times: American Dad! was at its weakest on Fox when it got thrown in the 7:30 half hour during the first half of 2011 and 2014. It dipped below the 2.0 demo threshold for the first time ever and for seven of the nine episodes it aired there in 2011. It returned to 7:30 again in its last season on Fox, dropping as low as 1.1 on 4/13/14. But the lowest numbers by far came in the move to cable network TBS, where it was as low as a 0.45 on 5/25/15.

Then vs. now: American Dad! ended up with a very nice run on Fox considering its role, which has been (ratings-wise) as a Family Guy-lite. It stuck around because it does modest but good enough retention out of a bigger show. Though the repeats still post beastly numbers as part of Adult Swim, it actually had much worse numbers for the originals on TBS, where it was seemingly not as good a fit. The show still cracks the occasional 1.0 for repeats as part of the beastly Adult Swim empire, but it was at a consistent 0.6 for original episodes in its first season on TBS, down nearly two-thirds from its Fox average in 2013-14. But it seems viewers have found it, as the show has trended healthy in the last couple TBS seasons.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Summer 2005Sunday 9:303.603.04.7detail
32006-07Sunday 8:303.59-4%2.84.5detail
42007-08Sunday 9:303.18-11%2.44.2detail
72010-11Sun 9:30, Sun 7:302.25-22%1.63.1detailC
82011-12Sunday 9:302.28+2%1.83.0detailB-
102013-14Sunday 9:001.63-23%1.12.5detailB-
112014-15Monday 9:000.59-64%0.40.7detailD
132016-17Mon 8:30, Mon 10:000.51-5%0.40.6detailA-
14Spring 2018Monday 10:000.44-15%0.40.5detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Summer 200588solid(sum)0.847411511581
13Fall 2016-174233514433
14Spring 20184034473842


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

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