Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The War of 18-49, The Biggest Loser


Scheduling history: 12 of the first 13 The Biggest Loser seasons aired on Tuesday, but since then it's been thrown all over the place. It filled the space between seasons of The Voice on Monday in 2013 and 2016, briefly returned to Tuesday in fall 2014, and had an ill-advised fall Thursday season in 2015.

See (who saw) how it all began: The first season premiered on 10/19/04 with a pretty solid 9.90 million viewers and a 4.1/10 in the demo.  It dropped to a 3.7 in week two, but then rose back to a 4.0+ demo for the rest of the originals that season and wrapped up with a 5.9/15 on 1/11/05, the second-highest result for the series to date.

The best of times: The highest-rated season in raw average was the first, which was the only one to consistently score above a 4.0 in the demo. Though the second season also averaged above a 4.0, just four of its 12 airings hit that mark, and the average was heavily inflated by the massive 6.7 demo for the finale on 11/29/05, easily the show's highest-rated airing ever. The show then was highly consistent for the next four cycles before having a bit of a resurgence to its highest relative level ever in calendar year 2009. The season 8 finale was just the third airing in show history that averaged at least a 5.0 in the demo.

The worst of times: Prior to the fall 2010 season, it was tough coming up with a "worst of times" for this show, since most of the worst seasons had fallen right around a low 3 demo. But the fall 2010 season easily set a new low for the show, and it only made a rally into the upper 2's average-wise due to some higher-rated episodes after the show got moved to the 9:00-11:00 block. Before those last three weeks, the show was often lower than a 2.5, which it had never done before. The big drops continued in the 2011-12 season, with the show dropping below a 2.0 for the first time. But the move to Thursday in fall 2014 really took TBL to a new level of low-ratedness. It dropped all the way to a 0.9 rating for a couple airings around the holidays, on 12/18/14 and 1/1/15, then actually hit its first 0.8 against the Grammys on 2/15/16.

Then vs. now: Once consistent The Biggest Loser finally took a significant downturn starting in fall 2010, down more than 15% from any previous season, and the bleeding continued pretty heavily all the way through the 2011-12 season. That put the show into midseason replacement mode for the first time, but that role (plus the return of Jillian Michaels) helped the show rebound quite nicely in early 2013. It fell back off again in its 2013-14 season, despite a beneficial pairing with The Voice's results show in the fall, and the move to Thursday in 2014 didn't go well at all. The future seems more uncertain than ever for the show at this point, but these reality franchises have often been capable of major rejuvenation.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Fall 2004Tuesday 8:004.403.75.9detail
2Fall 20054.08-7%3.06.7detail
3Fall 2006Wednesday 9:003.34-18%2.64.8detail
4Fall 2007Tuesday 8:003.27-2%2.74.6detail
6Fall 20083.25-1%2.64.6detail
8Fall 20093.74+15%3.15.0detail
10Fall 20102.73-27%2.34.0detailD+
12Fall 20112.21-19%1.92.7detailC-
142012-13Monday 8:002.32+6%2.03.0detailA-
152013-14Tuesday 8:001.93-17%1.72.3detailC-
162014-15Thursday 8:001.24-36%0.91.6detailD
172015-16Monday 9:001.07-13%0.81.2detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Fall 2004108solid1.5891145101145
2Fall 2005100solid1.46-7%7416581165
3Fall 200689marginal1.29-12%6912782127
4Fall 200799marginal1.44+12%8213994139
6Fall 2008108solid1.58+9%86153106153
8Fall 2009133hit1.94+23%110178135178
10Fall 2010107solid1.56-19%90157114157
12Fall 201193marginal1.36-13%8011497114

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

1 comment:

Spot said...

"NBC should be able to continue exercising some restraint..."

Ha! Nice workout joke there.

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