Scheduling history: Bones has aired on four different nights (Monday thru Thursday) and in multiple seasons on each night. Following about three full seasons on Thursday, Bones returned to Monday this spring and will be back in the lead-off role on that evening in fall 2012.
See (who saw) how it all began: Something I've noticed about a lot of these shows is that they've taken average or above-average drops in week 2 but then pretty much stopped dropping. Bones is another such case; it premiered with 10.79 million viewers and a 3.9/11 demo on 9/13/05, then dropped to a 3.0 (preliminary) in week two, a 23% drop. But from there, it stabilized in the low 3's, posting a 3.1 and then a 3.2 the next two weeks and staying in that general vicinity until it got a post-American Idol boost in early January 2006.
The best of times: Much like with House, Bones was at its best when it aired after American Idol, although it didn't get that honor nearly as much as House did. It merely aired there for less than half of its first season. It peaked with 12.64 million viewers and a 5.2/12 demo on 2/1/06. It's actually come very close to that total viewer high on multiple other occasions in multiple other timeslots, but the ~5.0 demos have never been approached elsewhere. That said, its retention there wasn't that great, and it's probably been more impressive as a respectable anchor show. Its best times leading off the night were in early 2007, when it broke the 4.0 plateau a few times.
The worst of times: Probably the worst run this show had was in the immediate aftermath of the move to Thursday. Thursday night had been a major problem for Fox, and in early 2009 they looked to finally find a long-term anchor for the night with Bones. It wasn't easy going for that first half season, especially down the stretch. It really didn't approach those numbers again until the end of its 8:00 run in late 2010. The show then had another tough run in its return to Monday in spring 2012, dropping beneath the 2.0 threshold for the last couple episodes of that season.
Then vs. now: Whenever Bones ends, it's gonna be undeniably pretty impressive that it managed to last this long on a network with limited real estate despite never really being a hit. It's been pretty much the ultimate utility player, moving timeslots eight times in seven seasons, and you can't underestimate the value of that kind of thing to a network. Still, it's had a little luck on its side in these last couple years. First, Fox gave it a huge lead-in again in early 2011, right around the time it seemed to be taking a real downturn. And I have to feel like its renewal decision for 2012-13 would've been a little more interesting if not for basically the entire Fox drama department tanking in 2011-12. It feels like the show is on its last legs at this point, but it's pretty tough to count it out as long as Fox's drama cupboard is this bare.
Adults 18-49 info by season:
|1||2005-06||Tue 8:00, Wed 9:00, Wed 8:00||2.7||3.71||5.2||detail|
|3||2007-08||Tue 8:00, Mon 8:00||2.7||3.17||3.6||detail|
|4||2008-09||Wed 8:00, Thu 8:00||2.3||2.93||3.5||detail|
|6||2010-11||Thu 8:00, Thu 9:00||2.2||2.99||3.9||detail||B-|
|7||2011-12||Thu 9:00, Mon 8:00||1.9||2.39||3.3||detail||C-|
|Premiere||Average||Finale||P -> F|
For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.