Sunday, July 11, 2010

The War of 18-49, Brothers & Sisters


Why post this on Sunday? Brothers & Sisters aired its entire run on Sunday night.

See (who saw) how it all began: Brothers & Sisters premiered on 9/24/06 with 15.69 million viewers and a 6.0/15 in the demo. That was a pretty healthy number, and it remains a series high. Retention out of Desperate Housewives was a respectable 63%. This was certainly not up to the level of Grey's Anatomy, which had been shipped out of this timeslot to resurrect ABC Thursdays, but it was OK.  It dipped 12% in week two to a 5.3 demo but then stayed between 4.9 and 5.4 for the next seven episodes, so it stabilized pretty well in the early going.

The best of times: Coming up with best-of-times and worst-of-times for Brothers & Sisters is a bit of a toughie, and the reason is because it basically went five years doing relatively similar retention out of Housewives and has just followed that show downward. In fact, the B&S average % of the Housewives average rose each of its first four years, from 62% of DH's average in season 1 to 63% to 66% to 67%. The final season was the first in which it took a bigger year-to-year drop than Desperate Housewives. That's not an excuse for the show or a claim that it's actually improved, because it hasn't.  I would still call 62% of the huge numbers Housewives did in fall 2006 better than 67% of the much lower numbers it did in 2009-10. So as far as "best of times," you still have to go back to the beginning with this show.  The 6.0 premiere and several other points above a 5.0 are better than anything the show has done since.

The worst of times: Same explanation as above. I have to just shrug my shoulders and say that the most recent season, the one with the lowest ratings, is the worst of times for the show. Season five brought the biggest year-to-year drop (-22%) in the show's history, and its 1.6 demo on 5/1/11 was a series low.

Then vs. now: The final season dropped more than 50% from the ratings of the first season. Certainly not a great showing in a five-year span, but not really an uncommon one either. It was a show that carved out a reasonably long run by doing pretty much the same thing: retaining the Desperate Housewives audience just well enough to not get axed and just poorly enough to not get moved. As predicted in this space when I first wrote this post, the show basically kept on doing that until Desperate Housewives itself was not a big enough show for decent retention to be a big deal.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12006-07Sunday 10:004.673.46.0





Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12006-07 124 solid2.09 90 159 159 119
22007-08 128 hit2.14 +3% 91 151 148 115
32008-09 115 solid1.94 -10% 93 153 153 100
42009-10 101 solid1.70 -12% 78 131 107 103
52010-11 87 marginal1.46 -14% 63 118 114 75

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...

Any chance of SpotVault posts for season 1-5 of this show?

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