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.

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