Monday, July 12, 2010

The War of 18-49, Heroes


Why post this on Monday? Heroes aired its entire 77-episode run on the night.

See (who saw) how it all began: Heroes debuted on 9/25/06 with 14.1 million viewers and a 5.9 demo, a very solid start for a 2006-07 drama.  It lost just 7% of that in week two, dropping to a 5.5, and then perked back up to a 5.9 in week three.  A hit was born.

The best of times: For a show that became known in its last two seasons for dropping almost every other week, the show was remarkably consistent in season 1, and the "best of times" was probably a 14-episode span in the middle of season 1 that entirely fell in the 6's in the demo, peaking at a series-high 6.9 on 11/20/06.

The worst of times: But after season 1, it was a pretty precipitous fall, which each volume chewing off another chunk of the audience. Season 2 usually fell in the low 5's, the first half of season 3 in the upper 3's, the second half in the low 3's, the first half of season 4 in the low to mid 2's, and the final run in early 2010 right around a 2.0. The worst it got was the fourth episode from the end, which found merely a 1.8/4 in the demo on 1/18/10.

Then vs. now: A show losing this much steam within just four seasons is pretty ugly. Just comparing the season 1 and season 4 averages, there's a pretty huge loss of 63%, but if you just compare the final seven-episode run (which averaged just a 2.03) with the peak days, it becomes well over a two-thirds decline. Perhaps the saddest thing of all, though, is that even a 2.0 average made it pretty competitive by NBC drama standards, and a case could've been made for its renewal. But high costs and likely continued declines were probably the show's undoing, and rightfully so.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12006-07Monday 9:
42009-10Mon 8:00, Mon 9:002.30-37%1.82.8detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12006-07 163 big hit2.74 135 183 157 165
22007-08 158 big hit2.66 -3% 148 197 197 151
32008-09 121 solid2.04 -23% 86 166 166 100
42009-10 82 marginal1.37 -33% 64 99 99 71

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


yankeesrj12 said...

It's funny to think Heroes had a spinoff in development at one point.

Spot said...

The 'detail' button for the 2007-08 season takes you to the 2006-07 SpotVault, and the 'detail' button for the 2009-10 season takes you to the 2008-09 SpotVault.

Spot said...


Spot said...

It's even funnier (or not) now that Heroes has a reboot in development/production.

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