Monday, July 26, 2010

The War of 18-49, Medium


Why post this on Monday? Fans of Medium have always kind of thought of Monday night as "home" for the show and the place where its ratings would be maximized, mostly because the show was pretty potent on that evening in its first two seasons and dropped big time when moved to Wednesday in season 3. NBC apparently bought in, as the show returned to Monday for the fourth and fifth seasons, but the ratings made at best only a minor recovery.

See (who saw) how it all began: We've got another long-running show that didn't premiere in the fall! Still, Medium premiered really well, with 16.09 million viewers and a 6.3/16 in the demo on 1/3/05. The next week, it added 250,000 total viewers and held on that 6.3 mark, and those two airings would be the series high.  But the show held in the 6.0 area for more than a month after that before dropping into the 5's and then into the upper 4's by the end of its 16-episode first season.

The best of times: The best of times was definitely at the beginning. It broke 6.0 four times in its first five episodes and then never again. It broke 5.0 twelve times in season 1 and then just once in the next five seasons (the second episode of season 2).

The worst of times: Medium's lowest-rated seasons were the final two, following a switch in networks and a move to the always difficult Friday night. Despite airing on a stronger net and getting treated better, including just its second and third fall premieres ever, there was certainly no recovery. It got much worse in the final season when the show lost its Ghost Whisperer lead-in and moved to 8:00, dropping as low as a 1.1 demo for the fourth episode of that season on 10/15/10.

Then vs. now: The drop from season 1 to season 7 is about three-fourths, which is pretty steep, even if it can easily be explained by all the moves and midseason premieres. Still, at least for the 2009-10 season, Medium was a pretty decent player for CBS on Friday nights, frequently holding or building on the Ghost Whisperer audience down the stretch of the season and usually outrating 10:00 offering Numb3rs. It was the only of those three shows to get the 2010-11 renewal, mostly because of its nice syndication deal with Lifetime. But it was clearly not up to anchoring the evening, and so it got its order shortened to 13 episodes and ended in early 2011.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12004-05Monday 10:005.494.56.3detail
32006-07Wednesday 9:002.91-31%2.43.7detail
42007-08Monday 10:003.11+7%2.53.5detail
62009-10Friday 9:00 (CBS)1.84-23%1.32.2detail
72010-11Friday 8:001.36-26%1.11.6detailD+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12004-05 135 hit2.27 110 154 154 110
22005-06 104 solid1.74 -23% 62 128 111 94
32006-07 77 marginal1.30 -25% 64 98 93 69
42007-08 94 marginal1.58 +21% 76 106 100 91
52008-09 79 marginal1.33 -16% 63 96 96 76
62009-10 65 solid(Fri)1.10 -17% 46 78 75 57
72010-11 54 flop0.90 -18% 43 63 55 63

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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