Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The War of 18-49, The New Adventures of Old Christine


Why post this on Wednesday? Though Old Christine aired its first three seasons on Monday, it was on Wednesday that it first really got tried out as an anchor show.

See (who saw) how it all began: Old Christine kicked off as a mid-season replacement on March 13, 2006.  The series premiere got 12.36 million viewers and a 3.8 demo at 8:30, but in fact it did much larger numbers than that later on the same night when it debuted in its regular post-2.5 Men timeslot with 15.09 million viewers and a 4.8 demo. The first season peaked at a 5.1 demo the next week, then slumped into the threes before rising to a 4.5 for the season finale.

The best of times: Early season 1 was the best this show did, but it really didn't have significant drops across the first three seasons. It always did well out of 2.5 Men and had the potential to hit a 4+ demo in that timeslot.

The worst of times: The worst of times could be quickly summarized as "everything after the move to Wednesday." CBS clearly wanted this Wednesday comedy hour to work, otherwise it would've been an obvious cancellation within one season or less. Even achieving a 2.0 average was a struggle, especially in the winter and spring when it often had to contend with American Idol.

Then vs. now: This was a show that survived for its first three years because it did OK numbers out of big lead-ins and had some critical acclaim, including a 2006 Emmy win for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. On its own, it did not fare well, as its average in the last two seasons dropped over 40% from where it was in the first three. On other networks, the 2.0 average wouldn't look so bad, but on CBS it was at the very bottom of the totem pole, so 2009-10 was its last year.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12005-06Monday 9:303.922.55.1

22006-07Mon 9:30, Mon 8:303.45-12%2.44.4

32007-08Monday 9:303.46+0%2.74.5

42008-09Wednesday 8:002.05-41%1.62.4


Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12005-06 96 marginal1.62 62 126 94 111
22006-07 92 marginal1.54 -5% 64 117 111 74
32007-08 105 solid1.76 +14% 82 136 97 136
42008-09 68 flop1.15 -35% 53 80 70 53
52009-10 69 flop1.16 +1% 53 82 78 64

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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