Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The War of 18-49, The Amazing Race


Scheduling history: For the first five years of The Amazing Race's existence, the show was something of a utility player, moved six times in a seven season span from 2003 to 2006. But the Sunday 8:00 timeslot was a perfect fit, and it's now been there for well over half of the series' run. However, the first move in nearly a decade came in 2014-15, as it was downgraded to Friday.

See (who saw) how it all began: The Amazing Race kicked off with 11.82 million viewers and a 5.0/13 in adults 18-49 on 9/5/01.  The next Wednesday was 9/12/01, also known as The Day After 9/11, so there was not entertainment programming on the broadcast networks that evening. The show held up OK after that unfortunate break, scoring a 4.6/12 in week two on 9/19/01, but then it dropped into the upper 3's for most of its remaining season 1 episodes.  The season 1 finale perked up quite nicely to 13.65 million viewers and a 6.0/15 demo, one of the show's few 6.0+ airings.

The best of times: The best Amazing Race season ratings-wise was number 7, which averaged more than a half point higher in the demo than any other season. Only three other seasons in Race history have managed even once to hit the average of season 7. After a somewhat rocky first few years for the show, this season seemed to finally lock the show into a two-cycles-per-year pattern.  And the season 7 finale was easily the highest-rated airing out of the data I have, scoring 16.01 million viewers and a 6.8/17 in the demo on 5/10/05.

The worst of times: The show dropped hard from there, with the spring 2006 cycle just a calendar year later rating so badly that CBS shifted it to Wednesday night in the middle of the cycle (using the post-NCIS slot to premiere newbie The Unit) and then to Sunday for the next one. After a consistent run on Sunday, the show fell to a new level of weakness when moved to Friday in fall 2014. It hit a new low 1.0 for the first time in the fall 2014 season, then its first ever fractional ratings came on 4/29/16 and 5/6/16.

Then vs. now: Most shows we've covered find themselves on a consistent downward trajectory, either starting from the very beginning or after a brief period of growth. But The Amazing Race has been a true roller coaster ride, with eight seasons building average-wise on the previous season. Its drops in season 3 caused CBS to relegate it to the summer, but the big season 5 in summer 2004 got it back on the regular season sked, then the huge season 7 in 2005 seemed to lock it in, but by spring 2006 it was dumped on Wednesday, and then by the 2007-08 season CBS was briefly back to ordering only one cycle per season. The show finally found some stability on Sunday nights, with several seasons in a row since that move finishing in the low to mid 3's. After a long run as the bright spot on an otherwise demo-challenged evening for CBS, a rough 2013-14 got it moved to Friday for 2014-15. After two full years on the night, it has moved into more of a utility replacement mode again starting with season 29. It saw a great ratings resurgence (on top of a more favorable timeslot) in season 30, which was used to bridge two Survivor seasons.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Fall 2001Wednesday 9:
2Spring 2002Monday 10:004.573.86.1detail
3Fall 2002Wednesday 8:003.80-6%2.94.7detail
4Summer 2003Thursday 8:003.09-32%2.43.7detail
5Summer 2004Tuesday 9:004.63+50%3.95.6detail
62004-05Tuesday 8:004.573.85.2detail
7Spring 2005Tuesday 9:005.32+15%4.66.8detail
8Fall 20054.31-6%3.54.7detail
9Spring 20063.44-35%2.54.1detail
10Fall 2006Sunday 8:003.75-13%3.34.1detail
11Spring 20073.16-8%2.83.9detail
13Fall 20083.15-11%2.73.5detail
14Spring 20093.112.63.7detail
15Fall 20093.38+7%2.83.7detail
16Spring 20103.12+1%2.63.9detail
17Fall 20103.32-2%2.63.8detailB
18Spring 20112.64-15%2.13.2detailD+
19Fall 20112.88-13%2.73.3detailC
20Spring 20122.62-1%2.22.9detailB+
21Fall 20122.56-11%2.42.7detailC+
22Spring 20132.35-10%1.92.5detailB-
23Fall 20132.02-21%1.62.4detailD+
24Spring 20141.76-25%1.52.0detailD+
25Fall 2014Friday 8:001.17-42%1.01.4detailD+
26Spring 2015Wednesday 9:301.19-32%1.11.5detailC
27Fall 2015Friday 8:001.11-5%1.01.2detailB
28Spring 20161.06-11%0.91.3detailB
29Spring 2017Thursday 9:000.83-22%0.60.9detailB-
30Winter 2018Wednesday 8:001.15+39%0.91.6detailA-

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Fall 200194marginal1.0372139116139
2Spring 2002106solid1.168814291121
3Fall 200286marginal0.94-9%6510688106
4Summer 200370solid(sum)0.76-34%54838383
5Summer 2004114big hit(sum)1.25+64%96138106138
7Spring 2005131hit1.43+15%113167120167
8Fall 2005106solid1.16-5%86116108116
9Spring 200685marginal0.93-35%6210110184
10Fall 2006100solid1.09-6%88109104109
11Spring 200784marginal0.92-1%741048288
13Fall 2008105solid1.15-2%90116106103
14Spring 2009103solid1.138612386103
15Fall 2009120solid1.31+14%99131121131
16Spring 2010111solid1.22+7%9213999103
17Fall 2010131hit1.43+9%102149149146
18Spring 2011104solid1.14-6%8312698102
19Fall 2011122solid1.33-7%114140127140
20Spring 2012111solid1.21+7%93123119114
21Fall 2012121solid1.330%114128119123
22Spring 2013112solid1.22+1%90119119114
23Fall 2013107solid1.17-12%85127106111
24Spring 201493marginal1.02-16%801068096
25Fall 201469solid(Fri)0.76-35%59836577
26Spring 201571solid(Fri)0.77-24%65898965
27Fall 201576hit(Fri)0.83+10%69828269
28Spring 201673solid(Fri)0.80+3%62898976
29Spring 201767flop0.74-7%49737365
30Winter 2018105solid1.15+56%7814514582

The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.


Spot said...

The spring 2004 low is listed as 0
I think this is a mistake
If it is not, that 48% growth is even more impressive

Spot said...

Thanks, fixed. But the 48% growth is real!

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