Monday, August 16, 2010

The War of 18-49, CSI: Miami


Scheduling history: CSI: Miami aired all of its first 191 episodes to on Monday night except for one, the second half of a two-night special on Tuesday, 4/1/08. In 2010-11, CBS aired something else in its 10:00 hour for the first time in nine years: newbie Hawaii Five-0. Meanwhile, Miami headed to Sunday nights, where it aired for the last two seasons.

See (who saw) how it all began: CSI: Miami premiered with 23.10 million total viewers and an 8.6/21 in the demo on 9/23/02. That total audience remains the biggest in series history, while the demo is tied for second highest. The show dropped a fairly big amount the next two weeks, to a (preliminary) 7.4 and then to a 6.3, but then it jumped back to a 7.3 in week 4 and would stay in the 6's and low 7's for most of season 1.

The best of times: The two CSI: Miami seasons to average a 7.0 demo or higher were the second and third, which were the two years that the show had new comedy success Two and a Half Men as a lead-in. That may not be a coincidence, but it's worth noting that for most of its run, CSI: Miami has rated higher than the comedies in the 9:00 hour. The series high was a 9.0 demo for the penultimate episode of season 2 on 5/17/04, although it was season 3 that was probably the strongest overall; eight of the show's 11 episodes to break an 8.0 were in that season.

The worst of times: The year after losing the Men lead-in, the show dropped to its lowest average yet, and the show would continue to hit new lows in each season thereafter. It dropped another 10% even though in The Big Bang Theory there was a comedy lead-in at 9:30 putting up far and away the best numbers since the mid-aughts. It only got worse after the move to Sunday, as Miami lost another third of its audience and even dropped below the 2.0 threshold on five occasions in the last two seasons. The series low was a 1.7 demo for the series finale on 4/8/12, though that episode was so low mostly because of the 10:51 start time.

Then vs. now: By season 8, CSI: Miami had dropped more than half of the average from its peak days, and that performance got CBS thinking that they can do better in the hour. Whether they actually achieved that with Hawaii Five-0 is up for debate, but Miami didn't transition to Sunday well. It's historically a really tough hour on CBS because it often runs well out of primetime due to NFL overruns, but Miami achieved only modest gains on the weak year-ago numbers from Cold Case. It didn't drop a ton in the final season, but the show still lost out on what looks like the final spot on CBS' fall 2012 sked, as the network chose CSI: NY for that honor instead.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12002-03Monday 10:006.775.48.6detail
92010-11Sunday 10:002.41-33%1.83.2detailD

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12002-03 153 big hit2.57 122 194 194 174
22003-04 172 big hit2.89 +12% 143 222 146 200
32004-05 183 big hit3.08 +6% 159 211 199 179
42005-06 157 big hit2.63 -15% 131 172 165 167
52006-07 149 hit2.51 -5% 125 173 154 141
62007-08 134 hit2.25 -10% 118 148 139 136
72008-09 132 hit2.23 -1% 110 173 173 126
82009-10 127 hit2.14 -4% 96 153 153 117
92010-11 95 marginal1.59 -26% 71 126 126 79
102011-12 90 marginal1.52 -5% 72 110 97 72

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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