Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The War of 18-49, CSI: NY


Scheduling history: CSI: NY aired all but one episode of its first six seasons on Wednesday night, then moved to Friday for the last three seasons.

See (who saw) how it all began: As is often the case with spinoffs, CSI: NY began really well, finding 19.26 million viewers and a 7.1/19 in the demo on 9/22/04. It actually outrated the Lost premiere's 6.8 demo, which was on the same night two hours earlier, though it was 17% down from the series premiere of the first CSI spinoff, Miami, about two years prior. NY impressively held the full 7.1 demo in week two, but then dropped to a 6.2 and then a 5.2 the next two weeks before bouncing back up. The show generally had a lot of ratings volatility in its first season.

The best of times: The first two seasons of the show were pretty consistently in the 5.0 vicinity, but the show never did a better A18-49 than the 7.1 it posted each of its first two weeks. The storyline for this show's ratings on Wednesday was a little drop every season, and the drop from season 1 to season 2 was the smallest of them all.

The worst of times: As I said in the last section, CSI: NY started with a big audience and has lost a bit of it each year since.  Most of these drops have been less-than-catastrophic, but the really bad one was at the halfway point in the show's run to date, between seasons 3 and 4, when the show dropped more than 20%.  This was really the year that took the show from a bonafide hit to something of a marginal player by CBS standards, and after two more years of small drops, the 3.0 average out of the always consistent Criminal Minds prompted a CBS move of the show to Friday. The Friday seasons were by far the weakest, with every single episode of those seasons rating below every single Wednesday episode ever. The worst stretch in series history came at the end of the last couple seasons, when the show totally fell apart in the last few weeks each time. The series low was a 1.2 demo set five different times, including the finales of both seasons eight and nine.

Then vs. now: CBS definitely got diminishing returns out of its extension of the CSI franchise, as CSI: NY was rarely anything more than a solid player in its nine-season run. But it was also rarely anything less than solid, even in the Friday seasons. It wasn't actually that much weaker at the end of its three-season Friday stint than at the beginning, but CBS' depth means they regularly have to put reasonable players out to pasture, and NY's time was clearly up.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12004-05Wednesday 10:005.303.87.1detail
72010-11Friday 9:001.75-42%1.52.0detailD+
92012-13Fri 8:00, Fri 9:001.41-13%1.21.6detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12004-05 130 hit2.18 93 174 174 110
22005-06 123 solid2.06 -6% 106 160 111 111
32006-07 121 solid2.04 -1% 88 159 133 106
42007-08 109 solid1.84 -10% 88 124 112 97
52008-09 112 solid1.88 +2% 96 143 133 100
62009-10 108 solid1.81 -4% 82 142 142 96
72010-11 69 solid(Fri)1.16 -36% 59 79 79 63
82011-12 69 solid(Fri)1.15 -0% 51 76 76 51
92012-13 67 solid(Fri)1.13 -2% 57 76 62 57

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

1 comment:

Spot said...

i know this is somewhat immature, but it's funny that its career 18-49 is 911, considering the show's subject matter

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