Saturday, August 28, 2010

The War of 18-49 Index

The War of 18-49 began in summer 2010 with me digging up old articles and press releases to fill out the ratings history of TV shows whose pasts I was unfamilar with. Now it's this blog's biggest ongoing project. Except in a very few cases where the early data isn't available, I trace veteran primetime shows' adults 18-49 ratings history all the way back to the beginning and look at how the ratings have evolved.


2 Broke Girls (CBS, 2011-)
The Amazing Race (CBS, 2001-)
America's Next Top Model (UPN/The CW, 2003-)
American Dad! (Fox/TBS, 2005-)
American Horror Story (FX, 2011-)
American Ninja Warrior (NBC, 2012-) (NEW!)
The Americans (FX, 2013-) (NEW!)
America's Got Talent (NBC, 2006-)
The Apprentice (NBC, 2004-)
Archer (FX, 2010-)
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox, 2007-09, 2015-)
Arrow (CW, 2012-) (NEW!)
The Bachelor/Bachelorette (ABC, 2002-)
Bates Motel (A&E, 2013-) (NEW!)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007-)
Big Brother (CBS, 2000-)
The Biggest Loser (NBC, 2004-)
Blue Bloods (CBS, 2010-)
Bob's Burgers (Fox, 2011-)
Bones (Fox, 2005-)
Chicago Fire (NBC, 2012-) (NEW!)
Criminal Minds (CBS, 2005-)
Dancing with the Stars (ABC, 2005-)
Elementary (CBS, 2012-) (NEW!)
Family Guy (Fox, 1999-2002, 2005-)
Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-)
The Good Wife (CBS, 2009-)
Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005-)
Grimm (NBC, 2011-)
Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, 2010-)
Hell's Kitchen (Fox, 2005-)
Homeland (Showtime, 2011-)
Last Comic Standing (NBC, 2003-)
Last Man Standing (ABC, 2011-)
Law & Order: SVU (NBC, 1999-)
MasterChef (Fox, 2010-)
The Middle (ABC, 2009-)
Modern Family (ABC, 2009-)
Nashville (ABC/CMT, 2012-) (NEW!)
NCIS (CBS, 2003-)
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, 2009-)
New Girl (Fox, 2011-)
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 2011-)
Person of Interest (CBS, 2011-)
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 2010-)
Scandal (ABC, 2012-)
Shameless (Showtime, 2011-)
Shark Tank (ABC, 2009-)
The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-)
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox, 2005-)
Supernatural (The WB/The CW, 2005-)
Suits (USA, 2011-)
Survivor (CBS, 2000-)
Undercover Boss (CBS, 2010-)
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 2009-)
The Voice (NBC, 2011-)
The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010-)


24 (Fox, 2001-10, 2014)
30 Rock (NBC, 2006-13)
8 Simple Rules (ABC, 2002-05)
90210 (CW, 2008-13)
According to Jim (ABC, 2001-09)
Alias (ABC, 2001-06)
American Idol (Fox, 2002-16)
Army Wives (Lifetime, 2007-13) 
Arrested Development (Fox, 2003-06)*
Better Off Ted (ABC, 2009-10)*
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 2010-14)
Boston Legal (ABC, 2004-08)
Brothers & Sisters (ABC, 2006-11)
Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008-13) 
Burn Notice (USA, 2007-13)
Castle (ABC, 2009-16)
Chuck (NBC, 2007-12)
The Cleveland Show (Fox, 2009-13)
Cold Case (CBS, 2003-10)
Community (NBC, 2009-14)
Cougar Town (ABC/TBS, 2009-15)
Covert Affairs (USA, 2010-14)
CSI (CBS, 2000-15)
CSI: Miami (CBS, 2002-12)
CSI: NY (CBS, 2004-13)
Deal or No Deal (NBC, 2005-09)
Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2004-12)
Dollhouse (Fox, 2009-10)*
Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime, 2009-14)
ER (NBC, 1994-2009)
Everwood (The WB, 2002-06)
Everybody Hates Chris (UPN/The CW, 2005-09)
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, 2003-12)
Falling Skies (TNT, 2011-15)
Flashpoint (CBS, 2007-11) 
Friday Night Lights (NBC, 2006-11)
Friends (NBC, 1994-2004)*
Fringe (Fox, 2008-13)
The Game (The CW/BET, 2006-15)
Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 2005-10)
The Glades (A&E, 2010-13)
Glee (Fox, 2009-15)
Gossip Girl (The CW, 2007-12)
Hart of Dixie (The CW, 2011-15) 
Hell on Wheels (AMC, 2011-16)
Heroes (NBC, 2006-10)
House (Fox, 2004-12)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005-14)
In Plain Sight (USA, 2008-12)
Jericho (CBS, 2006-08)*
Jersey Shore (MTV, 2009-12)
Justified (FX, 2010-15)
Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, 2007-14)
Law & Order (NBC, 1990-2010)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC/USA, 2001-11)
Leverage (TNT, 2008-12)
Lie to Me (Fox, 2009-11)*
Life (NBC, 2007-09)*
Lost (ABC, 2004-10)
Medium (NBC/CBS, 2005-11)
The Mentalist (CBS, 2008-15)
Mike and Molly (CBS, 2010-16)
Moonlight (CBS, 2007-08)*
The Moment of Truth (Fox, 2008)*
My Name is Earl (NBC, 2005-09)
The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS, 2006-10)
Nikita (CW, 2010-13)
Numb3rs (CBS, 2005-10)
The OC (Fox, 2003-07)
The Office (NBC, 2005-13)
One Tree Hill (The WB/The CW, 2003-12)
Parenthood (NBC, 2010-15)
Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009-15)
Prison Break (Fox, 2005-09)
Private Practice (ABC, 2007-13) 
Pushing Daisies (ABC, 2007-09)*
Raising Hope (Fox, 2010-14)
Reaper (The CW, 2007-09)*
Reba (The WB/The CW, 2001-07)
Revenge (ABC, 2011-15) 
Rizzoli and Isles (TNT, 2010-16)
Rookie Blue (ABC, 2010-15)
Royal Pains (USA, 2009-16)
Rules of Engagement (CBS, 2007-13) 
Scrubs (NBC/ABC, 2001-10)
The Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABC Family, 2008-13)
Smallville (The WB/The CW, 2001-11)
Sons of Anarchy (FX, 2008-14)
Southland (NBC/TNT, 2009-13)
Supernanny (ABC, 2005-11)
Swingtown (CBS, 2008)*
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox, 2008-09)*
'Til Death (Fox, 2006-10)
True Blood (HBO, 2008-14)
Two and a Half Men (CBS, 2003-15)
Ugly Betty (ABC, 2006-10)
Unforgettable (CBS/A&E, 2011-16) (NEW!)
The Unit (CBS, 2006-09)
Veronica Mars (UPN/The CW, 2004-07)
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 2009-14)
White Collar (USA, 2009-14)  
Wife Swap (ABC, 2004-10)
Wipeout (ABC, 2008-14)
Without a Trace (CBS, 2002-09)
The X Factor (Fox, 2011-13)

*- "flashback" post for shows with shorter runs/incomplete info

Can't find your show? It might be on one of these pages: 

Post-2012 Scripted Series: ABC | CBS | NBC | Fox | CW (NEW!) 
News & Sports Series (NEW!)
Pre-2001 Comedies
Pre-2001 Dramas

The yearly index posts take the seasons' low/average/high numbers from all the above War of 18-49 show posts, line them up by year, and also link back to all the available weekly ratings posts. Prior to 2010-11, they're not comprehensive lists of every single show in primetime, but they should help give some perspective on relative ratings. (NOTE: Some of the War of 18-49 posts still refer back to the previous versions of these posts, called the War of 18-49 Battlegrounds. These posts linked below are "better," though.)

1999-2000 | 2000-01 | 2001-02 | 2002-03 | 2003-04 | 2004-05 | 2005-06 | 2006-07 | 2007-08 | 2008-09 | 2009-10 | 2010-11 | 2011-12 | 2012-13 | 2013-14

With most of the covered shows having established pages already, the majority of War of 18-49 posts these days are "War of 18-49 Updates," posts in which I give a letter grade to the ratings for the most recent season of a show. At the same time, I also add those new numbers into the previously existing War of 18-49 post. Each show's update posts are also available on its show page; if the season number is clickable, there's an update.

War of 18-49 Update Rubric (explanation of my letter grading)
All War of 18-49 Updates

Summer 2010 Intro 1
Summer 2010 Intro 2
Summer 2010 Post-mortem 
Winter 2010 Intro
Summer 2011 Intro

Final Battlegrounds color-coded by genre (summer 2010, numbers now out of date)
Some War of 18-49 Fun Facts (summer 2010, numbers now out of date)


Spot said...

It's possible to get the ratings [adults 18-49] of Friends?

Spot said...

Wow. This is amazing. I've always wanted to know the 18-49 series high's for shows like CSI and Idol. Thankyou!

Spot said...

I have one question. What's the highest 18-49 you have recorded (Excluding sports). Survivors 22.8 may be the highest I've seen so far.

Spot said...

Thanks for the kind words! I believe the highest rating out of the War of 18-49 shows is a 25.8 for the season 4 finale of ER. I know Friends got a 28.2 after the Super Bowl.

Spot said...

Could you possibly do a post on Friends!? I know that show used to pull HUGE numbers.

Spot said...

I might try to do something on Friends at some point, although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to find the 18-49 ratings on a consistent basis beyond the last season or two.

Spot said...

That would be great! Do you know what Friends' highest rating was for a regularly scheduled episode? (ie. not including the 28.2 for the Super Bowl and the 24.9 for the series finale).

Spot said...

Now that it's got a year under its belt, could you include "Person of Interest" (full ratings for last season) on your list? I think it's going to be around for awhile. Great site! Thanks.

Spot said...

Still researching, but I'm pretty sure the answer here is "The One Where Rachel Has a Baby," the season 8 finale (17.0 on 5/16/02)

Spot said...

I don't do full-fledged War of 18-49 posts till the show has aired four seasons, but you can get all the PoI ratings here:

Spot said...

I don't know where to ask this, so I'll post it around!

I have two questions:

1. In September 2005, as you know, Desperate Housewives premiered to an 8.9 adults 18–49 rating. What would that equate to in terms of today's ratings? I wonder the same thing about Grey's Anatomy, which premiered to a 7.2 adults 18–49 rating in March 2005. I understand you may only be able to come up with a ballpark estimate, but I'd be pleased with just that.

2. I know that Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012 stands as the most-viewed telecast in television history, but what is the highest-rated (adults 18–49) telecast in television history?

I'd be thrilled if you can answer these questions!

Spot said...

The following shows will have aired four seasons by the end of the 2012-13 season:

Shark Tank

Modern Family
The Middle
Cougar Town
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Good Wife
Undercover Boss
The Vampire Diaries
The Cleveland Show
The Voice

Will you be doing War of 18-49 posts for these shows? I'm sure there's more on cable, but these are all I can think of.

Spot said...


Spot said...

Okay, good! :-)

Spot said...

I recently came across an Ad Age article that says the 1993 Cheers series finale got a 42.6/76 A18-49 rating and the 1998 Seinfeld series finale got a 38.7/72 A18-49 rating. Are these whopping numbers accurate? That 42.6 is the highest A18-49 rating I've ever seen!

Spot said...

I'm flattered that you would ask me to verify numbers in Ad Age! :) If they're there, they are almost certainly correct. I don't have any other info dating that far back.

Spot said...

Just to let you know: the So You Think You Can Dance link is wrong I think, it links to the ratings archives page, not the war 18-49 page.

Spot said...


Spot said...

Can we expect a War 18-49 post for Scandal once it has ended its fourth season run?

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