Friday, August 27, 2010

The War of 18-49, The Simpsons



THE SIMPSONS (FOX)

Scheduling history: The vast majority of The Simpsons' run has come on Sunday. The show was on Sunday in its short first season all the way back in early 1990, then moved to Thursday for the next four years, then went back to Sunday for fall of 1994 and has been on that evening for the over two decades since.

See (who saw) how it all began: Like other posts for Law & Order and ER, The Simpsons is a show for which I'm unfortunately missing a ton of information. As with those two shows, I start tracking in 1999-00, the first year in which I have any reasonable amount of data. But I did see some numbers on the series premiere on 1/14/90. I saw a couple conflicting reports, so this really should be taken with a pretty massive grain of salt, but the number I'm going with is 24.53 million viewers and a 12.4/26 demo. I also saw a higher demo number that could be right. (I went with the lower one since it seemed to match the number of viewers better.) Either way, the premiere was one of the biggest in Fox history.

The best of times: Unlike ER and L&O, which seemingly peaked around the time I started getting data, I don't really know for sure on The Simpsons, so all I can really say is that the best seasons of data I have were from that period, circa 2000. The best regular in-timeslot data I have is the 9.9 and 10.4 demos scored by the one-hour show on 2/16/03 advertised as the 300th episode. (Though they were actually the 302nd and 303rd in broadcast order.)

The worst of times: The Simpsons has mostly gone downhill since then, though it's stayed close to even after accounting for the league average decline. Season 27 set a new series low with a 1.0 demo on 4/3/16.

Then vs. now: Of all the shows we've looked at (certainly all the big-four shows), The Simpsons is probably the most meaningful to the entire history of its network. Fox started in the 1986-87 season, so The Simpsons began in the fourth year of the net's nearly three decades of existence, and it's still going strong today. The mid-aughts were the last time the show took a year-to-year drop massively more than the league average. That's not bad at all over that long a period of time (though the NFL lead-ins have probably helped), and the show remains a really viable primetime player because it's still so strong in the younger male demos. Like Law & Order, it's proven that the key to longevity isn't necessarily staying at the very top of the primetime heap, as The Simpsons hasn't been close to those levels in many years. But thanks to its staying close to even, it should remain near the top in the numbers that matter most of all: ad dollars.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
111999-00Sunday 8:007.716.39.2detail
122000-017.926.99.8detail
132001-026.134.27.5detail
142002-036.53+7%4.710.4detail
152003-045.08-22%3.27.8detail
162004-054.50-11%3.45.6detail
172005-064.65+3%3.55.6detail
182006-074.26-8%3.05.4detail
192007-083.97-7%2.95.7detail
202008-093.38-15%2.56.2detail
212009-103.36-1%2.46.9detail
222010-113.21-4%2.35.7detailB
232011-122.87-11%1.95.4detailC+
242012-132.49-13%1.74.2detailC+
252013-142.22-11%1.24.6detailB-
262014-152.15-3%1.14.7detailC+
272015-161.74-19%1.03.6detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow16y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
132001-02142hit2.079817416398
142002-03147hit2.14+3%106234182137
152003-04125hit1.82-15%79192185108
162004-05110solid1.61-12%84138138111
172005-06115solid1.67+4%8613812896
182006-07113solid1.65-1%80143141119
192007-08120solid1.75+6%8817214288
202008-09112solid1.64-6%8320615096
212009-10119solid1.74+6%8524515389
222010-11126hit1.84+6%9022414698
232011-12121solid1.77-4%8022916589
242012-13118solid1.72-3%81199180100
252013-14118solid1.720%6424415485
262014-15128hit1.86+8%6527923877
272015-16119solid1.74-7%6924710376

AVERAGE:122solid
CAREER:1835icon



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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