Thursday, December 23, 2010

The War of 18-49, Everybody Hates Chris


Why post this on Thursday? Everybody Hates Chris aired on four different nights during its four season run. Its highest-rated by far was the first one, on Thursday.

See (who saw) how it all began: The premiere of Everybody Hates Chris on 9/22/05 was the last of the really world-beating premieres for the "netlets," UPN and the WB, before their merge a year later. At 7.78 million viewers and a 3.2/9 among adults 18-49, it was the most-watched comedy episode in the history of the net. It plunged 25% to a 2.4 demo in week two, then another couple ticks to a 2.2, then rose back to a 2.5 in week four.

The best of times: Those first four weeks remain the four strongest demo performances in the history of the show. It continued hitting 2.0+ as late as episode 9 and still frequently finished in the upper half of the 1's as late as March 2006.

The worst of times: The weakest season of Chris by average was the final one, but that's mostly because the show still did pretty respectably early in season 3. Its weakest run of episodes was definitely in the second half of the third season, when it had an extremely tough time doing much of anything in the Sunday lead-off spot for the last hurrah of the CDub's two-hour comedy block. Even though it was one of the very few scripted shows to actually complete a full 22-episode season of TV during the WGA strike-hindered 2007-08 season, it still took a four-month hiatus along with the other comedies and was DOA when it came back. It got as low as a mere 0.4 demo on 4/6/08, 4/20/08, and 5/4/08. So bad was the performance of it and the other comedies that the network actually stopped programming Sundays in a traditional sense. And a year later, they stopped programming the night altogether!

Then vs. now: Like several other CW shows, including multiple shows I've covered on the War, Everybody Hates Chris was only in part (and maybe even only in small part) axed because of its adults 18-49 numbers. In the end, it and the other comedies didn't hit that demographic sweet spot of women 18-34 that the CW has seemingly been so obsessed with chasing, so it got moved to Friday (alongside a third season of The Game) in what was clearly the first step of a phasing out of the situation comedy genre. Its Friday run was arguably a fairly pleasant surprise ratings-wise, noticeably up from those 0.4 and 0.5 depths it so often hit late in season 3, but it didn't really matter. And Smallville has gone on to significantly improve on those comedies in the Friday 8:00 timeslot.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12005-06Thursday 8:001.801.03.2

22006-07CW, Sun 8:00, Mon 8:001.15-36%0.91.4

32007-08Mon 8:00, Sun 8:000.71-39%0.41.1

42008-09Friday 8:000.64-10%0.50.8

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12005-06 44 solid(CW)0.75 25 79 79 32
22006-07 31 marginal(CW)0.52 -31% 24 37 24 27
32007-08 21 flop0.36 -30% 12 33 30 15
42008-09 21 solid(CWFri)0.36 -1% 17 27 27 23

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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