Monday, June 6, 2011

The War of 18-49, Kitchen Nightmares


Scheduling history: Kitchen Nightmares has aired on four different days of the work week. Season one was on Wednesday, season two on Thursday and season three split among Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It eventually settled in as a Friday program, airing the last several full seasons on the evening.

See (who saw) how it all began: Kitchen Nightmares was originally scheduled on Wednesdays at 9:00 opposite two other new shows in Bionic Woman and Private Practice. It did get a one-week head start on those two shows, premiering on 9/19/07 to a decent audience of 6.61 million total viewers and a 3.1 demo. The next week was much busier, with the premieres of the two above plus the season premiere of Criminal Minds, so the show somewhat expectedly dropped 19% to a 2.5 demo. But as the dust settled in the timeslot, it picked back up, hitting a 2.9 in week 3 and a 3.0 in week four.

The best of times: Kitchen Nightmares' strongest season by far was the first, and toward the end of that short first season it actually picked up to above its series premiere numbers. However, its best individual results came at the beginning of season 3 when it got the honor so many Fox shows get: to air after American Idol. Its first post-Idol airing on 2/2/10 hit a 3.8 demo, which remains a series high to this day, and the two next highest results in series history came in the next two airings after Idol.

The worst of times: Kitchen Nightmares kinda has the Dante's Inferno of scheduling history, with each season bringing a more treacherous situation; "First, we're gonna put it against two of the most-hyped new shows and Criminal Minds; then, we're gonna move it against Grey's and CSI and The Office; then, let's put it on Friday, and then, let's move it down to 8:00 on Friday." And with almost every one of those moves, it's unsurprisingly taken a noticeable hit. After settling in as a top Friday program in seasons four and five, it stepped down a huge notch in season six. And it hit a new low 0.8 during its short seventh season run on 5/2/14.

Then vs. now: As I said, Kitchen Nightmares has kind of been (alongside fellow Ramsay show Hell's Kitchen) the ultimate utility player, thrown into situations so consistently tough that you almost wonder if they're trying to kill it. I think they just knew it could handle those situations. But it finally looked to be running out of steam in season six, as it was handily outclassed by hotter Friday reality shows like Shark Tank and Undercover Boss. The face of Fox Friday moving forward remained quite uncertain, so Kitchen Nightmares scraped out one more renewal. But those episodes were unloaded right at the end of the regular season, and Gordon Ramsay announced in June 2014 that the show would not be continuing.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12007-08Wednesday 9:002.912.33.3detail
22008-09Thursday 8:002.22-24%1.72.9detail
32009-10Fri 9:00, some Tu/Th2.14-3%1.43.8detail
42010-11Friday 8:001.62-24%1.31.9detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12007-08 89 marginal1.67 70 101 94 85
22008-09 74 marginal1.40 -16% 57 97 80 67
32009-10 77 hit(Fri)1.44 +3% 50 136 50 50
42010-11 64 solid(Fri)1.21 -16% 51 75 75 67
52011-12 62 solid(Fri)1.18 -3% 47 72 68 51
62012-13 54 flop1.01 -14% 43 66 43 57
72013-14 53 flop1.00 -1% 42 64 64 48

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


Spot said...

"After settling in as a top Friday program in seasons five and six, it stepped down a huge notch in season seven. The 0.9 demo for the season seven premiere on 10/26/12 remains a series low."

The show has only aired six seasons?

Spot said...


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