Thursday, July 7, 2011

The War of 18-49, Big Brother


Scheduling history:  Since airing throughout the week in season one, Big Brother has traditionally been scheduled on three nights per week. Early in the run, the third day was a very low-priority evening (Friday or Saturday), but since season seven it's been Sunday. The first two days have been some mix of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday the arrangement for the last half decade.

See (who saw) how it all began: Though CSI is the best-known show to benefit as a Survivor lead-out, the first long-running show Survivor helped was actually Big Brother. The season and still series high came in Big Brother's post-Survivor series premiere, when it pulled 22.4 million viewers and a 9.9/27 demo on 7/5/00. The first season of Big Brother was a pretty crazily scheduled affair, airing an average of four hours per week across six different nights. There were about seventy airings total in that first season. I don't have a lot of the first season info, so I didn't try breaking it down by day as I do in future seasons, but the show was clearly at its strongest levels ever when it got to air after Survivor, as it did several times in season 1. The actual season 1 average is most likely a lot lower than the one listed below, since most of the missing data is from lower-rated evenings.

The best of times: Big Brother never got stronger in terms of individual episodes than when it aired out of that soaring first season of Survivor in 2000, but the biggest raw season overall was probably the third. Both of the midweek evenings averaged well over a 4.0 demo, and the 6.4 demo on 9/19/02 (leading out of a Survivor season premiere) was the highest rating outside of the first season. However, on a historical-adjusted basis the most recent seasons (16-19) have been the biggest.

The worst of times: A previous War of 18-49 post examined how So You Think You Can Dance basically fell apart the moment it was asked to become a regular season player. Big Brother had the same problems in that situation. Asked to take up a lot of real estate during the WGA strike of 2007-08, Big Brother had easily its weakest season yet during spring 2008. And there was no recovery in the summer, as the summer 2008 season ticked very slightly down overall to what remains the weakest season in the history of the show. Since we don't have all the results from when the show aired on Saturdays during the first half of its run, I'm not totally confident on this one, but the series low out of my data is a 1.2 from a special Friday airing on 9/16/2016 and again a year later on 9/15/2017. On a normal night, the show hit a few 1.4's in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Then vs. now: Initially, the stories of both So You Think You Can Dance and Big Brother in the regular season were similar; both dropped below their typical summer numbers in a regular season environment, then the overload negatively impacted the next summer season. From there, though, the stories have diverged. So You Think You Can Dance has continued to limp along, just barely ekeing out its last few renewals. But Big Brother managed to bounce back, and its thirteenth season was amazingly its third straight season of growth. After a hiccup against the Olympics in 2012, it came most of the way back in A18-49+ in 2013 and has been at its strongest yet in 2014, 2015, 2016 and again in 2017. And these hours are ever more valuable for CBS in the summer as their usual menu of repeats continues to sag.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

3Summer 2002Saturday 8:002.63+11%2.13.7
Thursday 8:004.270%3.16.4
Wednesday 9:004.40+2%3.85.6
4Summer 2003Friday 8:002.71+3%2.23.0
Wednesday 9:003.96-7%3.64.3
Tuesday 8:003.63-17%2.94.2
5Summer 2004Saturday 9:002.46-9%1.82.9
Thursday 8:003.56-10%3.33.9
Tuesday 9:003.81+5%3.14.4
6Summer 2005Saturday 8:002.11-14%1.82.7
Thursday 8:003.00-16%2.53.4
Tuesday 9:003.36-12%3.23.6
7Summer 2006Sunday 8:002.51+19%2.13.0detail
Thursday 8:002.73-9%2.53.2
Tuesday 8:003.00-11%2.63.6
8Summer 2007Sunday 8:002.55+1%2.02.9detail
Thursday 8:002.76+1%2.23.3
Tuesday 9:003.02+1%2.63.4
9Winter Spring 2008Sunday 8:002.332.22.8detail
Tuesday 9:
Wednesday 8:
10Summer 2008Sunday 8:002.11-17%1.92.6detail
Thursday 8:002.17-22%1.82.7
Tuesday 9:002.36-22%2.12.7
11Summer 2009Sunday 8:002.25+7%1.92.6detail
Thursday 8:002.31+7%1.92.7
Tuesday 9:002.50+6%2.03.0
12Summer 2010Sunday 8:002.46+9%2.22.8detail
Thursday 8:002.42+5%2.22.7
Wednesday 8:002.58+3%2.22.9
13Summer 2011Sunday 8:002.71+10%2.43.2detailA-
Thursday 9:002.67+10%2.33.1
Wednesday 8:002.80+9%2.43.3
14Summer 2012Sunday 8:002.19-19%1.92.6detailC-
Thursday 9:002.15-19%1.82.6
Wednesday 8:002.13-24%1.92.5
15Summer 2013Sunday 8:002.22+1%1.82.5detailB
Thursday 9:002.22+3%1.72.5
Wednesday 8:002.19+3%1.92.5
16Summer 2014Sunday 8:002.16-3%1.82.5detailA-
Thursday 9:002.16-3%1.62.4
Wednesday 8:002.23+2%1.82.6
17Summer 2015Sunday 8:001.95-9%1.72.3detailB+
Thursday 9:001.99-8%1.82.1
Wednesday 8:002.04-9%1.82.2
18Summer 2016Sunday 8:001.73-11%1.42.1detailB+
Thursday 9:001.78-10%1.61.9
Wednesday 8:001.86-9%1.72.1
19Summer 2017Sunday 8:001.80+4%1.42.0detailA
Thursday 9:001.82+2%1.52.1
Wednesday 8:001.88+1%1.72.2

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

3Summer 2002102hit(sum)1.258813095130
4Summer 200382solid(sum)1.00-20%65958695
5Summer 200494hit(sum)1.15+15%7610894103
6Summer 200574solid(sum)0.90-16%61848474
7Summer 200667marg(sum)0.82-9%62796979
8Summer 200773solid(sum)0.90+9%58887288
9Winter Spring 200869flop0.8557797673
10Summer 200864marg(sum)0.78-6%57796367
11Summer 200977solid(sum)0.94+17%63907686
12Summer 201086solid(sum)1.05+12%78968992
13Summer 2011105big hit(sum)1.29+22%9012211094
107big hit(sum)1.31+22%941269894
110big hit(sum)1.35+20%94130102114
14Summer 201291hit(sum)1.11-13%7611011085
15Summer 2013104hit(sum)1.27+15%90119104119
105big hit(sum)1.29+14%8511990109
105big hit(sum)1.29+16%8111981104
16Summer 2014119big hit(sum)1.45+14%96138122138
115big hit(sum)1.41+9%85127122117
115big hit(sum)1.40+9%9613396133
17Summer 2015121big hit(sum)1.49+2%107131125131
118big hit(sum)1.45+3%107125125119
116big hit(sum)1.42+1%101137107107
18Summer 2016128big hit(sum)1.56+5%117144130137
122big hit(sum)1.50+3%110130117117
119big hit(sum)1.46+2%96144110124
19Summer 2017153mega(sum)1.88+20%139180139180

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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