Monday, July 18, 2011

The War of 18-49, Hell's Kitchen



HELL'S KITCHEN (FOX)

Scheduling history: Utility player Hell's Kitchen is the rare entertainment show to air on four different nights of the week and in all twelve months of the year. After two summers as a Monday/Tuesday show, Fox brought it back into the regular season in spring 2013, then aired the second half of the season on Thursday in the early summer. It had a similar arrangement in spring 2014, and will quickly turn around as a Wednesday show on the fall 2014 schedule.

See (who saw) how it all began: Hell's Kitchen kicked off in the opening days of summer 2005, pulling a decent 6.80 million viewers and a 3.2/8 adults 18-49 rating on 5/30/05. But that'd actually end up being one of the lower-rated episodes of season one. It rose to a 3.5 demo in week two, then a 3.8 in week three. It came back down to into the low 3's for most of the rest of season one but spike big to a 4.4 in the season one finale.

The best of times: Time to sing the old refrain for Fox shows: Hell's Kitchen was at its best when it got to air after American Idol! It only got that honor in its fourth season, when it got moved to the regular season for the first time in part due to the dearth of programming because of the WGA strike. The show opened season four with 11.85 million viewers and a series-high 5.5/13 in the demo and usually broke a 5.0 in its post-Idol eps. In the back half of that season after Idol wrapped up, the show typically pulled around a 4.0 demo or a little over.

The worst of times: Since peaking with the partly post-Idol fourth season, each season of Hell's Kitchen has dropped from the previous one. After taking the 2009-10 season off from regular season action, it returned in fall 2010 to its worst numbers yet. On Thanksgiving Eve 2010, the show hit its lowest numbers yet, pulling then-series lows with 5.09 million viewers and a 2.2 demo. It finally went below a 2.0 for the first time in 2013 against regular season competition, and it plummeted as low as 1.3 for a holiday airing on 7/3/14.

Then vs. now: For its first three years, it looked like Fox was successfully developing Hell's Kitchen into the #1 powerhouse of the summer. Since then, it's developed into something entirely different: a true utility player. Unlike certain other summer franchises we've looked at, this one hasn't completely imploded when put in the regular season. It's premiered in six different months and aired at least once in all twelve months of the year. Though the ratings have been declining over the last few years, it remains clear Fox can put this show just about anywhere at just about any time of year and do good business. As the network's struggles has intensified in recent years, that's really been put to the test. In 2012-13 season, it plugged up a tough Tuesday slot where their comedies had failed. Fox ordered considerably more new shows for 2013-14, but the quick failure of Rake called Hell's Kitchen back into the regular season. And in 2014-15, it's back to the fall for the first time in four years.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
1Summer 2005Monday 9:003.412.84.4detail
2Summer 20063.55+4%2.74.5detail
3Summer 20073.98+12%3.64.5detail
4Spr/Sum 2008Tuesday 9:004.65+17%3.65.5detail
5Spring 2009Thursday 9:003.552.74.8detail
6Summer 2009Tuesday 8:003.39-27%2.83.8detail
7Summer 2010Tuesday 8:00/9:002.97-12%2.53.3detail
8Fall 2010Wednesday 8:00/9:002.772.23.4detail
9Summer 2011Mon 8:00, Mon 9:002.64-11%2.42.9detail
Tuesday 8:002.652.52.8
10Summer 2012Mon 8:00, Mon 9:002.58-2%2.42.9detailB
Tuesday 8:002.31-13%2.02.6
11Spr/Sum 2013Tue 8:00, Thu 8:002.05-21%1.72.3detailC+
12Spr/Sum 2014Thursday 8:001.67-19%1.32.0detailC-

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
1Summer 2005 84 solid(sum)1.58 69 108 79 108
2Summer 2006 87 solid(sum)1.64 +4% 66 110 66 110
3Summer 2007 106 big hit(sum)2.00 +22% 95 120 99 120
4Spr/Sum 2008 142 megahit(sum)2.67 +33% 110 168 168 128
5Spring 2009119solid2.2491161161107
6Summer 2009 114 big hit(sum)2.14 -20% 94 127 94 127
7Summer 2010 106 big hit(sum)2.01 -6% 90 118 104 118
8Fall 2010110solid2.0787135103103
9Summer 2011 104 hit(sum)1.97 -2% 95 115 99 103
105big hit(sum)1.989911199111
10Summer 2012 109 big hit(sum)2.05 +4% 102 123 102 106
98hit(sum)1.84-7%8511089110
11Spr/Sum 2013 97 hit(sum)1.83 -11% 81 109 100 109
12Spr/Sum 2014 88 solid(sum)1.67 -9% 69 106 106 90

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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