Thursday, July 5, 2012

War of 18-49 Flashback, Reaper (CW, 2007-09)


Scheduling history: Most of Reaper's 31 episodes ran on Tuesday nights, though the show got a three-week run on Thursday in March 2008.

When there was hope: Reaper got off to a pretty decent start, debuting with 3.28 million viewers and a 1.5/4 adults 18-49 rating on September 25, 2007. That was pretty close to what the CW's other fall 2007 drama Gossip Girl pulled in its debut (3.50m and 1.6 on 9/19/07). And in subsequent weeks, the shows settled in pretty similar 1.2 to 1.3 ranges. Then came a four-month hiatus due to the WGA writer's strike. Both dramas got additional post-strike episodes ordered, but they came back in very different states. While Reaper was a much weaker show post-strike, its low 1's were still good enough to eke out a 13-episode second season order. But it was pushed to midseason and didn't premiere till March.

When hope was lost: Season two of Reaper got used as "Idol bait," thrown against the Death Star on Tuesday so that the CW could move promising newbie 90210 up to 9/8c. At the time, the CW was about as deep a network as it's ever been, with Gossip Girl and 90210 both near their peaks and Thursday shows like Smallville and Supernatural still stout. So Reaper ended up as one of the weakest weeknight shows on the network, breaking the 1.0 threshold just twice in its 13 season two episodes. Since this was in the middle of the Dawn Ostroff era and the show didn't skew toward those young female demos her regime so infamously coveted, Reaper needed to be more of a standout to survive.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12007-08Tue 9:00, Thu 9:

22008-09Tuesday 8:000.88-26%0.71.1

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12007-08 36 solid(CW)0.60 27 45 45 33
22008-09 29 marginal(CW)0.49 -18% 23 37 30 27

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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