Monday, July 16, 2012

War of 18-49 Flashback, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox, 2008-09)


Scheduling history: The massive premiere for Terminator: SCC came on a Sunday after an NFL playoff game, but the rest of season one and the majority of season two aired on Monday. For the winter/spring 2009 run, Fox shoved the show to the lead-off role on Friday.

When there was hope: The special Sunday premiere of The Sarah Connor Chronicles marked the biggest premiere for a scripted series in recent memory. Airing after an NFL playoff game, T: SCC pulled in a whooping 18.36 million viewers and 7.7 demo rating on January 13, 2008. The show then scored a still stout 4.2 demo and over ten million viewers in its Monday premiere the next night. It sort of trickled downward through the rest of season one but mostly remained in a pretty strong low to mid-3's range. The March 3 finale hit a 3.0 demo at 8:00 and a 3.3 at 9:00. That scored the show a second season renewal and a pairing with Prison Break on the fall 2008 schedule.

When hope was lost: But T: SCC was never the same in season two. The premiere managed just a 2.4 demo on 9/8/08, three tenths below the very worst result from season one, and a few weeks later the show had pretty much settled right around a 2.0. That didn't feel good enough for a show reportedly that expensive, but Fox took one last-ditch effort, giving it a back nine and a Friday slot on the midseason schedule. Though the network did spend a decent amount memorably promoting the pairing of T: SCC and newbie Dollhouse, the Friday move (as is typical of Friday moves) took another huge chunk out of the show. Its Friday premiere managed just a 1.4 on 2/13/09 and it settled in at a 1.3 demo in each of its last four episodes in March and April. Dollhouse (which had typically built slightly on SCC when the two were paired) got renewed, but The Sarah Connor Chronicles had no such luck.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12007-08Monday 9:003.862.77.7

22008-09Mon 8:00, Fri 8:001.74-55%1.02.4

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12007-08 116 solid1.96 81 232 232 100
22008-09 58 flop0.97 -50% 33 80 80 43

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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