Monday, August 6, 2012

The War of 18-49, Castle


Barely Passable Beginnings 

Castle opened up with 10.76 million viewers and a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating for its post-Dancing with the Stars premiere on March 9, 2009. That didn't appear all that promising because Dancing (22.83m, 6.1) had one of its biggest season premieres ever on that night. The show dropped just a tick (to 2.9) in week two, but for most of the rest of season one it settled in the low 2's. Considering it didn't actually have a DWTS lead-in for much of April, that was good enough for a renewal in what was an otherwise disastrous season for ABC's development.

Growth in Seasons Two and Three 

Castle hit its raw numbers peak at the beginning of the spring 2010 season of DWTS, when Castle had a two-parter guest starring Dana Delany (who would score her own ABC procedural Body of Proof the next season). The first episode on 3/22/10 was seen by 12.21 million viewers and posted a 3.3 demo rating, then the conclusion the next week hit series highs with 13.86 million and a 3.5. For many years, the show gradually got a bit stronger relative to DWTS each season, with the raw numbers growing a bit in both seasons two and three, then holding up better than DWTS did in four and five.

The Downturn

After about four years in the general vicinity of league average ratings, Castle began its collapse in season seven. It was reasonably healthy with 2.0ish ratings in the first three weeks of that season, but fell off a cliff with a 1.5 in the fourth week of that season. It held around 1.5 for most of the rest of that season, then took its second big dive when it opened season eight on a new low 1.2. It held to very low 1's for most of the rest of the season (dipping to 0.8 for a special Sunday edition), but was still not strong enough to separate itself from the bubble.

One of my theories about network scheduling is that the best way to keep your timeslot is to be good but not great. Castle is as good an example of that as anything, yet another of those shows that seemingly everyone except for the network in charge wanted to move from its timeslot. The script flipped a bit in 2012-13, as Castle became the steady performer and Dancing with the Stars' bleeding got even worse. But after a very good 2013-14 for DWTS and then a pretty bad 2014-15 for Castle, it looked like the door might have been opened again for a Castle move. However, ABC left Castle on Monday at 10/9c yet again, and it stayed there until it was finally cancelled outright after season eight.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12008-09Monday 10:002.431.93.0detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:



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

1 comment:

Spot said...

Hey spot. Just a heads up: the link to the grade from the most recent season of Castle is broken, it links back to this exact page!

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