THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER (ABC FAMILY)
Scheduling history: All 108 episodes of Secret Life through the end of season five have aired on Monday at 8/7c.
See (who saw) how it all began: From day one, Secret Life looked like a game-changer for ABC Family. It premiered on July 1, 2008 with 2.82 million viewers and a 0.9 demo rating. The week two numbers were almost identical (2.81m and a 0.9), then it dropped a bit in week three. Then in week four began the show's meteoric rise. It hit a 1.2 demo in week four, a 1.4 demo in week five, and got as high as a 1.8 for the season finale on 9/9/08.
The best of times: Though Secret Life appeared to be on the verge of legitimate breakout status at the end of its first run in summer 2008, that 1.8 demo on 9/9/08 would instead remain a series high, and Secret Life just settled down at basically the same exact demo level (right around a 1.2) for most of the next three seasons, only noticeably dipping for its spring 2011 run.
The worst of times: As impressive as Secret Life was in basically getting the same exact solid ratings for over three years, it was all over starting in 2012. The spring run began in reasonable enough fashion with 2.51 million viewers and a 1.1 demo on March 26, but it quickly collapsed to a 0.8 the next week and would stay around the 0.7/0.8 vicinity until May, when it took another huge step down into the 0.5/0.6 vicinity. It's done a bit better at times this summer with the big broadcast options out of the way, but it's pretty clear that the low 1's are now a distant memory.
Then vs. now: When Secret Life first came on the scene, the "hits" on ABC Family were the likes of Kyle XY and Wildfire, and they usually only pulled like a 0.5 or so at that time. So suffice to say this was one of those shows that singlehandedly changed the game for its network. For awhile it was really on an island, as ABC Family couldn't find anything to perform in the Secret Life stratosphere until Pretty Little Liars debuted two years later, and it's really taken until this year for PLL to emerge as the clearly stronger option over Secret Life. It certainly appears the end is pretty near for Secret Life now, but it's gonna leave its network in much better shape than it found it.
Adults 18-49 info by season:
|1A||Summer 2008||Tuesday 8:00||0.8||1.21||1.8|
|1B||Winter 2009||Monday 8:00||1.0||1.2||1.5||10/12|
|Premiere||Average||Finale||P -> F|
*- Still two episodes left in season five; will update when it's over
For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.