Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The War of 18-49, Drop Dead Diva


Scheduling history: Aside from the second half of the two-hour second season finale and sixth season premiere, all of Drop Dead Diva's run aired on Sundays at 9:00.

See (who saw) how it all began: Drop Dead Diva began its run on July 12, 2009 with 2.8 million viewers. I don't have a demo for that airing, but based on how the rest of the season skewed it was most likely either a 0.8 or 0.9. It hung around a 0.8 for most of the first half of season one, then perked up to more of a 0.9 level in the second half of the season.

The best of times: The series high point was just past the midpoint of season one, when the show scored 3.41 million viewers and a 1.1 demo on 8/30/09. Though the show dropped a bit in subsequent weeks, the second half of that season was really the only time the show was able to hit a 0.9+ demo on a fairly consistent basis.

The worst of times: Drop Dead Diva then dropped just under 10% in each of its next two seasons. In the first four seasons, its worst performance was on Labor Day weekend in 2011, when it dropped below two million viewers and to a 0.5 demo on 9/4/11. But it hit another three 0.5's at the end of season five, the first episodes that the show had aired in the fall against regular season competition. Season six was worst of all, mostly a mix of 0.4 and 0.5 ratings (and the two-hour premiere, not listed among cable's top 100 for the day, may have gone even lower).

Then vs. now: For a network that has a very checkered recent history in scripted development, Drop Dead Diva was long the only show outside of Army Wives that could pull a reasonable number. But it was another show (like TNT's Leverage) that always felt like it was one big downturn away from a less-than-reasonable level. The funny thing about Drop Dead Diva is that it got cancelled after season four, before that downturn ever happened. Reports were that Lifetime was looking to go "edgier" with The Client List a recent success and Marc Cherry's Desperate Housewives-esque Devious Maids on the way. But Lifetime soon rethought the Diva axing, and it was probably a good idea to have this show on the roster considering the behind-the-scenes implosion that killed The Client List and then the cancellation of Army Wives. It was down but respectable in season five, but the end came after a much weaker run in season six.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
1Summer 2009Sunday 9:000.880.71.1

2Summer 20100.80-9%0.71.0

3Summer 20110.73-9%0.51.0

4Summer 20120.76+5%0.60.9

5Summer 20130.63-18%0.50.8

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
1Summer 2009 29 23 37 0 30
2Summer 2010 28 25 36 36 32
3Summer 2011 29 20 39 39 28
4Summer 2012 32 26 39 36 39
5Summer 2013 30 23 36 31 25
62013-14 23 16 31 16 24

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


Spot said...

I was a big fan and I was surprised Lifetime axed the show. Ratings for the fourth season were pretty solid for cable and was never terrible. I'm terribly disappointed at the turn of events because the finale ended on a huge cliffhanger, so the fact that Lifetime couldn't see it through to a proper final season instead of just cancelling it out of nowhere seemed the noble thing to do. I'm sure Drop Dead Diva wasn't losing money for the network so a final season wasn't too much to ask for. But I am loving seeing these kind of posts for cable shows instead of just primetime shows so thanks for this :D

Spot said...

The only problem with the 18-49 is that the age group for DDD was 15-70+
I am sure that ALL of the over 2M viewers were not asked for their ages, I know I wasn't called and asked my age. Regardless, Drop Dead Diva is a quality show with a huge fan base and the 18-49 is not correct.

Spot said...

This show should have never been canceled and this article proves it. I really hope another network picks it up, I want to see a 5th season! It's not fair to leave fans with that giant cliffhanger as an ending.

Spot said...

This is one of the best shows on TV. The cancellation does not make any sense. Lifetime has made a Big Huge Blunder cancelling DDD. One can only hope that someone higher up at Lifetime will overturn the decision before some other smart network beats them to the punch. Drop Dead Diva has a loyal fan base, which is only growing. I for one cancelled Lifetime from my cable line up after hearing of DDD cancellation. They will not see another dime from me. If you agree, do the same. DDD fans, in support of Drop Dead Diva, keep tweeting, emailing, face booking and call the network and tie those phone lines up and get them to explain themselves.212-434-7000 NY Office, 310-556-7500 LA Office, 312-464-1991 Chicago Office.

Unknown said...

Nothing annoys me more than a great show getting axed and on a massive cliffhanger...this should not be allowed I have invested myself in the last 4 seasons I certainly think it needs a 5th season if only to tie up lose ends but I would love to see a 6th & 7th etc please dont let this be another show that ended on a cliffhanger eg Mercy & Flashforward fans wanna trust the networks not get disappointed when an axe happens

Spot said...

So why did they cancel DDD? Let me see..Jane is a plus size, intelligent (VERY), compassionate, hard working, female lawyer, who started out as an air-headed, egotistical model. She has grown as a person, become a role model for girls and women everywhere, and the show is just plain fun. Of COURSE the idiots cancelled it! Hope Lifetime goes down the tubes for this. Yes, I am ANGRY! I was already beside myself over the fact that it was only a 13 week series, but was willing to hang in there because i really enjoyed the show. I truly hope it gets picked up SOMEWHERE!

Spot said...

sign the petition so we can get this show back on the air! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/renew-drop-dead-diva/ Sign the
petition Ladies, we've got 5k signatures and counting! Our voices WIL be
heard, let's push the "return" button and get this show back on the
also tweet #renewdropdeaddiva and #dropdeaddiva on twitter, let's make this happen!

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