Thursday, June 13, 2013

The War of 18-49, White Collar


Scheduling history: White Collar debuted back in the days when USA Network was still programming high-priority shows on Fridays. It led out of the final episodes of Monk on Friday, then took a one-month break before returning on Tuesday. It stayed on Tuesday through season four, consistently airing at 9:00 in the summer and 10:00 in the winter. The last two seasons marked a return to airing entirely in the broadcast regular season, on Thursday at 9/8c.

See (who saw) how it all began: For several years in a row, USA Network's series premieres consistently placed somewhere in the low-to-mid-1's in the demo. White Collar was one of those, beginning its post-Monk run on 10/23/09 with 5.40 million viewers and a 1.4 demo. (Monk had a nearly identical 5.41m and 1.5.) It mostly dropped into the low 1's from there, but it spiked to a 1.6 on Monk's series finale night of 12/4/09 (when Monk had a 2.4).

The best of times: White Collar became a younger-skewing show when it moved to Tuesday away from Monk, and it took that entire 1.6 demo into its Tuesday premiere on 1/19/10. It dropped back to its typical low 1's level after that, a level it was able to maintain with incredible consistency through all of season two and into the first half of season three.

The worst of times: Starting in the second half of season three, White Collar began declining significantly, a trend that continued all the way through season five. It never hit a 0.5 in the first four seasons, but it was a fairly regular occurrence for the show in the first two thirds of season five, and it never even got that high in season six until the finale. The low point was a 0.32 for the second season six episode on 11/13/14.

Then vs. now: In the Royal Pains post I noted the glaring difference between these two shows when both appeared to be "in their prime" circa 2010-11. Royal Pains had a noticeably larger audience in the summer, but White Collar held up much more effectively against regular season competition. USA has now gotten the scheduling right; Royal Pains begins its second straight summer-only season, while White Collar didn't premiere season five until the fall. But they didn't reap the same kind of benefits they'd have seen if they'd done this two or three years earlier, as both shows faded in all parts of the year in their closing seasons.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12009-10Friday 10:
2ASummer 2010Tuesday 9:
2BWinter 2011Tuesday 10:001.23-1%1.11.3
3ASummer 2011Tuesday 9:001.22-3%1.11.5detail
3BWinter 2012Tuesday 10:000.91-26%0.71.1
4ASummer 2012Tuesday 9:000.99-19%0.91.2detail
4BWinter 2013Tuesday 10:000.73-19%0.60.9
52013-14Thursday 9:000.63-15%0.50.8detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12009-10 45 32 57 50 50
2ASummer 20104536544350
2BWinter 2011 49 44 51 51 51
3ASummer 20114843594859
3BWinter 2012 38 31 47 47 31
4ASummer 20124237494443
4BWinter 2013 35 31 41 41 31
52013-14 33 25 41 32 40
62014-15 23* 19* 27* 23* 27*

*- For this winter's War of 18-49 updates, the A18-49+ is based on a projected league average, calculated by applying the league average's current year-to-year trend (thru 1/18/15) to the final 2013-14 average. This should help make these numbers compare more fairly with seasons past.

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 do these after four seasons are in the books, so Walking Dead is next summer.

Spot said...

Good to know thanks, looking forward to it!

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