Friday, August 9, 2013

Top 10 of the Last 10, Days of the Week

The collective decline in Live+SD ratings makes it hard to fairly compare numbers across seasons. But with the A18-49+ stat, we have the technology! Enter the "Top 10 of the Last 10" lists, which will line up the last ten seasons (2003-04 thru 2012-13) and give us an idea of which shows were strongest after we set the collective decline off to the side. (I'll throw in the raw numbers too, to give a sense of how far ratings have fallen.)

This week, we're taking a look at the top ten most crowded seasonal days of the week in the last ten years. Which days of the week had the highest average for non-sports original series?

Comedy Seasons
Drama Seasons
New Scripted Shows
Scripted Newbie Reach Renewals
Network Seasons
Netlet Scripted Seasons
Scripted Episodes
Scripted Newbie Cancellations

Top 10 of the Last 10, Days of the Week A18-49+ A18-49
Image 10. Thursday, 2010-11 121 3.05
Thursday's second mini-resurgence in this era was mostly about Fox officially becoming a major player, first with a Bones-led fall and then with a seamless American Idol transition to the night. CBS also moved over The Big Bang Theory, though in its first Thursday season it wasn't a huge improvement on Survivor.
Image 9. Wednesday, 2011-12 121 2.87
NBC remained a Wednesday afterthought, but the rest of the networks had lots of success stories: The X Factor shored up the fall for Fox, Modern Family and friends grew again while Revenge surprised at 10:00 for ABC, and CSI made a successful move to the night for CBS.
Image 8. Thursday, 2006-07 122 4.57
Three years after Friends departed, Thursday briefly reclaimed the day-of-the-week lead. It was all about ABC finally finding a major foothold on the night with Sunday megahit transplant Grey's Anatomy and successful 8:00 newbie Ugly Betty.
Image 7. Monday, 2012-13 122 2.57
Monday took its first lead in at least a decade thanks mostly to NBC running over everyone with a second season of The Voice in the fall. But midseason brought a few other successes, including growth seasons from The Biggest Loser and The Bachelor, plus top scripted newbie The Following.
Image 6. Monday, 2003-04 125 5.05
The only night on the list that wasn't #1 of its season wasn't a one-show story: Fox had lots of special American Idols and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, NBC had Fear Factor/Las Vegas/Average Joe and CBS introduced Two and a Half Men. Embattled ABC did the average a solid by mostly airing football and movies.
Image 5. Tuesday, 2008-09 126 3.76
The middle of Tuesday's three-year reign was highlighted by an intriguing 9/8c matchup between the top two scripted newbies of the season: Fringe and The Mentalist. Long-mediocre veterans like NCIS and The Biggest Loser also started to pick up steam.
Image 4. Tuesday, 2009-10 128 3.57
Most notable was Fox taking Glee into the stratosphere in its spring run after American Idol. Also, CBS took another step forward with NCIS, NBC's The Biggest Loser had its best season in the fall, and ABC had one of its stronger Tuesday lineups with the final season of Lost.
Image 3. Sunday, 2004-05 128 5.21
A year after Sunday was a below-league average night, ABC's introduction of Desperate Housewives changed everything. The 8/7c explosion of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and the midseason introduction of Grey's Anatomy rounded out one of the great three-hour lineups in recent history.
Image 2. Sunday, 2005-06 129 5.27
Even with Home Edition and Housewives coming down a bit in 2005-06, Sunday still got a tick stronger. An elongated season of Grey's Anatomy helped, as did Fox finally establishing something in its oft-problematic 9:00 hour with Family Guy and American Dad!
Image 1. Thursday, 2003-04 150 6.11
The amazing thing about this night going #1 is that there were really only two relevant networks, with the other two off the map. But those two nets had amazing lineups with megahit programs in five of the six hours: Friends, breakthrough newbie The Apprentice, ER, Survivor and CSI.

Notes: The only season not represented was 2007-08, and it was close; it was topped by Tuesday (120). So every single season has seen at least one day pull a 120+.

Something that really stands out here is how frequently the lead shifts among the days of the week; in the ten years of A18-49+, every weekday has been most competitive at least once, and no day more than three times (Thursday and Tuesday). Though I get the sense that if this went back a few more years, Thursday probably would've had a pretty sizable run in the lead (I'd say dating back to the beginning of the Survivor/CSI era, if not before).

2013-14 Update: Monday remained the most crowded night on broadcast for a second straight year in 2013-14, and that's not even accounting for Monday Night Football on cable. Its 126 average would've tied for #5 (with 2008-09 Tuesday), and it was higher than the 122 average on Monday nights last year.

1 comment:

Spot said...

2007-2008 not making the list makes sense because of the writer's strike. Consider its strongest night, Tuesdays. Due to the strike, CBS had a weak in-season run of Big Brother bookended by reruns of NCIS and either a newsmagazine (48 Hours), weak drama (Jericho), or flop reality show (Secret Talents of the Stars). ABC continued being off the map strike or no-strike unless Dancing with the Stars was around. And while Fox's Idol was still strong, Hell's Kitchen was no House in the ratings.

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