Monday, May 26, 2014

The War of 18-49, MasterChef



MASTERCHEF (FOX)

Scheduling history: Though fellow Gordon Ramsay staple Hell's Kitchen and spin-off MasterChef Junior have each pulled heavy regular season duty, MasterChef proper has remained a summer-only fixture. But Fox has moved it around quite a bit. It launched after Hell's on Tuesday in season one, then moved to two-hour episodes on Wednesday. Seasons two and three regularly aired on both Monday and Tuesday, season four was back to the two-hour Wednesday setup, season five made yet another move to Monday, and season six returned to Wednesday.

See (who saw) how it all began: MasterChef opened with a solid 5.75 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating on July 27, 2010, almost fully retaining its lead-in from Hell's Kitchen (6.40m/2.9). MasterChef dropped a tick to 2.6 for weeks two and three as Hell's was perking up for its last two episodes (3.2 and 3.3). Then Hell's went away and MasterChef was left to fend for itself on Wednesday, where it mostly pulled low 2's.

The best of times: MasterChef's first four seasons have had remarkably consistent raw averages, which is always a good thing in an era of 10% yearly collective decline. And the road to those averages when compared with Hell's Kitchen paints an even more promising tale. After struggling on its own in early season two, it perked up when Hell's returned in the mid-summer, culminating in a series high 2.9 for the second half of its finale on 8/16/11. By season three, it was basically matching Hell's when the two were paired. In season four, it was on its own night and actually got better ratings than the original Ramsay series.

The worst of times: Though MasterChef was a highly legitimate anchor series in 2013, it may not have been quite ready for that role when it first led off in 2010 and 2011. Most of the series' lowest historical-adjusted numbers came in its lead-off episodes in late season one and early season two. Airing on Friday in 2015-16, the Junior edition dropped as low as a 0.9 on 11/27/15, while the mothership fell as low as a 1.0 on 7/27/16.

Then vs. now: As American Idol's collapse began, MasterChef was one of the only brands on Fox moving in the right direction. Until season five, each season grew year-to-year in Plus, and the spin-off MasterChef Junior has been just as strong as the mothership in recent regular seasons. Even in season six, taking its biggest decline yet, MasterChef was the best thing Fox had going for it on the summer schedule, so there's no reason to believe the end is in sight. Fox aired another Junior edition to great-for-Friday numbers in fall 2015.

Adults 18-49 ratings by season:

MasterChef ratings by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
1Summer 2010Wednesday 8:002.272.02.7detail
2Summer 2011Tue 8:00, Tue 9:002.231.82.9detail
Monday 9:002.20-3%1.82.4
3Summer 2012Tuesday 9:002.36+6%2.02.8detail
Monday 9:002.47+12%2.22.7
4Summer 2013Wed 8:00, Wed 9:002.27-8%2.02.6detail
5Summer 2014Monday 8:001.88-17%1.52.1detailC
6Summer 2015Wednesday 8:001.46-23%1.21.7detailC-
7Summer 2016Wed 8:00, Wed 9:001.25-14%1.01.5detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow16y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
1Summer 201081solid(sum)1.1771969671
2Summer 201187solid(sum)1.26+7%71947194
88solid(sum)1.287111475114
3Summer 2012104hit(sum)1.52+21%9311497110
100hit(sum)1.46+14%8511993114
4Summer 2013108big hit(sum)1.57+3%95123100114
5Summer 2014100hit(sum)1.46-7%8011180106
6Summer 201587solid(sum)1.26-13%711017189
7Summer 201686solid(sum)1.25-1%6910382103

MasterChef Junior ratings by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
1Fall 2013Friday 8:001.401.31.6detail
2Fall 2014Tuesday 8:001.66+18%1.51.8detail
3Winter 20151.681.41.8detail
42015-16Friday 8:001.23-26%0.91.5detailB+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow16y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
1Fall 201374solid(Fri)1.0869858580
2Fall 201499marginal1.44+33%89107107101
3Winter 2015100solid1.458310710795
42015-1685hit(Fri)1.23-14%621038989

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

5 comments:

Spot said...

I gotta ask, because I don't watch, what is the difference between Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef?

Spot said...

If they are direct remakes of the British originals, then Hells Kitchen is team based while Masterchef is a individual contest. Also Hells Kitchen is about being a restaurant chef while Masterchef confusingly is more about being a cook, or inventor of recipes.

Spot said...

Thanks!

Spot said...

I will be amused if it pulls in sub-2s yet still keeps beating 24 each week. Given the likely huge disparities in budget.

Spot said...

I think that's the way it will go.

1.7 for the season 5 premiere, and a bump up next week. I didn't know it was back until I saw it listed in EW, but I missed season 4 anyway.

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