Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The War of 18-49, Rizzoli & Isles


Scheduling history: Rizzoli and Isles got two full seasons leading out of TNT's flagship procedural The Closer on Monday. Since then, it's moved to Tuesday and successfully anchored that night.

See (who saw) how it all began: Rizzoli and Isles began on 7/12/10 with a whooping 7.55 million viewers and a slightly less whooping 1.6 demo rating. That put it just barely behind its The Closer lead-in's total viewership (7.66 million), but it was actually a tick ahead of The Closer's demo (1.5). That dynamic would continue through Rizzoli's first season; it dropped into the low 1's but stayed about a tenth ahead of The Closer in the demo.

The best of times: Rizzoli and Isles still hasn't topped the 1.6 demo from series premiere night, though it hit a couple other 1.6's later in season one (on 8/9/10 and 8/23/10). While Rizzoli and Isles was at its strongest raw levels in its pairing with The Closer, it has arguably become much more valuable since the move to Tuesday, where it has been a lead-in for other series. It dropped just 11% in its first summer run, then went up by 6% in summer 2013.

The worst of times: Since season two, Rizzoli and Isles has gotten the split-season treatment, airing a small portion of its season against regular-season competition. Usually, the "buzzier" shows hold up better than the "casual tune-in" shows, and Rizzoli is squarely in the casual category. Last season, it still hung around 1.0 during the summer, but it hasn't broken 1.0 for a winter episode in three years. The winter 2015 run brought four new lows at 0.6.

Then vs. now: Rizzoli and Isles had a great formula for success, leading out of highly compatible The Closer and bringing together recognizable stars from two of the biggest syndicated procedurals (NCIS and Law & Order). And it's delivered exactly what all of those built-in audiences wanted. Despite its productivity, the emergences of Falling Skies and later The Last Ship mean it it hasn't actually been TNT's top demo drama since season one (and even then it beat The Closer by less than a tenth). Will this summer run, starting tonight (June 16), see Rizzoli finally emerge decisively as the network's flagship series?

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
1Summer 2010Monday 10:001.461.31.6detail
2ASummer 20111.23-16%1.11.4detail
2BSpring 20120.940.81.1
3ASummer 2012Tuesday 9:001.09-11%0.81.3detail
3BSpring 20130.79-16%0.70.9
4ASummer 20131.15+6%1.01.4detail
4BSpring 20140.75-5%0.70.9
5ASummer 20140.96-17%0.81.1detailB
5BSpring 20150.63-16%0.60.8

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
1Summer 2010 52 46 57 57 53
2ASummer 2011 48 43 55 47 43
2BSpring 20124034473447
3ASummer 2012 46 35 55 51 55
3BSpring 20133833413639
4ASummer 2013 55 48 68 68 57
4BSpring 20144036463839
5ASummer 2014 51 44 59 54 54
5BSpring 20153733454537

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've been following Rizzoli & Isles's ratings since it began (I love the show), and didn't the pilot get the highest-viewed pilot of a cable show, or was it just below "Raising the Bar"? Either way, I've always thought Rizzoli was TNT's #1 show, despite Falling Skies.

Anyway, great post, I love these War of 18-49s. Looking forward to a Game of Thrones one :)

Spot said...

Agreed, I love Rizzoli and Isles!

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