HAWAII FIVE-0 (CBS)
Scheduling history: CBS' Hawaii Five-0 began its run on Monday at 10:00 (a night on which the original Hawaii Five-O never aired in its 12 seasons). After three seasons in that slot, CBS moved it to Friday at 9/8c for the 2013-14 season. It returns there in fall 2016.
See (who saw) how it all began: A remake of an iconic '70s crime drama on CBS, the expectations were big for Hawaii Five-0 out of the gate. But there was no Five-0 premiere in the cards; it opened at 14.20 million viewers and a 3.9 demo rating on 9/20/11. It was still one of the biggest scripted series premieres of the 2010-11 season, tying its lead-in on that night (Mike and Molly). After encouraging holds in weeks two (3.6) and three (3.5), Hawaii Five-0 took its biggest dip in week four (3.1). It held in the general vicinity of 3.0 for most of the rest of season one.
The best of times: The 3.9 on series premiere night remains Hawaii Five-0's regularly-scheduled series high. It held onto the 3.0ish audience from early season one pretty much through all the way through late season two, perhaps benefiting to some extent from the major growth in the CBS comedy block in 2011-12. The actual series high was a 5.6 demo, which came after the AFC Championship Game in early 2011. It didn't do nearly as well (3.5) when it got that berth again two years later.
The worst of times: Hawaii Five-0 took its first significant ratings downturn in season three, and it started with a nightmarish 1.8 premiere that was a new series low by a half point and down nearly half from the previous premiere. (This is still one of the most surprising veteran series ratings I can remember.) Fortunately, it was something of a blip, as Five-0 rallied to low-2's for most of the rest of the season, but the full season was still down 25%. This prompted a move to Friday, where Five-0 dipped significantly but had one of the smaller drops seen in a Friday move. It was down 34% from season three, but most series to make this jump have dropped 40% or more. The series low is a 1.0 demo, hit a few times in fall 2015. But it never got back down to 1.0 after the new year!
Then vs. now: Hawaii Five-0 was one of TV's strongest 10/9c shows in its three years on Monday, but it never made the leap to truly elite drama. The 3.9 premiere was not the breakthrough some expected, and the ratings never lived up to the very high standard set by previous Monday 10/9c occupant CSI: Miami. But the show has done better against the low expectations of Friday than it did against the higher ones on Monday; Five-0 has been stronger in A18-49+ than any of CSI: NY's three seasons on Friday. With its season seven renewal for the same Friday 9/8c slot, it's ensured it will run on the night for longer than NY did.
Adults 18-49 info by season:
Historical-adjusted ratings by season:
For more on The War of 18-49, my look at the history of primetime TV's veteran shows, see the Index.