Friday, May 29, 2015

The War of 18-49, Grimm

A Long Shot Success

Before it premiered, Grimm seemed like one of the season's least likely successes. It would join the sure-to-be-low-rated final season of Chuck on the usually deadly Friday night. And to make matters worse, a rain delay pushed Game 7 of the World Series to the Friday on which Grimm was premiering. But somehow, Grimm attracted an impressive Friday crowd. Even with Chuck opening at a lousy 1.0, Grimm doubled its lead-in and opened with 6.56 million viewers and a 2.1 demo on 10/28/11. The show dropped to 1.8 and then 1.6 the next two weeks, but it was pretty stable from there, making it an improbably decent player by Friday standards that did even better in Plus the next couple seasons.

Attempts to Branch Out

Grimm was a pleasant enough surprise in a bad season one situation that NBC wanted to see if there was potential for something even bigger. The show began season two on Monday, starting its season the day after the Summer Olympics ended in late August. Though it had a solid 2.0 on this night, it was down to 1.5 by the end of the four episode run, no better than its usual Friday delivery. It got another weeknight berth at the end of season two, replacing reality megabomb Ready for Love on Tuesday after The Voice. Its upper-1's in this spot were a little better than average, but not better enough to really justify the big lead-in. The moral of this story was that Grimm was best utilized on Friday.

Over the next two seasons, NBC tried putting more compatible pieces around their Friday success. Co-productions Dracula and Hannibal occupied the 10/9c hour after Grimm in season three, and the network swung even bigger with Constantine in season four. None of these shows ended up resonating, but don't blame Grimm; it was basically even year-to-year in Plus in season three and through early season four.

Back On An Island

Once Constantine was over, so was NBC with Grimm as a companion for new dramas. The show was shoved to 8/7c in spring 2015 so the network could air two-hour Dateline episodes. It dropped to around 1.0 for most of this run, making season four's year-to-year trend look a good bit worse than it was before the move. The 0.9 on 5/1/15 was a new series low, and the lowest Plus since a 1.2 late in season one. And it added several 0.8s during the fifth season.

The 2015 upfront announcement had Grimm back at 9/8c, but no longer helping out a new drama. Instead, there were comedies at 8:00 and Dateline at 10:00, and Grimm took another big dip in season five. It shouldn't be assumed Grimm will never pair with a new drama again; the network could always throw a cheap straight-to-series and/or co-production show there eventually. But the treatment late in season four suggests the network now sees Grimm as a show that simply delivers reasonable Friday ratings as a standalone.

However, in the final season, it was back to leading into a drama newbie one last time with the limited series Emerald City. Again, that new show did not go well, but Grimm itself held up nicely enough in the 8:00 hour.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12011-12Friday 9:001.531.22.1detail
22012-13Mo 10:00, Fr 9:00, Tu 10:001.63+6%1.32.0detail
32013-14Friday 9:001.40-14%1.11.8detail
42014-15Fri 9:00, Fri 8:001.15-18%0.91.4detail
52015-16Friday 9:000.90-22%0.81.1detailC
6Winter 2017Friday 8:000.80-11%0.70.9detailB

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

6Winter 201765solid(Fri)0.80+6%57737373


The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

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