Monday, June 8, 2015

The War of 18-49, Revenge

Cleaning Up a Troubled Slot

Revenge came to a Wednesday 10/9c hour that had long been one of ABC's trouble spots, and its premiere ratings didn't make it seem like an immediate fix. Though 10.02 million viewers and a 3.3 demo rating was a good number, it had quite the massive lead-in from a series-high hour-long Modern Family (6.1). It was week two when the show's potential started to show through; the series took a pretty normal week two drop (to 2.7) even though its lead-in was cut in half with the premiere of Happy Endings (3.1).

Revenge stayed in the upper-2's for most of the fall, even sniffing 3.0 again in early November, but it drifted into the low-2's for the second half of the season as its Happy Endings lead-in struggled. Still, a 104 A18-49+ average made season one of Revenge a triumph. It was one of ABC's very strongest Wednesday 10/9c occupants this generation, beating out plenty of shows that had much bigger lead-ins from stuff like The Bachelor and Lost.

Move to Sunday and Hammered By Event Season

ABC made a power move with Revenge at the 2012 upfront, sending the series to the Sunday 9/8c long occupied by Desperate Housewives. ABC hoped for a sophomore bounce, and the potential appeared to be there early on, as the show very nearly got back to its series high in opening at 3.2. After a big drop in week two, it again stayed in the high-2's for many weeks.

But like Once Upon a Time, the show took a series of ridiculously large hits in the middle of season two, when it had to air several episodes against huge Sunday events. After opening the winter 2013 run with a 2.4, roughly matching its late fall deliveries, it found itself at a wretched 1.4 just three episodes later. Revenge made more of an immediate recovery than Once, back to the high-1's for most of the rest of the season and into early season three. But those event season stumbles set the show on a path of significant year-to-year losses, which became the norm for the rest of the series.

Shifted to 10:00 And Final Declines

With Revenge still hanging mediocre ratings midway through season three, the network decided to shift it to 10/9c, giving the better 9:00 slot to newbie Resurrection after the Oscars. Resurrection had breakout ratings in its opening weeks, which briefly helped usher Revenge back into the high-1's. But Resurrection faded fast within that spring and became a disaster when it returned to the slot the next fall. If there was ever any hope for a Revenge turnaround, that certainly didn't help. Revenge was mired in the low-1's throughout season four, even dipping below 1.0 for another run against big events in winter 2015. It got as low as a 0.8 on 1/11/15, and it was only a little better in the spring. That got the series cancelled after four seasons, not an uncommon run for a serialized show that exhibits early potential.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
12011-12Wednesday 10:002.462.03.3detail
22012-13Sunday 9:002.14-13%1.43.2detail
32013-14Sun 9:00, Sun 10:001.55-27%1.32.3detail
42014-15Sunday 10:001.11-28%0.81.5detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now15 y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
12011-12 104 solid1.75 85 140 140 102
22012-13 101 solid1.71 -3% 66 152 152 81
32013-14 82 marginal1.38 -19% 69 122 122 74
42014-15 66 flop1.11 -20% 48 89 77 77

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

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