Monday, June 5, 2017

The War of 18-49, Mom

Early Lead-in Changes

Mom was one of two new comedies in CBS' fall 2013 Monday comedy lineup, airing at 9:30 after 2 Broke Girls. It opened with 7.99 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating, retaining just under 90%ish of its lead-in. It then took typical drops in week two (2.2) and week three (2.1), continuing to post about the same 2BG retention.

The problem for CBS was that the other new comedy, single-cam We Are Men, was a huge disaster at 8:30. Not only was it pulled from the schedule after two weeks, but CBS decided to move the surprisingly soft 2 Broke Girls back to its season one timeslot, at 8:30 after How I Met Your Mother. That meant Mom's late October episodes (2.0 -> 2.3 -> 2.1), had to lead out of repeats of The Big Bang Theory, and the show got a third new lead-in starting in November as Mike and Molly came off the bench. Despite all of this turbulence, Mom just kept plugging away at 9:30, usually doing somewhere in the ballpark of 90% of the lead-in it was given. It was an easy bet for season two.

Timeslot Moves in Season Two

In season one, Mom stayed put while the rest of the comedy lineup was constantly rearranged around it. But in season two, CBS showed no hesitation whatsoever in moving Mom itself around. First came its major upgrade to Thursday at 8:30 after The Big Bang Theory, where Mom proved to be one of the most promising TBBT lead-outs historically. It included a couple 2.8 ratings in the winter, which still stand as Mom's strongest episodes on an A18-49+ basis.

Despite those results, by the late winter CBS was once again ready to use Big Bang to lead into a new comedy, so Mom headed back to the 9:00 hour (splitting time between 9:30 and 9:00) as The Odd Couple took over at 8:30. Mom fell back into the low 2's, but that was still even or better with the raw numbers it had been doing throughout season one. It was clear that the Big Bang exposure had some lasting impact.

Settling In As An Anchor

Since then, Mom has remained a fixture in the 9:00 timeslot while CBS has continued trying with new series at 8:30. For the first two years, the network couldn't find anything to perform as well as Mom did during season two, just modest newbies Life in Pieces and The Great Indoors. And with middling surroundings, Mom itself came down from its highs in the 8:30 season.

But in season five, the arrival of The Big Bang Theory's first spin-off Young Sheldon was a massive success, and much of that juice extended to Mom at 9/8c. In season five, Mom almost made it back to the Plus levels it attained after Big Bang in season two. Though the first 90 minutes of Thursday seemed like an abundance of riches, CBS kept them together for the 2018-19 season and saw modest declines across the board. While other CBS comedy staples have not made it past season six, CBS really needed Mom in a post-TBBT world, so it was renewed for two more years. But the whole night was much weaker without Big Bang, and both of Mom's last two seasons went below the league average.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12013-14Monday 9:302.091.82.5detail
22014-15Thursday 8:302.28+9%1.62.8detail
32015-16Thursday 9:001.71-25%1.51.8detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:



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

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