Monday, July 3, 2017

The War of 18-49, Brooklyn Nine-Nine



Season One on Tuesday 

In fall 2013, Fox made yet another of its many attempts this decade at a two-hour Tuesday comedy block, and with two new series in the 8:00 hour: Seth MacFarlane's Dads and Michael Schur's Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Fox smartly opened these shows in the pre-premiere week, getting a jump on the considerable competition to come, and both had surprisingly solid sampling. Dads opened on a 2.2 demo, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine built considerably from there with 6.17 million viewers and a 2.6 demo. The arrival of the competition was brutal, and both comedies were down almost a third to a respective 1.5 and 1.8 in week two, before taking another hit to 1.3/1.4 in week three. But they bounced back a bit from there, and Nine-Nine's mid-1's in particular stood out as a considerable improvement on the previous season's 8:00 hour.

Later in the season, Nine-Nine joined New Girl for a comedy hour after the Super Bowl (its 6.9 demo rating on that night is not included in the averages below) and moved to the 9:30 slot after New Girl on a regular basis. Ultimately, the Super Bowl and new timeslot didn't do anything for the show (it hit a few new lows after the move) but it had still done enough for a renewal.

The Sunday Bounce

In season two, Brooklyn Nine-Nine became one of several new comedies from the 2013-14 class to get a significant timeslot upgrade, moving to Sunday at 8:30 right after the often football-boosted The Simpsons. The move did very good things for Nine-Nine's ratings, peaking with a 3.0 on the night of an NFL playoff game in January. And as the NFL went away and the late spring arrived, Nine-Nine remained an impressive retainer of The Simpsons' audience. Nine-Nine returned to Sunday for the fall of 2015, but at midseason it was tapped for yet another attempt at a two-hour Tuesday comedy block.

Back to Marginal Territory on Tuesday 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine got off to an OK start in its return to Tuesday; the 1.2 demo on 1/5/16 was about in line with some numbers it had posted in the fall on non-NFL nights. But it bled significantly from that point, going fractional in mid-February and as low as a couple 0.8's in March. It was yet another two-hour comedy effort from Fox that was really derailed by weak newbies, this time Grandfathered and The Grinder.

The two-hour comedy idea never resurfaced in 2016-17, and Fox got through the season by sharing the 8:00 hour among its last vestiges, veterans Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl (plus respectable midseason newbie The Mick). It was a tougher situation for Brooklyn, which sat out the winter and had to air deep into the spring, and it seemed like cancellation could be in the cards when Nine-Nine fell as low as a 0.6. But it's made it through again, and joined The Mick in the fall for another single hour of Tuesday comedy.

It really struggled in that berth, particularly early in the fall, but Fox decided to rescue Brooklyn with a return to the Sunday territory where it had once thrived. Though it responded with a significant ratings uptick, even posting full retention of The Simpsons on a few occasions, a transitioning Fox still decided to pull the plug. But it didn't take long for Brooklyn owner NBC to step in, rescuing the show for a 13-episode midseason order in 2018-19.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12013-14Tue 8:30, Tue 9:301.501.12.6detail
22014-15Sunday 8:301.70+13%0.93.0detail
32015-16Sun 8:30, Tue 9:001.21-29%0.82.0detailC-
42016-17Tuesday 8:000.85-29%0.61.3detailC+
52017-18Tue 9:30, Sun 8:300.74-13%0.60.9detailB-

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow18y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12013-1480marginal0.875813813869
22014-15101solid1.10+26%5417816165
32015-1683marginal0.91-18%5513710362
42016-1770marginal0.76-16%491069049
52017-1868flop0.74-3%54836772

AVERAGE:80marginal
CAREER:401utility



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

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