Monday, August 14, 2017

The War of 18-49, Sleepy Hollow

The Fall 2013 Breakout

Fox's Sleepy Hollow had one of the weirdest drama premises in recent memory, but its appeal out of the gate was undeniable. It opened to a very sizable 10.10 million viewers and 3.5 demo rating, building huge on its lead-in from Bones (2.3). In an impressive week two hold, it dropped just 11% to 3.1. The drops continued pretty much throughout season two, but not to a particularly alarming degree, and it was still building noticeably on its lead-ins from Bones and, late in the season, Almost Human. When it wrapped its first season with a 2.2/2.4 finale in late January, it was still well above a league average performer, and it went down as one of the biggest highlights in a strong 2013-14 new class.

The Limited Series Curse Strikes Thrice 

But Sleepy Hollow was never the same when it returned to the airwaves eight months later, opening the season on a new low 2.0 and falling toward the mid-1's in the second half of the season. This became a theme for Sleepy Hollow in its four-year descent from breakout to major flop; the drops within each season were never really that terrible, but a lot of the damage came from viewers who fell away during the time off. Season three also opened on a new series low, with a measly 1.0 to open its brief fall 2015 run on Thursday.

At least compared with the Thursday ratings, the show held up OK in its move to Friday in winter 2016, managing to hold onto some 0.8's in February and March on the night. Despite the loss of female lead Nicole Beharie, that was seemingly enough to get it a fourth try. The winter months in 2017 should've been a decent time on the calendar for it to air, but with a lead-in from the similarly downtrodden Rosewood, there was never really any hope for season four. Perhaps the only consolation is that it did manage to stop the streak of opening the season on a new low, at least if you look at rounded numbers. (In un-roundeds, its 0.57 opener was still over ten percent behind the one time it hit a 0.6 in season three, which was a 0.645 un-rounded.) And it hit a string of 0.4's for the first time in March, when it had Rosewood repeat lead-ins. Finally, this was low enough to put a merciful end to one of the hardest collapses in TV ratings.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12013-14Monday 9:002.612.23.5detail
32015-16Thu 9:00, Fri 8:000.82-47%0.61.1detailD-
4Winter 2017Friday 9:000.50-39%0.40.6detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

4Winter 201741flop0.50-28%33494941


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

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