Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The War of 18-49, Gotham

A Strong But Unspectacular Start

A year after Marvel brought its superhero cinematic universe to the small screen with Agents of SHIELD, it was DC's turn to try a similar gambit on the big four with Batman prequel Gotham. Out of the gate, Gotham was big, but certainly no Agents of SHIELD; its 8.31 million viewers and 3.3 demo rating paled in comparison to SHIELD's 4.7 start a year ago. The 3.3 was not even meaningfully different from the 3.5 where Sleepy Hollow had started the previous fall for Fox.

The good news was that Gotham held up more reasonably post-premiere; it was down a very acceptable 15% to 2.8 in week two, then hit a 2.5, and then inched down each of the next three weeks. But the low-2's were basically the norm for the rest of the fall and winter. Even with a shaky return late in the season (1.5 -> 1.6 -> 1.5 -> 1.7) it eked out a higher Plus average for season one than Agents of SHIELD (127). Considering where it started, that was a nice season for Gotham.

A Lower Level on Monday

Unfortunately for Gotham, it was that weak spring level that showed up in the fall of 2015, rather than the low-2's that had hung on for most of the rookie season. Gotham opened season two with just a 1.6 rating, more than 50% below the series premiere. But most of that crowd stuck around for the entirety of season two, with the show going no lower than 1.2 even deep into the spring. Season three also held up OK, staying north of 1.0 through the fall and winter and even breaking 1.0 for the majority of its late spring/early summer run.

The Move to Thursday

Attempting to create a more consistent overall schedule, Fox broke up its Monday Gotham / Lucifer pairing in fall 2017. While Lucifer remained on Monday, Gotham was slid over to Thursday night. Early on, it held up pretty admirably, breaking 1.0 for the season premiere and then starting a lengthy streak of 0.9's. But a couple 0.8's to end the fall were an omen of things to come; it returned to a 0.8 in early March, then hit its first 0.7 and first 0.6 in the next two weeks. The spring run was a mix of 0.6's and 0.7's, making for a much weaker show than the one that had been getting 1.0's in the late spring a year ago. In a season that saw Fox massacre its live-action comedy department and even cancel Lucifer, it looked like Gotham could be in trouble. But in an 11th-hour decision, the network decided to give Gotham a reprieve for a shortened fifth and final season, which saw a relatively modest decline by Gotham standards.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12014-15Monday 8:
42017-18Thursday 8:000.77-27%0.61.0detailC
5Winter 20190.62-19%0.50.7detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

5Winter 201965flop0.62-7%56727056


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

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