Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The War of 18-49, iZombie

A Lot of Flash Lead-ins

In season one, The Flash was one of those situations where you can tell it did a lot better in the ratings than the network was expecting; for the first half of its explosive season one, its biggest-in-CW-history lead-in was used on tenth-year drama Supernatural. At midseason, the network finally got a chance to launch something after The Flash, and it was another comic book-inspired series called iZombie. On its March 17, 2015 premiere night, iZombie averaged 2.29 million viewers and a 0.8 demo rating, leading out of a 1.3 from The Flash. That was basically in line with what Supernatural had been doing in its last Tuesday episodes.

iZombie held up pretty well from there, pulling a 0.7 for the next three weeks, inching back up to 0.8 briefly, then getting a bunch of 0.6's (now at less than 50% retention of The Flash) in late April and May. That made it a little weaker than Supernatural had been, but it was still good enough for a renewal. It came back in the fall after The Flash, but beyond the premiere (0.7 out of a 1.4 lead-in) its days of doing half as well as The Flash were over. Though the retention was bad, iZombie consistently proved itself whenever it was not alongside The Flash; it held onto a 0.5 leading out of a 0.6 MADtv special in January and then another couple 0.5's when it led off for the season finale in April.

Off the Fall Schedule

iZombie survived again, but missed out on the fall schedule this time... only to ultimately end up right back on Tuesday in the spring with that unhelpful Flash lead-in again. At least this time only five of the 13 episodes actually got an original Flash lead-in, but the show got a 0.3 almost every week of the season: those with original Flash lead-ins, those with repeat lead-ins in April, and even those that aired deep into June when the regular season was long over. It got renewed again, and as usual this looked like a bad decision based on the post-Flash episodes and a good decision based on all the other episodes.

In season four, the CW finally shook its obsession with putting iZombie after The Flash, though it still got a high-end lead-in in Supergirl on Monday. It went from 0.3's in season three to a mix of 0.2's and 0.3's in season four, keeping it in pretty marginal territory. The show seemed to be a late call for renewal, competing against some of the pilots in development and not getting renewed till three days after all the network's other renew/cancel decisions were made. But it pulled through, for what the network confirmed will be a final season. That final season aired on Thursday at 8/7c at the very end of the regular season and well into the summer.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Spring 2015Tuesday 9:000.650.50.8detail
3Spring 20170.32-41%0.20.4detailC-
4Spring 2018Monday 9:000.24-24%0.20.3detailC
5Summer 2019Thursday 8:000.19-21%0.20.2detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Spring 201539solid(CW)0.3730484830
3Spring 201726marginal(CW)0.25-30%20323225
4Spring 201822flop0.21-15%19303021
5Summer 201920flop0.19-9%17232321


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

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