Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The War of 18-49, The Night Shift

A Summer Leftover Gets a Big Stage

After getting ordered before the 2013 upfront, the medical drama The Night Shift had missed out on the 2013-14 regular season and ended up with just an eight-episode order. These are usually bad omens. But then the network gave it a lead-in better than almost anything it could've gotten in the regular season: the Tuesday editions of America's Got Talent. It opened to 7.67 million viewers and a 1.6 demo on May 27, 2014, a little over half of its lead-in from Got Talent. The Night Shift fell a bit from there, but basically at the same rate as Got Talent; in their final episode on July 1, the retention was basically the same (2.6 for AGT and 1.4 for Night Shift). It had already been renewed by this point, but it also managed to hold in the low-1's for a couple episodes after Got Talent encores.

Into the Regular Season

A reasonable summer inspired NBC to put The Night Shift on an even bigger stage: in the spring of 2015 after The Voice. The lead-in was bigger, but the raw numbers were basically the same; The Night Shift was pulling mid-1's at best while The Voice was averaging around a 4.0. Retention-wise, it got a little better later in the spring; it clung to low-1's while The Voice fell toward the mid-2's. But The Night Shift was still one of the worst post-Voice occupants on record (probably only Taken from spring 2017 did worse, and even that was not by a wide margin). But whether it was The Power of Sony or something else, the show scored another renewal. This time, it meant a return to the summer.

And Back to the Summer

For a third straight season, The Night Shift was granted a big lead-in, though this one wasn't quite as big as the previous two seasons: a little American Ninja Warrior and a bunch of Wednesday editions of America's Got Talent. Like in season one, it did a little over half of what it got from the Talent lead-ins. Like in season one, that was enough for a renewal. (Though this one didn't come until well into the fall of 2016.)

Season four, finally, saw The Night Shift get what could be called a "bad" timeslot, though it still wasn't that bad (it mostly led out of 1.0ish original episodes of The Wall). The show started with a 0.6, grew to a bunch of 0.7's, then fell back to 0.6ish once The Wall finished and comedy repeats took over. It wasn't necessarily clear that this was a lot weaker than the show that had such great situations in years past, but NBC had finally seen enough. Again, the decision didn't come till the fall, but this time it was a cancellation.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Summer 2014Tuesday 10:001.361.11.6detail
2Spring 2015Monday 10:001.29-5%1.01.5detail
3Summer 2016Wednesday 10:000.98-24%0.81.2detail
4Summer 2017Thursday 10:000.66-32%0.50.8detail

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Summer 201472solid(sum)0.7958858558
2Spring 201577marginal0.84+6%59898971
3Summer 201667marg(sum)0.73-13%55827669
4Summer 201754marg(sum)0.59-20%41654949


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

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