Thursday, June 27, 2019

The War of 18-49, Legends of Tomorrow

A Third Night of DC Comics

In winter 2016, with The Flash in the middle of the biggest drama season in network history, the CW picked an ideal time to expand its universe of superhero series yet again. Legends of Tomorrow, a team-up involving recurring players from Arrow and The Flash, led off the network's winter Thursdays with 3.21 million viewers and a 1.2 demo rating. It fell just a tenth to 1.1 in week two, but then another two tenths to 0.9 in week three. It stayed there for awhile, but fell to 0.7 in March and pretty much stayed there (mixing in a couple 0.6's) to end the season. It was obviously no Flash and had fallen clearly behind Arrow by the spring as well, but season one was still the network's third-highest rated show.

It continued leading off Thursday in fall 2016. It couldn't recapture anything like its early season one spark but still provided a reliable 0.6 (spiking to 1.2 for its crossover episode late in the fall). At midseason, the CW decided to let Supernatural be the Thursday anchor and see if Legends could get any benefit from a consistent The Flash lead-in. The best lead-in on the network didn't change Legends much; it scored a couple 0.7's early on before falling to 0.5's in the spring. But Legends was still a big improvement on some of the other stuff the network had tried after The Flash. It got the slot back for the fall of 2017 and mostly hung around 0.5.

Move to Monday

For the second half of season three, the CW used Legends of Tomorrow to relieve the usual Monday anchor Supergirl for a couple months; it opened on another 0.5, but fell to 0.4 for most of this period. In season four, Legends returned to Monday. After a fall of mostly 0.3's following Arrow, it was Legends that took the long hiatus this time, and Black Lightning that showed up to spell it in the winter. However, the CW opted to flip Arrow and Legends when the two reunited in the spring, and the return helped keep Legends at a 0.3 into the spring. In season five, Legends missed the fall schedule, but it got back the post-Flash slot at midseason as the show that started it all, Arrow, finished its shortened final season after just 10 fall episodes.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12016Thursday 8:000.800.61.2detail
22016-17Thu 8:00, Tue 9:000.64-20%0.41.2detailB-
32017-18Tue 9:00, Mon 8:000.48-24%0.40.9detailC
42018-19Mon 9:00, Mon 8:000.29-40%0.20.4detailC-
52020Tuesday 9:000.22-25%0.20.5detailC
6Summer 2021Sunday 8:000.08-62%0.10.1detailD+
72021-22Wednesday 8:000.09+7%0.10.1detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

6Summer 202113flop0.07-51%9.31171612


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

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