Thursday, September 19, 2019

A18-49+ Update: The Network Race in 2018-19


Here's a look from several angles at how the big five networks fared in 2018-19.

Networks Compared to Previous Seasons

YearABCCBSNBCFoxCW
2016-17981001118840
2017-1898991109138
2018-19959710910032



As Fox proclaimed its desire to move away from scripted programming, it just so happened to have one of its best seasons for scripted programming. Throw in winter sensation The Masked Singer and Fox picked up nine Plus points and had its highest network average in six years. That came at the expense of every other big four network, as they all took relatively small drops but still hit multi-year lows (lowest in six years for ABC, in 11 years for CBS and in three years for NBC).

The biggest drop of all came on the CW, which didn't quite get to the depths of the Dawn Ostroff era but was a lot closer to that than they to the heights of the superhero years. Some (but far from all) of that can certainly be attributed to adding a new night; airing nothing on Sunday and the Sunday lineup on Friday would've been a lot better for the average.

Networks Across the Season

Last year:

subABCCBSNBCFox
fall9310612993
winter103100113102
spring100889181

This year:

subABCCBSNBCFox
fall88107123114
winter10997118107
spring92858879

This table uses the full-season league average in all three sections of the season used for Schedules Plus: "fall" is everything up to December 31, "winter" is January 1 up to the start of DST, and "spring" is the start of DST to the end of the regular season.

Fox's biggest breakout period was the fall, riding the strongest weeks of the Last Man Standing breakout and also bringing in 9-1-1 and The Resident (which debuted in the winter last year). The winter was just generally good for almost everyone, riding a ton of big reality; Fox was still able to grow y2y thanks to The Masked Singer, NBC had America's Got Talent: The Champions and The Titan Games, and ABC had an extraordinary The Bachelor season. But everyone sort of ran out of steam by the spring; all four nets were down from last spring's average, most noticeably ABC which lost its Roseanne comparisons.

A Deeper Look at Networks

Last year:

TypeABCCBSNBCFox
Overall97103161100
Original Series989911091
Non-Series95113234114
Scripted97969994
Comedy1241308986
Drama858610198
Unscripted10010612378
Reality11312814878
News668570


This year:
 
TypeABCCBSNBCFox
Overall96120126121
Original Series9597109100
Non-Series96175155147
Scripted94929797
Comedy9313773105
Drama958210294
Unscripted97108128105
Reality108122149105
News729161

NBC had the most dominant "overall" season on record last year when it had both the Super Bowl and Olympics, but got a lot more competition this year as CBS took the Super Bowl and Fox picked up Thursday Night Football (plus a much stronger entertainment department).

Real Estate

Last year:

GenreABCCBSNBCFoxCW
Originals70%70%59%58%70%
Repeats13%20%14%23%20%
Sports8%5%20%13%
Specials6%5%4%5%10%
Movies3%
2%0%1%

This year:

GenreABCCBSNBCFoxCW
Originals66%70%62%55%68%
Repeats14%19%19%25%24%
Sports9%6%12%17%
Specials8%5%5%3%9%
Movies2%2%0%

With Thursday Night Football added to Thursday, Fox set another new low for original series volume at a mere 55%. ABC and the CW also dropped a bit in original volume, from 70% last year into the upper-60's, while CBS remained at 70% and NBC was up into the low-60's with no Olympics this year.

Here's the now updated A18-49+ Networks post.

Here's the now updated A18-49+ Deeper Networks post.

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