Monday, October 19, 2020

The War of 18-49, American Housewife


Meshing With Long-Running Comedies

Family comedy American Housewife came on the scene with ABC's family comedy brand still near its height, and Housewife itself was part of an aggressive move into Tuesday night alongside the longtime Wednesday veteran The Middle. The two proved to be a very solid pair. Housewife launched with a 1.9 demo, building on its 1.8 Middle lead-in, and built on The Middle for the next several weeks thereafter. As the season wore on, the pair dipped into the mid- and then low-1's, and Housewife was generally even with or barely below The Middle, but the two gave ABC a stronger starting point on Tuesday than they had in previous years.

In season two, Housewife was shipped to Wednesday, the night where the comedy brand had originally taken off, and aired after former megahit Modern Family. Though it was a bigger lead-in, Housewife didn't seem to get much benefit. It spent most of the season in the low-1's, while Modern Family was at least a few ticks higher on average. For season three, Housewife once again had to vacate so that a newbie could launch in its timeslot, and it spent the fall of 2018 in the 8:30 slot between The Goldbergs and Modern Family.

Tougher Tasks

The timeslot moves kept coming for American Housewife. In winter 2019, the show was asked to lead off on Tuesday, taking over the spot vacated by short-order comedy The Conners, and it was inevitably doomed to look much worse by comparison. It posted a couple 0.9's and a 1.0 early in its Tuesday return, but drifted down to 0.8 in the spring.

In fall 2019, American Housewife was sent to the lead-off role on Friday, where it had perhaps its most impressive run since season one, posting some 0.7's and 0.6's and handily outperforming what Fresh Off the Boat did as the Friday anchor a year previous. But even that couldn't last; since Modern Family was coming to an early end, American Housewife was called back to Wednesday to inherit its longtime 9/8c timeslot. Airing between the ultimately cancelled Schooled and Single Parents, American Housewife was mostly stuck at 0.6, and didn't particularly seem to benefit from the viewing upswing during COVID-19 lockdowns. However, it was still enough for another renewal, and American Housewife made one last move in the fall of 2020, back to its fall 2018 home of Wednesday at 8:30. It had better ratings but mediocre retention of The Goldbergs, and so its long journey came to an end.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12016-17Tuesday 8:301.411.11.8detailB+
22017-18Wednesday 9:301.21-14%0.91.6detailC+
32018-19Wed 8:30, Tue 8:000.91-25%0.71.2detailC+
42019-20Fri 8:00, Wed 9:000.59-36%0.50.7detailC+
52020-21Wednesday 8:300.55-7%0.40.6detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow21y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12016-17115solid0.748815115197
22017-18110solid0.71-4%8214614697
32018-1996marginal0.62-13%7213013072
42019-2072solid(Fri)0.46-25%60898978
52020-2185marginal0.55+19%7010110173

AVERAGE:96marginal
CAREER:479utility


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


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