Monday, October 26, 2020

The War of 18-49, The Good Place


Thursday Comedy Has a Pulse

In fall 2016, NBC was working on several years in a row of incompetence on its long-proud Thursday night, though The Blacklist had given the network a bit more of a pulse in the previous season. The network decided to use its increased depth to make even more inroads on the night, bringing in sophomores Superstore and Chicago Med. The last piece of the puzzle was a comedy companion for Superstore, the Michael Schur creation The Good Place. Though it was an unconventional, heavily serialized comedy, it proved a very good match with Superstore. Following a one-hour launch after The Voice on Premiere Monday (2.3), it posted a 1.4 for its timeslot premiere on Thursday, nearly matching its Superstore (1.5) lead-in. The two were nearly an exact match throughout the fall, and The Good Place ended its short order with some very low-1's in January.

The show kicked off season two with another one-hour preview, this time on Wednesday after America's Got Talent. Though that rating (1.4) was way down from the season one preview, the Superstore and The Good Place pair was every bit as potent back on Thursday. They had some real help, as NBC's revival of Will and Grace garnered huge interest at 9/8c and probably got some pre-tune for the comedies before it. But after dropping as low as 1.0 in season one, The Good Place made it through all of season two without going below 1.0 as well. Once again, Superstore and The Good Place were almost an exact match.

The 8/7c pair along with Will and Grace returned intact in fall 2018 and were down across the board, but Superstore and The Good Place held up better than the cratering Will and Grace. The Good Place finally dipped below 1.0 for the second episode of season three, and had a long run of 0.8's (a tenth below Superstore's usual 0.9) through most of the fall. Its last three episodes (including a new low 0.7 for the season finale) aired at 9:30 after Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The Final Season Move

In season four, Will and Grace was held for midseason and a pre-announced final season of The Good Place was thrown into an anchor role at 9/8c. It was a bad situation, as the newbies at both 8:30 (Perfect Harmony) and 9:30 (Sunnyside) were major failures. The Good Place took another big drop, now to a fairly consistent 0.6, but that was up a tenth or two from Perfect Harmony. For its return after the new year, The Good Place returned to 8:30 after its longtime lead-in Superstore, but it was too late to make a ratings difference. The show fell to its first 0.5 on January 16, 2020, but grew to 0.6 the next week and to 0.7 for the one-hour series finale.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12016-17Thursday 8:301.34
1.02.3detailB
22017-181.14-15%1.01.4detailB+
32018-19Thu 8:30, Thu 9:300.84-26%0.71.0detailC+
42019-20Thu 9:00, Thu 8:300.62-27%0.50.7detailC+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow20y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12016-17109solid0.90
7818618690
22017-18104solid0.85-5%88123122103
32018-1989marginal0.73-15%7610110176
42019-2075marginal0.62-15%61838183

AVERAGE:94marginal
CAREER:377utility


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

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