Friday, July 30, 2021

The War of 18-49, 9-1-1


Another Wednesday Winter Hit

Fox's Ryan Murphy drama 9-1-1 began its run on Wednesday in winter 2018, a night where many a Fox franchise has gotten started in recent years (most notably Empire in 2015 and The Masked Singer in 2019). 9-1-1 led out of The X-Files, in the second season of its revival after popping big in 2016. While X-Files was a disappointment (dropping below the league average for good in week two), 9-1-1 built from it substantially on premiere night (1.8 out of a 1.2) and held quite close to that premiere rating even as X-Files fell. Its lowest rating in the ten-week run was a high 1.5, and the season finale's 1.7 was just a tenth shy of the premiere rating.

A Monday Institution is Born

Fox brought together two sophomore drama successes on Monday for the 2018-19 season, with The Resident leading into 9-1-1. Once again, 9-1-1 built big on its lead-in, posting low-1's for most of the season and a slightly lower Plus than season one.

In season three, 9-1-1 moved to the 8:00 hour to lead off, and opened that season with a red-hot three-part event that went 1.6 -> 1.6 -> 1.7. But perhaps even more impressively, it kept holding onto low-1's even beyond that, putting it up in raw numbers for the season and way up to a new high in Plus. The COVID-delayed fourth season couldn't stay on quite the same pace, but it was still decidedly bigger than seasons one and two, and it continued to break 1.0 up until the late spring (and it usually won the night head-to-head against The Voice).

While it's not grabbed the super-young audience as peak Glee did, this show will go down as Ryan Murphy's biggest contribution to Fox from a scheduling perspective, as it has proven far more durable (with four seasons in the books at just below peak Glee levels in 18-49). Plus, it's already spawned a legitimately successful spin-off in 9-1-1: Lone Star; the two shared the 8/7c timeslot in 2019-20 and aired back-to-back in 2020-21, but Lone Star is back to a midseason premiere in 2021-22.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
1Winter 2018Wednesday 9:001.65
1.51.8detailA
22018-19Monday 9:001.37-17%1.12.6detailB-
32019-20Monday 8:001.38+1%1.21.7detailA
420211.05-24%0.81.2detailB

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow21y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
1Winter 2018151big hit0.97
140162162153
22018-19144hit0.93-5%118269269137
32019-20169big hit1.09+18%145204194156
42021163big hit1.05-4%132192189163

AVERAGE:156big hit
CAREER:626staple


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

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