Friday, August 6, 2021

The War of 18-49, The Good Doctor

A Rare Breakout at 10/9c

After seven seasons with consistent cop drama Castle in the Monday 10/9c hour, then one very bad post-Castle season for the timeslot (shared by flop newbie Conviction and flop sophomore Quantico), ABC immediately came up with a new staple for the timeslot on Premiere Monday in 2017. Medical drama The Good Doctor opened with a whooping 2.2 demo at 10/9c, growing by more than 50% from its Dancing with the Stars lead-in (1.4). That ended up being a 200 Plus, far bigger than any Castle episode ever (its series high was 135). And Good Doc stayed above peak Castle levels throughout season one; it held its 2.2 in week two, then had a couple 2.0's and high-1's for the rest of the fall. In the winter, it mostly stayed north of 1.5 and was about in line with its much bigger lead-ins from The Bachelor. This added up to a 163 Plus, making it one of the biggest rookie dramas in the 10/9c hour over the last decade (a little behind How to Get Away with Murder, but bigger than The Blacklist).

A Fast Fall Back to Reality

 But The Good Doctor's time at those sky-high levels was short-lived. The season two premiere was a 1.3, tying its low from season one, and it stayed at very low-1's for the rest of the season. Season three was fractional almost all the way, only perking up into the 1's for its last couple episodes (at the start of the COVID lockdowns). It wasn't any help that these seasons aired after two of the weakest Dancing with the Stars seasons ever, but by season three it was usually a bit behind its DWTS lead-in: a far cry from its huge gains during season one.

Season four didn't premiere till November due to COVID-driven production delays, meaning the show largely missed out on a major resurgence season for DWTS, plus had to air much deeper into the spring than was typical. That provides some excuse for its continued declines, but the bottom line is that season four ended up looking like a below-average Castle season (at least in Live+SD), and at this point it's hard to imagine it turning around. Nevertheless, it will return to that Monday 10/9c hour for a fifth straight year in 2021-22.

Adults 18-49 info by season:


Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

12017-18163big hit0.69121202200151


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

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