Thursday, August 26, 2021

The War of 18-49, Station 19

The Second Grey's Spin-off

Right around the time that Shonda Rhimes staple Scandal was wrapping up its seven-season run, ABC brought in some new blood to try to keep its 'TGIT' Thursday branding alive. It was Station 19, the second spin-off of Grey's Anatomy, premiering more than a decade after the first (Private Practice). And the show did not particularly impress out of the gate, opening with a 1.1 demo that was well below its 1.9 Grey's lead-in. It pulled out a season two renewal by staying pretty consistent post-premiere, ticking up to a 1.2 in week two and posting mostly 1.0's and 0.9's the rest of the way. 

It basically remained at the same level in a fall/spring run for season two. It roughly matched the mediocre final season of Scandal in the fall, then roughly matched itself in the spring ratings, and only really perked up during a trio of Grey's cross-over episodes.

The 8/7c Upgrade

Like Private Practice, Station 19 aired multiple seasons directly after the Grey's mothership, and in those episodes the two shows actually didn't look that different from each other. Where the stories diverged was what happened after the post-Grey's run. When Scandal launched in 2012, Private Practice was sent off to Tuesday, where it withered away rather quickly. But Station 19 remained part of Thursday night, at 8/7c in the pre-Grey's timeslot, giving the direct Grey's lead-in back to 10/9c shows.

This turned out to be a big win for Station 19, and for ABC's ratings overall; the Grey's audience followed it back to 9/8c, while Station saw a significant ratings improvement in the high-viewed 8/7c hour, hammocked between local programming and the Grey's mothership. Season three was actually up in raw numbers, staying around 1.0 in the winter and then bouncing up to the low-1's when COVID lockdowns hit in the spring. And season four basically took a league average decline, staying at those same high levels. As long as Grey's lives, there's no reason to mess with the Station/Grey's combo, so it will roll into 2021-22 intact.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

1Spring 2018Thursday 9:
32020Thursday 8:001.05+10%0.81.3detailB+

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

1Spring 201896marginal0.418310810593


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

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