Friday, September 3, 2021

The War of 18-49, S.W.A.T.


Improving the Thursday 10/9c Hour

In the same season that CBS launched its current comedy anchor Young Sheldon, they also launched a new drama in the 10/9c hour on the same night. And while it wasn't as flashy as Sheldon in the ratings, S.W.A.T. opened with a 1.1 (down just a tenth from its Life in Pieces lead-in) and stayed in the ones for much of the fall/early winter. That made for a marked improvement on the failed newbies from the year before (Pure Genius and Training Day), and it was also stronger than the last couple years of Elementary in the hour.

In season two, the show looked kind of alarming in the fall (premiering at a mere 0.7) but it perked up significantly with a series of 0.9's in the winter, and ended up down just a few points from season one in Plus. Considering it had significantly worse lead-ins for most of the season (including one-and-done comedy newbies Murphy Brown and Fam), it was valuable enough to keep around.

Struggles against One Chicago on Wednesday

But it was sent off to Wednesday, where it would be paired with middling SEAL Team and asked to compete with NBC's fast-growing Chicago trio. It was at a borderline 0.5-0.6 for most of the season, which didn't look that bad compared with its weak fall 2018, but the y2y numbers got a lot worse beyond that point. In the end, it took a 15% Plus decline to a very borderline level, but the DVR numbers were strong and CBS once again punted on throwing anything of consequence at the Chicago series. So they stuck with the SEAL Team and S.W.A.T. pairing for another year. The results in 2020-21 were down a little bit more in Plus, with S.W.A.T. hitting 0.4's for most of the season.

In 2021-22, CBS is finally done with these shows as priority weeknight programming; SEAL Team is eventually off to Paramount+, while S.W.A.T. will get a run in the Friday 8/7c hour before a planned exile to the dreaded Sunday 10/9c hour.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12017-18Thursday 10:000.950.81.1detailB
22018-190.78-18%0.70.9detailB-
32019-20Wednesday 10:000.57-27%0.50.7detailC+
42020-210.42-26%0.30.6detailC

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow21y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12017-1886marginal0.566910010087
22018-1982marginal0.53-5%69997291
32019-2070marginal0.45-15%59876878
42020-2165flop0.42-6%53856870

AVERAGE:76marginal
CAREER:303utility


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

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