Friday, June 24, 2022

The War of 18-49, All American

Beginning on the Bubble

In fall 2018, the CW gave the lead-in for one of its hottest shows, Riverdale, to another teen drama called All American. On premiere night, the choice looked very underwhelming; All American premiered with just a .19 in the demo, holding less than half of its Riverdale lead-in (0.53). Things perked up quickly from there; after another .19 in week two, it grew to a .25 and .31 the next couple weeks, and held onto 0.3's for a few more weeks before dropping to high 0.2's at the end of the fall.

 But the audience kept falling away after the new year, putting it back south of 0.20 by February. All American was looking like the weakest of the network's three fall drama launches (Charmed and Legacies) and a borderline renewal decision. It actually missed out on the CW's usual round of early renewals and came down to the wire, but it squeaked out a renewal on reports of strong streaming performance.

The Meteoric Rise 

In most cases, the 'strong streaming' reports fail to materialize in the Nielsen ratings. But with All American, the impact was very real. Boldly sent off to anchor Monday night, All American returned in the fall and matched its raw series high of 0.31 on premiere night. It fell to 0.24 in week two, but it hung in the high-0.2's for most of the rest of the season, then had some low 0.3's in a strong run late in the season. It was a highly successful sophomore season, topping season one in raw numbers and coasting to renewal much more easily.

Due to COVID-related production delays, All American didn't air for roughly ten months after the season two finale, but it came back in January 2021 with a huge bang. The 0.39 season three premiere blew away the previous series high, and it had several more weeks at 0.3 going forward. It fell off in the second half of the season, in part because it was forced to air deep into the summer, but it still eked out a second straight positive season in raw numbers. It had been a bubble show with a 0.22 average in 2018-19, but with a 0.24 in 2020-21, it was now the highest-rated show on the network.

The growth was done by season four, as All American premiered with a 0.23 and quickly dropped to low-0.2's and even some high-0.1's later in the season. It looks like it's not going to make it to Riverdale's heights in Plus. However, it squeaked out a second straight season as the network's biggest series in Live+SD, and it's done something else that Riverdale couldn't: launch a respectable-rated spin-off in All American: Homecoming. The All American duo will air together on Monday night in fall 2022.

Adults 18-49 info by season:


Historical-adjusted ratings by season:



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

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