Friday, June 10, 2022

The War of 18-49, The Conners


Roseanne Without Roseanne

Of all the revivals that have been trotted out on broadcast TV in recent years, none hit bigger out of the gate than the spring 2018 premiere of Roseanne, one of the biggest TV ratings moments of the entire decade. Bringing it back for the 2018-19 season was a no-brainer, but things got really complicated when series lead Roseanne Barr became embroiled in controversy. What ended up coming out of that was The Conners, dropping Barr from the cast. A decline from the enormous heights of the Roseanne revival was probably inevitable with or without Barr, but The Conners still hit it relatively big out of the gate, launching to a 2.4 demo (well within megahit territory). It fell pretty hard in week two to a 1.7, actually inched up to a 1.8 in week three, but then dropped again to 1.5 in week four. From there, it was pretty steady at borderline-big hit levels, making it one of the biggest new comedies of the A18-49+ era (even if the 'new' distinction was a bit complicated here).

The Conners held onto the Tuesday 8/7c slot in season two, and while it couldn't come close to the megahit heights of the premiere, the year-to-year declines became much more manageable later in the fall. A big part of the year-to-year decline in season two simply resulted from the show having a much longer season (20 episodes vs. 11 for season one). Like many other series, it was probably rescued from new lows in the spring by the COVID lockdowns in 2020, but it seemed pretty stable before that.

Off to Wednesday

With Modern Family off the schedule, ABC looked to consolidate its family comedies alongside The Goldbergs on Wednesday, moving The Conners into the old Modern slot at 9/8c. It appeared to hold up OK initially, premiering with a 0.9 in October 2020, but things got rough pretty quickly. It fell all the way to 0.6 by the end of the fall and pretty much stayed there after the new year, making for year-to-year trends that were even worse than season two. It was still strong enough to renew, but a big hit from just two years earlier finished the season below the league average.

As ugly as the comedy night got in 2020-21, the 2021-22 season at least provided some hope that the anchors had found their bottom; The Conners was even in Plus and The Goldbergs bounced back a bit. In 2022-23, ABC will once again bring a Tuesday anchor (buzzy sophomore Abbott Elementary) over to Wednesday, and The Conners and The Goldbergs will join up in the 8/7c hour with The Conners leading off.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12018-19Tuesday 8:001.561.32.4detailB+
22019-201.07-32%0.91.3detailC+
32020-21Wednesday 9:000.62-42%0.50.9detailC-
42021-220.50-20%0.40.6detailB-

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow22y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12018-19164big hit0.84140247247159
22019-20130hit0.67-21%107156156115
32020-2197marginal0.49-26%7313813885
42021-2298marginal0.50+1%7812712782

AVERAGE:122solid
CAREER:489utility


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

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