Friday, July 15, 2022

The War of 18-49, The Rookie

Nathan Fillion Returns

Three years after the ABC crime drama Castle ended its eight-season run, its lead actor Nathan Fillion launched a new ABC procedural called The Rookie in the Tuesday 10/9c hour. It looked pretty decent, opening to a 1.0 demo and building by a tick on its lead-in, another new series premiere (comedy Splitting Up Together). It dropped to 0.8 in week two and mostly pulled 0.6's and 0.7's during season one, but on average it continued to outrate Splitting by a little bit. So The Rookie ended up with a Plus more like the weakest Castle seasons (the first and last) than the heyday, but it also had a lot less support than Castle, which largely aired out of Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor.

Surviving Sunday

For season two, The Rookie got moved to the Sunday 10/9c hour. It came with the promise of a big American Idol lead-in like what Castle always got, and in those episodes The Rookie has been able to perk up to Castle-like ratings on its best days. But the downside is that it also has to endure the always perilous fall period when Idol isn't around. The fall 9/8c lead-ins have been pretty bad generally, sometimes making it an even worse situation than it had on Tuesday.

In the end, these factors have largely ended up being a wash for the seasonal ratings; it picked up a teeny bit in season two, dropped back to the season one Plus for season three, and then dropped a bit more to a new low in season four.

The Tuesday Breakout

Season five started abnormally well for The Rookie, as its Celebrity Wheel of Fortune proved a better lead-in than the show had often seen in the fall. But even better days were ahead with a midseason move to the Tuesday 8/7c hour, where the show exploded into legitimate hit territory with a high 0.6 in its first January episode. It stayed in the 0.5 range for most of the rest of the way, bringing the season average all the way above the league average in 2022-23.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12018-19Tuesday 10:000.720.61.0detailB
22019-20Sunday 10:000.64-10%0.50.8detailB+
52022-23Sun 10:00, Tue 8:000.43+20%0.30.6detailA

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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