Friday, August 5, 2022

The War of 18-49, A Million Little Things


ABC Tries This Is Us

For all of ABC's success with Wednesday comedies in the era of Modern Family, The Middle and The Goldbergs, they never really found a long-term mainstay that could do numbers in the 10/9c hour after the comedies. In fall 2018, they turned their sights to a This Is Us-style family drama called A Million Little Things. Considering the comedy lineup (especially the 9/8c hour) was significantly diminished, AMLT put on an impressive show at 10/9c. It launched to a 1.1 demo following a 1.3 from Single Parents, and it fell into the 0.8 range for most of its fall run, within a tenth or two of Single Parents. It was competitive with the strongest days of Nashville in its four-year run in the hour, and the DVR gains were massive enough to suggest there might be potential for more.

ABC acted fast, moving A Million Little Things to the Thursday 9/8c hour after Grey's Anatomy in the new year. It certainly got a bump compared with its Wednesday ratings, scoring low-1's throughout the winter, but it was not really any improvement on the already-declining Scandal from a year ago. ABC gave it one more crack in the hour in fall 2019, and it frankly got even worse; it couldn't even break 1.0 after premiere night, and it lagged a little behind the middling performance of Station 19 the year before.

Back to 10/9c

Beyond that fall, ABC had seen enough of A Million Little Things on the big stage, and moved it back to the 10/9c hour (though it kept the Grey's lead-in as Station 19 went to 8/7c). That proved to be a genius move for the Grey's universe because Station thrived in the lead-off role, but it meant the ratings got lower for A Million Little Things. They popped back up a bit at the start of season three, but that was largely due to a red-hot return from Grey's Anatomy in fall 2020. ABC wanted to use that big lead-in on a new show for the spring, and that meant A Million Little Things would return to where it all began on Wednesday.

In its second run on Wednesday, A Million Little Things never recaptured the magic from that first half of season one. In fact, it was in line with some of the weaker occupants on the night historically, and that's where it would stay in season four. It's still got good DVR percentage gains, but the Live+SD base is low enough that it will miss out on the fall schedule for its fifth season.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

SeasYearSlotAvgy2yLoHiResultsGrade
12018-19Wed 10:00, Thu 9:000.92
0.71.1detailB+
22019-20Thu 9:00, Thu 10:000.71-23%0.61.0detailC+
32020-21Thu 10:00, Wed 10:000.42-40%0.30.7detailC-
42021-22Wednesday 10:000.26-39%0.20.3detailC-

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

SeasYearA18-49+LabelNow22y2yLoHiPremiereFinale
12018-1997marginal0.49
75119118114
22019-2087marginal0.44-10%6812612685
32020-2166flop0.34-24%5010710759
42021-2251flop0.26-23%37615747

AVERAGE:75marginal
CAREER:300utility


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

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