A18-49+ Index


A18-49+ (or "Plus" for short) is a stab at a "fair" measurement of historical TV ratings in a world where Live + Same Day broadcast ratings and renewal standards are constantly on the decline. To create a fair measurement for entertainment programming, I came up with the rating for the average moment of primetime entertainment programming on the big four broadcasters in each season starting with 2001-02. I call that the "league average."

A18-49+ takes a show's average rating for a season, divides it by the "league average" for that season, and multiplies by 100. That means a show with a 100 A18-49+ did exactly the "league average" for entertainment programming. The bigger, the better.

For more on the number itself, you can read the intro to the number. I also attached number values to some of the common labels we throw around. Here's the key:

0-69: Flop
70-99: Marginal
100-124: Solid
125-149: Hit
150-199: Big Hit
200+: Megahit

Here are some specialized labels that account for more difficult timeslot situations:

Friday:
60-74: Solid for Friday
75+: Hit for Friday

CW:
25-34: Marginal for CW
35-44: Solid for CW
45+: Hit for CW

20-24: Solid for CW for Friday
25+: Hit for CW for Friday

Summer:
50-69: Marginal for summer
70-89: Solid for summer
90-104: Hit for summer
105-139: Big hit for summer
140+: Megahit for summer

"Career A18-49+," the sum of A18-49+ for each individual season, is used to evaluate the full run of a series. Intro to Career A18-49+ | Career A18-49+ Labels | Career A18-49+ Sortable Table



In the summer of 2013 I fully incorporated four new seasons into the A18-49+ fold, the recently completed 2012-13 season along with three older ones. I produced a yearly recap of every season in the Plus era as well as recaps that unified these numbers under one specific theme:

A18-49+ Recaps
By Season:



Summer 2013 also saw a bunch of Top 10 of the Last 10 lists, in which I used Plus to more fairly compare the top programs of the last decade in several categories:

Comedy Seasons | Drama Seasons | New Scripted Shows | Scripted Newbie Reach Renewals | Network Seasons | Netlet Scripted Seasons | Scripted Episodes | Scripted Newbie Cancellations | Days of the Week | Friday Scripted Seasons | Veteran Final Seasons



And here are the old Spotlight posts using A18-49+, all from spring-summer 2012 and updated with the full 2011-12 numbers. (These posts are now obsolete in a lot of ways compared to the theme recaps linked above, but there are still some good ideas.)

Quantifying the Return of the Sitcom - I used A18-49+ to chronicle the steps of a five-year process that took us from a world in which nine broadcast dramas outrated the top comedy (in 2006-07) to a world in which five comedies outrate the top drama (in 2011-12).

The Talent Tumble and Other Unscripted Trends - Using A18-49+, I examined some of the low-priority programming that has amazingly stayed almost exactly the same over the years. I also looked at some of the big dips for the big competition reality programs this season.

All About New Shows from 2006-2012 - I took a look at the new shows from each of the last six seasons and evaluated how each class of new shows affected the primetime landscape as a whole.

The Depreciating Rerun - I compared reruns' declines over the last six seasons with originals' declines and also looked at some of the subtle ways the networks are shying away from scheduling repeats.

The Separate Realms: Sports & Specials - I illustrated how the year-to-year trends for sports and specials seem to be operating on different playing fields than those of regular entertainment series.

Network Shifts, 2006-12 - I examined the evolution of the big five networks' entertainment averages over the last six seasons.

I've also put A18-49+ numbers by season on most of the War of 18-49 pages, which should help give some insight into your individual shows' evolution in the relative landscape.

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