January 22, 2015


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The AUDIENCE MAP series continues with a look at the detailed demographics for ABC’s primetime schedule for this season to date.  As a reminder, the audience shares for 30 distinct gender-age groups are displayed for each program below.  Programs in the chart are grouped by night so you can see the audience flow from 8:00 pm/ 7:00C to 11:00 pm/10:00C.  ABC has some extremely compatible line-ups on about half the nights, while Sunday and Monday are rather eclectic mixes of programs and genres, with sometimes jarring transitions from hour to hour.

On the positive side, ABC Wednesday clearly delivers women 35-64 and a respectable male 35-64 secondary audience across the night, while ABC Thursday has a distinct and increasingly dominant female 18-64 profile that holds for three straight hours for its drama line-up.  (Note that How to Get Away with Murder appears lower in each category than Scandal, but that is only because these are averages of all telecasts so far this season.  ABC has repeated HTGAWM much more often to maximize sampling, while Scandal is closer to an all-original average.)  ABC Friday peaks with women 45+ and somewhat to men 50+, with a nice bonus audience of adults 30-44 for Shark Tank.  All in all, ABC is really on the right track these nights of the week.

ABC Tuesday is of course anchored by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a solid male 25-64 audience and very decent female 30-64 secondary core.  At 10 pm Forever is very much a female 55+ primary audience but is actually surprisingly compatible with the female 35-54 audience from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The most pressing challenge on Tuesday is the 8 pm hour and finding something that is at least not repellent to men.  On balance, an incomplete grade for a work in progress.

In contrast, Sunday and Monday can be looked at as blank canvasses.  The Bachelor is one of the youngest-skewing shows on ABC, delivering substantial numbers of females 12-34 (quite rare for ABC except on Thursday now).  Finding a young female companion piece, scripted or unscripted, for the back-end of Monday night would build on ABC’s recent methodical momentum.  Similarly on Sunday night, Once Upon a Time still offers a very young female audience (extending down to girls as young as 6) to build a great night around.  The 9 and 10 pm dramas have been credible attempts, but their audiences really don’t get going until about age 35 or 40.  Perhaps another show or two with more fantasy and whimsy will keep the night from being a one-show package.

How does your favorite ABC show look? Check it out below. 

Audience Map ABC Prime Fall 2014 Within

The chart above color codes the audience segments by comparing the viewing levels within each show.  The highs and lows of each show are colored green and red, and a hit show’s red box could be yellow or even green on a struggling show.  In contrast, the chart below takes a wider view and compares all the viewing levels of all the ABC shows against each other.  The greens boxes below display the highest audience shares across the entire ABC primetime schedule.  The data in both charts are the same — the color comparisons are just presenting different angles.  Use the one that best meets your needs or preferences.

Audience Map ABC Prime Fall 2014 Across

Coming next week: AUDIENCE MAP for CBS primetime.

Other AUDIENCE MAP posts can be found here.


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.