ABC’s drama “Of Kings and Prophets” debuted to a meager 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 on March 8, then sunk to a 0.5 in its second outing. It was the network’s worst performance in the time period since … uh, the week before the “Of Kings and Prophets” premiere.

The 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday spot has been a black hole for ABC of late. Which sparked a question: Does every network have a place where shows just can’t get traction? Turns out the answer is (mostly) yes.

In looking at recent seasons, the data bear out what a lot of TV fans and ratings watchers know intuitively: There are dead spots on every network. Not all of them is the trash fire that ABC’s Tuesday at 10 is, but there are definite trends in recent broadcast history.

For this post, we looked at prime-time slots from Sunday to Thursday from the 2012-13 season to now and determined how badly shows that aired there underperformed vs. their network average. Fridays and Saturdays were excluded as they tend to be lower-rated nights across the board.

The averages below are “most current” (a combination of Live +7 and same-day) for each season, as that was the most readily available metric for past years. Timeslot averages exclude filler reruns in the slot. Network averages are for all prime-time programming.

ABC: Tuesdays at 10

The sheer number of shows that have cycled through this particular dead zone is a tip to just how badly the network has struggled to find stability here. If ABC could get in a time machine and walk back a couple of its cancellations from this time period, it probably would.

Season Show(s) Timeslot average Network average % of network average
2012-13 Private Practice (13 episodes), Body of Proof (13 episodes) 2.15 2.2 97.7
2013-14 Lucky 7 (2 episodes), What Would You Do? (3 episodes), Killer Women (6 episodes), Mind Games (5 episodes), Celebrity Wife Swap (5 episodes) 1.08 2.1 51.4
2014-15 Forever (22 episodes) 1.7 2.2 77.3
2015-16 Wicked City (3 episodes), Beyond the Tank (1 episode), What Would You Do? (3 episodes), Agent Carter (3 episodes), Of Kings and Prophets (2 episodes) 1.01 1.9 53.2


CBS: Sundays at 10

CBS is generally OK with the older audience it brings in on Sundays, but the final hour of the night has notably been a place where aging shows go to play out their final years.

Season Show(s) Timeslot average Network average % of network average
2012-13 The Mentalist (22 episodes) 2.4 2.9* 82.8
2013-14 The Mentalist (22 episodes) 2 2.4 83.3
2014-15 CSI (18 episodes), Battle Creek (13 episodes) 1.68 2.3 73.1
2015-16 CSI: Cyber (16 episodes) 1.4 2.5* 56

*Network average includes the Super Bowl.

The CW: Mondays at 8

Monday has been The CW’s weakest (non-Friday) night as a whole for several years running. With one notable exception, shows in the 8 p.m. slot have fared slightly worse than those airing at 9.

Season Show(s) Timeslot average Network average % of network average
2012-13 90210 (13 episodes), The Carrie Diaries (13 episodes) 0.6 0.7 85.7
2013-14 Hart of Dixie (13 episodes), Star-Crossed (13 episodes) 0.55 0.8 68.8
2014-15 The Originals (22 episodes) 0.9 0.8 112.5
2015-16 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (14 episodes) 0.4 0.8 50


FOX: Tuesdays at 8

Since FOX moved “American Idol” away from Tuesdays in 2011, the network has struggled to find a lasting solution here. “Masterchef Junior” was an above-average exception in 2014-15.

Season Show(s) Timeslot average Network average % of network average
2012-13 Raising Hope/Ben & Kate (13 weeks), Raising Hope back-to-back (3 weeks), American Idol (1 week), Hell’s Kitchen (12 weeks) 2.23 2.5 89.2
2013-14 Dads/Brooklyn Nine-Nine (14 weeks), Dads back-to-back (1 week), Glee (12 weeks) 1.64 2.5* 65.6
2014-15 Utopia (4 episodes), Masterchef Junior (15 episodes), Hell’s Kitchen (13 episodes) 1.91 1.9 100.5
2015-16 Grandfathered/The Grinder (9 weeks), New Girl/Grandfathered (10 weeks) 1.33 2.1 63.3

*Network average includes the Super Bowl.

NBC: Spring Sundays at 10

NBC likely wouldn’t trade “Sunday Night Football” for anything, but after it gets through the NFL season and the awards mish-mash of January and February — yikes.

Season Show(s) Timeslot average Network average % of network average
2012-13 The Celebrity Apprentice (12 episodes) 1.8 2.4 75
2013-14 Crisis (9 episodes) 1.8 2.7** 66.7
2014-15 Dateline (3 episodes), American Odyssey (8 episodes) 0.8 2.4* 33.3
2015-16 Dateline (1 episode), Hollywood Game Night (1 episode) 1.15 2.3 50

*Network average includes the Super Bowl. **Includes the Winter Olympics.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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