Ratings Analysis of Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

The American version of the Who Do You Think You Are? television series just completed its first season on Friday, 30 April 2010.  Beginning on 5 March 2010 and running for seven episodes during a nine-week period, below is my interpretation of the ratings as measured by major television rating services.

Ratings Comparison – Table

(Click to embiggen all tables and images)

WDYTYA ratings table

Ratings Comparison – Charts

WDYTYA viewers

WDYTYA ratings

WDYTYA share

Comparison of Overall Ratings and 18-49 year old Ratings

WDYTYA rating comp

Comparison of Overall Share and 18-49 year old Share

WDYTYA share comp

WDYTYA timeslot rank

WDYTYA evening rank

Analysis

  • Episode 3 with Lisa Kudrow was the first episode up against NCAA March Madness games on CBS.  Note the slight drop in ratings for the 18-49 age group (from 1.8% to 1.7%) as compared to an increase for the overall (4.5% to 4.7%).
  • Episode 4 with Matthew Broderick – major impact of NCAA Sweet Sixteen on CBS.  The episode focused on military history which would have pulled a large male viewership but they were off watching the games.
  • Episode 5 with Brooke Shields didn’t see a major rebound in numbers from the Broderick lows what with CBS back to its regular programming.
  • While the overall ratings resumed climbing with Episode 6 (Sarandon), for the 18-49 age group the ratings never really recovered and continued to decrease through to Episode 7.
  • Episode 6 with Susan Sarandon had the highest evening ranking (2) of any of the WDYTYA episodes.  April 2nd was also Good Friday with more older viewers at home.
  • Evidence that Episode 7 with Spike Lee may have fared worse with older viewers who might see him as a polarizing figure:  full percentage decline (8.0% to 7.0%) overall but remained the same (5.0%) for 18-49 age group.  This was also one of the lowest evening ranked episodes of the WDYTYA series at 7.

Conclusion

I think for its first season – and an abbreviated season at that – Who Do You Think You Are? did very well and did a good job at bringing the fields of genealogy and family history front-and-center for American viewers.

Will Season 2 be able to build upon the ratings seen above?  That remains to be seen especially since Season 1 relied heavily upon marketing during NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage.  That marketing venue won’t be available but I expect that Ancestry.com – the major sponsor of WDYTYA – will continue its connection with the show.  In fact, my next analysis will be reviewing the impact that WDYTYA has had on website visits, revenues, etc.

Oh, and how did WDYTYA stack up against Roots, the mini-series which debuted in 1977 on ABC?  Well to be fair, this was back before cable television, the Internets, and DVRs had an impact on television.  But the figures are here.  An average rating of 45% with a 66% share? Not even close.

Stay tuned.

Sources

(Arranged in episode/date order)

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

About the Author

Thomas MacEntee
Thomas MacEntee is a genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. Utilizing over 25 years of experience in the information technology field, Thomas writes and lectures on the many ways blogs, Facebook and Twitter can be leveraged to add new dimensions to the genealogy experience. As the creator of GeneaBloggers.com he has organized and engaged a community of over 1,100 bloggers to document their own journeys in the search for ancestors.

3 Comments on "Ratings Analysis of Who Do You Think You Are?"

  1. Great analysis, Thomas and I found it quite interesting to see how each show fared. I’ve talked to a lot of folks who have watched the show and enjoyed it (non-genealogists in particular) so I’m hoping that it catches on and stays on television!

  2. Thanks for this, Thomas, I found it quite interesting. I believe the repeated episode and missing week create a lack of continuity which affects viewership. Interest was high, but who wants a repeat. We use a DVR for that.

  3. Very nice analysis, Thomas. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

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