Viewership Deep Dive: A Season-Long Look at ‘The Conners’

Last fall we took a brief look at The Conners, ABC’s Roseanne successor. Since the high-profile sitcom just wrapped up its first season on Jan. 22, we decided to revisit the viewership and advertising trends with insights from Inscape, iSpot and Canvs.

Viewership data from Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 10 million smart TVs and devices, shows that while 31% of the households that watched the ill-fated Roseanne reboot last year tuned into The Conners this season, 47% of Conners viewers had watched Roseanne. (A note about methodology: You have to do more than just flip past a station with your remote to count as a “crossover viewer” within Inscape’s data sets. For the graph below, the minimum viewing threshold is 10 minutes.)

As you might expect, these viewers were also likely to watch other sitcoms including The Goldbergs, American Housewife, blackish and Modern Family.

Here are heatmaps of household viewership for the two shows across U.S. DMAs (the darker the color, the more households were tuning in).

According to TV advertising attention analytics company, 150 brands spent an estimated $34.6 million advertising during the show, generating nearly 1.3 billion TV ad impressions. Kohl’s, pharmaceutical brand Prevnar 13 and Kay Jewelers were three of the top spenders, while department stores, auto makers and movie studios were some of the industries that spent big.

We compared those lists to brands and industries that spent big during the final season of Roseanne and while there was some overlap, it wasn’t as much as one may have anticipated.

Insights from emotion measurement AI company Canvs reveal that a huge amount of the buzz for the series occurred around the premiere, and particularly with how ABC addressed the disappearance of the Conners’ matriarch (played by Roseanne Barr, who was booted off of ABC after a racist tweet). “Roseanne” was the most-mentioned topic in Emotional Reactions (ERs) for the series overall.

When looking at the second half of the season (episodes 6-11), Roseanne was still mentioned the most, but viewers also expressed a critical mass of ERs relating to the characters Darlene (played by Sara Gilbert), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Becky (Lecy Goranson), as well as actor John Goodman, who portrays Dan Conner.