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Time for a Checkup: Viewership and Ad Trends for TV’s Hit Medical Dramas

Grey’s Anatomy, the longest-running American primetime medical drama series ever, returned last month for the second half of its seventeenth season on ABC. Although it remains one of the most popular medical shows, there’s been a lot of competition in recent years as shows like Chicago Med, The Resident and New Amsterdam have taken off. 

Below, a look at the mid-season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, along with general viewership and advertising insights around other select medical shows, using data from VIZIO’s Inscape and iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. 

The midseason premiere of Grey’s Anatomy captured 2.15% of all live, linear minutes watched during primetime on March 11, per Inscape, which derives glass-level insights from a panel of more than 17 million active and opted-in smart TVs. It took fourth place for watch-time that evening, just behind the midseason premiere of Station 19, which captured 2.39% of all primetime minutes watched. 

Tune-in grew steadily as the Grey’s episode went on, peaking at the very end. 

It’s worth noting that ABC did a special crossover event for the midseason premieres of Grey’s and Station 19. Inscape examined viewership crossover for the two shows and found that 71% of people who tuned into Grey’s that evening also watched at least 10 minutes of Station 19, while 69% of Station 19 viewers watched Grey’s

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy seem to be loyal to ABC: According to Inscape’s analytics, other shows these viewers are most likely to watch include Station 19, A Million Little Things, Jimmy Kimmel Live, American Housewife and The Good Doctor. Non-ABC series that make the top 25 list include, perhaps unsurprisingly, other medical dramas, including The Resident (Fox), Chicago Med (NBC) and New Amsterdam (NBC). 

Just how likely are Grey’s fans to watch other medical dramas? Inscape looked at crossover with Chicago Med, New Amsterdam, The Good Doctor and The Resident for the most recent seasons. Some highlights:

  • The highest crossover for Grey’s was with The Good Doctor (also on ABC), with 34% of Grey’s viewers watching at least ten minutes of the recent season. 
  • Of the New Amsterdam viewers, 59% have tuned into Chicago Med, which is the highest rate of crossover of the shows examined. 
  • Additionally, of the Grey’s viewers, 33% have watched Chicago Med.
  • The lowest crossover: Only 13% of Grey’s fans have watched New Amsterdam — but interestingly, 36% of New Amsterdam viewers have checked out Grey’s

Crossover isn’t just limited to viewership. According to iSpot, there are multiple brands that have advertised at least once during each of the most recent seasons of the above medical dramas: Allstate, Domino’s, Geico, Kia, Kinder, State Farm and T-Mobile. Additionally, the wireless communication category was among the top five industries by TV ad impressions for each show. 

Most-seen brands during the current season of Grey’s Anatomy include:

  • Target (87.6 million TV ad impressions)
  • Kohl’s (51.6 million)
  • TJX Companies (T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) (45.9 million)
  • Walmart (44.7 million) 
  • Disney+ (39.2 million) 

The March 11 return of Grey’s generated 132 million TV ad impressions. Facebook was the most-seen brand during the episode, with 6.7 million TV ad impressions of its spot “House Plant Hobbyist,” promoting Facebook Groups. According to an iSpot Ace Metrix survey, 29% of respondents considered the music to be the single best thing about the ad.