'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Shows Its Power Online


When Fox decided that cult sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine should be cancelled after five seasons, there was outrage across the internet from its devoted fanbase.

And this outrage had a quick, positive result: one day after it was dropped, it was picked up by NBC.


But even if the show remains critically acclaimed, was this a good idea?

So far, halfway through Season 6, ratings have shown an uptick, but remain far short of the numbers from the first two seasons. The show is the network’s strongest digital performer, but we wanted to dig deeper than that.

We measured online engagement (social media, web-based articles) to see if we could figure out any other signs that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was worth keeping on the air.




The amount of people who have been tweeting about Brooklyn Nine-Nine steadily increased through the first three seasons, and then skyrocketed during Season 4, more than quadrupling to approximately three million mentions.

Then in Season 5, there was an eruption of engagement due to the cancelling and un-cancelling of the show in the span of two days. As you can see below, those days were enormous, and accounted for the majority of the mentions.


But, that momentary spike of enthusiasm has led to continued growth. Season 6’s engagement volume already tied the number of mentions it had in Season 4, and it still has half a season left to go.




The audience for Brooklyn Nine-Nine clearly skews young, with its audience dropping noticeably with 35+ viewers. But one major positive is that the those who are talking about the show are shifting towards more favorable age demographics.

The show was a far more popular topic of conversation among those 13-18 in its earlier seasons, but viewers aged 19-34 have grown to the point where they are now the majority.


And when you break that down further in the graph above, you can see that the share of viewers is pretty evenly spread through the entire demo, showing a relatively broader appeal.




The most interesting metric of online engagement, though, is how gender has flipped. During the first season, engagement between men and women was split 56% to 44%. It climbed a little in subsequent seasons, but in Season 5 women actually were now the majority talking about the show.

Season 6, though, has been staggeringly lopsided when it comes to gender; as of right now, women are talking about Brooklyn Nine-Nine almost 30% more than men.

While this is an ensemble cast, a cop show featuring a male lead (Andy Samberg) would not obviously be an overwhelming success with women, as shown in the first seasons. It remains to be seen exactly what is now connecting so strongly, but it probably doesn’t hurt that the show’s most popular clips features a cover of “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.

Was picking keeping this show alive a smart bet by NBC? The station has already renewed it for a Season 7, so they seem to think so. And from an engagement standpoint, there is no question that Brooklyn Nine-Nine would leave a big hole in the online community.

So it looks like both fans and the squad can rest easy for now and enjoy whatever the series plans for the future.