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2016-17, Week 22 Sitcom Scorecard -- Superior Donuts Debuts Inflated by Big Bang Lead-In as Powerless Enters the Anemic Range

Note: The following article contains predictions by Bridger Cunningham, and are not necessarily the same as those predicted in the Renew/Cancel columns.

Written By Bridger Cunningham


Two new entries, CBS's Superior Donuts and NBC's Powerless, increased the total sitcom entries for the season from 28 to 30.  Superior Donuts' performance is inflated by lead-in The Big Bang Theory, scoring a 1.9 and placing it in the front of the pack in 4th Place.  Enjoy the hollow victory CBS, as these figures date to Thursday 2/2 and the show experienced a sharp drop to a middling 1.4 demo.  Predictions forecast the show sliding to 7th Place in next week's article and continuing into the middle of the pack.  Conversely, NBC debuted Powerless behind Superstore with a paltry rating, immediately debuting in the Anemic range of the pack in 24th place.  Elsewhere, The Middle and The Good Place are now confirmed renewals, earning the elite (?) status of being two of four sitcoms with renewals called out before the close of the season.
The allotted spaces for this article's three categories -- The Winners, The Middle of the Pack, and Anemic -- made adjustments, as an extra space was created for The Winners and Anemic.  This moves rankings 1st-11th into The Winners Territory, 12th-23rd to The Middle of the Pack, and the trailing 24th-30th Places in Anemic reaches.  ABC took the week off, while CBS and NBC braved original programming.  FOX allotted the Mick as its lone original sitcom, earning the shameful place as the largest drop in average and rank, sliding into the Middle of the Pack.  The Mick's average and rank will continue to slide without the NFL aid it received, thankfully plateauing with 1.0-1.1 ratings.  The Mick's slide is a forecast for the remainder of the FOX lineup, which the Sunday five sitcoms will decrease in demos and lower in ranks.
Rankings shifted this week in lieu of the two new entries, The Mick's average slide, Man With a Plan's nudging past Life In Pieces and Powerless shifting the anemic range in its entirety downward by place.  Performances in upcoming weeks will change, as original programming returns and inflated premieres fade.  ABC retains 10 sitcoms, CBS upgraded to 9, FOX holds a respectable 8 and NBC increased to 3.  CBS gained two places in the Winners pack, upgrading to 4 showings as the Mick slides to the middle, leaving the Simpsons the lone foray in the Winners circle.  The averages and ranks are primed to change for the remainder of the season, with only certain factors being The Big Bang Theory being the 1st place champion and ABC dominating the Winners category.
The final column/category of the table has crafted four categories.  The first is a hybrid of Likely/Certain Renewals (16 shows categorized), the second Questionable (8 shows categorized), third Likely Cancellations (2 shows categorized), and the final as Renewed (5 shows categorized).  How were these determinations predicted?  They are broken down by the Winners/Middle of the Pack/Anemic classifications:
The Winners
Two renewals have been granted of the two shows classified -- The Simpsons and the Middle.  Seven contenders are predicted renewals, save for The Big Bang and Modern Family classified as "Likely" vs. "Certain" due to age.  Two remaining shows are classified as questionable -- Superior Donuts and The Great Indoors.  Both are freshman series, with The Great Indoors never experiencing an original showing without Big Bang inflation.  Superior Donuts has two original showings, and eroded to average numbers after moving to Mondays.  Prognosis is looking positive as it matches the mean for the evening, cautiously categorized as Questionable until more history is established.
The Middle of the Pack
The Middle of the Pack holds one more place than the Winners, and also holds two renewals (The Good Place, Bob's Burgers), and also holds seven shows predicted for renewal.  The difference is this region holds three shows categorized as Questionable, with only Son of Zorn being in its freshman year.  Predicted renewals stem from decent performances in timeslots and performing in line with the network's standards.  2 Broke Girls' aging premise, outsourced production and matching its three freshman schedule mates place it in danger of cancellation.  Life in Pieces is the weakest of CBS's  Thursday stable, and Son of Zorn has 13 episodes compared to fellow weakling Last Man on Earth's 40 episodes.  Last Man on Earth also lies in Sunday's weakest 9:30 timeslot at the conclusion of the Sunday night block  Post-NFL performance will determine if Zorn is viable for renewal.
Anemic
The bottom of the pack holds seven rankings from all four networks.  Only Last Man on Earth and Brooklyn 99 are predicted for renewal due to a lack of options for FOX's scheduling.  Three Questionable entries reside in this category -- freshman series Powerless, aging New Girl and Friday fledgling Dr. Ken.  Powerless' run is too soon to judge, yet it is the weakest of NBC's three sitcom entries by default.  New Girl is in its sixth season and rating narrowly below freshman series The Mick.  And Dr. Ken is airing in ABC's worst schedule space among its 10 entries.  The Anemic category houses the two predicted cancellations -- CBS's Odd Couple and ABC's The Real O'Neal's.  Both have passed the freshman milepost and have never shown growth over their scattered runs.  Both series were capped at 13 and 16 episodes for the 2016-17, with additional episode order either being unlikely for non-existent.
If the Networks Cut One Sitcom
CBS has already defacto cancelled the Odd Couple, yet has a full deck with 8 remaining shows for 8 timeslots.  2 Broke Girls would be the next to be dispensed, as the show past the syndication threshold, is outsourced and performs in line with younger and/or in-house productions.  ABC would cut The Real O'Neal's as it underperforms on Tuesdays at or below Friday sitcom Dr. Ken.  FOX will likely select Son of Zorn for reduction, as the show has underperformed for its 13 episodes produced.  And NBC would part with Powerless by default, as Superstore will have 33 episodes at the season's conclusion.
If the Networks Cut Two Sitcoms
CBS' slate is a tough read.  Yet at the current performance it would be down to the wire with freshman Man With a Plan or sophomore Life in Pieces.  FOX would lean toward cutting the aging New Girl, while ABC would surefire ax Dr. Ken.  NBC would not cut a sitcom due to lack of options and would not be foolish enough to walk into the next season with only one returning sitcom.
Predictions for the Remainder of the 2016-17 Season
CBS and ABC have established patterns and means for sitcom ratings.  Only minor erosion may occur, if any.  NBC's bar is low, and likely will not sink further unless Powerless consistently trends mid-fractional.  FOX is due for the largest decline after the NFL conclusion.  Tuesdays will likely remain consistent, while Sundays are due for average and rank drops.