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Week 25 Sitcom Scorecard -- The Slides Continue as New Renewal Predictions Trek the Ratings Mud


Written with Love by Bridger Cunningham

March spells the thaw of winter storms, making a muddy mess in the ratings.  Heavy snowfalls in FOX inflated football warned of disasters in the ratings, yet most shows are, okay.  Making History made a disappointing splash on Sunday with a 0.9 debut.  Why fret, as this show fits right in with the entire network not scheduled on Wednesdays?  Most of the sitcoms in the stable took the week off, with the majority of the action centered on FOX.  The proof is in the mudslide pudding of ratings, as FOX shows slide down their winter mountains.  Other new developments include this Scorecard's change of classification, adopting a percentage change, with 17 of the 30 shows scoring a 70% or higher chance of renewal.  An additional 6 shows are already at the renewal finish line, leaving the remaining 8 in limbo.  Curious as to how the percentages were calculated?  Let's take a Peak:

100% -- 8 Shows

8 shows have been classified as 100% guarantee for renewal -- The Goldberg's, Kevin Can Wait, Speechless, blackish, American Housewife, Mom, Family Guy and Fresh Off The Boat.  Family Guy may have already been renewed, yet no formal announcements have been made and it will remain in this stable until confirmed.  The remaining staples -- 5 ABC and 2 CBS based -- either own their timeslots or place competitively in holding their respective evenings together.  The networks would be foolish to scrap these entries, as Kevin Can Wait leads Mondays and Mom is a Big-Bang-less retaining wall on Thursdays for CBS.  And ABC's 30-minute hits anchor Tuesday and Wednesday, along with the rest of the uneven network.  These shows WILL be back next year.

90% -- 3 Shows

Three shows straddle this space, two of which are aged hits with contracts at the top of the pack.  The Big Bang and Modern Family are always welcome back next year, albeit they cut down spending and recognize their vehicles are aged.  So who is the third mystery date who cored a 90-percent?  Enter Freshman CBS sitcom Man With a Plan.   No ball of fire, yet nothing to swing an ax at, as it matches several aged vehicles parked in the CBS lot. Currently, the Matt LeBlanc vehicle sits in 16th Place among the 31 sitcom entries.  Respectable, indeed.  However, the show bottomed at a 1.1 and has shown itself to be the weaker of the two 8pm freshman entries this season, leaving it in a lower classification.  Man With a Plan is almost at the renewal finish line, as long as it stays above the one-size-fits-all 1.2 rating several CBS shows are scoring this winter.  Without Man With a Plan, CBS' inferior Monday sitcom parking lot may have rusty clunkers and new lemons leaking fluids/ratings on the asphalt.

80% -- 2 Shows

Last Man Standing is a veteran hinging on a contract, yet it does not possess the high ratings TBBT and MF do, downgrading it to an 80-percent chance.  Factors in favor are the durable Friday deliveries, often winning its timeslot on several evenings.  And the obvious factor working against is Tim Allen's status as a giant in the salary department.  The Great Indoors can brag it is CBS' 3rd highest sitcom, yet has never left its privileged post-TBBT parking space.  It has under-performed in its plum timeslot with a 1.57 season average, less than half of TBBT's current 3.31.  The Joel MacHale vehicle has less critical praise and is certain to move timeslots if renewed.  Odds are higher for renewal as the show is the "9th Place" sitcom among the 31 deliveries.  With the last sentence delivering more humor than most episodes.

70% -- 4 Shows

CBS and FOX corner the next tier of shows, which may be known as the "Blends in With The Neighbors" category.  They fail to strike ratings gold and rest in the middle or bottom of their packs and have avoided outright failure.  Superior Donuts follows the ratings wave on Monday nights, never slipping under the 2 Broke Girls current and never reaching the crest of Kevin Can Wait.  It matched the Great Indoors' premiere rating and only utilized one choice timeslot, whereas Kevin Can Wait utilized five TBBT lead-ins and Great Indoors is codependent in all deliveries.  Superior Donuts has bested 2BG and is younger, despite the last two episodes scoring a paltry 1.2.  Life in Pieces utilized the post TBBT timeslot last season, and settled into middling territory.  The only CBS show void of a laugh track, its greatest threat is it is the lowest-rated entry of Thursday evenings which has plunged to an abysmal 1.0 measure.  It is halfway to the syndication mark and shows promise for stability.  FOX's New Girl and Brooklyn 99 have reached the syndication threshold and are aged 6 and 4 years, respectively.  Fractional deliveries are alarming yet not uncommon for the struggling network.  Their ratings will never leave the anemic range this season as that benchmark is a 1.10 average against their respective 1.02 and 0.95 averages.  However, FOX cannot afford a Fraction Purge of any show slipping below the 1.0 mark. As a Fraction Purge would leave SundayTuesdayThursday and Friday evenings at threat of shallow reality TV specials opening the portal to the underworld. 

55% -- 2 Shows

This percentage may be known as the "Leans Renewal" category.  Both mystery dates are anemic, sitting in 26th and 30th Places respectively.  Their saving graces are surpassing the 40 episode mark, giving both shows potential to limp through their remaining existence.  Last Man on Earth is in its third season and ranks in 26th with a 0.98 average, including football inflation.  This week's 1.0 demographic depicts some level of promise as it blends in with its neighboring shows.  On that night, that is.  If FOX cuts the cord, it has more holes to fill and is further from the syndication finish line.  There is still hope for renewal, under the caveat the remaining portion of the season is steady and keeps up with its Sunday neighbors.  Dr. Ken consistently remained in last place for sitcoms until NBC's Powerless did the electric slide into last place.  The 0.89 average appears paltry.  But the doctor medicated this show through stability, fighting an undesirable evening and luckless timeslot.  And several airings match or best The Real O'Neals' Tuesday performance with more promotion.  Dr. Ken leans renewal as ABC is poised to purge lackluster dramas and may need all hands on deck if they expand the comedy deliveries from 10 to 12.

45% -- 2 Shows

The previous rank "Leans Renewal", has a neighbor of similar title, "Leans Cancellation".  They fail to distinguish themselves among the pack of Freshman stomping through the halls.  Both shows place 14th and 18th among the 31 shows, which sounds promising.  However, their delivery is all yeast and no flour.  CBS' ailing 2 Broke Girls may have never dropped below a 1.2 rating, yet it has delivered 5 episodes at the series low bar for its 6 seasons bringing its average to a 1.36.  It is outsourced and fails to outshine the newer class of shows.  A renewal may be possible, but CBS has 8 timeslots and 8 moderate to successful shows to schedule.  Something has to give, and 2BG may need to hang up its apron after a successful run.  Son of Zorn averaged a 1.28 for its 13 episodes, a hollow representation of a football-inflated 2.4 premiere to a series low of 0.6.  It currently rests as FOX's lowest rated single sitcom episode.  And lowest single delivery of a 2016-17 sitcom episode for all networks.  13 shows leave a longer trail to the syndication finish line and will require an investment of faith.  Both shows are evident choices for cuts if their respective networks need space for pilots.

20% -- 3 Shows

All anemic based, these three shows not similar in any way except they love fractions.  One is a CBS filler in its 3rd season with 38 episodes.  The second in its sophomore season with 29 episodes weighing down Tuesdays.  And the third only four shows in, crashing in last place after 4 episodes.  Rather than focus on why they either are likely or certain cancellations, let's focus on their 20% chance of survival.  The Odd Couple has not been outright cancelled and may be a filler.  The Real O'Neal's experienced a mild bump in a new timeslot and may be needed if the network goes to 12 sitcoms next season.  It may present a filler option if ABC dares to bank on a low-rated, yet critically positive vehicle.  And Powerless may have a spark of electricity left if NBC chooses to boast "we have sitcoms" if Trial and Error and Great News lower the bar.  Renewal for all three is grim but (fractionally) possible.

TBD -- 4 Shows

One show has aired, and three are groomed for premiere.  Making History is a tick above Dr. Ken with its bellowing 0.9 premiere.  Showing its true weight minus inflation, the show's premiere blended in with the Sunday scheme on Fox.  3-4 episodes are needed to join percentages, and the show may stand a chance if it keeps to 0.8-0.9 and above Son of Zorn's pathetic 0.6 low-bar.  Imaginary Mary is slated for a March 29 premiere on ABC and leans toward troubled mud due to a reduced episode count and undesirable timeslot.  The jury is out for Trial and Error and Great News on NBC.  Both may rest on positive reviews and appear promising.

RENEWED -- 6 Shows

No news or surprises, as The Simpsons, The Middle, The Good Place, Superstore, The Mick and Bob's Burgers will be back next year.  Sigh, this category is the bore of my article ;).