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Week 29-30 Sitcom Scorecard -- A Silent Spring Continues

Written With a Gas Mask by Bridger Cunningham


Week 29's Scorecard missed the submission deadline over a comically controversial photo, so there is plenty to discuss.  It is so 10 years ago to discuss the unstoppable erosion of live viewers, so let's make a deal the last time that topic is discussed inside this punctuation!  So what is new?  Dismal deliveries from two mid-season called for a fourth classification to be created, "Circling The Nielsen Drain."  Why the change?  Powerless and Making History's appalling Nielsen averages differed from other "Anemic" sitcoms.  By dictionary definition, Anemic is "Lacking power, vigor, vitality or colorfulness."  That definition suits the nine sitcoms ranging from 0.87-1.02.  They are trailing in the Nielsens, yet have some marketability for renewal in undesirable timeslots.  Odds of being blockbusters (again) are limited, yet there is some life left.  The same cannot be said for the two shows Circling the Nielsen Drain, as they already frequent downward with no end in sight.  So what happened in the last two weeks?

Back Then, Week 29:

The Big Bang registered a series low at a 2.6.  It happens.  And Modern Family emerged from series lows with a 2.1 rating.  The real news came in the way of a mass-renewal the previous week, as well as The Great Indoors being seen without Nielsen makeup with an unsightly 1.0 rating on 3/27.  It rebounded on 3/30 with a 1.4, and retained an "Impressive" 54% of its lead-in, if CBS chooses to spin it as such.  To everyone else, The Great Indoors is an average 'ol sitcom on the Tiffany Network.  Further down the roster, 7th-10th Places continued their merry-go rounds.  The Middle edged blackish out of 7th Place due to absence, and The Great Indoors' two deliveries in one week plunged it out of a triple-play with the previously mentioned shows, landing below conveniently absent American Housewife with a 1.52 average.  Imaginary Mary enjoyed a brief foray into the delta of the "Demos in Demand" classification, barely, with a 1.40 rating.  

The Good Place assumed the watershed position of "The Middle of the Pack" by default.  The Middle of the Pack regularly shuffles 13th-18th Places.  Due to several sitcoms ducking out during March Mudslides, Life in Pieces and Superior Donuts lost out and downgraded to 17th and 18th Places, respectively.  FOX lead balloon Son of Zorn is capitalizing on its shorter season to watch full-season hitters deliver softer ratings.  Further down toward, the delta, Fresh Off The Boat, The Mick and Superstore again shuffled, and Last Man Standing ended its season with a 1.16 rating in the delta of the Middle of the Pack.

Trial and Error's back-to-back 3/28 episodes delivered soft ratings with a 1.0 and 0.8, washing it out of a solid Middle Of The Pack 1.18 rating into the Anemic range's watershed position with a 1.08.  Dr. Ken's season finale sunk to a series low 0.7 rating, ending the 2016-17 season with a 0.87.  Powerless lowered the season bar by delivering a record sitcom low of 0.5, breaking record stinker Son of Zorn's previous 0.6.  And Making History continued to lower the delta of the "Anemic" range with a 0.75 average.

And Now, Week 30:

The Big Bang inched upward to a happier rating.  The same cannot be said for Modern Family, who carved out a series low 1.8 as the alphabet network experienced slides across the board. The gap is closing between 3rd Place Simpsons and 4th Place Goldbergs is closing tighter, now 0.10 vs. the 0.39 gap they held in the Week 21 Scorecard.  Simpsons tied its series low 0.9 and is sinking.  The race is on, as Simpsons is trending downward.  However, it has three more original episodes vs. Goldbergs' four.  If Simpsons averages a 1.1 for the last three episodes, it ends the season averaging 1.79 in demos for the season.  Conversely, if Goldberg's delivers a 1.7 for its last four episodes, it finishes with a 1.78 demo average.  Odds will change if The Simpsons delivers a 1.0 average for its last three episodes, ending with a 1.77 average in 4th Place.  Aggressive coverage will resume in early May when the Simpsons returns 4/30.

The 7th-10th Place jockeying continues as ABC Tuesdays registered series lows for The Middle (1.4) and American Housewife (1.2), leaving both ABC shows to duke it out with blackish and The Great Indoors.  The Middle held its place against blackish, while American Housewife is neck to neck with the Great Indoors and sharing 9th place.  Mom returned to the delta of the Demos in Demand classification following Imaginary Mary's move to Tuesdays.  If it delivers a 1.3 demo average for its final five episodes of the season, it will retain this position.  If it drops below that average, it returns to the watershed position of the Middle of the Pack after upgrading by default when the Demos in Demand classification lowered the bar to 1.40.  Most of the action in the Middle of the Pack saw changes in the lower portion of the range.  Family Guy dipped, but it is still okay.  It will finish in the Middle of the Pack.  Most shows jockeying for 13th-18th Place took the week off, save for FG and Life in Pieces.  Further down, shuffling continued.

Fresh Off The Boat demonstrated its sturdiness as it delivered a standard 1.1 on an evening sitcoms churned out series lows.  The Mick dropped 0.03 and Superstore plunged .02 due to a devastating 0.8 series low, leaving both to share 20th place.  Continued 0.8-0.9 demo deliveries forecast The Mick will finish the season in the delta of The Middle of the Pack.  The Anemic range featured little movement, save for two losses (or gains, depending on how reader interpret).  Dr. Ken rests in the delta of the Anemic range, where it started and will finish the season.  As mentioned earlier, the fourth classification fits two shows sinking sitcom standards in demographic ratings.

So What's Next?

Articles have been framed with tentative dates as follows:

Ween 31: The ABC's of Renewal -- Discussing the dynamics and odds of ABC's 11 sitcoms.  This article will discuss potential cuts, and also the value all contribute to the network.  Arriving by 4/15

Week 32: Deforestation of Sitcoms -- Discussion of Nielsen climate (to celebrate Earth Day) and why ratings for sitcoms and other shows deteriorated between 2006-17.  This article will also examine how sitcoms will beat extinction.  Arriving by 4/22

Week 33: Speak Easy and Carry a Big Stick -- Discussion of code words undetermined shows should get to know in order to gain renewal spirits.  Arriving by 4/29.

Week 34: Between Heaven and Hell -- A special focus on shows which have 20-70% chances of renewal during a crucial week.  Arriving by 5/6

Week 35: Friday the 12th -- Penultimate article discussing announced renewals, as well as the sitcoms which perished in the bloodbath.  Paid in tribute to former "Smoo" article "NBC the 13th".  Arriving by 5/13.

Week 36: Scorecard Season in Review -- Finales register, and a week-by-week play of the Sitcom Scorecard's freshman season.  And predictions of what is to come.  Arriving by 5/18

Week 37: FOX the Fancy -- Finale numbers, save for Bob's Burgers.  Discussion of how to reinvent FOX's sitcom brand.  Arriving by 5/25.

Week 38: 1st Annual TVRG Network Laughbox Awards Part 1: The Shows -- This site's first review of the best (and worst) shows and trends.  Arriving by 6/1.

Week 39: 1st Annual TVRG Network Laughbox Awards Part 2: The Characters and Actors -- Individualized focus on the actors who contribute to their perspective shows.  Arriving by 6/8.

Week 40: 1st Annual TVRG Network Laughbox Awards Part 3: The Networks.  Which networks delivered their best in the sitcoms, and which left us much to be desired?  Also featuring the final results adding Bob's Burgers into the averages.  Arriving by 6/15.

Week 41: CBS The Silver -- Examining CBS's state of sitcoms.  Arriving by 6/22.

Week 42: NBC The Neutral -- Examining the future for NBC sitcoms.  Arriving by 6/29

Week 43: ABC in Articulation -- Discussing ABC's resurgence of sitcom power.  Arriving by 7/6

Week 44: Comedic Renaissance, 2011-17 -- Discussing how sitcoms made a comeback during an era of ever-declining Nielsens.

Week 45: No Laughing Era, 2002-10 -- Discussing the decline of 30-minute comedies amidst a fad of reality TV and a devastating writer's strike.

Week 46: The Novice Era, 1993-01 -- Discussing the embarrassment of riches in sitcoms, mainly catering to upscale adults.

Week 47: Family First, 1984-92 -- The Cosbys, the Bundys, the Tanners, the Conners and the Winslows blaze the renaissance of sitcoms over four networks.

Week 48: Fantasy and Nostalgia, 1976-83 -- Examining outlandish and period pieces in a sitcom-light timeframe.

Week 49: Relevance and Rights, 1970-76 -- Silliness stayed sidelined as relevance ran rampant on CBS.

Week 50: Slap Me Silly, 1962-69 -- Outlandish premises took TV over, paying great tribute to bumpkins in odd predicaments.

Week 51: The Launch of Laughs, 1949-61 -- The final period piece discussing sitcoms from the start.

Certain Predictions, Save for Great News:

Unless Great News is NBC's next phenomenon, here are predictions for how the sitcoms will finish the season among their own humor:

1st: Big Bang Theory (5/11 Finale)
2nd: Modern Family (5/17 Finale)
3rd and 4th: The Goldbergs and The Simpsons.  More to come in May.
5th: Kevin Can Wait (5/8 Finale)
6th: Speechless
7th and 8th: blackish and the Middle.
9th and 10th: American Housewife and The Great Indoors (5/11 Finale)
11th: Mom (5/11 Finale) -- May slip into The Middle of the Pack
12th: The Good Place (Season Concluded)
13th: 2 Broke Girls (4/17 Finale) -- Predicted season average of 1.30
14th-17th: Continued shuffling between Family Guy ( 5/21 Finale), Son of Zorn (Season Concluded), Man With a Plan (5/15 Finale) and Life in Pieces (5/11 Finale).
18th: Superior Donuts (5/8 Finale)
19th-20th: Fresh Off The Boat and Superstore (5/11 Finale)
21st: Last Man Standing
22nd-32nd: An unpredictable range featuring the Mick (5/2 Finale) and the entire Anemic range.  May feature Great News.
33rd-34th: Powerless and Making History (FLUSH!)