2005-06 Sitcom Scorecard -- The Hills Run Red for Comedy As Reality TV and Network Closures Clean House

Written Scoffing at the Rudeness of the 2000's by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for UPN WB 2006Behold the last Sitcom Scorecard UPN and WB will grace on TV Ratings Guide, as this season marked the tragic end for two promising networks.  May 19, 2018 marks an ominous moment for their predecessor, CW, as they have officially outlived their parent networks.  In parting, the highest-rated shows were salvaged, leaving many to decline and end unceremoniously within the next 1-3 years.  As harrowing as this mega-cancellation was, the sorrows were felt in the higher regions of the chart.  Only one show cracked into the top 20, and ABC's highest-rated sitcom posted a disappointing 60th Place.

Notice this chart runs red-dominant?  That is because a record 63% of the sitcoms offered this season either ended or were dispensed on all 6 broadcast networks.  UPN and WB dissolving contributed to 8 of those 31 cancellations, yet ABC culled more than any of the 6 networks, dispensing of 8 of its own sitcoms, followed by FOX butchering 7 of its sitcoms including 3 longstanding veterans.  And CBS and NBC each contributed 4 casualties, bringing the networks with these renewals -- ABC (2), CBS (4), CW (4), FOX (6) and NBC (3).

So how did sitcoms wind up awash in one of the greatest bloodbaths in their genre's history?  Let's break it down by the 6 networks --

ABC -- Dancing With the Stars became the next sensation to sweep the network, leading to the dissolution of TGIF for a second time in late 2015.  That left Tuesdays and Wednesdays to piecemeal afterthought timeslots for its sitcoms.  Less Than Perfect narrowly skated to the syndication finish line, yet 3-season "veteran" Hope and Faith collapsed to appalling levels and was given the hook, and sophomores Rodney and Jake in Progress suffered the same fate.  All Freshman sitcoms were hazed with low ratings, including Crumbs, which was juxtaposed to powerhouse DTWS and only wrangled 60th Place.  That left George Lopez and According to Jim to return to Wednesdays mid-season the following year.

CBS -- Mondays remained steadfast with Two and a Half Men anchoring the evening and taking the lead from a defecting Everybody Loves Raymond.  How I Met Your Mother made a modest debut while The King of Queens aged.  Wdnesdays dispensed of weaker veterans Still Standing and Yes, Dear, both which fell flat and said no way Jose.  And two forgettable Freshman were given a wedgie by CBS scheduling.

FOX -- All good things come to an end.  Veterans The Simpsons, Family Guy and King of the Hill rated gracefully for Sunday standards, along with sophomore American Dad.  Critically-acclaimed Arrested Development, however, struck out after 3 seasons.  Fan outcries over the years led to a 4th season debuting on alternative platform Netflix in 2013, and an upcoming 5th season slated for 2018.  Veterans That 70's Show (8 seasons), Malcolm in the Middle (7 seasons) and Bernie Mac (5 seasons) all got going before their ratings disintegrated father than the ruin they experienced in 2006.

NBC -- Will and Grace bowed out after 8 proud season, yet modestly rated crass-com My Name is Earl (seemed) to have the torch power to carry the network for years.  That honor, however, rested with The Office, which would carry NBC through its ugliest seasons till its conclusion in 2013.  Scrubs delivered modestly, and that is where the graces stopped for the declining peacock, who dispensed of their remains.

UPN -- Between the two networks, UPN had the stronger sitcom roster in the 2000's, so three of its laughers were spared bloodshed.  Everybody Hates Chris was their last landmark hit, while Girlfriends reigned strong after 6 seasons and All of Us delivered a strong 3.  Half and Half reached syndication, and Eve struck out after batting modestly the last three seasons.

WB -- Only Reba and What I Like About you were deemed salvage worthy, and both had reached syndication.  Reba outranked and enjoyed one more season, leaving the last WB legacy sitcom to end in 2007.

Source -- http://criminalmaster.proboards.com/thread/1988

Friday Cable Ratings, 7/28/17: 'Raven's Home' Slips, 'Live PD' Leads

 Top 25

18-49 Rating
Viewers (mil.)
1. Live PD: 55 Live PDA&E Network
2. African Shark Safari Discovery
3. Lair of the SawfishDiscovery
4. Raven's HomeDisney Channel
5. Williams Stream (4:00 am)Adult Swim
6. Williams Stream (4:15 am)Adult Swim
7. Loud HouseNickelodeon 
8. K.C. UndercoverDisney Channel
9. Diners, Drive-ins & DivesFood Network
10. Last Word W/L. O'Donnell MSNBC
11. Erin Burnett Outfront CNN
12. BizaardvarkDisney Channel
13. Situation Room (6:00pm)CNN
14. Mickey and the RoadsterDisney Channel
15. Pardon the Interruption ESPN
16. Situation Room (5:00 pm)CNN
17. Anderson Cooper 360 (9pm) CNN
18. Puppy Dog PalsDisney Channel
19. Ancient Aliens History
20. Richard Engel on Assignment MSNBC 
21. Fox and FriendsFox News 
22. Anderson Cooper 360 (8 pm)CNN
23. Welcome to the WayneNickelodeon 
24.  All in W/Chris HayesMSNBC
25. Killjoys SYFY
Source: ShowBuzzDaily 

NBC Announces Fall Premiere Dates For the 2017-18 Season (UPDATED)

NBC has released the premiere dates for their shows that will be premiering in the fall. Dates and times are listed below. Notably missing from this list is Taken which is set to air Fridays at 9.

July 30, 2017 Update: NBC has moved up the second season premiere of 'The Good Place' from Thursday, September 28 to Wednesday, September 20. It will now air after the season finale of 'America's Got Talent' and will be a 1-hr premiere from 10pm to 11pm. The Blacklist premiere has moved from October 4 to September 27, eliminating the Wednesday airing of The Voice.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

America’s Got Talent (8:00pm-10:00pm)
The Good Place (10:00pm-11:00pm)  

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Voice (8:00pm-10:00pm)
The Brave (10:00pm-11:00pm)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Voice (8:00pm-9:00pm)
This Is Us (9:00pm-10:00pm)
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (10:00pm-11:00pm)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Blacklist (8:00pm-9:00pm)
Law & Order: SVU (9:00pm-10:00pm)
Chicago P.D. (10:00pm-11:00pm)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Superstore (8:00pm-8:30pm)
The Good Place (8:30pm-9:00pm) (Timeslot Premiere)
Will & Grace (9:00pm-9:30pm)
Great News (9:30pm-10:00pm)
Chicago Fire (10:00pm-11:00pm)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dateline NBC (9:00pm-11:00pm)

Friday October 27, 2017

Blindspot (8:00pm-9:00pm)

As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

2004-05 Sitcom Scorecard -- A Year of TV Changes Leaves CBS in Front, A Downward Trend For Sitcoms

Written Desperate For Laughs by Bridger Cunningham

Check out the overall ranks vs. the sitcom ranks, and find only two sitcoms which cracked into the top 10.  Sigh.  Ratings changed, as CBS reclaimed 1st Place after a 3-year absence.  Due to the popularity of Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey's Anatomy, ABC surged to 2nd Place from 4th, and NBC crumbled to 3rd Place.  Irony would have it that FOX returned to 4th Place, despite the nuclear ratings of 2 American Idol showings.  Good graces would return later in the decade as it would meet 1st and 2nd Place for the first time.  UPN and CW's fortunes continued to decline, spelling changes coming ahead.

What a sad decade the 2000's was for sitcoms.  CBS claimed the trophy by a landslide with Mondays intact, though their ratings paled compared to the reality TV and Housewife craze.  An ailing NBC still claimed 2nd place as Scrubs and Will and Grace held strong, and The Office made a modest debut as NBC's next sitcom staple.  Beyond this, sitcom life was grim as the network only delivered 6 entries this season.  FOX followed in 3rd with previous afterthought Family Guy making a triumphant return after unceremoniously being dumped in 2003.  The Simpsons also held steady against continual erosion, whilst the rest of the lineup aged or declined.

Had ABC been able to claim Desperate Housewives as a sitcom, their comedy ratings would have pushed past NBC.  However, the network's laughers were in trouble as modestly-rated According to Jim was their show pony.  Beyond that, the Friday ratings were anemic, and new pilots failed to catalyze interest.  Few hits emerged on abysmal CW and UPN with previous winners performing well for network standards.

Source -- http://www.angelfire.com/tv/JustTV/0405tvreview/season0405finaladultstotals.html

Beyond The TV Grave: The Muppets

This is the 'Beyond The TV Grave' series where we shell out our thoughts on shows that were canceled after airing no less than 5 episodes and no more than 50. I will go through the good and bad and give a final verdict on whether or not I would have liked to see more. 

photo: muppet wikia 
It goes without saying that the Muppets are an iconic cast of characters. Their origins date back to 1955 when Jim Henson created a five-minute puppet show, 'Sam and Friends', for a local television station. Henson and his characters soon rose through the ranks with 'Sesame Street' in 1969, 'The Muppet Show' in 1976, and countless other television specials and feature films. The Muppets continue to make shows, movies, and viral videos to this day and have cemented their place in the pop culture universe. But, that doesn't mean that everything these furry creatures have made has resulted in critical and commercial success. 1999's 'Muppets From Space' bombed at the box office while two muppet television shows, 'Muppets Tonight' & 'The Jim Henson Hour', only lasted two seasons and a season respectively. This leads us to 2015's 'The Muppets'. The ABC series came just under 20 years after the premiere of 'Muppets Tonight'. While it had initial commercial success, ratings collapsed and the series was canceled after one short season of 16 episodes. So, without further ado, let's take a look at how this series holds up over a year after its demise.

'The Muppets' focused on the mayhem that unfolded behind-the-scenes of a late-night talk show, Up Late With Miss Piggy. This is strikingly similar to past muppet programs like 'Muppets Tonight' and the original 1970s series. But, unlike those shows, this series did not use a laugh track and used a mockumentary style similar to 'The Office' and 'Parks & Recreation'. Just like how the 1970's Muppet show was a satire of variety shows, the 2015 series acted as a satire of the mockumentary/office sitcom. It's tough to explain if the series did justice to the Henson creations, but it did manage to add some new character dynamics and explore some fresh new ideas.

Sure, there was some uncomfortable stuff. Scooter pushing Elizabeth Banks off a go-cart in the pilot was out-of-character and bizarre. The same goes for Sam the Eagle's ongoing crush on Janice. But, despite absurd moments like the ones mentioned, the heart was still there. "Bear Left Then Bear Write" focused on Kermit & Fozzie's friendship and it definitely showcased the true spirit of the Muppets. "Going, Going, Gonzo" was all about Gonzo trying to go back to his roots as an extreme daredevil and building up the courage to shoot himself out of a cannon like the good old days. Episodes like these showed that the writers knew what they were doing with these characters.

Speaking of the characters, the show reintroduced and reinvented many of the Muppets and it mostly worked in its favor. The second episode had a subplot where the Muppet Newsman and Bobo the Bear were competing to see who could see the most girl scout cookies. The Muppet Newsman is a character that is known for his one-off joke, so it was incredible to see him doing something outside of reporting the news and getting injured in the process. The show expanded on other background characters like Yolanda, Chip, and Uncle Deadly. While the general public might not see any significance, I really loved how much the writers tried to incorporate everyone in the cast and add something new to them.

Despite including more Muppets, the series struggled to capture who the Muppets really are. There were no dancing penguins, crazy explosions, or any other sort of madcap comedy. At times, the series felt stiff and tedious, especially in the back half of the season. Also, the clever jokes about the mockumentary filming method drifted away and the series became what it was attempting to make fun of. And while many praised the final six "rebooted" episodes of the season, I felt that they took a wrong turn.

The last couple episodes before the reboot were really starting to get things together. The seventh episode, "Pig's in a Blackout", felt like something straight-out-of the original series. The Christmas episode was also exceptional. Unfortunately, the episodes following it lacked the greatness that was beginning to form. The writers decided to add some recurring human characters as well as make the show feature more segments of 'Up Late with Miss Piggy'. Both of these ideas did not work well. The segments were forced, unfunny, and felt like a weak attempt to mimic the ones on the original Muppet Show. The human characters also added nothing. The following episodes toned down on the comedy of the past episodes and decided to focus a lot more on Miss Piggy as well as her relationship with Kermit. And while the finale was a decent closer, it seemed like the show had broken what had already begun to be fixed.

The Verdict

Ultimately, 'The Muppets' was a good show for the first half and then a mediocre one for the second half. The show got a lot of things right that were undone with the soft reboot, but the series was far from perfect. Nevertheless, I would still be open for a second season. Sure, the back-half didn't really work for me, but shows need time to find their groove. The original Muppet show was a mess until the second season. So, while it had its problems, I'd still love to see more. 

Grade: B

What did you think of the 'The Muppets'? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Sporcle Off-Topic Quizzes of the Week- Movies Edition/Sporcle Contest Part 3 (UPDATED)

It's the third edition of the Off-Topic Sporcle Quizzes of the Week, and we're back after a little hiatus. This week is all about the Movies, so grab your popcorn and Coke and get to your seats. This movie (quiz) marathon is about to start!

1- Meryl Streep's Oscar Noms
Our first quiz focuses on one specific actress, Meryl Streep, and all of her many Oscar nominations. It's definitely a challenge, and was even a bit difficult for a huge Meryl Streep fan like myself, but some are pretty easy. Plus, it gave me a few Meryl Streep movies to add to my watchlist.
My Score: 20/20

2- 5 by 5 Pixar Characters
I'm a huge Pixar fan, so I really loved this quiz. It had a nice variety of quizzes, incorporating characters from many different Pixar "fliks", as well as using a variety of characters, instead of the traditional "Name the Main Character"-type quizzes. Plus, it reminded me of some great Pixar characters that I'd forgotten about. All in all, this was a very fun quiz for me.
My Score: 24/25

3- Oscar Best Pictures All Time
We'll end this week's edition with a quiz about the most iconic award in the most iconic award show for American cinema: the Oscar for Best Picture! It's not a very easy quiz for the casual movie fan, as there's some very obscure and not-very-iconic movies that have won Best Picture, but there's also iconic and famous films like The Godfather, so most will be able to get at least a few of these correct.
My Score: 69/89

1- JB, 134 points
2- Good Behavior in Animal Kingdom, 129 points
3- Barb, 122 points
4- Lisa, 91 points
5- Miguens, 54 points
6- Full Boyle, 35 points

This is the first week of the Off-Topic TVRG-Sporcle Tournament. For each week, the number of questions you got correct on each quiz will be added up. The first place finisher receives 3 points for placing first, as well. This is the same scoring system used for the TV edition, which is posted once weekly on Sundays. Also, to make things fair, please use the score for your first attempt on each quiz as your official score.

Please enter your submission using this Google Form:

Tournament Standings:
1- JB, 319 points
2- Good Behavior in Animal Kingdom, 184 points
3- Barb, 181 points
4t- Miguens, 142 points
4t- Lisa, 142 points
6- Game of Thrones PT, 114 points
7- Full Boyle, 87 points

Thanks for playing the Sporcle Quizzes of the Week! Make sure to participate in the original TV edition, only on TVRG. Next week on Off-Topic, we'll be playing four quizzes instead of the traditional three, when we play each of Sporcle's "Daily Dose" quizzes. 

TV Ratings 7/29/17: 'Still Star-Crossed' Ends Steady, 'Dateline' Wins the Night (UPDATED)

Here are the final broadcast ratings for July 29, 2017. 

photo: ABC/Jeronimo Alvarez

18-49 Rating
    Total Viewers        (In Millions)

America’s Funniest Home Videos (R) (ABC)

Doubt (CBS)

The F Word (R) (FOX)

48 Hours (R) (CBS)

20/20: In an Instant (R) (ABC)

Love Connection (R) (FOX)

Law & Order: SVU (R) (NBC)


(R) = repeat
(F) = finale

Finals Update: All shows held their preliminary results. 

ABC said a not-so-heartfelt goodbye to drama 'Still Star-Crossed' (0.2). The series was steady with its last result and tied its low. As always, it lost to repeats of 'AFV' (0.3) and '20/20: In an Instant' (0.3).

CBS continued burning off 'Doubt' (0.2). It was up a tenth from last week's dreadful 0.1. It led into two hours of '48 Hours' (0.4), the other 46 hours were left unaired.

NBC had an original Dateline (0.5), with 0.4/0.6 half-hours, leading into a repeat of 'Law & Order: SVU' (0.4).

FOX had repeats of their Wednesday and Thursday weak links, 'The F Word' (0.2) and 'Love Connection' (0.2).

2003-04 Sitcom Scorecard -- New Lows For ABC; Another Year in 1st for NBC as They Only Spare 2 Sitcom

Image result for friends finale

Written Cuing the Sitcom Violins by Bridger Cunningham

Before delving into the results of this TV season, please note TV Ratings Guide recovers its figures from various sources cited from the internet.  Data may be contradicting as several websites, including Wikipedia.org, cite ratings points or overall viewers vs. the 18-49 demographics valued in 2017.  This site makes an effort to compile contiguous ratings information so readers may follow historic shows from one year to another.  Errors will happen, and this site is not immune to such.

2003-04 was unkind to sitcoms, as a proliferation of reality TV platforms only left 4 spaces for laughers in the top 20.  NBC took the lead in overall ranks as well as sitcoms, yet 2004 marked a bittersweet year as only Will and Grace and Scrubs returned the following season, which NBC was plunged into a 7-year ratings drought.  CBS, still sturdy with Monday sitcoms, came in 2nd.  FOX again took 3rd, while a devastated ABC was inches away in 4th.  Down below, UPN was 5th, and WB 6th.

53 entries of sitcoms traipsed the TV landscape, though this season did not value laughs.  NBC was perched in 1st place, but it ended 6 of its 8 entries, ending a 20-year trend of producing a large stable of top-notch sitcoms.  Friends ended its 10-year run on top, becoming one of the rare sitcoms which stayed in the top 10 for a long duration.  Next to go was Frasier after 11 seasons.  This cancellation ended a 22-year era, as Frasier was a spinoff from Cheers, and Kelsey Grammer was a 20-year staple on both shows.  Only Coupling (an American interpretation of the British hit) stood out among the forgettable block of sitcoms which were dispensed and moved for Donald Trump's The Apprentice.  2004 marked the first time since 1983 which 4 sitcoms did not straddle the Thursday evening schedule.

CBS fostered its Monday comedy which had moderate success with ever-sturdy (and aging) Everybody Loves Raymond, but its biggest victory was launching Charlie Sheen vehicle Two and a Half Men.  The crude laughs era dawned, as this show would enter a rare club of successful sitcoms which enjoyed high-rated runs 10+ seasons.  FOX Sundays continued strong as King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle delivered at a high bar.  That 70's show held well on Wednesdays, but several weakened sitcom blocks perished on the schedule and were filled with (faux)scripted reality TV platforms.  Why craft a low-rated sitcom production when a network could round up a group of forward people displaying poor mating behavior for cheap(er)?

After sliding the last season, ABC made a noble attempt at displaying a mass of sitcoms, as well as reviving the TGIF block.  Problem is, they had no breakout hits.  The network believed Kelly Ripa, while all the rage of the 2000's, could somehow give them their next hit.  Too bad Hope & Faith fell into the forgettable pile.  Speaking of forgotten, notice Drew Carey is nowhere to be found on this colored chart?  That is because after a poorly-rated 8th season, ABC burned Drew Carey off in the summer and ended it unceremoniously.

And WB and UPN?  Can many recall the shows mentioned in this chart?

Source: http://www.angelfire.com/tv/JustTV/tvreview0304finalviewers2.html

TV Ratings 7/28/17: 'Shark Tank' Encore & 'Dateline' Slip, 'What Would You Do?' Steady (UPDATED)

Here are the final broadcast ratings for Friday, July 28, 2017. 

18-49 Rating
Total Viewers     (In Millions)
America’s Got Talent (R) (NBC)

Shark Tank (R) (ABC)

MacGyver (R) (CBS)

MasterChef (R) (FOX)

Masters of Illusion (CW)

Masters of Illusion (R) (CW)

What Would You Do? (ABC)

Hawaii Five-0 (R) (CBS)

Beat Shazam (R) (FOX)

Penn & Teller: Fool Us (R) (CW)


20/20 (ABC)

Blue Bloods (R) (CBS)

(R) = repeat

Finals Update: A repeat of 'America's Got Talent' (0.7) adjusted down. 

On ABC 'What Would You Do?' (0.6) was steady after taking a week off. It led out of a repeat of Shark Tank (0.6), the latter was a tenth below its normal delivery. At 10, 20/20 (0.7) rose a tenth from its last outing.

NBC's 'Dateline' (0.8) inched down leading out of a strong 'America's Got Talent' repeat (0.8).

CBS had its usual drama repeat trio (0.5/0.5/0.4). 'Blue Bloods' was a tenth below normal at 10.

FOX also had its normal lineup (0.4/0.4).

The CW had 0.2s across the board for an hour of 'Masters of Illusion' and a repeat of 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us".