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2017-18 Week 5 Sitcom Scorecard -- 2017 Underdogs 9JKL and Great News Make Impressive Rebounds

Written Praising an Underdog's Rebound by Bridger Cunningham

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Okay, this article series is not shy to talk split about underperforming sitcoms.  And 9JKL has endured the brunt of many insults, namely its branding 9JKLosingMyNielsens and The Address Sitcom.  With that half-hearted apology doled out, let's take a moment and pay praise where it is due, as it enjoyed the greatest gains out of the CBS roster this week and perhaps may find its place on the schedule after The Big Bang Theory moves out as it signed a lease for Thursdays at 8:00.

FOX Sundays enjoyed a promising evening, with Bob's Burgers and The Simpsons enjoying the most spoils.  Bob's Burgers continues to stockpile impressive ratings, matching its season high (1.3) on October 22.  The Simpsons made a welcome three-tenth bounce (1.6), showing if the quality is there, the viewers will follow for the annual Treehouse of Horrors.  Ghosted nosed up a tenth (1.1) and Family Guy (1.2) and Last Man on Earth (0.8) held steady.

Monday, October 23 delivered some stable/positive news for CBS.  The Big Bang Theory ticked down (2.8), and is also close to matching its last season's average (3.16 vs. 3.10).  But that is just dandy for an 11th season show which has delivered nearly 300 episodes of winning Nielsen measures.  9JKL made an impressive rebound (1.4).  This still underperforms for the ripe lead-in, yet is promising for the Freshman sitcom as it has hit its valley and perhaps has marketability for Monday.  Kevin Can Wait ticked up a tenth (1.2), and Me, Myself & I remained steady with last week's rating (0.9).

FOX took Tuesday October 24 off to cover the world series, leaving ABC as the lone network doling out the laughs.  The good news?  Black-ish ticked up a tenth (1.2), the the remains held steady.  The bad news?  The Middle is still down from its glory (1.3), Fresh Off the Boat seems to have an infatuation with a single number (1.1), and The Mayor (0.8) couldn't muster a mild rebound out of Black-ish's uptick and is looking more like last year's squatter, The Real O'Neals.  Wednesday, October 25 also did not favor the ABC comedy block, as Speechless (1.1) and Modern Family (1.7) held steady, and Goldbergs (1.4) and American Housewife (1.3) each lost a tenth.

Thursday, October 26 delivered promising gains to most of NBC's resurgent Must-See-TV.  Superstore regained a tenth (1.2), The Good Place held steady (1.1), Will and Grace also rebounded a tenth (1.8), and Great News showed them up with a two-tenth increase (1.0)


Why 9JKL and Great News Deserve to Own This Article

The entertainment industry is a brutal one, and the mockery which comes from failures is brutal.  9JKL has endured a rash of criticism for various reasons from its premise, overdone laughtrack or holding a record low 42% of The Big Bang Theory's retention at 8:30 on Mondays.  Given these strikes, it was refreshing to see on an evening which TBBT merely held steady at 2.8, 9JKL enjoyed a two-tenth bump to 1.4.  This has demonstrated perhaps the series has more survival power than speculated.  Along with fellow Monday Freshman entry Me, Myself & I, 9JKL is competing to hang onto its timeslot as CBS has another Freshman sitcom, By the Book, and returning Sophomore showpiece Man With a Plan needing a landing place.

The tell for survival will reveal by November 7 after 9JKL delivers two weeks of ratings sans TBBT.  What people also forget is last year's Superior Donuts enters the arena in the cursed 9:30 timeslot currently occupied by MM&I.  All three of these shows are competing for survival, so any uptick in the ratings is something to write home about.  Like MM&I, Great News is saddled with a 9:30 timeslot on Thursdays as well.  The edge GN has it it rests in a prime development bed of returning hit Will and Grace.  GN did not forecast well, stealing a meager 1.3 out of W&G's heralded 3.0.  Ratings cooled to 1.0 the following week and appeared to hold until the fateful October 19 episode which it dropped to 0.8.

This week, W&G experienced a tick up from 1.7 to 1.8.  But Great News accelerated the gains by bumping two tenths from 0.8 to 1.0.  Besting the dominant show's gains strengthened GN's value for the schedule and perhaps demonstrates it can remain a tidy fit in the sophisticated tone of Must-See-TV.  Both 9JKL and Great News demonstrated this week they have the ability to draw an audience independent of their high-rated lead-ins.  To be accurate, they did not sport the greatest gain, as Simpsons' Treehouse of Horrors attracted a three-tenth bump.  But 9JKL and Great News are fighting for another season in 2018, and their gains are a step in the right direction.  Praise to both shows, as they demonstrated they can establish an audience.