2017-18 Week 26 Scorecard -- More Lows, Rebounds, and FOTB and Speechless Leave The Radar

Written Ready For Sitcom Changes by Bridger Cunningham

Springtime is thawing television's icy structure as the anticipated doldrums are breaking the patterns of last year.  Unilateral drops seemed to be the trend for 2017 with every show continually descending.  However, a few shows are standing out with impressive rebounds -- Bob's Burgers, The Middle, Speechless, The Goldbergs, Modern Family and American Housewife.  It was indeed an excellent week to be an ABC sitcom, as all enjoyed the spoils vs. spoiling.  Given American Idol is still performing above average, the network as a whole seems to be enjoying a welcome reprieve from the tone of the last three years.

Sunday, March 18 delivered an odd dynamic for FOX.  Bob's Burgers (0.8) held steady, while the Simpsons (0.8) not only hemorrhaged 2.5 points of their last Football-Inflated January installment.  But it also struck a new series low.  Brooklyn 99 (0.9) enjoyed a healthy three-tenth bump and is establishing itself nicely on Sundays again after dreadful Tuesdays in Autumn.  Family Guy (1.0) delivered a sturdy helping, only dropping eight-tenths of its last January performance, and Last Man On Earth (0.7)  kept all but a half-point of its last January performance.

Tying lows was the theme on Monday, March 19 as Kevin Can Wait (1.0), Man With a Plan (0.9), and Superior Donuts (0.8) all shed a tenth, while Living Biblically (0.7) continued to tie its low.  Tuesday, March 20 spelled dynamic changes for ABC and FOX.  The Middle (1.4) bounced back three tenths, Fresh Off The Boat (1.0) bowed out a tenth ahead, and Black-ish (1.1) gained two-tenths from its last two showings.  Over at FOX, having no lead-in left LA>Vegas (0.7) barely tying its low, and The Mick (0.7) bounced back and narrowly outrated its lead-in.

And Wednesday, March 21 resembled a fall delivery.  The Goldbergs (1.6) ticked up a tenth, and Speechless (1.2) bowed out three tenths higher than its last two outings.  Modern Family (1.7) followed the same trajectory after underperforming to The Goldberg's in Week 24, and American Housewife (1.3) enjoyed the same three-tenth renaissance.

Please note due to a Vegas venture, The Sitcom Scorecard will lump Thursday, March 22's ratings into Week 27's report.

So what is going on with the four networks displaying sitcoms?  Let's break this down network by network:

As predicted, ABC is making a welcome comeback and has retired Speechless and FOTB early to make space for three debuting sitcoms.  American Idol's rebound has paved the way for its surrounds to enjoy higher ratings.  And history has proven ABC has held the highest track record of mid-season successes.  The Goldbergs and Modern Family are doing great and should have few to no problems.  The remains, however, clearly need ideal real estate to succeed.  American Housewife narrowly outperforms Speechless on Wednesdays, as proven when both have been forced to stand on their own without a strong lead.  American Housewife will be back, and Speechless is more than likely returning as its 2018 numbers vs. the 2017 deliveries.
Black-ish has delivered a disappointing 4th season, as displayed by Week 25's poorly delivered double helping.  It is perhaps not as sturdy as ABC anticipated.  And FOTB?  The show can be plugged in any timeslot and perform the same.  Roseanne is anticipated to be spring's strongest contender, while Alex, Inc holds the best timeslot for a newbie to grow.  Splitting Up Together has a long road ahead of it as the Tuesday 9:30 timeslot has dispensed too many sitcoms to count.  If the series can stay above a 0.8, ABC may take compassion.  After all, The Middle is leaving us, on top.  ABC seems to be copying NBC's notes on time-sharing its sitcoms over limited space.  And the network holds expansion space as dramas have a 40-percent success rate.
Thursdays are stellar as The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon and Mom have belted their competition.  Even Life in Pieces enjoyed a sturdier 3rd season leading out of Mom's rebound.  The Monday roster, however, leaves much to be desired.  KCW is a modest success, just as MWAP is.  Superior Donuts struggles then strides, and anything in the 9:30 timeslot is disposable.
What could CBS do next year as Mondays need tuning?  Many argue against breaking up the Thursday block as it is rumored TBBT ends next season, and Young Sheldon will likely take the reigns.  If Mom gets moved to Mondays, will it regress?  LIP may be another candidate to move, and CBS will likely bench SD if it chooses to renew it, using it to plug fall's failures in new sitcoms.  The network needs to spruce up its Monday franchise, or else it may be piecemealed again like it was between 2014-16.  Bless the mediocre drama yield CBS has, as sitcom space could be reduced otherwise.
Unlike ABC and CBS, FOX has enjoyed the spoils of successful new dramas in the 2010's.  The Resident, 9-1-1, Star, Lethal Weapon, The Orville and Empire all succeed in their respective timeslots.  The sitcoms, however, have a different story.  Sundays enjoy an early seasonal victory, while Tuesdays have delivered soft results since 2014.  Add FOX acquiring Thursday Night Football in its 11-week entirety and having no 10pm timeslots means FOX's space is a premium and the Tuesday laughers could cease or move to Fridays.
Peek at the colored chart and notice several shows' statuses were downgraded.  This is due to the scheduling conundrum next fall, and too many shows are just "there."  Ghosted was spared this downgrade due to absentia.  But the rest are weak.  The Mick enjoyed a mild rebound and bested LA>Vegas this week, but it struggles.  LMOE sits pretty in its timeslot, but FOX could decide to end the series if space is needed.  And even B99 experienced a welcome rebound this week and is not circling the drain as anticipated.  FOX' pallet is questionable at best and will be a true deciding factor come May.
NBC has already renewed winners The Good Place, Superstore and Will & Grace.  The schedule's remains are all fighting to be seen and heard on the ratings radar.  Great News tanked a prime lead-in.  AP Bio demonstrated some sturdiness, and Champions appears to be toast.  Yet to premiere is Trial & Error, which has no declared schedule space.
NBC wisely innovated its resurging Must-See-TV block to truncate episode orders for sitcoms, and it has worked to a great degree.  Would NBC pare down all of its underperforming sitcoms and start anew?  The network has done stranger things.
Status Changes
Last Man On Earth -- As discussed above, scheduling space lowers the odds of LMOE being renewed.  Ratings have not dropped, but they were already low.  A downgrade from 80% (Likely Renewal) to 70% (Leans Renewal) has been declared.
 LA>Vegas -- This week's outing not only underperformed follow-up The Mick, but also demonstrated the series needs a stronger lead-in to distinguish itself.  Scheduling space is working against FOX'  latest series as it has yet to be shopped around on Sundays.  A downgrade from 55% (On the Bubble, Leans Renewal) to 45% (On the Bubble, Leans Cancellation) depicts nearly striking a series low.

Wednesday Cable Ratings 3/21/18: Krypton Has a Great Start, ACS: Versace and Alone Together Up for Finales

Below are the Top 25 programs on cable on Wednesday, 3/21/18. Items of note include the series premiere of Krypton on Syfy and the finales of American Crime Story: Versace on FX and Alone Together on Freeform.
(Click the names of the shows written in teal or blue to be taken to their pages in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Database.)
18-49 Viewers
Viewers (mil.)
NBA: Toronto v. ClevelandESPN0.741.85
Black Ink CrewVH10.681.41
NBA: Washignton v. San AntonioESPN0.661.55
Street Outlaws: No PrepDiscovery0.491.33
The Rachel Maddow ShowMSNBC0.413.10
Property BrothersHGTV0.41.77
My 600 Pound LifeTLC0.391.45
HannityFox News0.373.25
House HuntersHGTV0.351.58
House Hunters InternationalHGTV0.351.59
Tucker Carlson TonightFox News0.343.08
Full Frontal with Samantha BeeTBS0.331.02
American Crime Story: VersaceFX0.321.20
Twin TurbosDiscovery0.310.77
Beauty BarVH10.30.66
Anderson Cooper 360CNN0.291.45
The Last WordMSNBC0.291.45
The MagiciansSyfy0.290.77
Homicide CityInvest. Discovery0.281.25
The Ingraham AngleFox News0.282.43
Guy's Grocery GamesFood0.280.88
Erin Burnett OutFrontCNN0.281.18

Highlights Below the Chart:

The Daily ShowComedy Central0.270.95
The Lead with Jake TapperCNN0.241.20
At This HourCNN0.190.97
Deadline: White HouseCNN0.161.44
Morning JoeMSNBC0.151.21
Velshi & RuhleMSNBC0.141.19
Alone TogetherFreeform0.090.18
Schitt's CreekPop0.080.28

NCIS: Los Angeles S09E15 Review

Written by Kyle Harimoto, Liabilities brings the show back to where it belongs with action, banter, fights, explosions and food for thought on how the remainder of the season may progress.  This is a team based episode that breeds familiarity in the format and brings Hetty back in to the fold.  Also returning is Granger's daughter Jennifer Kim, who is brought out of a remote location to assist the team's investigation in to a rogue North Korean spy, Keith Stiger.  Keith was introduced in the third episode of the season, "Assets", as the seemingly innocent friend of murdered Navy Lieutenant Naomi Elder.  At the time it seemed commendable that "Assets" didn't venture down the predictable route of Keith Stiger or his wife being the villain.  Now the screen time devoted to Keith is justifiable and Sam and Callen have been investigating him in their spare time due to their suspicions.  Interestingly Kyle Harimoto also wrote "Assets" which allows for smooth continuity.

As with the best episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles, the case itself is both interesting and straight forward, and in this instance, allows for closure to be placed on the mystery surrounding Assistant Director Owen Granger. The team are still very much in the dark about their relationship, so much so that Sam asks Jennifer the personal question about why Granger helped her to the lengths that he did. The revelation that he was her father and they spent time after he discharged himself from hospital resonated with Callen, with the camera cutting to his expressions. It was a suitably respectful and bittersweet ending to discover Granger had passed away and Jennifer had buried him in the very spot, so he has an eternal view over the valley. A simple, fitting tribute that brought tears to the eyes.

Hetty’s ‘retirement ‘ thankfully seems to have been fake and post rescue, she is back at work and finding her feet with the presence of the two newcomers, Hidoko and Mosley. Hetty basically introduces herself which allows for the exploration of both characters. Hidoko has a deceased husband and is struggling a little in the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. When Hetty first interrupts Mosley, she can be heard on the phone, confirming that someone has 'no record of that name being registered at any schools in the area'.  Mosley is searching for her son who is somewhere with his father. Hetty makes no comment but has most likely done her homework on Mosley too and this suggests that Mosley and her son will feature in an episode before the season's end.

They have several interesting conversations about the team with Hetty referring to them as 'her' team and that she handpicked each of them.  Mosley acknowledges by confirming their extreme loyalty to Hetty.  Hetty trusts the team to complete their objectives independently and against the odds.  A trust which Mosley lacks.  

Mosley: I'm staking my reputation on your team.
Hetty:    As you should.
Mosley: You don't ever doubt them?
Hetty:    No.
Mosley: Why not?
Hetty:    Because I handpicked each and every one of them.
Mosley: Well, if that's the proven playbook, then my decision about what to do with this team may have just gotten a little easier. 

Their final conversation leads on from this earlier exchange and Mosley admits she’s been sent to disrupt the team, to which Hetty already has her suspicions.  It has been a number of episodes since this subject has been broached and again, this is setting the scene for (at least the threat and possibly temporary) change amongst the field agents.  All scenes featuring the interplay between Mosley and Hetty are fascinating. Both women are testing the waters with each other and certainly in their first meeting Hetty leaves with the upper hand, although the expression on Mosley’s face is one that suggests she knows this and is amused, rather than threatened.  A challenge to be relished.  There is a light tension between them, some gentle sparring and even a wary respect.  They are both intelligent women, albeit very different.  The wise money though, is on Hetty.

Elsewhere the team investigate the case, unaware of the play back in the office.  The race to find Keith Stigers and the bomb take the team to the Metro tunnels that run beneath LA.  It is dusty and deserted and a refreshing change of location to the usual basements.  The team also provide most of the banter, as expected but not to the detriment of the plot and not to the point of being ridiculous.  Sam ribs Callen about getting beaten up by Jennifer Kim when he arrested her, Deeks has his usual moments, in particular when he reveals he's pulled his hamstring after an intense knife fight.  And in other news, Sam has finally managed to diffuse his first bomb of the season (a point kindly highlighted by Callen). 

After the disappointment of last week's episode, Liabilities has pulled NCIS: Los Angeles back into familiar territory.  The team is working well together, Granger has finally been put to rest and Hetty is back where she belongs.  Worryingly though, the scene and tone has been set for Mosley to further take actions towards splitting up the team.  Have her orders come from SECNAV or the Director of NCIS?  Who wants the team split up and why, as Mosley has been sent to LA for this purpose...

Did you enjoy this episode?  Please leave a comment and let me know your views.

Wednesday TV Ratings 3/21/18: The X-Files, 9-1-1, and Speechless All Tick Up for Finales (UPDATED)

Finals Update: Survivor (+0.1), The Goldbergs (+0.1), and Modern Family (+0.1) adjusted up. Speechless (-0.1) adjusted down.
18-49 Ratings
Viewers (mil)
8 PMSurvivor1.8/78.52CBS

The Goldbergs1.6/75.83ABC

The X-Files (F)0.9/43.36Fox

Law & Order: SVU (R)0.8/34.78NBC

Riverdale0.4/21.13The CW
8:30 PMSpeechless (F)1.2/54.64ABC
9 PM9-1-1 (F)1.7/76.58Fox

Modern Family1.7/75.56ABC

Law & Order: SVU1.4/56.34NBC

SEAL Team1.0/46.47CBS

Life Sentence0.2/10.54The CW
9:30 PMAmerican Housewife1.3/54.50ABC
10 PMChicago PD1.3/66.99NBC

Criminal Minds0.9/45.22CBS

Designated Survivor0.7/34.01ABC

The Goldbergs Season 5 Episode 16 Review

The Goldbergs is back after taking last week off, and this week's episode will focus on... scruchies? Well, we''ll see what all that's about.

Beverly usually gets Adam out of Coach Mellor's gym plans, but once rope time comes, she doesn't show up. So Adam tries to climb the rope. And he falls on Coach, leaving Coach Mellor in a neck brace. Everyone in class laughs at him, and then he embarasses himself even more. Meanwhile at college, Erica is freaking out about her missing Shark Bites, which Other Erica ate. And so begins the Battle of the Ericas. One day when she gets home, there is a scrunchie on the door, meaning that Other Erica won't let her in. And now, she goes home to the Goldberg home. She conspires with Geoff about what to do, and Erica decides to bring a super annoying, really terrible guest with her to upset Other Erica. And that guest goes by the name of Barry. Adam is staying at Dave Kim's, which means that Bev and Murray have the house to themselves. Beverly is upset about not having anyone to mother for the weekend. That's when she gets the genius idea to smother the injured Coach Mellor, and offers to let him stay at home with her and Murray. Back at college, Erica tries to rain on Other Erica's parade, bringing Barry with. Unfortunately for her, she leaves them alone, they bond, and... scrunchie rule. At the Goldberg home, Mellor is getting settled in. Murray's not very happy about that.

Murray finds Coach Nick, in the hopes that he can get rid of Mellor. After a heart-to-heart between Rick and Nick, the Goldbergs end up adopting another Mellor brother. At college, Erica calls in the big guns: Lainey. Barry immediately crumbles, and manages to make both Lainey and Other Erica mad. Back at home, Adam stops by and Murray immediately send him up to talk to Beverly. SHe then realizes what a horrible mistake she's made. Switching back college, Geoff arrives to serve as Barry's guest (Barry does realize he doesn't live there, right?). But when he doesn't want to be Barry's guest, Barry calls in the JTP. Then Erica calls in Johnny and Carla. Other Erica runs out. That's when Geoff tells the Ericas that the out-of-town guests think they should make up. And then Erica says something stupid that upsets Other Erica.

Beverly tells the Mellors that it's time for them to leave, and they accept that this is what must happen. With a little push from Bev and Murray. The Ericas also apologize to each other, and decide to get the room back from the out-of-town guests, who have a party.

I really enjoyed this week's episode. Both of the plots were really good, even though neither were really top-notch stories. Despite that, having two entertaining and fun stories managed to make an episode that was a joy to watch. The relationships visited in the episode - the Mellors and the Ericas - were both worthy of revisiting. My favorite moment of the episode wasn't even part of it at all. I loved meeting the real Coach Mellor. This is a really cool thing that the show occasionally does, and I apprecitate it every time.
Score: 8.5/10
Grade: B+

Modern Family S9E16 Review

In unlikely storylines this week, Haley's new boss lets Haley and her family stay in her country house, and Gloria and Mitch get invited to a party at Oprah's, but can't bring anyone else. Yes, things are getting completely unrealistic when the family goes on a wine weekend.

S9E16 "Wine Weekend"

The six parents, along with Haley and Manny, go on a vacation together, as Haley's boss is letting them use a house of hers. Haley's boss letting them use the house feels far-fetched, but how they are able to stay in the house isn't really focused on. The episode mostly relies on secrets, Claire and Jay are each keeping secrets from their spouses, Claire getting rid of things of Phil's that she doesn't like and Jay has brought Stella along. Mitch and Gloria are invited to a party at Oprah's, but keep it a secret because they can't bring anyone. Phil and Cam decide to become a hip hop dance duo. Meanwhile, Manny is disappointed that he doesn't get to participate in wine tasting, and was brought along to be a designated driver.

Claire's getting rid of Phil's things on vacation seems a bit harsh, but Jay is the focus of their part of the episode. Jay's obsession with Stella is usually really funny, but I found it to be a bit too much in this episode. I found the fact that Gloria and Mitch would be able to go Oprah's very unrealistic, and Mitch stealing something seemed very bizarre. Phil and Cam is the part here that the writers obviously thought would be very funny, but as a result it feels like they put little effort into it, causing it to fall fairly flat.

Haley discovers that the tiara that no one was supposed to touch has been cracked, and all of the adults had touched it. Manny decides to investigate, to prove that he is believable as an investigator, after he got poor reviews playing an investigator in a play. Everything about Manny in this is fairly annoying, and it is strange that Haley seems smarter than him here, but the investigation is fairly entertaining, as the family members try to cover up what their night has consisted of. The reveal that Haley cracked the tiara was a fairly clever twist to add at the end.

The idea that the episode tried to pull off was an interesting one, it was just not very funny, and Manny was fairly annoying throughout the whole episode. The cracked tiara plot devise worked, but the rest of the episode didn't really.

Score: 5/10

What did you think of "Wine Weekend"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Speechless Season 2 Finale Review

Speechless's shorter, eighteen episode second season has come to an end. In this finale, J.J. has been nominated for an award. However, not everything is quite as good, as last week the DiMeos' landlord discovered that the family has a dog, which is against their lease. Also, Ray is continuing to try to get Taylor back.


J.J. is excited when he has been nominated for an award at a film festival. However, it turns out that they knew about his disability, and that's why he got nominated. J.J. is annoyed by this, and discovers that Maya informed the festival about his disability. It seems odd that Maya wouldn't realize how important it would be to J.J. to get recognized because of his film, not because of his disability. There ends up being a sudden sweet ending though, when another festival gave J.J. the award, and didn't know that he was disabled.

Jimmy is trying to get a loan so that they can buy their house, but he doesn't want to tell the kids that they have until Friday, or they will get evicted. However, this ends up meaning that he has to make up a lie to Dylan, so he comes up with a lie about a wolf. He ends up having to tell her though, and she is disappointed that he felt that he couldn't tell her. The two then share a sweet moment, as they admit things to each other. This reminded me of another sweet, honest moment between the father and daughter in the first season finale.

Taylor has discovered that she loves watching basketball, and when Ray finds out about this, he decides to play the sport, despite the fact that he is terrible at sports. He turns out to have a talent for getting people on the other team fouls. He intends to use this to win Taylor back, but in a surreal scene, he realizes that he isn't being himself, and that he spent the entire time that he had Taylor worrying that he was going to lose her. It seems that Taylor is probably not going to be a part of the show going forward, and while I was initially against the idea when they broke up, this story did make a good point.

At the end of the episode, the family has been evicted, and all of their things are on the lawn. It seems that the show was preparing for the chance that they would be canceled, as the season ended with the main characters all together, and it highlighted their philosophy, that they will deal with what to do tomorrow when they get there. In addition to this, the ending of J.J's story included a nice callback to the pilot, where they have to use the garbage ramp.

I struggled with the idea that Maya would not realize the importance of J.J. getting recognition for his work solely because of its quality, and I felt that the conclusion where J.J. discovered that one festival nominated him because of his work came very suddenly. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the episode, and it was a really good season finale.

Score: 8.5/10

What did you think of "N-O-NOMINEE"? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday Cable Ratings 3/20/18: Shadowhunters Returns Down, Another Period Up, then Down for Final Two Episodes

Below are the Top 25 programs on cable on Tuesday, 3/20/18. Items of note include the premiere of Shadowhunters on Freeform, the finale of Another Period on Comedy Central, and The Detour on TBS.
(Note: Click any show with its name in green or blue to be taken to its page in the TV Ratings Guide Cable Ratings Database.)
18-49 Viewers
Viewers (mil.)
WWE SmackdownUSA0.992.89
Fixer UpperHGTV0.723.45
NBA: Rockets v. TrailblazersTNT0.711.60
Real Housewives of Beverly HillsBravo0.61.78
NBA: Thunder v. CelticsTNT0.571.52
Forged in FireHistory0.541.53
The ChallengeMTV0.460.75
Curse of Civil War GoldHistory0.451.71
House HuntersHGTV0.442.01
Married at First SightLifetime0.391.04
The Rachel Maddow ShowMSNBC0.383.17
The DetourTBS0.381.01
Inside the NBCTNT0.370.71
House Hunters InternationalHGTV0.361.83
America's Next Top ModelVH10.350.79
HannityFox News0.343.46
Ink MasterParamount0.320.72
Web of LiesInvest. Discovery0.311.13
Forbidden: Dying for LoveInvest. Discovery0.311.24
NBA Pre-Game ShowTNT0.30.86
My Big Fat Fabulous LifeTLC0.291.11
The Ingraham AngleFox News0.292.73

Highlights Below the Chart:

The Last WordMSNBC0.272.35
Erin Burnett OutFrontCNN0.241.14
The Lead with Jake TapperCNN0.221.07
The Daily ShowComedy Central0.220.92
At This HourCNN0.170.96
Deadline: White HouseMSNBC0.151.37
Velshi & RuhleMSNBC0.141.10
Morning JoeMSNBC0.131.06
Another PeriodComedy Central0.10.23
Another PeriodComedy Central0.070.18