Ratings History: 2017-18

Written Reporting the 68th Installment by Bridger Cunningham

The 2017-18 season again changed the television landscape.  NBC swept a victory with a worthy dose of winning dramas, football and the Olympics.  CW continued its dormant ratings trend in 5th, renewing in conjunction with a Netflix deal and shading all-but-gone ratings.  The other three emerged in a landmark tie for 2nd place.  One network made a triumphant comeback only in March, another found success in its surging dramas, and the third struggled with aging enterprises softening recent years of winning performances.  Guess which network is being referenced in that last sentence, and proceed to check out the race for the TV season which left 207 entries on the radar.

Keen readers may question why this chart depicts NBC in 1st, ABC in 2nd, CBS in 3rd, etc...  All the while Nielsen declared NBC won the season with a 2.4 Nielsen Average, ABC, CBS and FOX triple-tied for 2nd with a 1.5 and CW trailed with a 0.6.  Nielsen omits repeats (which are rife in the lower portions of the chart), as well as adding Superbowl LII, award shows and other entries which qualified as original.  This chart is based upon Deadline's Live+7 delivery, and the stories told run similar to Nielsen's reportings.

NBC again claimed a victory as its network soared consistently.  ABC performed disastrously in solid 4th Place until Roseanne bellowed into the charts in March (along with soft revival American Idol).  CBS experienced mediocre dramas and sitcom slaughters as its Monday stable tanked the last half of the year.  FOX also struggled on the sitcom front, yet maintained success as 9-1-1 and other entries lifted the schedule's dead weight.  And CW again followed its low-rated drum beat of differing successes.


TRENDING HOT: Revivals were strewn everywhere like dog droppings in a lower class apartment complex.  They came in the variety of revived sitcoms (Roseanne, Will & Grace), revived reality platforms (American Idol), reboots (MacGyver, Hawaii-Five-O), and unintentional comedies (Dynasty).  Spinoffs continued strong again as Chicago, NCIS, nerd, superhero and Law & Order franchises duplicated and triplicated like teenagers on an MTV reality platform lingering like a regretful tattoo.  CBS' sophisticated sitcoms soared, including a toned-down Mom which experienced a ratings spike.  ABC and NBC moved against tired scheduling practices of propping the newbies abutting The Voice, or dooming sitcoms to summers.  FOX has also taken new directions and is changing its scheduling tone from tacky to traditional following a muddy merger.


TRENDING TEPID: ABC is on the mend despite 2017 paying ode to one of the worst seasons memorable.  Its sitcoms continue to proliferate, though its landmark Wednesday comedy night regressed to performances similar to 2013-14 performances.  Reality TV stabilized Sunday, and medicine healed as Grey's Anatomy and The Good Doctor delivered the network's only non-fractional dramas.  NBC managed mild success with reviving Must-See-TV with varying results.  Fall performances remained strong due to Will & Grace's hyped revival, then regressed to disastrous fractions come spring.  FOX meshed much of its shaky schedule via successful drama entries.  CW this season outlived its parenting predecessors, WB and UPN despite its winning mid-decade superhero franchises losing momentum.  And thankfully, political hate has seemingly turned off viewers and showrunners have reverted to telling compelling stories vs. giving Trump free advertisement via love and hate.  Reality TV endures, though not as prominent from its scenery-chewing heyday of the 2000's.


TRENDING COLD: CBS can count its blessings it holds Superbowl LIII next season as its schedule lies in tatters.  Thursday comedies rule, while Mondays delivered results so frightening the only laugh left was the ratings report.  NCIS and Criminal Minds' franchises are aging, and relying on "a name" such as Michael Weatherly, Shemar Moore and David Boreanaz only powered mediocre Nielsens.  Similar to CBS, ABC is learning tacking the name "Shonda" on new dramas does not equal ratings firestorms.  Movies remain a distant memory of the 20th century, soaps have all but washed down the drain with Dynasty's 0.2 helpings, and networks stubbornly doom their sitcom newbies to 9:30 timeslots generating few hits.


Aside from Bob's Burgers regaining ground, FOX's sitcom stable stood in ruins this season.  Crass laughs are out, nostalgia is in.  The Simpsons and Family Guy are deteriorating, and the remains delivered dreadful results ending all but one live-action piece. Speaking of ending trends, ABC and FOX did away with Friday moratoriums on sitcoms and are returning the laughs to 8:00 next fall after dramas and burnoffs faltered.




Ratings History 2014-18



Below are links to ratings pages for 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017–18. Tables and analysis have been provided by Bridger Cunningham. Enjoy!

2014-15: http://www.thetvratingsguide.com/1999/02/ratings-history-2014-15.html
2015-16: http://www.thetvratingsguide.com/1999/02/ratings-history-2015-16.html
2016-17: http://www.thetvratingsguide.com/1999/02/ratings-history-2016-17.html
2017-18: http://www.thetvratingsguide.com/1999/02/ratings-history-2017-18.html

Ratings History: 2014-15

Written Heralding the Power of Shonda and Sitcoms by Bridger Cunningham



Call it the power of a decade's 4th year.  ABC again experienced a creative renaissance at the start of the 2014-15 season.  After the previous seasons' failures took their Revenge on the ratings, most of ABC's freshman class catapulted the troubled network back into 3rd place.  Impressive, as the network failed to capture few successful seasons after relinquishing football in 2006.  Their success was ode to a successfully-scheduled Wednesday comedy block, as well as Shonda Rhimes taking over Thursdays with the uber-successful TGIT block featuring new sensation How to Get Away With Murder.  Elsewhere, scripted scarcities and American Idol's abysmal plunge pushed FOX back to 4th place for the first time in 11 years.  NBC fared well 1st place with sports, despite a dreadful scripted lineup shooting red cancellation bullet holes in the season roster.  Elsewhere, 5th Place CW experienced massive improvements in lieu of The Flash teleporting higher ratings to the neglected network.



Trending Hot -- ABC and CW experienced creative comebacks in lieu of 1st season success stories Black-ish, How to Get Away With Murder and The Flash.  Sports consumed the lineup as CBS took a punt at Thursday Night football, as well as NBC, FOX and CBS enjoying healthy Sunday night NFL Ratings.  FOX freshman Empire set trendsetting records with nearly every week growing on the previous showing.  ABC Wednesdays succeeded with an all-star comedy block, and ABC Thursdays enjoyed competitive ratings as TGIT delivered successful trifecta Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and HTGAWM.  Once Upon a Time froze its best ratings in recent seasons via story arc Frozen.  Fostering 2nd season sitcoms proved lucrative as CBS' Mom, ABC's The Goldbergs and FOX's Brooklyn 99 experienced healthy growth via plum timeslots.

Trending Tepid -- The Big Bang Theory continued to drive success on CBS' sitcom block, and that is where the good fortunes stopped.  CBS broke its 28-year trend of 4 sitcoms on Monday by trimming the roster to 2 helpings, and continued rotation of its laughers delivered tepid results to the Tiffany Network who delivered the highest sitcom ratings for the networks since the early 2000's.  Reality TV experienced declines as NBC's The Voice cooled and FOX's American Idol continued its decline.  ABC's The Bachelor(ette), Dancing With the Stars and Shark Tank all experienced moderate success, and other longstanding fares experienced mixed results.  Superheroes popped up everywhere on the roster, only one of which barely cracked the top 30.

Trending Cold -- NBC's scripted plate presented a disastrous State of Affairs, proving a post-Voice timeslot did not guarantee a hit.  The Peacock took a bold risk moving its winning Blacklist to Thursdays hoping to repair the damaged evening, only to Slap its viewers and get punished with poor ratings.  CBS' CSI franchise met the coroner after a disgraceful move to Sundays, and procedural dramas in general went code blue.





Ratings History: 2015-16

Written Regurgitating a Muddied Alphabet Rating by Bridger Cunningham

Resting on laurels too soon can end a promising new era as ABC learned this season.  After a monumental 2014-15 season which TGIT became an unstoppable beast, ABC's good fortunes faded as these Shondaland franchises downgraded from phenomenal to ordinary.  Left in the wake of their fade in the drama department remained a slew of failed dramas such as Castle, Nashville, Blood and Oil and too many forgettable dramas to name.  FOX's scripted average paled next to ABC's, but sports saved their tenuous lineup.  Add NBC taking the Olympics and CBS and FOX also airing sports, ABC slid into 4th place after a decline in early 2016.

Trending Hot -- TGIT ratings paled compared to the previous season and managed to perform above average this season.  ABC Comedy Wednesdays remained strong as the only successful comedy block free of failures.  Superheroes continued to jettison the networks with moderate to phenomenal results.  Empire remained FOX's most successful entry, and anything with "Chicago" paraded larger crowds than a St. Patrick's Day parade.  Sports, sports and more sports performed above average.  Massive renewals despite ratings performance became CW's latest experiment, allowing viewers to get to know series at their own pace.

Trending Tepid -- Reality TV showed signs continued age as only The Voice cracked the top 10.  American Idol experienced a glorious swan song, and the other franchises scattered throughout the lineup with mixed results.  CBS sitcoms suffered more damage than antique furniture as they were moved around the lineup like a fickle occupant.  Save for Empire, shows with soapy roots washed down the drain.

Trending Cold -- ABC dramas outside of Shondaland tanked.  NBC sitcoms failed to generate two survivors, with Superstore bargaining a discount renewal.  Freshman pilots in general performed poorly for sitcoms, particularly on FOX.  A move to eradicate sitcoms from longstanding CBS Mondays delivered mediocre results as they discarded Supergirl to an appropriate CW.  A brief foray into sitcoms after a lengthy hiatus backfired on CW as Significant Mother landed in last place for the entire season.Movie Nights became a critically endangered staple only suitable for oddly scheduled weeks.  Scripted programming on ABC Sundays went abysmal, and the Tuesday 10pm timeslot continued a trend of endless failure.

Ratings History: 2016-17

Written Marveling at Dynamic Changes by Bridger Cunningham

Please note this incredible compilation is made possible by the dynamic Deadline.com, and it is missing three placements between 53rd-55th.  Also, four reality TV fares have yet to be called for renewal or cancellation, thus their black label.

NBC enjoyed a victorious season as newly scripted This Is Us became the latest sensation to sweep the nation, landing in 5th place.  The peacock network took the gold standard for 1st Place in lieu of their scripted fares rebounding, iced with a healthy dose of sports coverage.  FOX ranked 4th with programming minus sports.  Adding the NFL punt, they landed the silver 2nd Place.  CBS slipped back to 3rd Place as their shows aged, and ABC again claimed an all too familiar 4th Place.  And CW endured a down-tick from their Flash glory since 2014 fading.


Trending Hot -- Creativity landed NBC in 1st as This Is Us somehow captivated its audience.  A perfect storm of crisp writing and stellar performances left viewers so hooked that the peacock granted them a 2-season renewal.  Multiple-season renewals became an accelerating trend as Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory and the Goldbergs also joined the ranks of Bob's Burgers and The Simpsons guaranteed to deliver through 2019.  ABC sitcoms were the one anchor succeeding in their lineup as Tuesdays and Wednesdays generated lightning with the boiler plate of family laughs.  Spinoffs/sequels continued to thrive with mostly positive results in the way of NCIS and anything Chicago-titled.  Coming soon to NBC: Chicago DMV about people waiting in line, Chicago Pizza reliving the glory of Cheers, and Chicago Sewer, exploring the toxic lives of its workers.

Trending Tepid -- Gameshows found their niche in the summer scheduling and are a revolving trend, for better or worse.  Reality TV paled compared to the 2000's but continued belching out winners across three of the networks.  CBS sitcoms found their performance mediocre at best as TBBT softened with age, and their sitcom remains proved to be riding on lead-in's.  Similar to NBC, FOX experienced erosion issues, and NBC regained its Thursday footings with low-rated sitcoms.  TGIT delivered mixed results as Shonda struck out with The Catch and Conviction.  Grey's Anatomy is holding strong, Scandal is out next season and How to Get Away With Murder now only slays 10pm standards.

Trending Cold -- Aging, outsourced sitcoms.  Last Man Standing and 2 Broke Girls met unceremonious ends after 6 seasons. Scheduling shows behind powerful lead-ins burnt out the building strategy as The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Football and This is Us proved just because a show delivers high ratings does not assure the next scheduled newbie will grow off of their lead-in.  Sundays became the latest graveyard as ABC lost their prominence they held from their Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time and Revenge heydays.