Week 23 Sitcom Scorecard -- NBC's Superstore Renewed; FOX is Awash in Another Deflated Football Bloodbath Cutting Up Demos

NOTE: The predictions made in this article are separate to those of the Renew/Cancel posts, and thus are not an indicator of our renew/cancel track record.

Written by Bridger Cunningham

The Patriots cut the scoreboard on Superball Sunday, inflating impossible dreams and outlandish odds.  Before slicing into FOX's post-football carnage, hats off to Superstore for earning a 3rd season renewal.  Its ratings pale next to NBC's other scripted fares and sitcom competition on other networks.  Thus far Superstore has proven sturdy against fraction ratings and may present NBC's building block for expanding the network's comedy pallet in upcoming seasons.  Complimenting the already-renewed The Good Place, Superstore joins the ranks and brings 5 renewals of the 30 sitcoms.

Elsewhere, FOX is now evading the ratings grim reaper tearing holes in its seven sitcoms after losing protection from Football inflation.  Last week featured The Mick taking the largest tumble from 7th to 13th place, tumbling from a 1.62 average to 1.46.  The freefall continues as The Mick eroded to a 1.36, falling below CBS' ailing 2 Broke Girls.  All FOX shows hemorrhaged between .04-.10 ratings points with further erosion imminent.  The Simpsons took the second largest -.09 hit to a 2.20, yet has ample space between 4th Place Goldbergs at 1.84.  Family Guy only lost .04 of its average, sliding below CBS' ever-sturdy Mom.  Son of Zorn dropped .07, tying Last Man Standing in 21st Place with a 1.19.  And Bob's Burgers now rests as the border between Anemic and The Middle of the Pack with a 1.16.

New sitcoms Superior Donuts (-.33) and Powerless (-.15) experienced the greatest reduction in viewers, with Powerless sliding to a tie with New Girl in 27th Place.  Predictions present a higher risk for Powerless to rank in last place if it does not retain its pitiful 0.8 rating.  If it erodes further, its average will drop to a 0.83 or 0.87 if it delivers a 0.6 or 0.7 rating.  Predictions for cancellation will be predicated if the show continues a free fall in weeks 24 and 25.  Superior Donuts' epic plunge from 4th to 10th place holds the largest loss, yet it blends in with CBS' remaining stable and has gained its ratings plateau.

Errors will happen.  This article underwent an overhaul as ratings histories for every show for the season were calculated into a table, changing the ratings.  NBC's critical darling, The Good Place, experienced a .06 increase due to miscalculations with the pilot hour, pushing it into a 16th Place tie with Man With a Plan.  And Brooklyn 99 earned an additional .03 ratings points, pushing past concluded Odd Couple as the Anemic classification's highest rated sitcom (irony?).  The rest of the sitcom averages reported accurate, and FOX deflating its prized football for the season is revealing the durability of its deliveries.  ABC aired original programming on Wednesdays and two Tuesdays, taking Friday evening off as six episodes remain for both Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken.  Fresh Off the Boat took a -.03 blow due to a paltry 1.0 rating on 2/14, the Real O'Neal's dropped -.02 to 29th place and blackish and American Housewife ticked down -.01.  Other entries held steady

Predictions for the Remainder of the Season:

ABC: Stability is a word foreign in the vocabulary for the alphabet network, making it a welcome comic dessert for the long-suffering network.  Ratings go up and down like a longstanding business for ABC's laugh factories.  They display great rebounds off-setting the trends, earning 7 of the 10 showings predictions for renewal in addition to the Middle earning its prized status.  The Real O'Neal's has demonstrated it has peaked and shows little growth potential.  That is a minor loss, as six of the network's 10 sitcoms are performing above average in the Winner's classification, and two additional sitcoms fail at delivering fractions to the Nielsen reports.  Modern Family and The Goldberg's have secured their positions as the 2nd and 4th highest sitcoms.  The Middle, American Housewife, Speechless and blackish will likely remain in the Winners classification, and Last Man Standing will rise in rank as its competition from FOX plunges further down the ranks.

CBS: Shows not featuring the words "Big" or "Bang" have become accustomed to numbers between 1.2-1.7 and always trend up or down in unison by evening.  CBS has an embarrassment of riches, holding 9 sitcoms for 8 timeslots.  The Odd Couple exposed the unsightly body of its writing and went fractional, with cancellation imminent.  That leaves CBS with the difficult choice of axing 1-2 of its entries to make room for much-needed pilots.  Kevin Can Wait is projected to be the season's 5th-highest sitcom of the 30 entries.  If it averages a 1.5 demo for the remaining episodes, its average will plateau at 1.7.  2 Broke Girls is aging and failing to outshine its younger competition, standing the greatest danger of a curtain call.  Unless CBS plans an unlikely sitcom expansion or an abbreviated final season a la Mike and Molly, the series is the likeliest choice for reduction.  It may also help ease the exit if The Big Bang Theory ends after 10 seasons, leaving its fate as "Questionable".  Superior Donuts needs one more week of show performance to determine if it will be upgraded to "Likely Renewal", and is assimilating into the less prominent Monday lineup.  Man With a Plan also holds a similar delivery, leaving Thursday entries Life in Pieces and The Great Indoors in limbo.  Life in Pieces is the weakest Thursday entry, yet is a welcome departure from laugh tracks and crude humor.  CBS has hard decisions to make if they plan to extend 6-7 of its current entries.

FOX: The uneven network is worthy of bloody references as the absence of Football shielding exposes its sitcoms to anemic ratings.  The Mick's freefall forecast another silent spring.  If the Mick continues to average 1.0-1.1 ratings for its remaining 10 entries, it will end the season between 1.19-1.23.  The Simpsons is projected in 3rd place for the season if remaining shows average a 1.2.  Beyond that, the network is left needing stitches as its ratings are no laughing matter.  Son of Zorn will conclude the season averaging between 1.01-1.10 if the four remaining episodes average between 0.6-0.9.  Family Guy is descending downward yet will remain in the Middle of the Pack.  And New Girl, Brooklyn 99 and Last Man on Earth will be determined when new episodes resurface.  The ratings grim reaper will continue to slice through the demo averages, dropping ranks at rapid speed and leaving ratings reports as horrific as a slasher film. 

NBC: The season has proven humbly kind to Superstore and The Good Place.  Their modest deliveries helped reincarnate a lost art on the peacock network and proved sitcoms are not old hat.  However, Powerless is a painful reminder of failures past, plunging fractional in its second delivery.  The series' third episode will determine the trend,  and a classification downgrade is warranted.  NBC would be wise to protect its modest assets, as Powerless may drag down Superstore's earned niche.  The next question the network needs to address is cultivating additional hits to re-establish its brand.

Projections for Classifications: The three classifications in this article will change allotted spaces, as 1.5+ is established as the cut to enter the Winners classification.  Currently, 11 spaces exist and may drop to 10 if Superior Donuts drops below that bar.  The odds of Mom gaining .05 points to its average are limited, yet its stable performance keeps it leading The Middle of the Pack.  1.10-1.49 is established for the Middle of the Pack with 12 spaces allotted.  FOX reductions are sending shows further down the roster with Son of Zorn and Bob's Burgers likely dropping to the Anemic classification.  The Winners classification has established its contenders with few rank changes, while The Middle of the Pack will feature the most movement.  The Anemic range stands to make room for fallen sitcoms and will be making room for more drops.  Questionable statuses will be addressed in upcoming weeks.

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