2017-18 Week 2 Sitcom Scorecard -- The Big Bang Theory is Stripped of its 1st Place Title as 10 More Sitcoms Start Their Runs

Written Ready For the Sitcom Ratings Race by Bridger Cunningham.

Related imageThis week featured 3 freshman sitcoms debuting into the mix along with 7 returning veterans, bringing the total helpings of 24 sitcoms.  Most shocking is The Big Bang Theory falling out of 1st Place, a sitcom title it has held since 2012.  Fret not, as Young Sheldon is on the bench until November 3 and could take either trajectory of besting its parent or proceeding downward.  CBS' second week of helpings experienced alarming drops.

FOX's Sunday roster made a hearty debut on October 1, thanks to the return of the network's favorite fall sensation, Football Inflation.  Bob's Burgers enjoyed some extra meat in its bun with a 1.3, up 15% from Season 7's 1.1 debut and delivering nearly double the patties from the 0.7 finale last spring.  The Simpsons matched Season 28's 1.4 debut and up 36% from the abysmal 0.9 May finale.  Ghosted premiered to a steady 1.4, up 21% from Son of Zorn's 1.1 in-season premiere.  Family Guy returned on-par with Season 15's premiere and up 30% from the 1.0 May finale, and Last Man On Earth matched Season 3's 0.9 debut and was up 27% from the 0.7 finale.

CBS Mondays gutted the hearts of last week's Nielsen pumpkins on October 2 as TBBT dropped 22% to a 3.2 from last week's 4.1 premiere.  9JKL debuted with an abhorrent 1.6, losing 50-percent of its stellar lead-in.  In contrast to last season's TBBT launches, Kevin Can Wait retained 71% of its lead-in (2.7 from 3.8) and poorly-rated The Great Indoors retained 63% (1.9 from 3.0).  Eviction may be in 9JKLoseThisAddress's future.  Kevin Can Wait lost 43% of its debut figures with a point drop from 2.3 to 1.3, and Me, Myself and I dropped 38% from last week's debut from 1.6 to 1.0.

Tuesday, October 3 marked the debut of ABC's comedy block with promising results as the sitcoms all placed 2nd in their timeslots among the 5 networks.  The Middle returned to a 1.6 rating, down 11% from Season 8's 1.8 rating in the same timeslot.  This veteran better watch it or else it won't return for Season 10.  Sigh.  Fresh Off The Boat made its timeslot debut at 8:30 (it's 7th move in 4 seasons) to a 1.4, down 12% from Season 3's 1.6 debut, and down 26% from American Housewife's 1.9 debut in the same timeslot the previous season.  Black-ish debuted in its new 9:00 timeslot with a 1.5, down 25% from Season 3's 2.0 debut on Wednesday and down 6% from FOTB's performance in the same timeslot the previous year.  The Mayor made a quiet debut at 9:30 with a 1.2, on-par with The Real O'Neals' Season 2 debut the previous season.  FOX's Tuesday entries continued to deliver anemic results, taking 4th in their timeslots as the Mick matched its 0.9 rating from the week before, and Brooklyn 99 lost 14% of its previous delivery edging down from 0.7 to 0.6.

The week's remains churned out unilateral drops in lieu of post-premieres.  Wednesday, October 4 saw ABC's The Goldbergs retained 89% of last week's return with a 1.6, Speechless ticked down one tenth to a a 1.3, Modern Family retained 90% of last week's delivery with a 1.9 and American Housewife retained 88% of last week's delivery with a 1.4.  Thursday, October 5 found NBC's lineup taking the expected trajectory with Superstore and The Good Place delivering a 1.2, Will and Grace still posting impressive ratings with a 2.0 and Great News still registering a 1.0, far above many late Spring performances last season.

Now that Week 2 has 24 entries, discerning survival vs. demise is an easier picture to paint.  The plethora of sitcoms on the radar allowed a thorough breakdown and a return of the three classifications, Leading The Pack, The Middle of The Pack and Anemic.  Current deltas to enter Leading the Pack is a 1.55 demo, and a 1.30 stands as the current delta for The Middle of the Pack.  As the season progresses, these numbers will change to distribute the sitcoms appropriately.  The TVRG Sitcom Scorecard made its debut mid-season during Week 20 for the 2016-17, carving deltas at 1.50 and 1.10, respectively.  As the Spring Doldrums decimated series averages, the Leading the Pack delta was lowered to 1.40, and the Anemic Range spawned a lower classification known as The Abyss for shows registering below 0.80.  Under current data, Brooklyn 99 could justify resurrecting that range, but that will not happen until later into October or early November.

Leading the Pack features four heavy hitters who experienced extreme spikes in 18-49 Nielsen ratings outlandish to the norms of weekly performance.  Week 2 deflated many of those figures and dropped averages sharply by 0.45-0.50.  Only Young Sheldon evaded drops via absence and now stands as the season's 1st place performer.  That may change on November 3 when the newbie returns to regular Thursday showings.  The Big Bang Theory still stands mighty well into the 3.0 range, starkly above last season's closing 3.10 average.  Will and Grace shed an entire point and dropped to a 2.5 average, well above the average NBC sitcom and appears to be one of the network's hallmark winners for the 2017-18 season.  Modern Family inched up to 4th Place and is forecasting a stable season despite drops from season 8.  Kevin Can Wait took an expected tumble to 5th place after losing a full point after an inflated premiere with a downward trajectory predicted.  The Goldbergs is holding steady and will likely remain in the highest classification, while 9JKL and The Middle's premieres rested closer to the current delta.

The Middle of the Pack features several performers who enjoyed higher ranks the previous season or stand poised to enjoy Sunday inflation.  American Housewife dropped 0.1 and may re-enter the higher classification when the delta lowers.  Black-ish dropped due to a new evening and will remain a solid performer, while Fresh Off The Boat will likely remain a performer in the Middle of the Pack.  The Simpsons, Family Guy and Ghosted show potential to traverse the Leading the Pack range when Football inflates their already sturdy numbers.  Speechless is taking a hit as it placed as the 6th highest sitcom of the 2016-17 season and now rests in 14th Place.  And The Good Place and Me, Myself and I currently rest in the range's delta with MM&I appearing destined for further slides and The Good Place likely to remain a Middle performer.

ThumbnailDown below, Superstore dropped into the watershed position for the Anemic range despite solid performances for the evening standards.  The Mayor made an inauspicious debut in 20th place and likely will be acquainted with the lower ranges, and Great News is already sinking in 21st.  Like the previous season, FOX houses a number of sitcoms at the bottom of the range.  The Mick and Last Man on Earth are fractional yet hold promise, unlike Brooklyn 99 which has dropped below last season's lowest performer, Making History's 0.67 average.

Next week's entry will officially declare percentage predictions for sitcoms.  Two have already ben released, as The Middle's final season now holds a purple tag, and FOTB is predicted for 100% renewal due to 82+ episodes available following May 2018.  Would ABC really ditch a solid performer who demonstrated resistance to harsh spring ratings?  We think not!  Come back next week as this color matrix will fill several purple TBD labels.

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