2017-18 Week 4 Sitcom Scorecard -- The Goldbergs' 100th Episode Holds Permed Against Unilateral Drops

Written With To Much Explanation by Bridger Cunningham

As expected, the 2017-18 roster presents a lower Nielsen yield than previous seasons.  However, the bar has dropped for Leading The Pack to a record-lenient 1.35 Delta to enter the range.  And the Middle of the Pack is back to last season's bar with a 1.10, expected as the ranges become uneven or bottom-heavy.  And who hasn't noticed this article series' greatest blunder down below?  Everyone knows Dynasty is not intended as a sitcom, but has become a source of laughs which the show-runners should be honored to be roasted with.  That joke of a range is a placeholder as one regular show is edging dangerously low for an Anemic ranged show and will instigate the return of "The Abyss" when their average drops below 0.60.  Again, the Anemic classification is more lenient this season as lower yields are expected.  Speaking of 80's jokes, happy 100th episode, Goldbergs!  This week's episode gave us iconic visuals as Beverly sported a trend solid to the era without the mullet mocking.

Sunday, October 15 delivered an expected drop for FOX's non-inflated roster, surprisingly with decent results.  The Simpsons dropped nine-tenths to a 1.3 with plenty of room for movement.  Ghosted's 3rd episode delivered its true weight with a 1.0, again a hair above its 2016 fall predecessor  Son of Zorn, yet within a greater range of retention to its neighbors.  Family Guy dropped a mere two-tenths to a 1.2, as did Last Man On Earth with a 0.8.  Both shows are down from last year, yet the Sunday roster is boasting stable performance.

The same cannot be said for CBS Mondays.  October 16's The Big Bang Theory ticked down a tenth to a 2.8.  Down indeed from last year, yet TBBT was the 2nd highest-scripted show of the week!  9JLK dropped two-tenths to a 1.2, sadly setting a record-low post TBBT retention of 42%.  Last year's casualty The Great Indoors bottomed at 50% (1.4 out of 2.8), and 2014 failure The Millers held the previous low of 46% (2.1 our of a 4.5).  9JKL's ding-dong-ditch from the Nielsen ferry shaved another tenth off of Kevin Can Wait with a disappointing 1.1, and timeslot-troubled Me, Myself & I held sadly steady with a 0.9.

Tuesday, October 17 presented another round of general lows, with only Fresh off the Boat (1.1) and The Mick (0.8) holding steady.  The Middle ticked down to a 1.3, as did Brooklyn 99 with its series low 0.6.  Blackish (1.1) and the Mayor (0.8) hit series lows following a two-tenth drop.  Happily, Wednesday, October 18 presented a sturdy delivery with The Goldbergs' 100th episode (1.5), Speechless (1.1) and American Housewife (1.4) all holding their previous week's deliveries, while Modern Family ticked down a tenth (1.7)

And Must-See TV found NBC's trimming girth off its belt line.  Superstore held steady with a 1.1, and The Good Place reduced its weight to match that same measure.  The Will & Grace revival is still losing inches of its Nielsen fat, but the losses appear to be plateauing as this weeks 1.7 was only down one-tenth.  Sadly, Great News is NBC's Biggest Loser this week, having dropped two-tenths of its already light ratings to a 0.8


Only one show downgraded this week, as The Mayor slid from 55% odds of renewal to 45%.  So why is this Freshman series the target of a premature downgrade?  The Mayor, while sophisticated in quality and perhaps fitting with NBC's pallet, is cursed with a poor timeslot indeed.  However, it has hemorrhaged at an alarming rate, losing 27% of its already-weakened lead-in Black-ish' 1.1 rating.  ABC has three sitcoms (Alex, Inc, Roseanne and Splitting Up Together) on the bench looking to bat.  Upgrades are still a possibility, but it appears The Mayor's fate appears to be sealed.

Other shows stand poised for changes in status.  So who is eyeing a promotion?  Three more episodes of performance are needed to upgrade The Good Place and American Housewife to 90%, and the same benchmark will cement Superstore's and Family Guy's fates at 100%.  TGP and AH are enriching their network's rosters, yet they need 43-52 episodes beyond May 2018 to hit the syndication mark.  Superstore, however, needs 33 episodes and has three seasons coupled with an excellent use of leading timeslot in its favor.  And FG has passed syndication ages ago and stands as FOX's 2nd-highest rated sitcom.

The opposite trajectory awaits CBS freshmans 9JKL and Me, Myself & I, who already rest sadly at 45% renewal odds.  Unless 9JKL dips fractional out of its prime TBBT-lead-out, or MM&I sinks to a 0.7, these shows' fates will change in Week 7's Scorecard, due November 10.  This card will expose the shows' true weight minus TBBT in two showings.

Shows forecast for changes further into the season are Bob's Burgers, Ghosted, Last Man On Earth, Kevin Can Wait, Black-ish, The Mick, Speechless and Great News.  So why do they receive more ground before changes are warranted?  Let's examine their performance:

Bob's Burgers -- The durable FOX performer sits in the week's least-desirable timeslot on Sundays at 7:30.  And thus far, BB is performing above average early in the season.  However, a motion picture is planned for 2020, and FOX would be foolish to ax the show prior.  What else can handle this dreadful show-killing timeslot?

Ghosted -- Factors working in favor of this FOX freshman is it performs slightly above Son of Zorn, its surrounding sitcoms are down.  Factors working against are it has not plateaued, and the ratings are not "breathtaking".  Retention/Lead-Up to Simpsons and Family Guy will factor in over 8 episodes.

Last Man On Earth -- FOX's last Sunday picture show is down slightly, yet LMOE will reach 67 episodes by the season's close.  It is till straddling close to its series low (0.7).  But like BB, what else would FOX schedule on this evening?

Kevin Can Wait -- The Sophomore Sitcom could receive an upgrade in three weeks' time.  However, it continues to drop and has not plateaued.  Its odds of renewal run high as its competition is performing pitifully, and a precise gauge of performance will play out after the show's November 6 performance.

Black-ish -- The 4th season critical darling is an in-house ABC production, and it has proven resilient against NBC juggernaut This is Us.  It needs to hit its plateau to upgrade to 90%.  ABC would be foolish to cut Black-ish with The Middle exiting in 2018 and Speechless and The Mayor now the weakest links in the network's comedy roster.

The Mick -- Season 2 has disappointed and regularly taken 4th place in its timeslot.  However, surrounds Lethal Weapon and Brooklyn 99 are also fractional, so the premise has some salvaging leverage.  If the show delves deeper into fractional territory, it could downgrade.

Speechless -- Like Black-ish, Speechless is an in-house production and as of late registers 1.1 demos. It appears it has plateaued.  However, its lead-in and lead-out perform between 1.5-1.9 regularly, a stark difference which leaves disappointing egg on Speechless' face.  The show currently sits at a 70% renewal prediction and could change in November.

Great News -- Last year's lowest-rated renewal was given the prime Will and Grace lead-in to develop.  Out of that, it has performed between 0.8-1.3 out of W&G's 1.7-3.0 range.  The show has performed decently compared to past performance of failed NBC sitcoms in the 2010's despite this week's fractional drop.  W&G will only produce 16 episodes, so NBC needs sitcoms to paste in the roster between now and May.  If Great News can continue to perform closer to Superstore and The Good Place, it may see 2019.  If it continues belting out fractions, it's forked!

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