What's Up With Wednesdays' Ratings?

Written Seeing a Tired Evening's Ratings by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for american housewifeHappy 4,000th Article folks!  TV Ratings Guide formed nearly three years ago and continues to deliver articles to keep readers' interests perked.  For readers keeping up with the Daily Ratings, Wednesday ratings have been noticeably soft as a puppy, with this week's entries all failing to crack the 2.0 benchmark.  Are Wednesday evenings growing tired, or have viewing patterns changed?  Fret not, as this pack of shows on all networks features solid performers.  So why are the ratings down to Winter 2017 levels?  Let's examine the evidence.

One New Series to Grab Eyeballs

CBS' SEAL Team remains the lone Freshman Series until CW's comedic Dynasty revival debuts next week.  New shows are a double edged sword as they are both risky and necessary to reinvigorate the ratings.  This Autumn's Wednesday offerings played it safe or weak.  SEAL Team fits CBS' procedural brand and marquees star power from David Boreanaz.  But it does not energize an aging evening.  And Dynasty?  Let's hope the writing material holds more value than the reviews, as critics seem eager to pounce on another trite revival.  Few newbies is a recipe for erosion in ratings.

Aging Veterans Welcome

Currently, Modern Family and Empire top the evening's ratings, having both registered a 1.9 for October 4.  That is a 9.5% drop for MF's last showing at 2.1, and a 24% from Empire's 2.5 when both returned on September 25.  Considering both are entering their 9th and 4th seasons, respectively, both remain solid performers.  The carnage elsewhere delves deeper into the 1.0 range, as The Goldbergs and Survivor leveled down to a 1.6.  Survivor has endured ratings drops and remains a stable anchor for CBS in its 18th year, and The Goldbergs continues to be the 2nd highest sitcom for ABC and currently the 5th of 24 performing sitcoms for the 4 networks.  Over at NBC, Law and Order: SVU delivered a respectable 1.3 in its 19th season, Chicago PD's 5th season is winning its 10:00 timeslot with a softer 1.2, and Nielsen-troubled Blacklist registered a 1.0 during its 5th season and sadly places 4th in its timeslot.  And CBS' Criminal Minds' 13th season is experiencing aging ratings at 10:00 with a 1.1.  Are these shows struggling, or simply aging?

Sophomore Snooze?

Wednesday Evening's four returning series are not struggling in the ratings.  Rather, they are belting out the average bear performances not worthy of cancellation threats but rather disappointing performances.  FOX's Star takes 3rd for the 9:00 showing and is tied for 2nd Place with ABC at 9:30.  It retains 74% of Empire's rich read, a success story for FOX considering controversial show-runner Charles Pratt, Jr. stepped down after season 1.  It matches fellow sophomore competition from American Housewife in both ratings and AH's retention of Modern Family.  Both shows feature stellar writing and delivery and are shows deserving of higher ratings.  ABC's Speechless is also hitting disappointing lows, losing 19% of The Goldbergs' lead-in with a 1.3 and failing to capitalize on Modern Family's rich 1.9 development bed.  Trailing at 10:00 with the evening's lowest-rated showing is Designated Survivor.  A pity, as this show has improved retention in a difficult timeslot for the network.  All shows listed do not classify as disappointing, but rather dormant for potential in Nielsens.

Networks Played it Safe With Scheduling

The daily ratings are showing rise and falls from extreme ratings (translation: shows reahing heights above the 2.0 mark).  Mondays feature NBC's veteran Reality Platform The Voice, CBS' nerd-powered The Big Bang Theory and ABC's Freshman sensation The Good Doctor all delivering high octane ratings between 2.2-3.2.  TBBT soared to a 4.1 in its opening evening, then dropped starkly to a 3.2.  The Voice and TGD remained stable and are garnering media buzz.  NBC continued to reign over Tuesdays with The Voice delivering repeat success, and This is Us hitting a series high at 3.9.  That buzz dropped to a 3.1 this week, and The Voice retains.  And Thursday, September 28 featured 14th Season Veteran Grey's Anatomy shocking ABC with a double 2.3 helping followed by Will and Grace's revival turning back the Nielsen clock with a phenomenal 3.0 rating.

These three referenced evenings have all been risk-taking evenings for ABC, CBS and NBC with varied results.  NBC and ABC will showcase the results of their past risks this evening, albeit they have held their share of failures.  Grey's was feared in harm's way when it was moved to then-cursed 8:00, and has since rebounded to glory.  NBC has been forced to shake it up this evening as well after 5 seasons of disappointment and may have found the right ingredient to reclaim Must See TV.  Wednesdays have not exhibited this level of risk since ABC frosted its mediocre sitcom block with hits in 2014 and FOX formed a new Empire in 2015.  CBS and NBC took a backseat with stable performers, and CW played in the cellar.  The risk-taking days on Wednesdays have since ceased in the wake of sensational ratings from Empire and the ABC comedy block.  This season will hold nicely and may be due for an update next fall.

Are Wednesdays are Doing OK?

Evidence points to a solid, risk-free evening with few casualties for the 2017-18 season.  Few to none of the series seem to present the risk of cancellation, but rather being sent to the farm.  Other evenings' farms, that is.  CBS may choose to move aging Criminal Minds to another evening.  ABC's Speechless and Designated Survivor may land in other locales to open the rich soils for the next era's winners.  And NBC may choose to move The Blacklist again if 8:00 is needed.  Though this is a problematic timeslot for the successful peacock.  Viewers can enjoy a stable season free of interruptions, as it appears their favorites are not going anywhere.

Networks should not fret, as Wednesdays still do circles around questionable Fridays and dismal Sundays.

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