2017-18 Week 8 Sitcom Scorecard -- Several Status Changes and CBS' Lineup Endures Losses

Written Behind the 8 Ball by Bridger Cunningham

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Save for NBC still out cold and Bob's Burgers taking a Footballiday, ABC, CBS and FOX delivered full lineups with mixed results.  Sunday, November 12 delivered a healthy Football-inflated boost to the FOX roster, starting with the Simpsons delivering a hearty, third-highest sitcom showing of the week (1.9), up six-tenths from its last showing.  Ghosted spiked three-tenths (1.3), as did Family Guy (1.4), and Last Man on Earth spiked a modest tenth (0.9).

Monday, November 13 delivered mixed results for CBS' plagued lineup.  Kevin Can Wait spiked a tenth (1.3), while Man With a Plan made its Season 2 debut with tepid results (1.0), right in line with its May finale.  Superior Donuts dropped a tenth (0.9), and 9JKL held steady (0.8).  A silver lining for the oft-lampooned show is it received an additional 3 episode oder this week.  Tuesday, November 14 also delivered mixed results for ABC and FOX's comedy blocks.  The Middle ticked down a tenth (1.3), Fresh Off the Boat regained a tenth and returned to its favored rating (1.1), Blackish remained steady (1.1), and The Mayor sadly held steady (0.7).  And The Mick (0.7) and Brooklyn 99 (0.6) also held steady.

Wednesday, November 15 delivered mostly auspicious results for ABC, as the Goldbergs regained a tenth (1.5), Speechless remained steady (1.0), Modern Family regained two-tenths (1.7), and American Housewife ticked up a tenth (1.3).  Thursday, November 16 experienced an expected downtick for CBS' riding high roster as The Big Bang Theory lost two-tenths (2.6), as did Young Sheldon (2.0), and Mom (1.4) and Life in Pieces (1.1) each ticked down one tenth.

Now, the Question -- WHY?

Notice several changes in status featuring up and downgrades?  November has amassed enough seasonal history to mold and form a general blueprint for the 2018-19 season with clear necessities, winners, and shows which may be dispensed are easier to spot.  Let's take a peek at the noticeable changes in the table for winners and losers.

1. Why were so many shows upgraded to 100% renewal in recent weeks?

Currently, 8 contenders among this season's current 28 offerings sit at 100% Certain renewal, 5 more have already been called out as Renewed through 2019, and another is in its final season.  That leaves 13 shows which are instrumental for the upcoming season which are needed for scheduling.  Let's examine the evidence, from the top.  2nd Place Young Sheldon is as good as it gets (for now) for CBS, having yet to drop below the 2.0 benchmark.  7th Place Mom is another strong player so early in its 5th season, and 8th Place American Housewife received additional episodes.  Family Guy is holding FOX's Sunday 9:00 staple tight in its 16th season, The Good Place has performed above average for NBC in its limited episodes, and Black-ish also received additional episodes and is performing decently against stiff competition.  Life in Pieces needs one more season to get to syndication, and Superstore and Fresh Off the Boat are within inches of said benchmark and are a necessity due to scheduling.

2. Why did Speechless and Brooklyn 99 get downgraded?

Speechless has experienced mysterious drops in its sophomore year despite plum scheduling juxtaposed to Goldbergs and Modern Family.  And this week, it failed to regain lost ground when all of its neighbors pushed upward.  This show is weakened and will at the least be moved next season.  Earning a 1.0 in fall when neighbors are registering 1.5 and 1.7 demonstrates a problematic performance.  As for Brooklyn 99, it has hovered at 0.6 and well past syndication.  It is the first entrance into the chart's Abyss classification and will likely be cut when space is needed.

3. Why isn't Kevin Can Wait already upgraded to a 100% surefire renewal?

This week featured KCW experiencing a welcome uptick, but this season's ratings have been disappointing at best.  CBS will need it if they opt to have 2 or 4 comedies next fall, and more episode performance needs to be demonstrated.  However, it did receive a nice upward bump to 90%.

4. Why did The Good Place get bumped to 100% renewal during its hiatus?

NBC announcing it will opt out of sitcoms after This is Us finishes the season demonstrated The Good Place has performed decently for the network's sitcom block.  Its 13 episode format fits into NBC's welcome update and will be needed if they hold the same strategy next fall.

5. Why are Ghosted and The Mick still sitting at 70% renewal?

The Mick was upgraded to a 70% renewal despite ranking near the bottom as its episode order was increased to 20.  If FOX decides to continue a non-Sunday comedy block, The Mick makes a great contender.  And Ghosted has a shorter season called out and has delivered moderate ratings for its location, mildly upgrading the timeslot from last year's Son of Zorn.  Its limited episode run may be an ideal bridge for network scheduling next fall.

6. Why is Great News still at 55%?

Like question 4, NBC's announcement this week demonstrated a need for having as many players on deck as possible.  Great News has underwhelmed for its plum timeslot, but AP Bio and Champions have yet to debut.  Great News still has time to demonstrate its renewal value.

7. Why hasn't 9JKL been downgraded again?

This Monday failure has been the butt of several jokes, but it did receive additional episodes.  If it dips to 0.7 or lower, that may change.  But only By The Book is sitting on CBS' bench, and its performance has yet to be seen.

8. Why are Bob's Burgers and Last Man on Earth still 80%?

Both Sunday shows are competing for renewal, and are also in less than ideal timeslots.  The 8:00-9:30 timeslots are prime, and the book ends endure the brunt of poor ratings.  Signs of renewal look promising, but winter performance will show their true contribution once Football blackens its scoreboard.

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