2017-18 Week 20 Sitcom Scorecard -- Sitcoms Shudder for 18 Days of Olympics

Written Wondering What is Next by Bridger Cunningham.

Should TVRG dare title this ntry of the Sitcom Scorecard "The February Finale?"  Oh, wait.  Not only does that sound like a corny PR rep for a network, but the networks will resume original sitcoms starting February 26!  Until then, enjoy the last original entry until March 2. 
Monday, February 5 delivered a sturdy lineup for CBS.  Kevin Can Wait (1.3) ticked up a tenth, and Man With a Plan (1.1) and Superior Donuts (1.0) delivered a steady, welcome performance.  And of course, 9JKL (0.9) took its last laugh (from critics), finishing its 16-episode order with a 0.97. 
Tuesday, February 6 marked the last night of original sitcoms with all matching series lows.  On ABC, The Middle (1.2) dropped two tenths, Fresh Off The Boat (0.9) matched its last performance, as did Black-ish (1.0).  FOTB has four more episodes before its season is concluded and is a certain lock to finish in The Middle of the Pack classification.  On FOX, LA>Vegas (0.8) and The Mick (0.7) were even with their last entries.

20 weeks into the game, the dynamics have shifted since the season began.  NBC and CBS exhibited a windfall of growth on Thursdays, while both of ABC's comedy blocks plunged to 3rd place at the season's starts.  Like last year, FOX has exploited Football to help its Sunday laughers gain exposure, and has settled into 3rd Place by mid-season.  Following last year's trend as well, ABC returned to having the 2nd highest averages of sitcoms, and NBC is dead last. 
So what lies ahead for the rash of sitcoms which air from February 26 through mid-May?  CBS is working to market its latest sitcom, Living Biblically, which has critics assuming the worst before it even premieres.  Ratings forecasters are also making the same call, as this series rests in the 9:30 timeslot which has consumed 2 Broke Girls, The Great Indoors, Me, Myself & I and 9JKL all within a 10-month period.  Elsewhere, the remaining 7 entries have found their audiences and will retain most even during soft spring ratings. 
ABC, having endured a mediocre fall, is going for broke this March.  It shortened Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat to 18-19 episodes and shelved The Mayor.  In their places, Roseanne, Splitting Up Together and Alex, Inc will finish the season's remains.  Roseanne is forecasted for initial success, Alex, Inc is housed in ABC's prime development timeslot Wednesdays at 8:30, and Splitting Up Together has the deck stacked against as it sits in the cursed Tuesday 9:30 timeslot which swallowed The Real O'Neal's, Imaginary Mary and The Mayor whole within a similar 10-month period.  Elsewhere, it is business as usual for ABC sitcoms save for bidding The Middle farewell. 
FOX's roster will exhibit some gnarled numbers for the season's remains without Football, with only The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers and Family the only surefire bets for a return ticket.  New Girl bows out with an 8-episode season starting Tuesday, April 10, and Brooklyn 99 needs to return to the schedule, somewhere.  It appears B99 may be finished after a disastrous fall, and four shows remain on FOX's bubble with The Mick, Ghosted, Last Man on Earth and LA>Vegas all underperforming in their timeslots.  With FOX swiping Thursday night football from NBC and CBS, that limits shelf space which FOX may offer to its successful drama roster.  FOX better gain a plan fast, as it runs the risk of ruin next season otherwise. 
And NBC has gained mild success with Must-See-TV returning full form on Thursdays.  So far, Superstore, The Good Place and Will & Grace have anchored in three timeslots for a successful fall, and have a dreadful spring ahead with W&G bows out on April 5.  Champions is coming in March, and the underwhelming AP Bio is slated to return that month as well.  Trial & Error has yet to announce a premiere, leading to the conclusion Thursdays will be a mess this spring.

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