2017-18 Week 31 Sitcom Scorecard -- Speak Easy and Carry a Big Rating

Written in Spiritual Form by Bridger Cunningham

ABC all but took the week off to allow failing sitcom Alex, Inc to die awash in a sea of reruns, as well as CBS giving their three surviving Monday sitcoms the night off.  This left a scant 16 helpings to kick off May sweeps.  Sunday, April 22 left FOX's sitcoms observing Earth Day and sparing ratings above the 1.0 mark.  Bob's Burgers (0.8) and The Simpsons (0.9) reduced their carbon footprint by a tenth as Brooklyn 99 (0.8), Family Guy (0.9) and Last Man on Earth (0.6) reused last week's ratings.  CBS took Monday off after planning on burning off Living Biblically, rather shipping it off to Camp Fractional Lake early.  Kii kiii haaa haaa....

ABC gave its Tuesday helpings April 24 off, leaving FOX with its scant two fractional lessons.  LA>Vegas (0.7) inched up a tenth as New Girl (0.6) held steady.  Wednesday, April 25 was a tell as ABC squashed Alex Inc into two helpings in the half-hour slots, forecasting the next casualty on ABC's chopping block.

Thursday, April 26 delivered harsh blows for both networks.  CBS' The Big Bang Theory (2.0) marked a season low after dropping four tenths, while Young Sheldon (1.8) tied its series low.  Mom (1.3) held steady, as Life in Pieces (1.0) dropped a tenth.  Over at NBC, Superstore (0.7) and AP Bio (0.5) also met new lows, as Champions (0.4) remained steady and low.

Curious about what the hell to watch next week?  It appears 25 original helpings of sitcoms are available to watch.  Check out http://www.ontvtonight.com/guide/ to see what the networks have scheduled for viewers to enjoy or if they will be loading viewers full of repeats.

10 Sitcoms In The Renewal Speak Easy
Inside "The Renewal" speak easy lies four tables with ample room.  Poised at the largest ABC table resides The Goldbergs and Modern Family, who earned their pass last season, and Roseanne, who earned her pass after one episode lifted her sagging network into a tie for 3rd Place.  4-5 more seats remain, albeit shows such as Fresh Off The Boat or Speechless may have to sit on Roseanne's lap.
Next door at the equally large CBS table rests The Big Bang Theory, who also earned their renewal last season.  They were joined by fresh and impressive newbie Young Sheldon last fall, and veteran Mom rounded out the Chuck Lorre trio on a table which seats 6.  Man With a Plan or Superior Donuts may have to stand and wait for a timeslot on one of CBS' two evenings. 
On a smaller table of four rests the NBC entries.  Will & Grace not only earned an entry into the elite establishment through 2019 before premiering, but also an entry for the 2019-20 season during the current.  The next entry was sturdy The Good Place, followed by schedule straddling Superstore.  Two shows may enter the establishment, and given W&G and TGP only use their seats 13-17 episodes a season, may present future vacancies. 
 FOX currently holds a table large enough to handle 5-6 sitcoms fit for Sunday, and may pull up a table to expand for another evening.  The lone sitcom arrogantly stationed on this table is The Simpsons, who were granted multiple return entries to "The Renewal" seasons ago (though they haven't deserved it in some time).  All are pleased to be served by Hector Elizondo in character of his Last Man Standing persona, as he reminds the folks "Be glad you have earned your entries early.  As the bouncer has a right-winged chip on his shoulder..."
2 Sitcoms Exit the Speak Easy
After 7 and 9 seasons of enjoying spirits, The Middle and New Girl bowed out and left the establishment of their own free volition.  Enjoy their final drinks of laughter in the upcoming weeks. 
21 Sitcoms Eager to Gain Entry
So many sitcoms, so few spaces at the four network table.  All are shocked to find Tim Allen in his Mike Baxter persona guarding the door.  "Hey, aren't you Tim the Tool Man Taylor?" cracked 9JKL.  "Nope, like your show, he went out of style with the 90's.  Moving on, would everyone please flash your cards?"  The sitcoms all displayed varying numbers from -5 to 100.  "Alright, We go from oldest to first, meaning the 100's file to the front." Mike stated.  "Like your show used to be." Sniped Ghosted.  "And likely how your show were to rate if it touched ground in Spring.  Alright let's file to the front by that number and the highest second number.
100% -- Certain Renewal.

Mike Baxter first called American Housewife, which enjoyed an impressive 2nd season in 11th Place.  "Your show underwhelmed on Wednesdays behind Modern Family.  But guess what?  So did the rest of that lineup!  Your key word is 'Sturdy.'  Not a weight play, but your ability to avoid doing fractions for an entire season."  Next in line, Mike Baxter called on Black-ish.  "Your show also underwhelmed on Tuesdays, and your orange hate is so 2017."  At this moment, the Speak Easy door blasted open, with Roseanne berating her Tuesday neighbor.  "Your show couldn't even come within 2 points of my masterpiece, and you still insist on blaming 'him' for all your problems!"  Sniped Roseanne.  "Back off, ma'am.  We don't support hatred." piped Black-ish's Andre.  "My show had all races and sexual orientations years before your show made it trendy.  You know what the problem is with haters..."  Roseanne roared.

At that moment, Mike Baxter slammed the door shut.  "To think she supported that pantsuit in the 90's.  Time to leave politics out of renewals.  Anyway, your show is well received by critics and is portable.  Your word of entry is 'Acclaim.'  Keep it handy as it it your card to play."  Skipping over Black-ish, Mike moved on the Kevin Can Wait.  "It seems your ratings had to wait in Spring, but you also hold the most weight on your schedule.  Your password is 'Weight.'  Keep it heavy in the fall."  Mike trolled down the line to veteran Family Guy.  "Again, your show is down this season.  But what else is FOX going to serve us?  Your magic word is 'Always.'  As in FOX always forgets to announce your renewal till later yet needs you."  Life in Pieces flashed their card.  "You enjoyed a decent season on an improved Thursday." Pointed out Baxter.  "You may move, but CBS seems to like your kind as you do not force the laughs.  Keep the word 'Departure' handy.  Not as in you're departing the schedule, but departing a repetitive tone."

Mike moved down the line to the last two contenders.  "Bob's Burgers, you were oft thought to be the weakling on the schedule.  And yet you are improving this year and have a landmark achievement coming.  Hang on to the phrase 'Big Picture' as your movie debuts in 2019.  Well done.  And Fresh Off The Boat?  Your order was trimmed late as you are just there.  But guess what?  So many of your sitcom kind are today, so get to know the word 'Spackle.'  You are an ideal choice to fill the unwanted holes in 2018-19."

Likely Renewals

Mike Baxter called out the next three singletons who each ranked 70, 80 and 90 percent likely renewal.  First up was Man With a Plan.  "You seem like my kind of guy.  A middle aged man trying to make sense out of the world around us.  Why aren't you 100%?" Asked Mike.  "The network benched us, and we've delivered a few fractions." remarked Adam Burns.  "We think we're in, but if the network tries to cut comedies for dramas or Reality TV, we're kaput."  Mike countered "As much as I appreciate your realistic and responsible response, CBS has old legs to stand on with dramas.  Just check out Wisdom of the Crowd.  Your show does make a nice fit with Kevin Can Wait though.  Your password is 'Compatible.'

Next, Mike Baxter pointed to Splitting Up Together.  "It's a pity your show isn't batting 100%, but you are too new to hold that advanced honor and sit at 80%.  The 4 outings you have had though have rated impressively considering your show sits on a manhole for ABC's Tuesday night.  Your word to pass is "Improvement."  Mike looked at Superior Donuts, who was batting 70%.  "Your show delivered mediocre ratings last fall.  And yet springtime is here, and you're at that same bar you were last fall while others are sinking.  You will likely be benched next fall, but CBS would be foolish to ditch you now.  Your word is "'Yeast.'  Load up the donuts with it, and perhaps your ratings will see more outings above 1.0."

Blowing Bubbles

Five shows exist in the bubble range, all raking in the Anemic Classification in the chart, four of which belong to FOX.  Mike Baxter raised a football to these next five shows.  "You see this folks?  This is a symbol of American greatness which is threatening your shows.  For the FOX shows, this will be the symbol of your network acquiring Thursday Night Football outright and the dramas doing so well.  Why let a bunch of fractional jokes take the place of dramas doing well?  And as for AP Bio, your saving grace is so many shows did lousy this year and NBC has few options to fill their schedule.  Your password is 'Filler.'  As in NBC will only use you due to lack of options."

"Brooklyn 99, you were on death's doorstep in the fall and made impressive rebounds this spring.  Your show is getting old, and a full season run next year is unlikely.  Your password is 'New Girl.'  As in FOX may give you the New Girl treatment next year with a shortened season.  The Mick, your show has an impressive episode order, though your ratings pout like a welfare recipient.  Your pass is 'Crass.'  Last Man on Earth, you are losing steam.  You are losing ground rapidly, and could easily enjoy a final season.  Your passcode is 'Lousy,' as in you hold down a lousy timeslot.  Ghosted, you squandered a great development space and vaporized into thin air.  Your passcode is 'Prayer.'  We all know LA>Vegas needs one, as their passcode is 'Gas' as FOX will only use this show to refuel.  All of you five are likely to defend your titles next week."

Likely Cancelled

Four shows remained, awaiting their passwords.  Mike Baxter never bothered giving them passcodes, as they know they need to break into the Speak Easy to drink.  What will become of Alex Inc, 9JKL, Great News and Champions?

3 Sitcoms Nowhere to Be Found
Me, Myself & I disappeared from sight on October 30.  The Mayor last aired in December and was impeached on January 4.  And CBS used Living Biblically's favorite vice to spank it off the schedule on April 19.  All appear to be casualties of the season, though none have been officially declared dead/cancelled by their networks.
What is Next?

Week 32's Passage of The Sitcom Scorecard explores the annual "Between Heaven and Hell" theme, featuring 24 sitcoms pleading their cases for renewal.  Stay tuned as the sitcoms take a dramatic turn in their fight for renewal.

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