2017-18 Weeks 29-30 Sitcom Scorecard -- Low Ratings Lead to Stoned Stupid Sitcoms (Updated)

Written Baking Up Controversy by Bridger Cunningham

Blaze up, folks, 4/20 is upon us.  Springtime delivers icy ratings, and the sitcoms take to fire in an effort to heat up their sagging ratings.  And most left a plume of skunk fumes after blazing up over two dramatic weeks in April.

Sunday, April 8 found FOX's lineup baking up more fractional cookies as Bob's Burgers (0.8) got the munchies and gained a tenth, The Simpsons (0.9), Brooklyn 99 (0.8) and Family Guy (0.9) didn't get a contact hit and remained steady, and Last Man on Earth (0.7) baked up an extra tenth.  Monday, April 9 again found the CBS lineup scrambling for dirt pot as Kevin Can Wait (1.0) hashed out a new tenth, Man With a Plan (0.9) and Superior Donuts (0.8) remained steady and free of hits, and Living Biblically (0.6) delivered a new low of stoned stupidity.

ABC blazed up another fatty of Nielsens on Tuesday, April 10 as Roseanne (3.5) dropped four-tenths despite single-handedly winning the evening and taking the largest hit.  The Middle (1.9) dropped three-tenths while enjoying Roseanne's fumes as Black-ish (1.3) and Splitting Up Together (1.2) impressively managed to keep a ratings high being so distant from Roseanne.  FOX, however, couldn't grab a roach clip as LA>Vegas (0.7) held steady, and New Girl's 7th and final season premiere (0.7) dropped to a new low.

ABC grabbed the ratings apple and carved out the core for recreation on Wednesday, April 11 as The Goldbergs (1.3) lost a tenth/hit, Alex, Inc (0.9) failed to get the fumes of its neighbors and held steady along with Modern Family (1.4), and American Housewife (1.1) lost a hit and dropped a tenth.  CBS fired up the bong again on Thursday, April 12 with steady helpings of The Big Bang Theory (2.4) and Young Sheldon (1.9), the AA ladies taking an extra tenth hit on Mom (1.4), and Life in Pieces (1.1) took a bigger hit and grabbed two tenths.  Smoking on NBC, Superstore (0.9) made an extra tenth hit on the ratings pipe, AP Bio (0.6) held steady, and Champions (0.4) took a bad hit and reached the network low.  Athletes shouldn't do drugs.

Sunday, April 15 found a double helping of Brooklyn 99 (0.8, 0.7) arresting FOX for stupidity, busting Last Man On Earth (0.6) with a new low.  Bob's Burgers (0.9) and The Simpsons (1.0) managed to escape the rap by increasing an extra tenth.  Monday, April 16 found its CBS laughers scraping for dirt as Kevin Can Wait (0.9) and Man With a Plan (0.8) registered lows and Superior Donuts (0.8) and Living Biblically (0.6) held steady.  Oh, and CBS busted Living Biblically for stoned stupid ratings, spanking it off the schedule with its own bible.

ABC misused its Tuesday blunt of Nielsen glory on April 17, sadly on the evening Roseanne (3.4) finally found its plateau.  Instead of rewarding a promising sitcom with a hit, ABC gave Alex, Inc (1.3) an embarrassing puff, resulting in Black-ish (1.1) and Splitting Up Together (1.0) losing two-tenths of greatness.  FOX again found little to populate its clip as LA>Vegas (0.6) and New Girl (0.6) registered new lows.  And ABC left the rotten apples in the bushel and gave the hits a night off, save for Alex, Inc (0.6) delivered an embarrassing low for the network.

CBS again lit their surefire bong again on Thursday, April 19 with mostly steady results with The Big Bang Theory (2.4), Young Sheldon (1.9) and Mom (1.4) steady on course while Life in Pieces (1.0) lost a hit ... err tenth.  NBC again embarrassed itself as the only high it can get is jokes about another fractional evening.  Superstore (0.8) lost a tenth, while AP Bio (0.6) and Champions (0.4) delivered embarrassing lows.  Speaking of embarrassing lows, Champions busted the lowest sitcom performance record to date with a 0.55 average, as the previous record was 0.63.

Let's examine the pass and fail system of the 2017-18 season.  Thus far, 10 series are renewed well ahead of the upfront time, three series have been shown the door and an additional two already declared they were calling it quits before they debuted.  The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Simpsons, The Goldbergs and Will & Grace received renewals before their seasonal debuts.  Between December and April, more Thursday series (all predicted for certain renewals, nonetheless) earned the returning honors: The Good Place, newfound CBS hit Young Sheldon, Superstore, and finally Chuck Lorre masterpiece Mom.  Conversely, three freshman shows met their ends with the felling ax between 6-9 shows into their run.

The first to fall was Me, Myself & I, which tanked in CBS' Monday deathslot despite having TBBT bolstering the evening.  Seeing a show tying the (then) series low 0.7 so early into fall indicated a lack of growth, making the decision easy for CBS in November to allow Man With a Plan return to stronger results.  Next, ABC gave the hook to The Mayor after 9 episodes, opting for repeats in January after this promising sitcom suffered through ABC's Tuesday deathslot hovering at 0.7 in the winter.  The season remained quiet for over three months, allowing lackluster CBS freshman 9JKL to finish its 16-episode run, The Good Place and Great News bowed out in January, Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat bowed out underweight with 18-19 episodes in March, and Will and Grace hobbled out of the gates in early April.  Then, CBS tired of Living Biblically dragging down their schedule and used its bible to swat it off the schedule yesterday.

Between the first and last network cancellations, eight new/returning series entered the schedule.  LA>Vegas made a mediocre flight into FOX' Tuesday nights in January, AP Bio and Living Biblically made underwhelming February debuts, and Champions opened March with irony.  Flash forward to that month's end and surprising juggernaut Roseanne took Tuesdays by storm along with modest hit Splitting Up Together.  ABC's fortunes did not convey to Alex, Inc, which is tunneling new lows on Wednesdays.  Speaking of lows, New Girl returned to destitute numbers to finish its run off.

Among the class of 2017-18, who will pass and who will fail?  The 10 students ranked 70-percent or above are likely to earn a passing grade, while the four below 20% are likely out the door.  In limbo are the six students on the bubble, five of which are of a FOX brand.  the one entry in this league is NBC's AP Bio, which may survive due to a lack of options.  Among the FOX entries, they are fighting to survive premium real estate due to FOX acquiring Thursday Night Football for 11 weeks, cutting an already tight schedule rife with winning dramas and void of 10pm scheduling.  This means sitcoms will remain solely on Sundays, or FOX may likely move the survivors to Fridays.  Why would FOX allow The Mick to return to 0.6-0.7 numbers on Tuesdays when The Orville may easily score 0.8-0.9?  Upfronts are weeks away, so stay tuned as the carnage comes forth in upcoming weeks.

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