SUPERSTORE: Every Episode, Every Rating

Superstore is now NBC's leader in its tattered Must-See-TV Thursday block, and like many great shows such as Family Ties and Seinfeld, it took a couple seasons to establish its rightful place on the schedule.  The clever, sophisticated sitcom centers on the staff and patrons of superstore Cloud 9 (Walmart anybody?).  Its plotting has remained consistent, and it depicts the working class without the trashy stereotypes or crass humor.  NBC did the proper job promoting and patiently developing the series, which reflects in the table below.

Please note Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a returning show, so this table only holds data up through the 2019-20 television season.  To see how Brooklyn Nine-Nine rated year to year against its competition, cruise through TVRG's Ratings History database as it has television data from 1950 through the present!

Must-See-TV was NBC's go-to from 1981-2014, displaying a rich, sophisticated variety of programming mostly catering to the upscale 18-49 covered ratings demographic.  Due to the network's 2000's decline as well as losing favorites like Will & Grace, Frasier, Friends and Seinfeld, ratings for the block struggled post-2006 with only modest hits like The Office succeeding.  After a disastrous 2013-14 season and two failed sitcoms the following fall, NBC scrapped the block and switched to drama and reality TV.  Must-See-TV's failure was irony, as NBC finally returned to reigning in 1st place only a few short seasons before with The Voice and sports succeeding.

NBC's innovative, developing mindset began showcasing new series after its strongest show on Monday, the Voice.  Results were mixed, and in the fall of 2015, Superstore and Eva Longoria marqueed Telenovela entered the arena.  Superstore performed modestly while Telenovela struggled, losing a third of Superstore.  Both series were given 11 episode orders, and only Superstore was given a return invitation.  It appeared Superstore was a high risk to become another two-season post-Voice failure, but NBC strongly desired to re-establish its comedy block and used Superstore as its crutch.  Giving it a special post-Olympics bump (see the green mark on the table above in Season 2), a new set of viewers followed Superstore back to the 8:00 hour on Thursdays as they gradually rebuilt their comedy block.  The show paired well with The Good Place in the fall but struggled paired with failing Powerless in the spring.

NBC had larger plans in store as it wanted to reclaim Thursday nights and caught the revival trend, resurrecting Will & Grace 11 seasons after it ended.  Will & Grace returned to a blockbuster debut, as evident by Superstore's brief renaissance in season 3 (to read about Will & Grace's ratings for every episode of the revival, click HERE).  Superstore thrived having ultra-compatible company with The Good Place and Will & Grace, but always faltered in the spring when new pilots took their place.  The same pattern repeated in Season 4, except Superstore maintained and often grew as its neighbors declined.  Season 4 had 12 of its 22 episodes strike the season high, demonstrating its rightful place as NBC's leading comedy after Will & Grace fell to shreds in the ratings.  Season 5 repeated a similar sentiment with three dud pilots bombing on the lineup and Will & Grace continuing to erode.  But Brooklyn 99 being paired next door, as well as the COVID-19 outbreak leaving more viewers homebound sparked a brief uptick.

Superstore is returning for Season 6 next year, and hopefully to rich and deserving ratings.



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