Sitcom Scorecard: November 1-5, 2020

This tumultuous week, littered with too much politics, also changed the ranks and politics of the sitcoms.  CBS, once the driving force at the top of the sitcom board, returned to underwhelming fanfare.  Young Sheldon, the previous season's 2nd highest sitcom which never scraped below a 1.0, returned hemorrhaging over 25% of its viewers with a withered 0.7 rating.  It's freshman leadout, B-Positive, registered a respectable 0.6, the same rating for a returning Mom, which too shed 25% of its prior season's debut despite a well-constructed episode following the exit of Anna Faris.  CBS now rests in 3rd place in sitcom averages, a far-fall from prior seasons when mammoth Big Bang Theory ratings pushed the Tiffany Network to the top.

Speaking of changes in network placement, get ready for an ongoing seesaw of FOX and ABC vying for 1st place.  Thanks to healthy doses of Football Inflation, FOX pushed back and gained an entire tenth with an inflated Simpsons (1.7), Bless The Harts (0.8), Bob's Burgers (0.8) and Family Guy (0.7) registering larger numbers on November 1.  ABC's Wednesday Comedy Block experienced some shuffles as The Goldbergs (0.8) experienced an uptick, American Housewife (0.6) held sturdy, prior heavyweight The Conners (0.7) eroded further, and Blackish (0.5) also experienced a drop to a low before the finals rounded up their final ratings.

After pulling the modem on low-bandwidth Connecting (read about that HERE), Superstore ticked down to a 0.5, tying its series low on November 5.  NBC continues to rest at the bottom of the sitcom ranks.

With 13 sitcoms now registered with new shows in the 2020-21 season, dynamics are changing, a 0.8 is now a healthy sitcom and some obvious factors are present.  The Conners and Young Sheldon's tumbles are most alarming as both were the prior season's heavyweights.  If the Conners keeps sliding, The Goldbergs stands poised to assume the crown as ABC's strongest sitcom.  The problem is The Goldbergs is aging, tired and outsourced, hardly what the network needs to update and maintain its sagging sitcom block.  The jury is still out for Young Sheldon, though it demonstrates Chuck Lorre's sitcoms no longer hold the guaranteed success CBS has rode since Two and a Half Men debuted in 2003.  If Mom ends its run in 2021, would CBS shutter up the 9:00 hour for sitcoms and revert back to another run of the mill procedural?

COVID-19 indeed left little growth for freshman sitcoms, but the trouble lies in the networks have been going bland for the last three seasons in their offerings.  The genre on broadcast network is tired and needs new life.  ABC's overplayed crazy mother, dopey father and a house full of kids has now been their overdone recipe since the breakout success of Modern Family in 2009.  CBS may offer more variety with hangout, workplace and family sitcoms, but nothing can touch the freshness The Big Bang Theory brought in the early 2010's.  FOX's animation block is aged (and a couple occupants past their expiration date), and it appears they are leaning toward phasing out live action sitcoms once Last Man Standing ends in 2021 (read about that HERE).  And poor NBC has delivered A+ variety of too many sitcoms to name which cannot connect with viewers.

Another glaring fact which is highlighting interests is shows which are tackling 2020's issues seem to be alienating viewers.  The Conners has kept their gloves off of the political issues but showcased the pandemic struggles of the working class. While brilliantly written, perhaps it hits too close to home for viewers who want the generic laughs offered by The Goldbergs and American Housewife.  And critical juggernaut Blackish took on the protesting issues this week, experiencing a sharp drop from two sturdy entries.  Could The Neighborhood return to CBS and experience the same drop while addressing the same issues?  Heaven forbid another sitcom decides to pick up and address the never-ending election this month and more shows take drops from viewers who have had enough of seeing this on their screens and just want an escape.

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