Scorecard: All Scripted Series, September 22, 2020-January 11, 2021: Blackish Hangs On Despite Tepid Ratings

Each week, TVRG evaluates scripted sitcoms and dramas stacked against each other in a Sitcom Scorecard and Drama Scorecard.  Now each month, all will be stacked together to show how the networks' scripted series will be evaluated as a whole for the 2020-21 to compare trends.  31 dramas and 20 sitcoms have made their way into circulation, and several more are slated to debut due to delays from the pandemic throwing a wrench into production.  Dramas have always outnumbered the sitcoms, even during the heyday of canned laughter in the mid-1990's.  2020-21 demonstrates sitcoms are lower in priority and less lucrative on the broadcast networks.  Only two crack the top 10, both inflated and boosted by NFL on Sundays.  

Every season, The Simpsons has fumbled one week, then soared the next due to football runoff.  The scorecards often showcased it soaring into 1st or 2nd place, then descending to right around where The Goldbergs rests around 5th or 6th places.  Due to the loss of former heavy-hitters The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, it appears only CBS' Young Sheldon may outrate it.  On the drama front, the noticeable change is former megahit This Is Us is hemorrhaging viewers as it ages in its 5th season, inches away from Grey's Anatomy's 17th season.  Both shows are indeed aging and old, but the difference lies in Grey's has hit several funks over its lengthy run and reinvented itself to deliver strong ratings.

Another noticeable windfall lies in NBC's Wednesday Chicago-verse which Chicago Med, Chicago PD and Chicago Fire are knocking it out of the park with ratings deeming them the megahits of the 2020-21 season.  Standing apart, these shows rated above average until NBC wisely scheduled them back to back on Wednesdays.  Aside from FOX' reality TV megahit The Masked Singer, nothing outrates them on Wednesdays with ABC's former heavyweight comedy block eroding with aging sitcoms.

Without Reality TV and sports inflating their ratings, NBC and ABC currently rule the schedule.  The upcoming weeks will add 9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lonestar, Prodigal Son and The Resident to FOX' roster, potentially pushing FOX further up the averages.  Also omitted from the data are second-hand imports broadcast networks relied on to fill the schedule of several original pilots which never produced due to the pandemic scrapping their production.  With the exception of ABC who never aired other networks' hand-me-downs, the numbers will sink a little further at the end of the season for scripted shows.  These series, several of which are favorable critically, have their renewals determined elsewhere and are not included in the table.

The season's current average is 0.553, placing all shows rating below in the 30th-51st Place range.  Among those 22 places, 3 are currently in their final season (called before the networks could cancel them due to poor performance).  3 have been cancelled, another 4 air on Fridays (a less-lucrative evening for broadcast networks) and have room for lower ratings, and another 2 air on CW which predictably rates lower season after season.  That leaves 11 series to watch closely as they remain subject to cancellation.

CBS holds 6 series among the 11 shows mentioned, with All Rise and SWAT On the Bubble (with 50/50 odds), and failing sitcom The Unicorn in Likely Cancellation.  All Rise is floundering in a solid Monday 9:00 timeslot, SWAT delivered dreadful numbers and is being trounced by Chicago PD, and The Unicorn is one of the weakest sitcoms on the schedule save for NBC's cancelled Connecting...  ABC currently schedules 3 shows in this target range, the strongest of which is critically-lauded Blackish struggling in its 7th season.  The odds are in better favor of Blackish, which is being used a a launchpad for lucrative spinoffs.  The Rookie remains marketable due to Nathan Fillion starring and it plugs the hole in an undesirable Sunday 10:00 timeslot, leaving struggling sophomore For Life most likely to end when scheduling space is needed.  

And NBC's two entries in this range, sophomore Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and aging The Blacklist, remain NBC's two lowest entries.  Zoey's is indeed lower-rated, but has garnered enough critical acclaim and has several options for timeslots on the schedule.  The same cannot be stated for Blacklist, now in its 8th season and delivering little ratings power to the lineup.

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