2020-21 Season To Date Ratings (9/21-2/5): Surprise! The Masked Singer Is the #1 Non-Sports Program

 In recent weeks, all scripted programming was combined together in a modest list.  Given the loss of the revered TV By The Numbers site, TVRG decided to help the readers interested in what is left of Nielsen Ratings and track all programming minus special events.  Outside the Top 4 helpings of NFL, it is no surprise FOX's The Masked Singer leads the non-sports programming.  It has lost much of its electricity of its heyday with Ana Gasteyer powering up as the iconic Tree 2 years ago, but nonetheless maintains landmark ratings.  FOX rests cushy in the lineup upto the Superbowl.  The trouble is most of the averages shown below are inflated by NFL (with the series squatting in 7th, 21st and 35th places all destined to deflate over the next 3 months).

NBC currently ranks in 2nd despite securing the strongest coverage of NFL.  The network still chugs along strong, though it lost its 8-year stranglehold over 1st place as This Is Us is frail and aging.  CBS is sure to enjoy the halo of housing Superbowl LX, though its windfall will be short-lived against a tired boiler-plate of outdated procedurals.   It may actually come to the grips of often-4th place ABC, which held its ground with gameshows and surprisingly-sturdy veteran reality TV franchises in The Bachelor(ette) and Dancing With the Stars.

The upcoming week will expand the roster with The Equalizer surely making a larger-than-life debut after the coveted post-Superbowl timeslot, the final seasonal debut of CW's Black Lightning and the Thursday premiere of CBS' Clarice.  

For those who have visited the site's 1950-2020 Ratings History Index (check this series out HERE), all 70 entries profile what is Trending Hot, Trending Tepid, and Trending Cold.  As TVRG is planning on updating this article weekly (unless the author gets spacy, intoxicated or has a busy life), the articles will profile 3 items per week in the articles, followed by an overall analysis when the final seasonal ratings come out in May.  For everything profiled up to February 5:

Trending Hot

1. ABC Reality Shows and Gameshows delivered, surprisingly strong.  And the lack of scripted shows gave ABC a welcome alternative as they have a lack of NFL the last 15 seasons.  With the bleakness of the pandemic, a polished and aesthetically pleasing Bachelor(ette) franchise, an updated Dancing With the Stars and revivals of gameshows like To Tell The Truth give viewers some needed escapism.  let's just forget about Bachelor in Paradise, aka Bachelor Whorehouse which cheapens the escape.

2. NBC Wednesdays allow travel-restricted viewers to gain fantasy travels to... Chicago.  Med, Fire and PD profile the civic services at their finest (and all currently ranked between 16th-25th places).  Imagine if NBC grows desperate and decides to colonize Sundays as Chicago Vice to Nice.  Imagine: Chicago Tavern Crawl, Chicago Brothel, followed by Chicago Christian after washing down the temptations.

3. Updated sitcoms are a rarity, and surprisingly CBS has delivered what will likely be the top-two candidates with The Neighborhood and Young Sheldon.  And irony is neither are groundbreaking as Young Sheldon is a prequel of The Big Bang Theory and The Neighborhood's white/black culture clash feels as relevant as the 1970's clashes on All in the Family.

Trending Tepid

1. Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist rests at 80th of the 125 shows on air.  What it lacks in ratings, it makes up with energy, online exposure and an appealing cast and setting.  Perhaps NBC shall show the same appreciation, or at the least allow it to continue on Peacock?

2. CW would have been extinct had they followed the conventions of Nielsen ratings.  Instead, they moved their hen's stock to online streaming to expand interests.  It made the renew/cancel predictions rather dull for the TV ratings community, and yet established the bedrock for excited fans to commit to shows likely to return with the network's generous renewals.

3. FOX's Animation Domination is a shell of its former self and hardly rates in its 2000's heyday.  However, FOX demonstrated vested interest by expanding the compressed lineup beyond 8:00.  While the 7:30 timeslot is likely a grave dug for Bless The Harts (Tied for 58th Place of the 125 shows, for now), at least nostalgia-seeking fans can enjoy 5 animated shows vs. 4.

Trending Cold

1. Kept up on the Wednesday sitcom ratings for ABC?  The only laughs left are the ratings.  Saddening as The Goldbergs used to command with cynicism, American Housewife used to fill a full form of a full season, The Conners used to be the highest-ranked sitcom, and....  ABC used to be able to create one new series a season which survived.

2. Does anyone remember the golden days/girls where Saturday nights populated exciting programming?  A relic of the 20th century, much like the bustling factory towns in southwest Detroit.  Now, both exist as ghost towns to dispose of unwanted waste in hopes a bulldozer removes eyesores from sight.

3. It was not too long ago a show scheduled at 10pm could generate a hit.  The 2020-21 season only has aging Chicago PD to do this on Wednesday nights.  The last series to create this friction late in the evening all rested on ABC from 2012-18 with Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, followed by the brief and fleeting success of The Good Doctor.

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