2021-22 Season-To-Date Report (9/1-10/3): Law & Order Emerges as The Strongest Franchise Among Scripted Shows

 3 seasons back, a noticeable trend emerged with scripted programming fading in power while Reality TV and Sports continued to deliver strong.  All have lost ground in the 18-49 Adult Demographic Nielsen race, but scripted shows experienced noticeably sharper drops.  Last season, 9-1-1, Grey's Anatomy, Station 19, NCIS, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Organized Crime, The Simpsons, This is Us, Chicago PD, Chicago Med and Chicago Fire all managed to break the 1.0 benchmark in season.  In 2021-22 season, only a NFL-Inflated The Simpsons broke that metric with a 1.18 rating, and the remainder of the mentions only reached to 0.87.  

Out of this alarming reality, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has experienced a resurgence in its 23rd season due to writing updates.  For a number of seasons, SVU was middling at best, often experiencing the question if NBC was going to retire it.  Its ratings are up 20% over the prior season, even eclipsing the prior NBC heavyweight Chicago franchise.  The ratings will never recover to their former glory but beam a light that scripted programming will prevail for some time.

Outside of scripted programming, The Masked Singer, The Voice and Survivor continue to deliver as heavyweights while Dancing With The Stars remains above average.  Network performance wise, NBC stands strongest and likely to take 1st place.  FOX has lost some push but also deliver strong, and CBS' comfort food delivers at the benchmark.  Trailing in the pack is ABC whose former Thursday heavyweights are middling, and dramas and outdated sitcom blocks are weighing down the ratings.  

The Rules of Renewal and Shows Displayed in Scorecards

Many reading this series of article have questions over what gets registered in this table, what gets overlooked and what timeline is respected.  And even some questions over what all these colors and labels represent.  Take a peak below and see how this table is managed, and what to look out for with future article:

1. The timeline is defined as September 1, 2021 the 2021-22 season is declared.  Though the networks stick to outdated practices and often begin the second to last week of September to unveil "in-season" programming, recent practices have evolved to year-round programming similar to CW's pioneering update.  The Sitcom and Drama Scorecards will indeed track programming from September 21, 2021 onward, but the Season to Date Report includes valuable players in the Reality TV world who deliver a jumpstart weeks before that date, so this report adheres to September 1.

2. For a show to make it into this table, it needs to deliver 2+ episodes to register.  Otherwise, it is classified as special programming.  Superbowl, Award Shows and singular episodes outside the committed schedule classify here, and will be omitted from programming.

3. Renew and Cancel odds are not calculated until 2+ episodes have aired, thus why so many shows in the chart above feature a purple TBD (To-Be-Decided) labels.  Their fate has already been announced prior to the season's launch (either as "Renewed," "Final Season," "Limited Series," "Outsourced" or "Network Move"), shows need 2+ episodes to air before renewals chances are predicted.

4. Network color codes (in neutral colors) are in unison as follows: ABC = Green, CBS is Red/Orange, CW = Purple, FOX = Yellow and NBC = Blue.

5. Renewal labels featuring a white font are already determined.  They are defined as RENEWED (shows returning for the 2022-23 season), CANCELLED (not returning for the next season and cancelled mid-run), FINAL SEASON (Not returning next year, but declared a final season prior to the show's launch) LIMITED SERIES (programming decided to be a one-season affair with no anticipated second season), OUTSOURCED (programming licensed elsewhere and airing 2nd-hand with another entity determining if renewed or cancelled), or NETWORK MOVE (determined to be leaving broadcast networks and resuming away from their original platform).

6. Renewal labels featuring a black font ar shows continuing to deliver new programming and have not had their renewal fate determined.

7. Programming featuring red font has already concluded.  If their fate has been determined, a label with white font will be displayed.

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