Friday, November 09, 2018

Fri-Yay: When Is It Time to Stop Looking at Live Ratings?; NBC Sets and Shifts January 2019 Lineup

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

ABC, NBC, The CW, Fox and CBS

by Vincent

This fall has been disastrous for network TV ratings. Huge, giant sitcoms like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory are down to all-time low numbers. Veteran hits like The Goldbergs and Superstore are at levels well below even just last season. And while there have been new sitcoms such as The Neighborhood and The Kids Are Alright to do fairly well, their numbers would've been deemed cancel-worthy just a few seasons ago. Not to mention shows like Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless, moved to Friday nights only to see almost their entire live audience abandon them. It's been a grim fall for sitcoms on network TV, even ones generally doing well, at least if your name isn't The Conners. And yet, when everything is so low, one has to ask...is it time to stop looking at live ratings as a measure for success?

There's no doubt that the live, overnight ratings (the ones that are still highly publicized) are still key to networks. These ratings are the best measures we have of how many people are watching the advertisements that make these shows profitable and keep networks in business. And yet...how many people do you know in the year 2018 that actually make it a priority to watch shows live? Probably a lot less than in 2008, or even just 5 years ago. Every year, more people turn to DVR and streaming, to the point where DVR and streaming numbers are double and triple what people are watching live. It seems that networks are slowly figuring out how to make money off these methods too, particularly streaming. You look at a network like The CW - a network whose shows all have fairly tiny live viewership numbers - and see a network that is basically still profitable because it makes deals with Netflix to air its shows, likely because Netflix knows their shows attract audiences on streaming, particularly young audiences who are not watching shows live. That's how shows like iZombie or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - shows that very, very few people are watching live - manage to make multiple seasons. That would've been unthinkable ten years ago, but it's where things are heading.

Other networks are not quite at that level yet, but we're certainly getting close. Granted, we haven't progressed enough that we're free of high-profile cancellations - remember when Fox wiped out nearly its entire comedy slate last year? - but we're certainly getting to a point where networks are looking at other metrics to bring shows back. For example, there's no live ratings reason why CBS should've held onto Madam Secretary for as long as it has (it's consistently one of broadcast TV's lowest-rated shows in the key 18-49 demo) but syndication money keeps it profitable for CBS. It's also why we're nearly at the halfway point of November and we've yet to see a show cancelled - and this is the third year in a row where networks waited that long or nearly that long to cancel the first show of the season. (Previously, it was rare to make it through the first 2 weeks of the season without a show receiving the ax.) It's not all about live ratings anymore - it's about growing and building and audience. Live ratings aren't completely irrelevant (even if they're not cancelled yet, you can bet miserably-rated shows like I Feel Bad and The Alec Baldwin Show will not make it to the end of the 2018-2019 season) but we're finally at a place where they really no longer tell the whole story.


NBC

NBC is shifting the premiere of Dwayne Johnson's new athletic competition series The Titan Games to Thursday, Jan. 3 from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT. The series will air in its regular timeslot on Thursdays from 8-9 p.m. beginning Jan. 10. The move of The Titan Games to Thursday keeps NBC's highly successful all-Chicago Wednesday lineup intact. Brooklyn Nine-Nine will premiere Thursday, Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. and air weekly in that timeslot thru May 16. The Good Place will shift to 9:30 p.m. beginning Thursday, Jan. 10 and air in that timeslot through its season finale on Jan. 24. Will & Grace will move to 9:30 p.m. beginning Thursday, Jan. 31 and will air thru April 4. Superstore will be preempted before returning March 7 (thru May 16) when the 8-10 p.m. two-hour comedy block returns with all original programming.

I Feel Bad, which was always intended as a 13-episode season because a pair of upcoming comedies still need to be scheduled (Abby's, A.P. Bio), will conclude in December. A decision on its future will be determined at a later date. In the recent past, NBC has ordered 13-episode seasons for a handful of comedies, including The Good Place and A.P. Bio.




Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, March 22

Fresh Off the Boat - "Vice Mommy" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica starts her college classes, leaving Evan in charge at home as “vice mommy.” But the transition doesn’t go smoothly, either for her starting school again or with Evan taking over the reins of the Huang household. Eddie and Louis run into conflict when Eddie just wants his dad to treat him as an employee, and not a son, at Cattleman’s Ranch.

Speechless - "P-R-O-M-P--PROMPOSAL" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Outraged that JJ’s girlfriend, Izzy, declines his invitation to prom, Dylan and Ray swing for the fences with a bold plan to make her jealous. Jimmy, Kenneth and Melanie coach Maya through accepting criticism for the good of her company, and one of the DiMeos takes a big step into a new life.

Last Man Standing - "The Passion of Paul" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Rev. Paul calls on Mike to teach Sunday school, Mike calls on Kyle to take his place.

The Cool Kids - "Margaret Ups Her Game" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Margaret tries to date the hottest guy in Shady Meadows but can't seem to rid herself of Leonard.

Sydney to the Max - "You've Got Female" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sydney organizes a school protest for clubs to be more inclusive of women; young Max befriends a skater girl, but is conflicted because the Dog Boys don't allow girls in their crew.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 18)

Friday, March 22

  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends/Vinnie & Bobby) - Watch Matt on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Illana Glazer (Broad City) - Illana is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Pamela Adlon (Better Things/King of the Hill/The Facts of Life) - Pamela appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • J. K. Simmons (Growing Up Fisher/Family Tools) - J. K. is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Cobie Smulders (Friends from College/How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies) - Stephen is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing Houe/Gary Unmarried) - Keegan-Michael visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Piper Perabo (Turn Up Charlie) - Piper is tentatively scheduled to appear on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Casey Wilson (Black Monday/Marry Me/Happy Endings) - Casey talks about Black Monday on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Natalie Morales (Abby's/The Grinder/Trophy Wife/Parks and Recreation) - Natalie appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark talks about Knightfall on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • Tony Danza (Taxi/Who's the Boss?/Hudston Street/The Tony Danza Show) - Tony performs on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • Maddie Corman (Mr. President/All-American Girl) - Maddie talks about the play Accidentally Brave on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti will be on Steve, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February/March)

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
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