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

Tuesday, November 20

The Conners - "Miracles" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Life-changing news lands in the Conner household when a member of the family makes an announcement that no one saw coming. Meanwhile, Dan is suspicious that Becky isn’t sticking to her end of the deal when it comes to her drinking. Darlene continues her job search, and Jackie offers English lessons to a Casita Bonita busboy in need.

The Kids Are Alright - "Boxing" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Frank announces that he has decided to compete in the church boxing tournament, making it obvious that he’s playing for Mike’s affections. When Frank can’t cut it, Timmy steps in and takes up boxing in order to bond with his dad and get his approval. Ultimately, he has to choose between his dad’s dreams for him and his own dreams of showbiz glory. Elsewhere, feeling rusty after being at the seminary for so long, Lawrence asks Eddie to help prepare him for a date by taking him on a “practice date”.

black-ish - "Good Grief" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bow’s mom, Alicia, visits the family for the first time since the loss of Bow’s dad, and she is still heavily grieving. Bow decides to throw a big luau-themed party for what would have been her dad’s next birthday. Meanwhile, Mason has an extra ticket to an MMA fight and invites Diane on the same night as the party.

Splitting Up Together - "Yes, Deer" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Vlad, the new contractor for the house, arrives with his crew and Lena immediately begins to clash with him over his methods of repairing the house. Martin, on the other hand, feels that Lena should let them do what they were hired to do. After overhearing that she’s too uptight, Lena calls up an old friend to help her let out her frustrations. Elsewhere, Martin takes Mason camping to help him get over his breakup with Hazel and to teach him how to be a man, only to learn from him that it is okay to express his emotions.

The Guest Book - "Invisible Son" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Clem asks a stripper to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to convince his vacationing family that he is normal; once they get to Barefeet Retreat, it is discovered that Clem's fake girlfriend isn't the only thing he's been lying about.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 19)

Tuesday, November 20

  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Catch Michael on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method) - Michael visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Judy Greer (Kidding/Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place) - D'Arcy stops by E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) - Candice chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti talks about Christmas Everlasting on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan (check your listings) and on People Now at 12pm.
  • Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) - Mario stops by The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Second Generation Wayans) - Tatyana talks about Christmas Everlasting on People Now at 12pm.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tisha and Tichina talk about BET Presents: 2018 Soul Train Awards on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm. They also talk about The Neighborhood on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
  • Alicia Witt (Cybill) and Colin Ferguson (Then Came You) - Alicia and Colin talk about their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest