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

Thursday, February 25

Young Sheldon - "Crappy Frozen Ice Cream and an Organ Grinder's Monkey" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon and George Sr. dine with President Hagemeyer (Wendie Malick) and a university benefactor. Also, Georgie gives Missy some brotherly advice when Mary won’t let her go to the school dance, and Dale and June (Reba McEntire) convince Meemaw to attend their son’s wedding.

B Positive - "B Negative" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Drew and Gina start thinking about their futures after Jerry (David Anthony Higgins) gets a surprise call that he’s receiving a new kidney.

Mom - "Whip-Its and Emotionally Attuned Babies" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie has success creating a line of mocktails for Adam’s bar. Also, Jill finds herself attracted to Bonnie’s therapist, Trevor (Rainn Wilson).

The Unicorn - "In Memory Of..." (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Natalie realizes that her memories of her mom are starting to fade when Michelle and Delia have a memorial to honor Wade’s wife. Also, Forrest and Ben get competitive when their kids enter a fundraising contest at school.

Call Me Kat - "First Date" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Kat deals with nerves over her first date with Oscar; Randi tries to figure out the perfect anniversary gift for Daniel.

Last Man Standing - "Grill in the Mist" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
In the wake of the pandemic, Mike and Kristin are forced to make some tough business decisions involving Outdoor Man; Jen helps Mandy get organized.

Mr. Mayor - "#Palmtreereform" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Neil's plan to save the city money on palm tree maintenance meets unexpected resistance; Tommy and Mikaela don't believe Jayden when he announces he's going to be a father.

Young Rock - "Depositions" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With Carol's lawyer at Cloud 9 to depose the employees, Jonah tries to ease Glenn's nerves; Mateo enlists Sandra's help hiding the details of his work arrangement while Dina grows concerned about Garrett's behavior at customer service.

grown-ish - "Know Yourself" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vivek has a new experience with Heidi; Aaron and Doug struggle to adjust their views on sexuality and masculinity; Nomi and her new baby, Luna, return to Cal U; Junior shows up to fight for Sky.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 22)

Thursday, February 25

  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Catch Steve on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Regina King (227/Leap of Faith) - Regina appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jodie Foster (Paper Moon/Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) - Jodie will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She also talks about The Mauritanian on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall appears on A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kevin James (The Crew/Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) - Soleil will be on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael talks about the crime drama series Coyote on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Jane is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick talks about the new season of The Voice on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia talks about how she is taking charge of her health in 2021 on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch/The Brady Brides) - Maureen talks about life as a Brady and how she is coping during the pandemic on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


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

The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series

10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season
01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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