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

Monday, January 27

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Logan #2" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Calvin and Dave’s college basketball teams go head to head, Dave surprises the Butlers with tickets to the game and also invites one of his best friends from Michigan, Logan #2, who reveals to Calvin surprising new details about Dave.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "Splitting the Hairs" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob, Douglas and Christina try to get Dottie to make a will. Also, Abishola and Kemi’s friendship is tested after Abishola catches Kemi in a lie.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 27)

Monday, January 27

  • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Watch Kathy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Larry appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing House/Gary Unmarried) - Keegan-Michael visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill talks about The Sinner on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kaley Couco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley stops by The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry talks about pulling double-duty on TV and Broadway on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Kate Flannery (The Office) - Kate talks about the Dancing with the Stars Tour on Reality Check at 4:30pm.
  • Julia-Louis Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Julia-Louis talks about Downhill on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Life) - Nia talks about Poisoned Love on the BUILD Series at 4:30pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One

11/05 - The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang - The Complete Animated Series
11/05 - Laverne & Shirley in the Army (Animated Series) - The DVD Edition
11/05 - Letterkenny - Seasons 1 & 2
11/05 - Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season (Blu-ray)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Limited Edition)
11/18 - The Guest Book - Season Two
11/19 - The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (Blu-ray)
11/19 - The Kominsky Method - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season ((Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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