Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Breakdown: ABC Wednesday in 2015-16 (The Middle, The Goldbergs, Modern Family and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Wednesday schedule in 2015-16...


2014-15The MiddleThe GoldbergsModern FamilyBlack-ishNashville128
2015-16The MiddleThe GoldbergsModern FamilyBlack-ishNashville124 (-3%)
139 (+18%)148 (+13%)189 (-6%)128 (-16%)71 (-16%)
143 (+16%)158 (-11%)

The 8:00 hour's momentum continued big-time in fall 2015, with The Middle actually up in raw numbers from fall-to-fall and The Goldbergs virtually even. But the rest of the night proved much tougher, as Empire competition showed up in the fall for the first time. Modern Family was down somewhat, even with a much better lead-in, while Black-ish was down big vs. its strong early season one results. And Nashville quickly made it clear that its season three stability would not be continuing into season four.


2014-15The MiddleThe GoldbergsModern FamilyBlack-ishNashville125
2015-16The MiddleThe GoldbergsModern FamilyBlack-ishAmerican Crime117 (-6%)
130 (+1%)138 (-2%)178 (-8%)128 (+1%)64 (-20%)
134 (0%)153 (-4%)

Wednesdays this season were very much about competition dynamics, and they changed a lot in the winter. In the 8:00 hour, Middle and Goldbergs cooled off quite a bit as they had to face legit comedy competition from CBS' winter filler 2 Broke Girls and Mike and Molly. Meanwhile, at 9:30, we got at least a hint at what Black-ish may have looked like if not for Empire rolling onto the scene. (It's a double-whammy because Black-ish was facing Empire last winter and not this winter.) Hiatus filler American Crime basically continued Nashville's ratings tradition, which actually seemed like a win considering how low it got during season one.


2014-15The MiddleThe GoldbergsModern FamilyBlack-ishNashville112
2015-16The MiddleThe GoldbergsModern FamilyBlack-ishNashville105 (-6%)
115 (+4%)131 (+7%)155 (-7%)112 (-8%)59 (-21%)
123 (+6%)133 (-8%)

The comedies all kinda found a happy medium in the spring, somewhere in the middle of their fall trends and winter trends, as fall competitors like Survivor and Empire returned to the scene. For The Middle and The Goldbergs, it was clear they were not growing as quickly as they had been in the fall. And Black-ish was ultimately not as unhealthy as it had looked when compared with the inflated early fall episodes last year. Nashville's plight worsened as it was not able to break 1.0 after its spring return.

The Shows

The Middle*1.61.882.2-6%129hit+9%detail
The Goldbergs1.82.042.4-6%140hit+8%detail
Modern Family*2.12.553.2-20%175big hit-7%detail
American Crime0.80.931.2-20%64flop-8%detail

The Middle: A similar trend to last year, with notable Plus growth to a new series high, and I gave that one an A-. Comparing the two, I'd give that season a tiny bit more credit, because The Middle was a bit more front-loaded this year and I tend to put more value on the end of the season. It cooled off more at the end of the season here, but still easily within Grade: B+ territory. Headed for Tuesday next season.

The Goldbergs: Same overall trend as The Middle, basically. I was close to bumping this up to A- because it felt like this show was the hotter of the two in the spring, but the y2y Plus numbers don't bear that out to a large extent. Grade: B+.

Modern Family: When you subset the season, it really doesn't seem like Empire had much of an impact on this show; it was -8% in the winter, only a point or two worse than the other parts of the season. It was consistently down, which more competition but also a much-improved lead-in. Grade: C.

Black-ish: Worse overall trend, but it also seems like the Empire effect is a lot more real with this one when looking at the sub-seasons. Still, considering it was a promising sophomore, I was hoping for a bit better. Grade: C.

Nashville: Season three was like a stay of execution, but the pain finally came for Nashville in season four. It's over on ABC, but it will get a second life on cable. Grade: D.

American Crime: Don't want to go too crazy with a show that was still in flop territory, but this show did at least a tenth better than I was expecting, and essentially the same as Nashville. It would've been kinda funny if it had completely bombed in season one and gotten renewed, then wormed its way up to low-end bubble levels in season two only to get axed. And it seemed that was close to happening. But fortunately, it eked out another limited run. Grade: B-.

The names in this last table link to the shows' War of 18-49 pages. Links with an asterisk(*) have been updated with the new info. Updates to younger shows will come later in the summer.

Check back tomorrow for this day's new Schedules Plus! Till then, you can refer to the old version.

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