Friday, July 21, 2017

The Breakdown: ABC Thursday in 2016-17 (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Thursday schedule in 2016-17...


2015-16Grey's AnatomyScandalHow to Get Away with Murder161
2016-17Grey's AnatomyNotoriousHow to Get Away with Murder118 (-26%)
179 (+10%)74 (-57%)102 (-30%)

ABC was probably bound to have a rough time on Thursday in the fall with Scandal held for midseason, but Notorious was clearly headed nowhere from day one. That was felt big-time at 10/9c as How to Get Away with Murder took a 30% drop for its fall episodes. But it didn't have any impact at all on Grey's Anatomy, which somehow churned out yet another period of significant Plus growth.


2015-16Beyond the TankMy Diet is Better Than Yours53
2016-17Grey's AnatomyScandalHow to Get Away with Murder141 (+166%)
177 (+151%)136 (+204%)112 (+150%)

It'd be fairer to compare The Great Holiday Baking Show from December and January with last year's winter filler lineup, but TGIT was back on the air two full weeks earlier so it definitely took over as the most frequent occupant.


2015-16Grey's AnatomyScandalThe Catch108
2016-17Grey's AnatomyScandalThe Catch105 (-3%)
152 (+5%)108 (-4%)54 (-18%)

The lineup was finally kinda apples-to-apples for the spring, and Scandal came very close to its Plus levels from spring 2016, making the Thursday comparisons a lot prettier than they were in the fall. Lead-out sophomore The Catch took a much more substantial decline.

Rating the Ratings

Grey's Anatomy* hit+10%detail
The Great American Baking Show0.80.941.077marginaldetail
How to Get Away with Murder1.11.291.5-31%106solid-18%detail
The Catch0.60.680.8-30%56flop-17%detail

Grey's Anatomy: This is starting to get pretty crazy now, with Grey's back to its circa 2010 Plus levels. Another year at this growth rate could get it back into 2008-09 territory, and another two might bring the megahit label back into the mix... Anyway, much like last year, I think the raw trend probably leans toward A-, but the historical context and the fact that it did this while Notorious was stinking up the joint push me to a second straight Grade: A.

Notorious: I'm giving this a Grade: D- instead of a fail for the same reason as Conviction... considering where it started, it didn't really fall that much from that point on. But it never had a chance from where it started.

The Great American Baking Show: Good filler. Grade: B-.

Scandal: Clearly the -17% in Plus is being a bit unfair to Scandal because it came back later in the season and was far more favorable when just comparing year-to-year timeslots. But if had aired in fall, would increased fatigue have sent it lower in the spring? I'm doing the same kind of thing I did with Blindspot, which was compare True Plus with just the spring half of last season. That suggests just a tiny decline. Grade: B-.

How to Get Away with Murder: I don't necessarily assume that its winter trends would've happened all season if Scandal had been there in the fall instead of Notorious; I still say it fell more than it "should" have in the fall if it were Truly steady, and don't want to pretend that didn't happen at all. But even if that is true, what this show did late in the season was quite impressive, including a finale that was even in raw numbers year-to-year, and I like to reward shows that trended better late in the season. That bumps it up to a Grade: B.

The Catch: Like many of the marginal comedies, The Catch has to wonder if it's actually a victim of the American Idol revival. But it certainly didn't do enough to have any kind of legitimate beef, especially since (unlike Murder) it had a similar enough lead-in year-to-year. Grade: D+.

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.

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for ABC Thursday.

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