Friday, July 7, 2017

The Breakdown: CBS Wednesday in 2016-17 (Survivor, Criminal Minds, Code Black and more!)

It's time for a journey through the CBS Wednesday schedule in 2016-17...


2015-16Survivor FallCriminal MindsCode Black116
2016-17Survivor FallCriminal MindsCode Black118 (+2%)
152 (+4%)122 (+7%)79 (-9%)

Criminal Minds had finished its 2015-16 season on a relatively positive note and was able to continue that momentum into the fall, but not so much for its lead-out Code Black. But combined with yet another nice showing out of Survivor, the nightly average still ticked up a notch.


2015-162 Broke GirlsMike and MollyCriminal MindsCode Black109
2016-17HuntedCriminal MindsCode Black96 (-12%)
101 (-10%)107 (-18%)78 (-7%)

After a post-AFC Championship game preview, reality newbie Hunted had a very steady low-ones run as filler between Survivor seasons. But Criminal Minds took a dip at the same time it had been surging last year, which made for a rough turn in its comparisons. Code Black, on the other hand, held almost steady while this was happening, which made it look a little better.


2015-16Survivor SpringCriminal MindsCriminal Minds: Beyond Borders119
2016-17Survivor SpringCriminal MindsCriminal Minds: Beyond Borders107 (-10%)
143 (+2%)111 (-13%)66 (-25%)

Criminal Minds actually held up very well in the spring, but the Plus comparisons stayed in the negative double digits as it went up against things like the Shemar Moore departure from a year ago. After Doubt was a two-and-through in February, Minds spin-off Beyond Borders returned and was a fair amount weaker than a year ago.

Rating the Ratings

Survivor Fall*1.31.832.3-13%150big hit+3%detail
Undercover Boss*0.70.971.2-17%79hit(Fri)-1%detail
Survivor Spring*1.31.721.9-14%140hit+2%detail
Criminal Minds*1.21.401.9-22%114solid-7%detail
Code Black0.70.971.2-23%79marginal-8%detail
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders0.70.820.9-35%67flop-22%detail

Survivor Fall: As I've said some other times, the live-heavy nature of the unscripted staples gives them a bit of an advantage, so I don't see the +3%/+2% from these Survivor seasons as being that big of an achievement. But I feel compelled to be more generous because of the symbolism in getting back to a big hit label. It's been sooo long (over a decade!) since a Survivor season did that. Grade: B+.

Undercover Boss: Once again, the Boss filled holes both on weeknights and Fridays during this season. It aired a bit more of the season on weeknights this year, but the weeknight episodes last year had a couple NFL lead-ins. Overall, I didn't see much of a change in how I perceive the franchise, so the Plusy2y above seems about right. Grade: B-.

Hunted: It didn't do quite as well as 2 Broke Girls and Mike and Molly from a season before, but was still a lot better than the final season of The Mentalist in this slot two years ago. Though the average above includes its huge preview after the AFC Championship, it's not like it was limping to the finish; there's not much rejection in a 1.3 -> 1.3 -> 1.2 -> 1.2 -> 1.2 ->1.2 track. It very easily could've been brought back, but the network has lots of other backups in reserve. Grade: B.

Survivor Spring: See above. Again, the Plus growth for an unscripted show is not that impressive in a vacuum, but it is still the first spring season to break a 140 since 2006... Grade: B+.

Criminal Minds: Much like NCIS, it's a victim of its own success; even a seemingly unassuming 7% Plus drop is a big deal for a show this resilient, and it threw Minds to its lowest Plus level in almost a decade. The long-prophesied move to 10/9c is finally happening in 2017-18, and that won't do any favors for its ratings. Grade: C.

Code Black: One of the best reasons to bring this show back over Limitless was its "momentum," so in that regard it's a bit disappointing that it never really seemed to show any signs of that in season two. However, its mediocrity started to look more valuable as the 10/9c bombs piled up later in the season, and it was just a bit stronger than its fellow sophomore Beyond Borders. Grade: C.

Doubt: Two episodes (0.8 -> 0.6) and out. And it was actually lucky to look that good in the rounded numbers, because the un-roundeds were 0.76 and 0.553. That is DOA, and that is rejection from an already DOA premiere. That is a Grade: F.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: Though its year-to-year declines look a lot worse, it didn't separate that much behind Code Black in terms of True strength. But the higher-rated show won out for the filler berth this time, and Beyond Borders goes down in history as only a bit more accomplished than the first spin-off Suspect Behavior. 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 CBS Wednesday.

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