Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Breakdown: Fox Sunday in 2016-17 (Bob's Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy and more!)

It's time for a journey through the Fox Sunday schedule in 2016-17...


2015-16The SimpsonsBrooklyn Nine-NineFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth111
2016-17The SimpsonsSon of ZornFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth120 (+8%)
167 (+17%)114 (+7%)118 (+10%)80 (-9%)
141 (+13%)99 (+2%)

With some huge NFL lead-ins, The Simpsons had a much-improved fall, enough that newbie Son of Zorn could improve the 8:30 slot despite not doing well retention-wise. Family Guy also did nicely in the fall, but The Last Man on Earth had a noticeable downturn in retention.


2015-16The SimpsonsCooper Barrett's GuideFamily GuyBordertown93
2016-17The SimpsonsSon of ZornFamily GuyBob's Burgers106 (+14%)
156 (+25%)82 (+8%)101 (-1%)87 (+22%)
119 (+19%)94 (+8%)

The NFL boosted The Simpsons big again in the winter, with The Simpsons getting a 10.8 and 9.9 lead-in for its first two episodes of January.  Like in the fall, Son of Zorn improved at 8:30, but this time compared with year-ago bomb Cooper Barrett's Guide. Bob's Burgers had a short stint at 9:30 and was a far stronger option than another year-ago bomb.


2015-16The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth76
2016-17The SimpsonsMaking HistoryFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth70 (-7%)
78 (+1%)51 (-27%)88 (-1%)64 (-3%)
65 (-13%)76 (-2%)

The spring is the closest thing to a "True" look at the health of the Sunday comedies because there's no NFL interference. And the story here was not half bad either, with Simpsons ekeing out less than a point of Plus growth and Family Guy and Last Man both pretty close to even. However, the network had another problem with another Lord+Miller new comedy at 8:30. They will hope to see things to better with Ghosted starting this fall.

Rating the Ratings

Bob's Burgers*0.70.951.5-8%78marginal+9%detail
The Simpsons*0.91.763.5+1%144hit+20%detail
Son of Zorn0.61.282.4104soliddetail
Making History0.60.670.954flopdetail
Family Guy*
The Last Man on Earth0.70.901.1-22%73marginal-7%detail

Bob's Burgers: The Simpsons had big growth, but owed a lot of it to the upgraded lead-ins. Bob's Burgers had near double-digit Plus growth despite what I can only conclude are downgraded timeslots. It actually aired a lot more episodes at 7:30 this year than it did last year, and its average lead-in was down a good bit in Plus (0.99 -> 0.74). So this was the most impressive one of the bunch. Grade: A-.

The Simpsons: Like 60 Minutes, the NFL is sort of inevitably going to be a big factor for this show, so for grading purposes I try to put a lot of weight on what its Plus trend was in the non-NFL episodes; it averaged a 92 in those episodes last year and a 94 this year. It appears to have had the same number of episodes with big lead-ins, but some of those big lead-ins were much bigger. (Fox is always thankful for a good Dallas Cowboys season.) The spring comparisons bear out the idea that it was Truly up in Plus, albeit very narrowly, so I'm going with Grade: B+.

Son of Zorn: It was actually up year-to-year in the timeslot in both periods, just by a wide margin less than The Simpsons was. Just another part of the low-rated morass, and not good enough to sneak through for another season. Grade: D+.

Making History: I maintain it would've been pretty close to interchangeable with Zorn if the timeslots were switched, but that's not a compliment. Grade: D.

Family Guy: Like Simpsons, it rode the huge lead-ins to a strong fall, but its true colors were revealed later in the season. Simpsons' "true colors" were still up a bit in Plus, while Family Guy was even to very slightly down. Grade: B.

The Last Man on Earth: It was disappointing in the fall, for sure, but it held up pretty well in the spring episodes and saw its trends come closer to in line with the animated anchors. It gets one more deserved return to the 9:30 slot. Grade: C+.

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 Fox Sunday.

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