Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Breakdown: CW Tuesday in 2017-18 (The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and more!)

It's time for a journey through the CW Tuesday schedule in 2017-18...


2016-17The FlashNo Tomorrow59
2017-18The FlashLegends of Tomorrow66 (+12%)
82 (-13%)50 (+105%)

The CW was set up really well for improvement in the fall, with veteran Legends of Tomorrow more than doubling last year's pathetic megabomb No Tomorrow. But The Flash found itself on a double-digit decline track in the fall, and was unable to shake that trend all season.


2016-17The FlashLegends of Tomorrow67
2017-18The FlashBlack Lightning65 (-3%)
72 (-13%)57 (+13%)

At midseason, the CW offered up yet another superhero entry with newbie Black Lightning. It had full retention of The Flash on premiere night and was only a bit behind that in the subsequent weeks. Its winter episodes outrated the year-ago Legends of Tomorrow, even as The Flash's double-digit declines continued.


2016-17The FlashiZombie53
2017-18The FlashBlack Lightning53 (+1%)
62 (-23%)45 (+76%)

And Black Lightning became an even bigger grower in the spring, when it held onto 0.5 even after a bunch of repeat lead-ins and was compared against the spring 2017 run of iZombie. The Flash's declines got even worse in the spring, as it fell as low as 0.6 a few times in April and May.

Rating the Ratings

The Flash0.60.791.1-25%72hit(CW)-16%detail
Legends of Tomorrow0.40.480.9-24%44solid(CW)-15%detail
Black Lightning0.50.560.852hit(CW)detail
The 1000.30.330.4-1%31marginal(CW)+11%detail

The Flash: The entire CW superhero empire seems to be in decline at this point, and that definitely includes the crown jewel. It felt like a nice achievement to get back to 0.8 for the finale, but even that was still down three tenths year-to-year. At this Plus level, which was far worse than the first three seasons, it was still above any non-Flash drama season in CW history. But if it takes another hit like this next year, it could drop behind the best Arrow and The Vampire Diaries seasons. Grade: C.

Legends of Tomorrow: Already updated.

Black Lightning: This and Riverdale were the best stories on the CW this season, and Black Lightning proved it was legit by maintaining 0.5 with several repeat lead-ins. This could change next year, but it was probably the second-strongest of the superhero shows this year (though Supergirl might be debatable). Coming up with something like that while the rest of the shows are in decline is a real accomplishment. Grade: A-.

The 100: The average above is only through June 19, so the y2y's listed above are comparing only the first half of this season with all of last season. Comparing the first seven eps of both seasons, it's -10% y2y or very slightly up in Plus. Not great when it had an upgraded lead-in from The Flash, but it's managed to hold onto 0.3 so far in the summer as well. If it hits a bunch of 0.2's later I might wish I had downgraded a bit, but for now it's a solid 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.

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for CW Tuesday.

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