Monday, July 2, 2018

The Breakdown: ABC Wednesday in 2017-18 (The Goldbergs, Modern Family, American Housewife and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Wednesday schedule in 2017-18...


2016-17The GoldbergsSpeechlessModern FamilyBlack-ishDesignated Survivor140
2017-18The GoldbergsSpeechlessModern FamilyAmerican HousewifeDesignated Survivor112 (-20%)
137 (-8%)105 (-24%)159 (-14%)120 (-9%)74 (-37%)
121 (-16%)139 (-12%)

ABC kicked off a tough season full of 20%ish declines on Wednesday. While The Goldbergs wasn't down much at 8/7c, Speechless was a clear step below what it had been as a rookie last year. Modern Family's declines were stuck in the double digits, and American Housewife had only barely better retention than Black-ish. And then there was the 10/9c hour, where Designated Survivor went all the way from a nice story by 10/9c standards to a marginal performer at best.


2016-17The GoldbergsSpeechlessModern FamilyBlack-ishMatch Game125
2017-18The GoldbergsSpeechlessModern FamilyAmerican HousewifeMatch Game103 (-18%)
140 (-6%)106 (-21%)141 (-19%)107 (-15%)62 (-27%)
123 (-13%)124 (-18%)

Speechless looked a little better after the new year, but the 9/8c hour looked worse. And even 10/9c filler Match Game caught the ABC Wednesday disease, dropping huge after it had pleasantly surprised the previous season.


2016-17The GoldbergsSpeechlessModern FamilyBlack-ishDesignated Survivor108
2017-18The GoldbergsAlex, Inc.Modern FamilyAmerican HousewifeDesignated Survivor89 (-18%)
121 (+1%)74 (-26%)128 (-14%)98 (-10%)56 (-36%)
98 (-12%)113 (-12%)

The Goldbergs held up well after DST, but any help that might have provided later in the night was derailed by midseason newbie Alex, Inc. at 8:30. Designated Survivor went into outright flop territory, somehow maintaining the same rate of decline as the fall episodes (which were compared against the inflated early season one).

Rating the Ratings

The Goldbergs*1.21.461.8-15%133hit-5%detail
Alex, Inc.0.60.841.376marginaldetail
Modern Family*1.21.592.1-24%145hit-16%detail
American Housewife0.91.211.6-16%110solid-6%detail
Designated Survivor0.50.701.1-44%64flop-37%detail
Match Game0.40.680.9-21%62flop-11%detail

The Goldbergs: It was definitely the best story on a generally rough night for ABC. Grade: B.

Speechless: It held up well enough late in the season that I'm willing to keep it out of D territory, but this was still a pretty disappointing downturn for a show that did well in season one. The renewal was definitely deserved, but moving from this hammock over to Friday won't be easy. Grade: C-.

Alex, Inc.: It had moments when it didn't look that much worse than Speechless, but for the most part it looked weaker, had no DVR interest, and was really exposed when it had to air after repeats. Grade: D-.

Modern Family: I'm giving it a teeny break on the grade because it had at least 20% worse lead-ins all year, but this was still a significant step down for Modern Family, which fell out of big hit territory for the first time since its rookie season. Grade: C.

American Housewife: After it did so well in season one, a Plus decline and barely better retention than Black-ish feels a bit underwhelming. But I think it's just another another demonstration (along with Suburgatory) of the fact that airing after Modern Family isn't much of an upgrade. Grade: C+.

Designated Survivor: Sure, the early part of season one was inflated, but the fact that it continued to drop over a third in Plus even in the back half of the season is hard to excuse. I'm not giving it an F just in a desperate attempt to indicate that it was a stronger show than other sophomore collapses like Scream Queens and Quantico, especially in delayed viewing where DS was a huge percentage gainer to the end. And I'm still surprised it got axed. But ultimately it had one of the worst year-to-year declines on broadcast and there was not even that much of a timeslot downgrade. Grade: D-.

Match Game: Even if the Olympics and repeat lead-ins were involved, the plummet from a 0.9 premiere to 0.4's in the last two weeks was hard to stomach. The full season comparison above looks better because it includes the low-rated Sunday spring 2017 run, but it had six weeks of relatively apples-to-apples comparisons and the Plus declines were well into double digits in that period. Grade: C-. (Please note I wrote all of this before the summer run began, which has looked better for Match Game.)

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 Wednesday.

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