Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Breakdown: Fox Wednesday in 2017-18 (Empire, 9-1-1, Star and more!)

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


2016-17Lethal WeaponEmpire206
2017-18EmpireStar149 (-28%)
176 (+21%)123 (-54%)

Sophomore Star did well in its union with fellow Lee Daniels drama Empire, but nowhere near well enough to overcome an incredibly fast-bleeding Empire paired with a great newbie from last fall.


2016-17Lethal WeaponStar108
2017-18The X-Files9-1-1121 (+12%)
92 (-18%)150 (+45%)

But an opportunity for growth finally returned in the winter months. Despite an underwhelming run for the second go-round of The X-Files revival, Ryan Murphy struck again with huge 9/8c newbie 9-1-1. It premiered great and held very nearly all of its premiere audience, allowing its gains to more than make up for X-Files' losses.


2016-17Shots FiredEmpire130
2017-18EmpireStar138 (+6%)
159 (+119%)117 (-37%)

And in the spring, Empire held up really well (clinging to high-1's) while getting compared against a far weaker newbie in Shots Fired. That allowed the same duo that had gone -28% in the fall to improve the night for Fox in the spring.

Rating the Ratings

Empire*1.61.832.4-33%167big hit-25%detail
The X-Files0.70.971.388marginaldetail
9-1-11.51.651.8151big hitdetail

Empire: Evaluating this one is a true test of how much weight you put on finishing well. After close to 50% declines in the first month of the season, Empire actually had a couple points that were flirting with even in Plus down the stretch. But it still wasn't that close to truly stabilizing year-to-year, and the small finale spike left a bit of an underwhelming final impression. Maybe we will see the spring trend or better for all of next year and I can be kinder, but I am hesitant in a -25% season to go any higher than Grade: C+.

The X-Files: There aren't a lot of precedents for a scripted show sitting out for almost two years... but even if you throw out the 2017 football episode, The X-Files was down basically 50% in Plus. It's a weird enough circumstance that I'm not gonna drop the F-bomb here, and the ratings were still sort of passable in the big picture. But it goes down as a significant disappointment to be sure, especially considering how well its lead-out did. Grade: D.

Star: If you really made me choose which Star season was the stronger performance, I would probably say season one alongside Lethal Weapon was stronger than season two with its most compatible possible lead-in. But for this kind of show to even come close to that level in a second season is a win. Grade: B.

9-1-1: Kinda hard to believe it is only the second big hit scripted newbie for Fox in the A18-49+ era. Like that other newbie (Empire), it started very well, but the post-premiere hold was even more impressive. Grade: A.

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 Wednesday.

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