Monday, August 6, 2018

The Breakdown: ABC Friday in 2017-18 (Once Upon a Time, Agents of SHIELD, 20/20 and more!)




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


fall

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2016-17Last Man StandingDr. KenShark Tank20/2082
91709569
81
2017-18Once Upon a TimeInhumans20/2052 (-36%)
50 (-38%)56 (-42%)51 (-26%)
VsAvg-15%-21%-22%-20%
Rank12/1712/1717/1715/17

With comedy tentpole Last Man Standing cancelled and Shark Tank sent over to Sunday, ABC brought a couple low-end dramas over to Friday night and was rewarded with some of the worst year-to-year trends on broadcast TV. In the fall, Once Upon a Time and newbie Inhumans were both around 40% below the year-ago occupants. On top of their own low ratings, they were also incompatible with 20/20, tanking the 10/9c hour as well.

winter

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2016-17Last Man StandingDr. KenShark Tank20/2092
1027610879
89
2017-18Child SupportAgents of SHIELD20/2062 (-33%)
71 (-20%)54 (-50%)60 (-24%)
VsAvg+13%-27%-13%-10%
Rank6/1715/1715/1713/17

The closest thing to a positive story for ABC Friday was the winter game show Child Support, which opened the year with a 0.9 and mostly settled at 0.7 (before falling to a 0.4 against the Olympics). That helped Agents of SHIELD and 20/20 have their best portions of the season as well... but even this lineup was 33 freakin' percent below the Friday lineup a year ago.

spring

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2016-17The Toy BoxShark Tank20/2066
518562
2017-18Once Upon a TimeAgents of SHIELD20/2042 (-36%)
41 (-20%)44 (-48%)41 (-34%)
VsAvg-22%-32%-35%-30%
Rank15/1715/1717/1717/17

Once didn't really get much worse in the spring but was still 20% below year-ago reality flop The Toy Box. But things got really ugly for 20/20, which had several 0.4's in the spring, and so it was a third consecutive segment of the season to finish down a third or more.

Rating the Ratings

NameLoAvgHiy2yPlusLabelPlusy2yResults
Once Upon a Time*0.40.490.7-47%45flop-41%detail
Child Support0.40.730.966solid(Fri)detail
Inhumans0.40.610.956flopdetail
Agents of SHIELD*0.40.540.7-27%49flop-18%detail
20/200.40.560.8-35%51flop-28%detail

Once Upon a Time: I gave Sleepy Hollow a D- for a similar Friday night reboot last year, but this one was even more of a catastrophe. Once was actually still kind of a productive show last year, but beyond Jennifer Morrison's week two appearance it was a straight-up megabomb in 2017-18. The scary part is that the cancellation announcement might have actually helped it eke out some 0.5's in the spring that could've been lower otherwise. Grade: F.

Child Support: Maybe it got a little too much credit because it was being compared with all the other disasters on this night, and also aired in the easiest part of the year. But it was still OK for filler. It'll be interesting to see if it can help 20/20 turn things around this fall. Grade: C+.

Inhumans: Hard to imagine I was once in the camp advocating for ABC to hold its Tuesday 9/8c comedy hour till the late fall so they could squeeze Inhumans into a good timeslot. It pretty much lived up to ABC's lack of faith in it, though it was (like SHIELD) a fairly big percentage gainer in delayed viewing. Grade: D.

Agents of SHIELD: Some people might even grade this season more highly since this is not a bad hold compared with other shows that have been moved to Friday. But I don't see it as that much of a downgrade because the Tuesday 10/9c slot last year was also really tough. Still, it was a stronger show than Once (especially considering delayed viewing) and it certainly couldn't say that last year, so it accomplished something at least. Grade: C.

20/20: I'm not gonna be too harsh here just because it was so easy to see this coming for 20/20 when the schedule was released at the upfronts. But it's still pretty wild for a show that had such a renaissance in the Shark Tank days to turn all the way around to its lowest Plus in the era. Grade: C-. Overall, I'm not in the camp that "it should have its own audience by now"; it's just part of the nature of newsmagazines that they are very sensitive to outside factors. Its declines have not been nearly this bad in the summer paired with What Would You Do?

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 Friday.

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