Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Breakdown: Fox Sunday in 2017-18 (Bob's Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy and more!)

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


2016-17The SimpsonsSon of ZornFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth120
2017-18The SimpsonsGhostedFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth109 (-9%)
150 (-10%)101 (-11%)109 (-7%)75 (-6%)
126 (-11%)92 (-7%)

The Simpsons took a step down from its high-end Plus average of a year ago, with weaker and fewer NFL lead-ins in the fall. 8:30 comedy newbie Ghosted was on far fewer NFL nights compared with Son of Zorn, which actually got to premiere with a direct NFL lead-in, and Ghosted generally looked better than Zorn in apples-to-apples comparisons (though it was fading late). And Family Guy and Last Man opened up a season of small Plus declines in the 9/8c hour.


2016-17The SimpsonsSon of ZornFamily GuyBob's Burgers106
2017-18The Simpsons (R)Ghosted (R)Family Guy (R)LA to Vegas (R)40 (-62%)
48 (-69%)34 (-58%)44 (-57%)35 (-60%)
41 (-65%)39 (-58%)

The comedies aired literally one or two originals apiece during what we label as "winter" (all of them heavily inflated by the NFL) so the repeats were by far the most frequent occupants during event season and the Olympics.


2016-17The SimpsonsMaking HistoryFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth70
2017-18The SimpsonsBrooklyn Nine-NineFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth76 (+7%)
83 (+6%)76 (+48%)85 (-3%)58 (-9%)
80 (+23%)72 (-6%)

Fox's comparisons got much better late in the season, as The Simpsons held up well in the spring and the 8:30 slot got some big help from the Sunday return of compatible Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Rating the Ratings

Bob's Burgers*
The Simpsons*0.81.433.3-19%130hit-9%detail
Brooklyn Nine-Nine*0.60.740.9-13%68flop-3%detail
Family Guy*
The Last Man on Earth*0.60.781.2-13%71marginal-3%detail

Bob's Burgers: This was, once again, the most impressive of the Fox Sunday comedies. It grew in raw numbers even though it had fewer episodes than last year outside of 7:30, though one of those episodes was inflated to an obscene degree by the NFL (setting a series high in Plus on January 14). Still the show tied its career high Plus (a couple all-8:30 seasons) despite airing 16 of 20 episodes at 7:30. Next year: a regularly-scheduled berth between Simpsons and Family Guy! Grade: A-.

The Simpsons: Like 60 Minutes, it was hindered by a softer than usual year for the NFL, but it also got two huge boosts from the NFL in early January. True Plus tells a much smoother story with this show over the years than the raw numbers, which are heavily dependent on the NFL and how many episodes get to air alongside it. I always put a lot of weight on The Simpsons' spring trends since they are relatively "fair," and they were pretty favorable here. Grade: B.

Ghosted: (Average above does not include summer airings.) Renewology had this show has a minor renewal favorite for most of the fall, but it was fading into bubble territory at best by the end. If they were gonna cancel Brooklyn Nine-Nine anyway, it would've been neat to see what the rebooted version of this show did in the spring. Grade: C-.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Already updated.

Family Guy: Reasonably steady with the last two diminished seasons. I do think it is worth noting that the show has a lot less competition from The Walking Dead these days, and it also got better lead-in support in the spring with Nine-Nine showing up, but it's still not a huge change. Grade: B-.

The Last Man on Earth: This season wasn't down that much from the last one, but it was gonna be tough to survive as Fox got stronger overall and the Disney deal looms. 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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