Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Breakdown: ABC Tuesday in 2018-19 (The Conners, Black-ish, The Rookie and more!)




It's time for a journey through the ABC Tuesday schedule in 2018-19...


fall

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2017-18The MiddleFresh Off the BoatBlack-ishThe MayorKevin (Probably) Saves the World89
123971057566
11090
2018-19The ConnersThe Kids Are AlrightBlack-ishSplitting Up TogetherThe Rookie103 (+16%)
170 (+38%)108 (+11%)96 (-8%)76 (+1%)83 (+25%)
139 (+27%)86 (-4%)
VsAvg+40%-19%+12%+10%
Rank3/1816/184/184/18

The Conners was barely half as strong as the Roseanne revival, but that was still good enough to create some really nice comparisons in the fall portion of the year, even against a strong year-ago occupant in The Middle. But the growth was much less with newbie The Kids Are Alright and completely gone by the 9/8c hour. However, things turned back in a positive direction with new cop drama The Rookie, a marked improvement in the perennially-troubled Tuesday 10/9c hour.

winter

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2017-18The MiddleFresh Off the BoatBlack-ishModern Family (R)Kevin (Probably) Saves the World80
12189946754
10581
2018-19American HousewifeThe Kids Are AlrightBlack-ishSplitting Up TogetherThe Rookie78 (-2%)
97 (-20%)83 (-7%)81 (-14%)66 (-1%)71 (+32%)
90 (-15%)73 (-9%)
VsAvg+15%-9%+8%+4%
Rank7/1811/188/189/18

The Conners ended early in the winter, leaving Wednesday transplant American Housewife as the new lead-off piece on Tuesday. While Housewife was somewhat respectable, it couldn't stop the trends from getting worse for the rest of the comedy block. But The Rookie almost singlehandedly helped get the network close to even year-to-year.

spring

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2017-18RoseanneThe MiddleBlack-ishSplitting Up TogetherFor the People135
32014711811258
233115
2018-19American HousewifeThe Kids Are AlrightBlack-ishBless This Mess196961 (-55%)
81 (-75%)65 (-56%)71 (-40%)70 (-37%)40 (-32%)
73 (-69%)70 (-39%)
VsAvg-2%-28%-42%-24%
Rank7/1815/1817/1816/18

The spring brought comically horrible comparisons, as the comedies fell after DST and got compared against a lineup that got a spring gigahit injection from the Roseanne revival. Late spring newbie Bless This Mess showed a little spunk at 9:30, but at 10/9c The Rookie gave way to unwatched documentary series 1969.

Rating the Ratings

NameLoAvgHiy2yPlusLabelPlusy2yResults
The Conners1.31.562.4164big hitdetail
American Housewife0.70.911.2-25%96marginal-13%detail
The Kids Are Alright0.50.811.485marginaldetail
Black-ish*0.60.781.1-34%83marginal-24%detail
Splitting Up Together0.60.660.9-46%69flop-38%detail
Bless This Mess0.60.660.970marginaldetail
The Rookie0.60.721.076marginaldetail

The Conners: This is sort of the same dilemma as with America's Got Talent: The Champions. If one grades it as a bonafide "new show," it's an obvious A. If one grades it purely as another season of the show that spawned it, it's probably like a D. (I mean, almost -50% in Plus from Roseanne!) Obviously neither one of those is fair. I don't particularly think that it exceeded expectations, but given what happened with Roseanne, it was a solid consolation prize that held the schedule together, so I will default to my "nice success" grade. Grade: B+.

American Housewife: Important to note on this Tuesday post that the show also had a somewhat disappointing fall Wednesday run, in which it moved from 9:30 to 8:30 yet still dropped almost 10% in Plus. But considering all the lead-off it had to do in 2019, I think it's safe to say it had a net timeslot downgrade, and it was clearly the least bad thing left after The Conners was gone. Grade: C+.

The Kids Are Alright: It's sort of tough for me to have an assertive take on it because it was clearly stronger than The Mayor / Alex, Inc.'s of the world but not strong enough to feel wronged. The DVR numbers were bad. Grade: C-.

Black-ish: I put more weight on the fall and winter here for obvious reasons, but even they don't paint a great picture. This fall, it will get the rather uncommon distinction of leading out of its spin-off series, rather than into it. Grade: C-.

Splitting Up Together: Unlike Black-ish, Splitting basically has nothing resembling an apples-to-apples comparison, but it still became a much worse retainer of the much smaller Black-ish audience. Same feeling as with TKAA: not a megabomb but not really anything positive to say either. Considering it actually showed real spark in season one, that makes it a bit more disappointing. Grade: D+.

Bless This Mess: Not as strong as season one of Splitting Up Together, which had similar DVR percentage growth from a much larger base. It had an impressive premiere night and was not really that impressive beyond the premiere, and it kinda feels like it was renewed due to that initial spark, but it didn't drop enough to fall out of the conversation either. Grade: C+.

The Rookie: Could it have gotten the axe if ABC liked its development better? Maybe, but it would've been one of the stronger newbies to get cancelled in recent years. ABC is certainly capable of doing this well with another 10/9c drama, but their batting average is not very high historically. With a move to Sunday on the way, it will have to hope the Kids Say the Darndest Things reboot can keep the early part of the night afloat. 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 ABC Tuesday.

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