Monday, August 5, 2019

The Breakdown: ABC Friday in 2018-19 (Fresh Off the Boat, Speechless, 20/20 and more!)




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


fall

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2017-18Once Upon a TimeInhumans20/2052
505551
2018-19Fresh Off the BoatSpeechlessChild Support20/2052 (+0%)
62 (+24%)52 (+4%)44 (-20%)55 (+9%)
57 (+14%)
VsAvg-3%-35%-15%-18%
Rank9/1817/1816/1815/18

After a year of drama programming on Friday, ABC returned to comedies on Friday and saw immediate dividends; Fresh Off the Boat was a major improvement on last year's Once Upon a Time, and even disappointing retention from lead-out Speechless was enough to eke out a narrow improvement. But the win at 8/7c was more than cancelled out at 9/8c, where unscripted sophomore Child Support instantly went from sleeper success to a poor performer. The good news is it was compatible enough to help 20/20 to a bit of a rebound at 10/9c.

winter

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2017-18Child SupportAgents of SHIELD20/2062
715460
2018-19Fresh Off the BoatSpeechless20/2071 (+15%)
69 (-4%)53 (-26%)76 (+33%)
61 (-15%)76 (+40%)76 (+26%)
VsAvg-4%+2%+8%+3%
Rank12/187/185/188/18

But 20/20's real moment of triumph didn't come till the winter, when ABC switched to using regularly-scheduled two-hour episodes and saw a massive uptick in the ratings, crushing the year-ago occupants. But ABC's growth in the winter was tempered, because the comedies got compared against the aforementioned successful rookie campaign of Child Support.

spring

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
2017-18Once Upon a TimeAgents of SHIELD20/2042
414441
2018-19Fresh Off the BoatSpeechless20/2061 (+46%)
61 (+49%)47 (+15%)66 (+53%)
54 (+32%)66 (+49%)65 (+57%)
VsAvg+3%+2%+2%+2%
Rank8/187/189/189/18

All parts of the night finally came together from a y2y comparison standpoint in the spring, as the comedies demolished the final episodes of Once, while 20/20 held up way better in the spring than the year ago combo of SHIELD and 20/20.

Rating the Ratings

NameLoAvgHiy2yPlusLabelPlusy2yResults
Fresh Off the Boat*0.50.610.7-40%64solid(Fri)-30%detail
Speechless0.40.490.6-57%51flop-50%detail
20/200.40.640.8+15%67solid(Fri)+32%detail
Child Support0.30.430.5-41%45flop-32%detail

Fresh Off the Boat: This was a big timeslot downgrade, from airing after the final season of The Middle last year. Though it provided some nice relief after Once last year, it still finished below even the lowest-rated Last Man Standing seasons in this timeslot. But according to True Plus it was down only a little more than you would expect from a Truly steady show. Grade: B-.

Speechless: This was also a big timeslot downgrade, but it's still -50% in Plus; hard to make the case it should've dropped anywhere near this much. It's another sad three-year flameout like Lethal Weapon (two shows that launched in the same hour on the same date in 2016). Grade: D.

20/20: It really says something about how thoroughly ABC tanked 20/20 last year that it could be up 15% in raw, 32% in Plus, and still rank behind the previous five seasons of 20/20 averages from when it aired after Shark Tank. Because it isn't a massive season historically, I will refuse to give it a straight-up A, but the two-hour episodes definitely overachieved. Grade: A-.

Child Support: In a night full of timeslot improvement, this was a truly crushing blow: from nice performer to straight-up flop in one year. I actually thought about going F here but I do feel a need to note it was much stronger than another ABC unscripted offering, The Alec Baldwin Show. Grade: D-.

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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