Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Breakdown: Fox Friday in 2018-19 (Last Man Standing, The Cool Kids, Hell's Kitchen and more!)

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


2017-18Hell's KitchenThe Exorcist56
2018-19Last Man StandingThe Cool KidsHell's Kitchen101 (+80%)
133 (+80%)105 (+41%)83 (+119%)
119 (+61%)

Fox picked up Last Man Standing, the Friday night institution that ABC cancelled in 2017, and what they got was something far beyond even its best years on ABC. It also helped its sitcom lead-out The Cool Kids to a promising start at 8:30. Hell's Kitchen saw only a little improvement in a move to 9/8c, but obviously looked amazing compared with year-ago The Exorcist. This lineup absolutely blew away not just the year-ago lineup, but everything Fox has aired on Friday night in the Plus era.


2017-18Hell's Kitchen9-1-1 (R)70
2018-19Last Man StandingThe Cool KidsHell's Kitchen89 (+26%)
109 (+25%)84 (-5%)81 (+53%)
97 (+10%)

Last Man Standing continued posting above-league average ratings in the new year, but The Cool Kids was a little weaker retention-wise starting in this period. At 9/8c, Hell's Kitchen didn't get the winter bounce it got last year, but the winter lineup still set another Plus era record.


2017-18MasterChef Junior70
2018-19Last Man StandingThe Cool KidsProven Innocent59 (-15%)
89 (+28%)67 (-3%)39 (-43%)
78 (+13%)

In the spring, the comedies took a post-DST hit (but maintained about the same growth vs. the year-ago Ramsay show), while Hell's Kitchen gave way to drama flop Proven Innocent.

Rating the Ratings

Last Man Standing*
The Cool Kids0.60.831.587hit(Fri)detail
Hell's Kitchen*0.70.780.9-10%82hit(Fri)+4%detail
Proven Innocent0.30.400.542flopdetail

Last Man Standing: It couldn't topple the Plus era record-holder for Friday scripted programming (Law and Order: SVU in the early aughts) but it was pretty darn close, and it crushed everything else including its own very solid run on ABC. Even if the average was a little on the front-loaded side, the spring version was still much stronger than LMS had ever been in the spring on ABC. One of the biggest wins of the season. Grade: A.

The Cool Kids: Renewology had this show as an underdog from week two on, but like with The Passage I feel compelled to be kinder to it because I think it would've gotten renewed on a "normal" network that wasn't cutting scripted programming. In the fall it really looked like it might be so strong that Fox would have to renew it anyway, but it did not seem quite as irreplaceable in 2019. The next LMS companion could easily do worse than this, but doing better is at least plausible. Grade: B.

Hell's Kitchen: Given the huge surge for the night in general, a slight Plus uptick for Hell's Kitchen was not really anything to write home about either way. Fine, but just kind of there. Grade: B-.

Proven Innocent: I'm basically not giving this an F because it was not as weak as last year's Friday drama flop, season two of The Exorcist. I don't even think it was close. Look back at Fox's checkered history of dramas on this night and I can find quite a few others that I would consider clearly weaker.  But it still had no chance at renewal, and almost certainly wouldn't have stood a chance even on a "normal" network. 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 Fox Friday.

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