Friday, September 20, 2019

A18-49+: 2017-18 Season Recap

The A18-49+ season recaps combine all of a season's updates in the A18-49+ theme posts.

Defining Shows

2017-18 may be best remembered as the banner year for the trend of nostalgic revivals on broadcast TV. It started in the fall with NBC's fairly successful (if front-loaded) resurrection of Will and Grace (136), which outrated its last couple seasons in the mid-aughts. But the real breakthrough in the space came much later in the season, when ABC brought back the '90s sitcom Roseanne (320). Its 5.2 premiere was the second-biggest broadcast scripted episode in the era (trailing only the 2004 Friends finale), and the eight-week run ended up with the biggest seasonal average for a broadcast scripted series in the entire A18-49+ era.

Roseanne was the flashiest revival in spring 2018, but ABC filled much more late-season real estate with its new spin on American Idol (153 on Sunday, 143 on Monday), which started OK but picked up nice steam with its run of live shows in the late spring.

It may have been the year of the revival, but there were several other big scripted successes this season. It started on premiere Monday when CBS launched The Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon (202), the first new comedy in the A18-49+ era to cross the 200 megahit threshold. And on that same night, ABC handed its longtime Castle timeslot over to Freddie Highmore's The Good Doctor (163). And at midseason, Fox offered up its own big hit newbie in Ryan Murphy drama 9-1-1 (151).

NBC had a historically dominant season considering the full picture, thanks to a remarkable sports convergence that included the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics and Sunday Night Football. Their entertainment department was also a runaway #1, with last year's megahit This Is Us (247) taking a sizable step up in its second season. The downside was that the fall heat from This Is Us and Will and Grace didn't really translate into any of its new class; the network's only newbie renewals were midseason offerings Good Girls (93) and A.P. Bio (67), while TIU was wasted on limited series Law and Order True Crime (96) and W&G on sophomore dud Great News (66).

Fox bounced back only a little from its dreadful 2016-17 season, but started planting the seeds for a big comeback the next season. Most important was the network's growing drama depth; 9-1-1 was the big hit, but the network also launched The Resident (93) that winter and also renewed its two drama newbies from the fall, The Orville (114) and The Gifted (92).

For more resources on the 2017-18 season in A18-49+, see these updates:
The New Shows in 2017-18
The Network Race in 2017-18
Originals vs. Repeats, Comedies vs. Dramas in 2017-18
The Breakdown (a look at each timeslot across the season) Index for 2017-18

For additional yearly/theme recaps and more on A18-49+, check out the A18-49+ Index.

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