Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Breakdown: Fox Sunday in 2018-19 (The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and more!)

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


2017-18The SimpsonsGhostedFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth109
2018-19The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyRel119 (+9%)
160 (+7%)126 (+25%)120 (+10%)68 (-10%)
143 (+14%)94 (+2%)

Fox moved Bob's Burgers to a permanent 8:30 berth and saw immediate major growth in the slot. The animated anchors were also improved in the fall, with Simpsons getting an improved NFL lead-in and Family Guy getting a lead-in upgrade of its own. But 9:30 sprung a leak, as live-action newbie Rel found itself a much weaker option than last year's The Last Man on Earth.


2017-18The Simpsons (R)Ghosted (R)Family Guy (R)LA to Vegas (R)40
2018-19The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyRel106 (+163%)
127 (+164%)108 (+214%)108 (+148%)80 (+128%)
118 (+185%)94 (+140%)

This is a dumb set of y2y comparisons, as the originals qualified as the most frequent occupants this year but not last year. Thanks to a lighter event season with no Olympics, the animated shows aired about a half-dozen winter episodes, vs. just one or two hugely inflated NFL eps last year.


2017-18The SimpsonsBrooklyn Nine-NineFamily GuyThe Last Man on Earth76
2018-19The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyFamily Guy (R)76 (+1%)
76 (-9%)82 (+8%)84 (-2%)64 (+11%)
79 (-1%)74 (+3%)

Fox didn't bother with originals at 9:30 in the spring, and repeats of Family Guy assuredly did better than Rel would have. Of some note here was the fact that Bob's Burgers built on its Simpsons lead-in on a rather regular basis. (It was most noticeable in the finale week when Simpsons got completely tanked by a Paradise Hotel repeat, but had happened several times before that as well.)

Rating the Ratings

The Simpsons*
Bob's Burgers*
Family Guy*

The Simpsons: This was actually kind of a soft year by Simpsons standards. It managed to drop in Plus even though its NFL lead-ins were a little stronger, and it aired a lot more episodes in February/early March and fewer in April thanks to no Olympics. I always lean heavily on the spring comparison, which is the most reliably apples-to-apples, and it tells a worse story than the season trend as a whole. Grade: C.

Bob's Burgers: It was given a significant timeslot upgrade by getting to air at 8:30 all season, and it did what it was supposed to if not moreso, crushing its previous Plus record. This might deserve an A- but I'm giving it a B+ more as a nod to the growth in the previous two seasons, which I think were even more impressive because they were less explained by the timeslot. Adding up all three years, there's a strong case to be made that this show is breaking through on some level. Grade: B+.

Family Guy: Some of the same Simpsons caveats apply here, plus it had a much improved lead-in from Bob's all year. Don't think it was quite as good a year as the raw Plusy2y suggests, but it still held up better than The Simpsons. Grade: B-.

Rel: There were a couple other near-F's on Fox this year in The Gifted and Proven Innocent, but this is the first time I will pull the trigger, even though it had much higher raw ratings than those shows thanks to the NFL. It was a major step down from the already cancel-worthy The Last Man on Earth, and it even had sub-50% retention on a few occasions, which is rather scary for a comedy airing after another comedy. Grade: F.

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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