Monday, July 6, 2020

The Breakdown: CW Tuesday in 2019-20 (The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow)

It's time for a journey through the CW Tuesday schedule in 2019-20...

NOTE: In addition to classic A18-49+, Breakdown posts in 2019-20 also use CVPlus, comparing spring ratings against a higher league average due to viewership inflation from COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. See here for more.


2018-19The FlashBlack Lightning52
2019-20The FlashArrow50 (-4%)
66 (-6%)35 (+1%)

In the fall, the biggest of the CW superhero shows was paired for the first time with the one that started it all, and The Flash and Arrow combined to produce one of the steadiest segments of the season on the entire network. Arrow finished its season during The Flash's January hiatus with two 8/7c episodes and then a 9/8c finale following a retrospective special.


2018-19The FlashRoswell, New Mexico49
2019-20The FlashLegends of Tomorrow41 (-16%)
50 (-25%)33 (+2%)

After hanging mostly 0.5's during the fall, The Flash took a somewhat uncommonly large step down when it returned after the new year, usually hitting low 0.4's, but much of the damage was mitigated in the 9/8c hour where Legends of Tomorrow was competitive with year-ago occupant Roswell, New Mexico.


2018-19The FlashRoswell, New Mexico40
2019-20The FlashLegends of Tomorrow30 (-24%)
39 (-28%)21 (-15%)

As I mentioned in the CVPlus intro post linked above, I am a lot more wary about using that metric with the CW. If you choose the classic comparison, then Flash held up well in the spring while Legends continued to track close to Roswell. If you choose CVPlus, Flash took a notable spring drop vs. already bad winter numbers and Legends tanked big-time. The reality is probably somewhere in between; the comparisons are not good, but probably not much worse than the winter.

Rating the Ratings

The Flash*0.30.440.6-28%53hit(CW)-17%detail
Legends of Tomorrow*

The Flash: The declines continue, and this year was more dramatic than most, but that's true of almost everything else on the network as well. I should maybe go a notch lower but I can't help grading a bit on a "CW curve" and giving it a little credit for how highly it continues to stand over everything else on the network. Grade: C.

Arrow: Getting to wrap up its season in January was a game-changer; the trends are more in line with the other two shows if you just compare it against the first half of last season. But part of the reason that matters this much is that it had a dreadful spring last year, so I still give it some credit for bouncing back. A very significant show in CW history managed not to embarrass itself as it got across the finish line. Grade: C+.

Legends of Tomorrow: This is sort of the mirror image of what I said about Black Lightning. It might seem like it had a timeslot upgrade since it aired a lot more post-Flash episodes, but the declines were not really any different in the DVR numbers. Grade: C.

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.

Previous Breakdowns for CW Tuesday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for CW Tuesday.

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