Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Breakdown: CW Wednesday in 2019-20 (Riverdale, Nancy Drew)

It's time for a journey through the CW Wednesday 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.


2018-19RiverdaleAll American36
2019-20RiverdaleNancy Drew28 (-24%)
33 (-29%)22 (-14%)

Riverdale's declines only sped up in season four; beyond a somewhat promising 0.4 premiere, it rarely even eked out a rounded 0.3 beyond that. At least initially, though, the declines at 9/8c were not as severe, as newbie Nancy Drew proved a more compatible match than the year-ago All American.


2018-19RiverdaleAll American30
2019-20RiverdaleNancy Drew21 (-31%)
26 (-32%)15 (-29%)

But another chunk of the Nancy Drew audience disappeared after the new year, around the time that All American was showing some resiliency in winter 2019, so the Nancy Drew comparisons at 9/8c were no better than what Riverdale was doing.


2018-19RiverdaleJane the Virgin27
2019-20RiverdaleNancy Drew16 (-40%)
20 (-30%)12 (-53%)

And the final few episodes of Nancy had even bigger timeslot declines, put up against the solid Jane the Virgin swan song from a year ago. Unlike some CW shows, the Riverdale trends actually line up more reasonably using CVPlus; its last three episodes after returning in mid-April hovered more around the 0.20ish level from the winter, rather than taking the usual major collapse.

Rating the Ratings

Nancy Drew0.10.140.317flopdetail

Riverdale: Yes, the CW was down big in general, but this was one of the worst offenders, falling all the way back behind its season one Plus (from before the streaming bump kicked in). It looks a bit less ugly in DVR trends and remains a major gainer, but not quite enough to pull me off of a Grade: D.

Nancy Drew: Comparing it with flop Riverdale lead-outs of the past, it was certainly a better performer than season one of Dynasty which I gave a D. The comparison with All American is a little more ambiguous; Nancy had a lot more DVR interest overall and clearly sparked a bit more out of the gate, but it also had a much worse trajectory across the season and was down in the timeslot just as much as Riverdale by the winter portion. I'm gonna give it the same 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 Wednesday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19

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

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