Monday, August 31, 2020

The Breakdown: ABC Sunday in 2019-20 (America's Funniest Home Videos, American Idol, The Rookie and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Sunday 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.


2018-19Dancing with the Stars: JuniorsShark TankThe Alec Baldwin Show60
2019-20Kids Say the Darndest ThingsShark TankThe Rookie80 (+34%)
83 (+17%)84 (+12%)73 (+123%)

ABC Sunday remained somewhat low in fall 2019, but made huge strides from last year's disaster. Kids Say the Darndest Things was an OK match with the America's Funniest Home Videos live audience, that helped pull up Shark Tank as well, and The Rookie did respectable business in a move to 10/9c.


2018-19America's Funniest Home VideosShark Tank106
2019-20American IdolThe Rookie152 (+43%)
179 (+44%)179 (+79%)99 (+4%)

Idol returned two weeks earlier and thus qualified as the most frequent occupant this winter. It had a sensational start to the season, growing in raw numbers for several of the early episodes, and it gave quite a boost to The Rookie as well.


2018-19American IdolShark Tank119
2019-20American IdolThe Rookie107 (-10%)
122 (-10%)122 (-10%)76 (-12%)

But the spring was not as good to Idol as it had been in the past couple ABC seasons; it didn't get a sizable boost in the early pandemic weeks and struggled in the final month as it had to come up with a suboptimal solution for its live episodes. It was a similar story for The Rookie, though the raw numbers remained a little ahead of what it had done throughout the fall.

Rating the Ratings

America's Funniest Home Videos0.50.781.1-13%95marginal+1%detail
Kids Say the Darndest Things0.40.590.972marginaldetail
American Idol Sun*
Shark Tank*0.50.691.1-15%85hit(Fri)-1%detail
The Rookie0.50.640.8-10%79marginal+4%detail

America's Funniest Home Videos: Didn't have any of the 8/7c episodes that have boosted its average in past seasons (although there were only a small handful of those last year), but it did seem to increase in February from Idol coming back earlier. While it got a ton of benefit in the early weeks of the pandemic, it may have actually been hurt in the latter part because it didn't get its usual late-spring NBA lead-ins. Grade: B.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: It was a noticeable improvement on DWTS: Juniors during the meat of the fall season, which should not be forgotten. But it still wasn't anything special, and then it totally bombed out in December and January. It also had very close to zero DVR audience, so I think it was just living off of the AFHV live audience. Grade: D+.

American Idol: There are a few things to untangle with this one. First, it was trending very well even before the pandemic (like even or up in raw numbers), though a part of that might be because it premiered a couple weeks earlier. Second, it didn't seem to benefit much in the early part of the pandemic; as I noted in the intro to CVPlus, that might be because Sunday did not get the kind of HUT spikes that the lesser-viewed nights did. Then it had a final month in which it was clearly hurt by the pandemic; it has had major upswings for the live shows in its past two ABC seasons, but took a downswing this time because of the alterations to production. It's a shame that we can't know what would've "normally" happened in the late spring. I was very close to going with an A- as it was clearly trending in that direction pre-pandemic. But, like with The Voice's spring season (albeit in the opposite direction), I can't bring myself to completely forget about the spring period. Grade: B+.

Shark Tank: Already updated.

The Rookie: Though it was noted when the ABC schedule came out that many shows have gone to Sunday 10/9c to die, I think it ended up not being much of a timeslot downgrade, with Shark Tank doing OK in the fall and the Idol lead-in showing up in the winter/spring. All the metrics say it was a little bit stronger in season two. Grade: B+.

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 ABC Sunday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for ABC Sunday.

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