Monday, August 3, 2020

The Breakdown: NBC Thursday in 2019-20 (Superstore, Will and Grace, Law and Order: SVU and more!)

It's time for a journey through the NBC Thursday 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.


2018-19SuperstoreThe Good PlaceWill and GraceI Feel BadLaw and Order: SVU86
2019-20SuperstorePerfect HarmonyThe Good PlaceWill and GraceLaw and Order: SVU79 (-8%)
98 (+9%)59 (-34%)80 (-5%)64 (+17%)87 (-11%)
78 (-13%)72 (+3%)

Finally free from competing against The Big Bang Theory, Superstore posted a strong beginning to the season, but there was no way for the momentum to continue as newbie Perfect Harmony laid a major egg at 8:30. 9:30 newbie Sunnyside was even worse, forcing Will and Grace to get called off the bench before the end of October. Law and Order: SVU began yet another season with no real lead-in help at 9:30; the early fall comparisons when Sunnyside were around were the worst, and it took more moderate declines the rest of the way.


2018-19The Titan GamesBrooklyn Nine-NineWill and GraceLaw and Order: SVU102
2019-20SuperstoreBrooklyn Nine-NineWill and GraceIndebtedLaw and Order: SVU72 (-30%)
84 (-38%)73 (-46%)59 (-34%)45 (-40%)85 (-5%)
79 (-42%)52 (-37%)

There was no three-month hiatus for Superstore as NBC kept its two-hour comedy night rolling in the winter, creating a slew of horrible comparisons vs. a night fueled by The Titan Games a year ago. The return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine improved upon the Perfect Harmony debacle at 8:30, but the network sprung another leak with newbie Indebted at 9:30.


2018-19SuperstoreA.P. BioBrooklyn Nine-NineAbby'sLaw and Order: SVU66
2019-20SuperstoreBrooklyn Nine-NineWill and GraceIndebtedLaw and Order: SVU66 (0%)
84 (+0%)66 (+24%)61 (+5%)38 (-13%)73 (-6%)
75 (+9%)50 (-3%)

With a return to comedy-vs.-comedy comparisons, NBC stabilized things on a year-to-year basis, as Brooklyn was an improvement on A.P. Bio but Indebted managed to underperform even the year-ago megabomb Abby's.

Rating the Ratings

Perfect Harmony0.30.420.551flopdetail
Brooklyn Nine-Nine*0.50.590.7-16%72marginal-3%detail
The Good Place0.50.620.7-27%75marginal-15%detail
Will and Grace0.40.500.6-33%61flop-22%detail
Law and Order: SVU*0.60.670.7-21%81marginal-9%detail

Superstore: There were signs in the fall that Superstore might be able to make real gains in a post-The Big Bang Theory world, but it didn't really end up materializing, despite getting to air in the winter. Another respectable year, but maybe a bit of a missed opportunity? Grade: B.

Perfect Harmony: I'm being kind here since it wasn't quite as bad as the 9:30 megabombs, but it was still a major problem in the 8:30 slot. Might have been interesting to see if NBC could've gotten some momentum going if they rolled with Brooklyn out of the gate. Grade: D.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: It aired a lot of post-pandemic episodes so the picture looks a little worse in CVPlus, but this was still a fairly respectable showing considering it didn't have all the early help from The Titan Games. Grade: B.

The Good Place: Getting stuck between Perfect Harmony and Sunnyside is about as bad as it gets. It did get the Superstore lead-in back for the last few episodes, though it didn't seem to make a major difference. Looks better in CVPlus since it was all pre-pandemic, and the DVR growth was quite solid. Grade: C+.

Will and Grace: It's amazing to think that this show reinvigorated an entire night in fall 2018 and was pretty much reduced to spackle just two years later. It did miss out on the start of the fall, but overall the timeslot doesn't really excuse another 20%+ drop and the DVR numbers tanked just as much (if still big gains for a comedy). Grade: D.

Sunnyside: It feels a bit morbid to compare epic flops, but doing these numbers at the start of the fall could put this show even behind the Abby's and Champions of the world. It did do a little better than those shows DVR-wise, at least at the start, but even the DVR crowd bailed quickly. Grade: F.

Indebted: It had even worse DVRing than Sunnyside at the start, but it held up less bad post-premiere and avoided getting pulled. I likely give it an F if Sunnyside didn't exist but in these situations (which come about on NBC Thursday quite often) I like to differentiate between the two huge flops. Grade: D-.

Law and Order: SVU: It is fully used to being saddled with megabomb lead-ins at this point, and it had weaker CBS competition than usual in the hour, so it feels like a bit of a mediocre year by SVU standards. 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 NBC Thursday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for NBC Thursday.

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