Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Breakdown: CBS Sunday in 2019-20 (60 Minutes, God Friended Me, NCIS: Los Angeles and more!)

It's time for a journey through the CBS 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.


2018-1960 MinutesGod Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesMadam Secretary116
2019-2060 MinutesGod Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesMadam Secretary113 (-3%)
233 (+5%)98 (-5%)90 (-4%)53 (-11%)
166 (+2%)100 (-6%)73 (-9%)

CBS returned the exact same four hours in fall 2019, with 60 Minutes getting help from a strong NFL season but God Friended Me exhibiting worse retention even on the NFL nights. The modest declines continued with the rest of the scripted lineup.


2018-19God Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesMadam Secretary75
2019-20God Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New Orleans74 (-2%)
71 (-10%)83 (-7%)67 (+15%)

Madam Secretary's ten-episode season was done by December, so this became the landing spot for NCIS: New Orleans after CBS opted to launch FBI: Most Wanted following the mothership on Tuesday. GFM and NCIS: LA continued on a downward path, but most of their losses were cancelled out by New Orleans' improvements at 10/9c.


2018-19The Red LineNCIS: Los Angeles45
2019-20God Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New Orleans68 (+50%)
60 (+58%)77 (+102%)67 (+12%)

The last segment of the season enjoyed amazing comparisons since it got thrown up against last year's mega-disaster The Red Line, but it was an unimpressive finish for God Friended Me which saw little benefit from the 60 Minutes upswing during the pandemic. It was actually the NCIS twins that had more tangible movement, with New Orleans even cracking some 0.7's at 10/9c in late March.

Rating the Ratings

60 Minutes*
God Friended Me0.40.640.9-28%79marginal-17%detail
NCIS: Los Angeles*0.50.680.8-18%83marginal-5%detail
NCIS: New Orleans*0.50.650.8-17%79marginal-4%detail
Madam Secretary*0.30.410.5-26%50flop-15%detail

60 Minutes: It missed out on some of its usual spring lead-ins like college basketball and the Masters, but a sharply improved year for the NFL probably more than cancels that out, leaving this show on its inevitable upward trajectory. Grade: B.

God Friended Me: This was a shaky show last year and it was clearly weaker pretty much across the board this year, even as 60 Minutes improved. It has so little DVRing that you might have expected it to be a big beneficiary during the early pandemic weeks when 60 Minutes was boosted, but it didn't really move the needle at all. Though I will note here, as with 60 Minutes, that it missed out on some of the usual sports boosts in the spring. Grade: D.

NCIS: Los Angeles: It didn't get thrown after The Red Line at the end of the season like last year, but it was stuck with God Friended Me all year, so it's close to a wash from a timeslot standpoint. It improves a couple points in CVPlus because it produced a full 22 and aired 17 pre-pandemic. Grade: B-.

NCIS: New Orleans: Already updated.

Madam Secretary: Aired completely pre-pandemic, so what's in the fall table is probably a little more representative than the trend given above. It definitely got somewhat weaker even compared with its already weak history, but at least it was in the timeslot that minimized the damage. The series finale started at 10:46 ET. 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 CBS Sunday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19

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

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