Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Breakdown: Fox Sunday in 2019-20 (The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and more!)

It's time for a journey through the Fox 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.


2018-19The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyRel119
2019-20The SimpsonsBless the HartsBob's BurgersFamily Guy126 (+6%)
178 (+11%)109 (-14%)107 (-11%)111 (+64%)
143 (+0%)109 (+16%)

The NFL lead-ins helped the fall portion of The Simpsons, but there was no real growth after that as Bob's Burgers and Family Guy were joined by another weak link newbie. Bless the Harts aired at 8:30 rather than Rel at 9:30, so the ratings strength was considerably rearranged toward the 9:00 hour.


2018-19The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyRel106
2019-20The SimpsonsDuncanvilleBob's BurgersFamily Guy73 (-31%)
80 (-37%)60 (-44%)75 (-31%)76 (-6%)
70 (-40%)75 (-20%)

These comparisons are a bit unfair because the animation did not get its usual NFL playoff lead-in, which usually has a huge effect on the winter averages since these shows sit out for much of event season. (Bob's Burgers and Bless the Harts aired out-of-timeslot originals after an NFL playoff game on January 15, not included in the averages above.) Fox tried another animated newbie, Duncanville, in the 8:30 slot beginning in mid-February, and once again it was a clear weak link among the four.


2018-19The SimpsonsBob's BurgersFamily GuyFamily Guy (R)76
2019-20The SimpsonsDuncanvilleBob's BurgersFamily Guy54 (-30%)
58 (-24%)41 (-50%)54 (-36%)62 (-4%)
50 (-37%)58 (-22%)

The declines looked horrible again in the spring, as these shows did not show any real sign of benefiting during the pandemic viewing inflation. Again, I would take some caution since Sunday shows in general did not seem to benefit as much, but these are pretty steep declines even by a Classic Plus analysis, and Duncanville showed no real signs of blending in better on a relative basis.

Rating the Ratings

The Simpsons*0.50.942.1-22%114solid-9%detail
Bless the Harts0.50.851.2104soliddetail
Bob's Burgers*0.40.732.1-29%90marginal-18%detail
Family Guy*0.50.711.2-31%87marginal-20%detail

The Simpsons: There are definitely a few caveats going on with the Fox animated lineup that perhaps mitigate some of the decline, as explained above, but I think it would be impossible to deny it was a disappointing year for the lineup. This was the lowest Plus for The Simpsons in over a decade. Grade: C.

Bless the Harts: I'll rank this ahead of Duncanville because there were maybe some faint signs of the retention looking stable/better toward the end of its run. Still pretty shaky. Grade: C-.

Duncanville: Overall, I don't really understand the need to renew both of these shows from a ratings perspective. I feel like I read something somewhere that touted Duncanville doing better than Bless the Harts on DVR, but we're still talking about less than twenty percent Live+7 gains. That's, like, Ellen's Game of Games territory. Grade: D.

Bob's Burgers: You could argue Bob's was the biggest disappointment in this lineup because it had been on such a hot streak in the previous years. It definitely got the short end by having to air after the 8:30 shows, but it also had the playoff NFL lead-in, so overall I'd say there was little to indicate it was holding any better than the other two mainstays. Grade: C-.

Family Guy: Of the three mainstays, Family Guy's 87 Plus definitely looks the worst within its previous history. It's still not back to what this show was doing before its cancellation in the early aughts, but this was way behind everything post-cancellation. 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 Fox Sunday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19

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

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