Thursday, October 29, 2020

The War of 18-49, Man with a Plan

A Return to Nostalgic Monday Comedy

 A year after experimenting with a rare three-drama Monday lineup, CBS snapped all the way back into its longtime two-hour comedy tradition for the fall of 2016. That included returnees in the 9/8c hour, but the real key to the project was the new comedies leading off the night, throwback affairs with stars of memorable sitcoms past. Most of the hype (including a lengthy post-The Big Bang Theory run in the early fall) went to 8/7c anchor Kevin Can Wait. Meanwhile, Matt LeBlanc's Man with a Plan had to wait until late October for its launch. On premiere night, Man with a Plan (1.6) nearly matched Kevin (1.7), but Man fell into the low-1's and the gap widened to two or three tenths for much of the fall. The winter viewing upswing brightened things for Man with a Plan, as it was often just a tenth behind Kevin, but both shows fell into the very low 1's by the springtime.

The duo returned to the Monday 8/7c hour in fall 2017, though once again Man with a Plan had to wait while Kevin got to air in the early fall. Once reunited, the two were usually separated by a tenth, and they held up better in the spring than the year before. However, the combo was not doing enough to justify their prime positions, so the expensive Kevin Can Wait got the axe while Man with a Plan was renewed but held off the fall schedule.

Midseason Replacement Mode

In season three, Man with a Plan ended up coming right back to the Monday 8:30 timeslot it had left behind; newbie The Neighborhood had been a big success leading off, but the 8:30 newbie Happy Together not so much. While it got some low-1's early on, MWAP didn't have quite as strong retention after The Neighborhood as it had after Kevin, usually falling a couple tenths behind, though it was an improvement on Happy Together. But it scored yet another midseason replacement renewal.

The fourth season played out even later in the season, with an April premiere on Thursday after Young Sheldon. It only followed an original Sheldon on three occasions, though, and ended up airing several weeks into the summer. While it looked OK given the circumstances, mostly pulling 0.7's for the regular season episodes and 0.6's in the summer, its time was finally up at the 2020 upfront.

Adults 18-49 info by season:

12016-17Monday 8:301.23
3Spring 20190.86-13%0.71.1detailB-
4Spring 2020Thursday 8:300.70-19%0.60.9detailB-

Historical-adjusted ratings by season:

3Spring 201991marginal0.74+0%7512012080
4Spring 202085marginal0.70-6%7310610673


The War of 18-49 chronicles the ratings history of veteran primetime series. For more, see the Index.

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