Monday, June 28, 2021

The Breakdown: ABC Tuesday in 2020-21 (The Bachelorette, Black-ish, Mixed-ish, Big Sky and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Tuesday schedule in 2020-21...

NOTE: In addition to classic A18-49+, Breakdown posts with 2019-20 ratings 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. Also see here for information on the 2020-21 league average.


2019-20The ConnersBless This MessMixed-ishBlack-ishEmergence92
2020-21The BacheloretteBig Sky171 (+85%)
205 (+72%)205 (+138%)102 (+43%)


One of the few ratings boons in a mostly disrupted autumn was ABC's fall season of The Bachelorette, which doubled the year-ago comedies and set up ABC's strongest fall Tuesday in the Plus era. The first half of its season had a wide variety of lead-outs, and then in mid-November came the new David E. Kelley drama Big Sky, which was serviceable in its first five episodes.


2019-20The ConnersBless This MessMixed-ishBlack-ishEmergence74
2020-21To Tell the TruthBlack-ishMixed-ishBig Sky88 (+18%)
92 (-11%)80 (+1%)70 (+2%)96 (+111%)
75 (+2%)


In the winter, the value of Big Sky became much clearer, as it pulled off an impressive run of 0.6's (including a 0.7 winter finale) despite having much worse lead-ins. Earlier in that night, game show filler To Tell the Truth returned to form an Anthony Anderson-led night with Black-ish at 9/8c and season two of Mixed-ish at 9:30. The ishes had about the same Plus as last winter.


2019-20The ConnersBless This MessMixed-ishBlack-ishFor Life69
2020-21Pooch PerfectBlack-ishMixed-ishBig Sky62 (-10%)
66 (-28%)59 (0%)53 (-10%)64 (+12%)
56 (-5%)


In the winter, Big Sky took a familiar page out of the serialized drama playbook and cratered across its two-month hiatus, dropping to a low 0.5 in its spring premiere and pulling all 0.4's the rest of the way. It was still a (modest) improvement in the timeslot, and ABC was mostly weighed down in the y2y comparisons by unscripted filler Pooch Perfect at 8/7c.

Rating the Ratings

The Bachelorette Fall1.01.311.7
To Tell the Truth0.40.540.7-4%83marginal+22%detail
Pooch Perfect0.40.430.6
Big Sky0.40.540.7

The Bachelorette Fall: Until I learned ABC was doing yet another season in fall 2021, I had been planning on counting this as the 2019-20 season of the show (essentially a delayed summer season) and using that league average. If you do use the 2019-20 league average, it was essentially even in Plus vs. the summer 2019 season (which would be a Bish grade). But if you judge it by the 2020-21 LA, shifting it all the way back from summer to fall, it suddenly looks like the strongest season in Bachelorette history (probably an A grade). I think judging it by 2019-20 is probably a little fairer in terms of analyzing the show itself, but airing a few months later makes it a little better than an even-in-Plus performance. Grade: B+.

To Tell the Truth: This was the best this show has ever done in Plus. Not only did it have The Bachelorette's calendar advantage (airing in winter after much of its run has been in the summer), but it's also aired mostly in the 10/9c hour over the years, so 8/7c in the winter is easily its most favorable timeslot. So not as much of a breakout as it might seem, but it still ranked 6/20 historically for ABC in the hour, so it did pretty well. Grade: B.

Pooch Perfect: Not a megabomb but very mediocre filler, quickly looking weaker than what TTTT did in the winter/early spring. DVR interest was non-existent. Grade: C-.

Black-ish: With a final season renewal on tap, maybe the long-declining Black-ish finally found a level? I'm not totally convinced, as it had some timeslot help: first in the late fall Wednesday run after The Conners, then moving from 9:30 to 9:00 when it aired on Tuesday. These weren't huge upgrades but it'd have probably been down a bit if the timeslots were the same. Grade: C+.

Mixed-ish: Shifting to 9:30 made this show's timeslot tougher, but it still looked even weaker than last year when it was a very marginal renewal. Grade: C-.

Big Sky: Always tough to give a grade to a Jekyll-and-Hyde show like this. As of its winter finale, it was one of the biggest successes of the season, stronger than the early part of A Million Little Things' run a couple years ago. It was probably headed for an A- or B+ so in the winter, then something like a B- or C+ for the spring portion, so I'll give some weight to both periods. Still a worthy renewal even with just the spring eps (DVR growth was big), but ABC will hope for improvement in its move to Thursday. 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 Tuesday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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