Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Breakdown: CW Monday in 2020-21 (All American, Black Lightning and more!)

It's time for a journey through the CW Monday 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.


2019-20All AmericanBlack Lightning30
2020-21Whose Line Is It Anyway?Whose Line Is It Anyway? (R)Penn and Teller: Fool Us27 (-11%)
29 (-5%)26 (-15%)26 (-13%)
28 (-10%)


For the CW across the board, the fall was essentially a continuation of the summer, with the scripted stable delayed till 2021. That summery lineup included unscripted staples Whose Line? and Fool Us maintaining their summer timeslots (later moving to Friday once the regular lineup was back). While comparisons on future nights will look much worse, these shows kept the Monday ratings within striking distance.


2019-20All AmericanBlack Lightning29
2020-21All AmericanBlack Lightning33 (+14%)
45 (+42%)20 (-21%)


The CW's All American improbably returned with yet another season of huge growth, opening season three with a new season high in raw numbers and then growing year-to-year in raw numbers for most comparisons going forward. It was no help to Black Lightning, which posted 0.1's and the occasional low 0.2 throughout its final season and took another step down.


2019-20Whose Line Is It Anyway?Whose Line Is It Anyway? (R)Roswell, New Mexico18
2020-21All AmericanBlack Lightning26 (+42%)
35 (+60%)17 (+15%)


All American and Black Lightning both fell off a bit in the spring, but this was the best period for the year-to-year timeslot growth as they got compared against weaker occupants from a year ago.

Rating the Ratings

Whose Line Is It Anyway?
All American0.20.260.4+9%41solid(CW)+39%detail
Penn and Teller: Fool Us0.10.120.2-32%19flop-14%
Black Lightning0.10.120.2-46%18flop-32%detail

Whose Line Is It Anyway?: I have to say I hadn't really taken much of a look at this show's ratings, but it's kinda amazing how closely it's followed the league average for many years now. We're essentially going on seven years of almost exactly a 25 Plus. This particular run includes a lot more regular season episodes than usual, but many of them were on Friday. Grade: B-.

All American: (Average does not include the show's June episodes.) What's happened with this show, a bubble show/late renewal just two years ago, is quite crazy. It was the network's #1 show in 2020-21, and the DVR numbers are perhaps even more impressive. I'm getting tempted to pull the trigger on the A+, but I continue to resist that because the show was starting from such a small base and is still pretty far down the totem pole for the network historically. Even at this level, it's still miles away from cracking into the best netlet seasons ever. Perhaps that's an unrealistic standard on a network with a linear TV-unfriendly audience; would peak The Flash really be hitting 0.6's nowadays, as Plus says it would? Not sure. But anyway, if All American can keep this up for one more year, the temptation may be overwhelming, because it'll be squarely in that historic territory. Grade: A.

Penn and Teller: Fool Us: Penn and Teller, unlike Whose Line?, has been on a little more clearly downward trajectory. It was very consistent in the upper 20's for its first five years, but has gone 24 -> 22 -> 19 in the last three. Grade: C.

Black Lightning: All American excepted, the returnee trends on this network are absolutely awful, in part because the superhero brand is in decline and in part because everything got shifted three months later. To alleviate the second issue, I will heavily weigh the apples-to-apples comparisons whenever possible, which is the winter comparisons in this case. They still look quite bad for Black Lightning, especially considering how big its lead-in was. This show had quite a four-year flameout after posting a 52 Plus in its inaugural season. Grade: D+.

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 CW Monday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for CW Monday.

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