Friday, June 18, 2021

The Breakdown: NBC Monday in 2020-21 (The Voice, Ellen's Game of Games, Debris and more!)

It's time for a journey through the NBC 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.


2019-20The VoiceBluff City Law137
2020-21The VoiceWeakest Link131 (-4%)
150 (-11%)150 (-11%)93 (+29%)


The seemingly endless decline of The Voice kept rolling in 2020-21, and it didn't help in this case that the show came back four weeks later than usual and had to deal with a very strong DWTS competitor. However, this time the network recovered most of those declines in the 10/9c hour as game show revival Weakest Link handily outrated last year's flop drama. The above average doesn't even include most of Weakest Link's best results, which came early in the fall on Tuesdays and a Wednesday (including two episodes with debate pre-tune).


2019-20America's Got Talent: The ChampionsManifest124
2020-21Ellen's Game of GamesThe Wall85 (-31%)
95 (-33%)83 (-42%)78 (-12%)


With no AGT: Champions for the 2020-21 season, NBC was left with a couple other unscripted mainstays, and the year-to-year declines got ugly. This Game of Games run had barely half the Plus of the show's huge inaugural season just three years ago.


2019-20The VoiceSongland126
2020-21The VoiceDebris101 (-20%)
123 (-19%)122 (-19%)57 (-25%)


Compared against a 2020 season that got huge boosts during COVID lockdown, The Voice's declines looked even worse for the spring 2021 season. To make matters worse, the network got back into the genre drama game with the 10/9c lead-out, and Debris couldn't get anything going.

Rating the Ratings

The Voice Fall*0.80.971.2-26%150big hit-6%detail
Ellen's Game of Games0.20.490.7-52%76marginal-39%detail
The Voice Spring*0.60.841.1-40%131hit-24%detail
The Wall0.50.530.6+1%82marginal+28%
Weakest Link0.50.671.2

The Voice Fall: For the seasonal shows, the CVPlus comparisons are much more useful than the ones in this table. So the -6% is being a bit too kind, even if this season did have its late return as an excuse. I can't go any better than a Grade: C, as this was easily a new low for a fall season of the show and just barely eked out the big hit label.

Ellen's Game of Games: The above average includes the winter run (down 20% or more from the winter 2020 performance), plus an absolutely dreadful run in the spring Sunday dead zone. So the actual fair comparisons were not as bad as what's shown above, but I can't throw out the Sunday showing completely either. It's quite a fall from grace for this show (a top 5 ratings moment in 2018!) to barely even be passing as filler anymore. Grade: D.

The Voice Spring: Certainly not as bad as the Classic Plus comparison, and probably not even as bad as the CVPlus comparison (since The Voice benefited more from the lockdowns than most). But, as with the fall season, we're pretty deep into historical low territory by this show's standards. It was down more than 15% from the last "normal" spring season in 2019. Will be interesting to see if airing just one season in 2021-22 helps the trends. Grade: C-.

The Wall: This is somewhat the opposite of Game of Games, in that it got plucked out of the Sunday dead zone and put up better numbers in a much more favorable timeslot. The closest thing to a fair comparison would be its winter 2018 Monday run, when it was basically a league average show. This run wasn't that strong, but that was a long time ago and it's still viable considering how much it's been tossed around. Grade: B-.

Weakest Link: The full season average is pretty front-loaded by the pre-debate episodes, but it still improved hugely on Bluff City Law and looked like a passable utility player up to the end, pulling roughly an 85 Plus even in winter episodes without The Voice. Grade: B-.

Debris: For so many years, it was easy to compare Voice lead-outs because The Voice itself was so consistent. Now, we have to compare this against post-Voice flops that had much bigger lead-ins. Even Bluff City Law, just a year and a half ago, had almost 50 more points of Voice lead-in in CVPlus than Debris. My guess is this show would've done somewhat better than Bluff City in the same situation, but I have trouble putting it ahead of the others. The DVR interest was no better than past weak lead-outs like Timeless and The Brave. 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 NBC Monday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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