Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Breakdown: ABC Wednesday in 2020-21 (The Goldbergs, American Housewife, The Conners and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Wednesday 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 GoldbergsSchooledModern FamilySingle ParentsStumptown94
2020-21The GoldbergsAmerican HousewifeThe ConnersBlack-ishFor Life87 (-8%)
116 (-1%)94 (+1%)112 (-11%)78 (-8%)62 (-15%)
105 (0%)95 (-10%)


ABC's Wednesday comedies were among the first regular scripted programs to return after COVID-19 production delays, and perhaps they reaped some benefit from that as the comedy lineup was relatively steady with last fall. Veteran American Housewife improved its ratings in the 8:30 hammock position (though did not look much better than last year's Schooled) and The Conners and Black-ish declined just a bit from last year's Modern Family-led hour. The night's biggest declines came at 10/9c with sophomore drama For Life.


2019-20The GoldbergsSchooledModern FamilySingle ParentsStumptown83
2020-21The GoldbergsAmerican HousewifeThe ConnersCall Your MotherFor Life70 (-15%)
96 (-7%)81 (-3%)91 (-28%)64 (-18%)45 (-14%)
89 (-6%)77 (-24%)


But the whole Wednesday lineup looked weaker after the new year, with 0.6's becoming the norm for both of the anchors. Newbie Call Your Mother couldn't get anything going at 9:30, and that helped tank For Life to 0.3's in its January/February episodes.


2019-20The GoldbergsSchooledAmerican HousewifeSingle ParentsWho Wants to Be a Millionaire75
2020-21The GoldbergsHome EconomicsThe ConnersCall Your MotherA Million Little Things67 (-10%)
89 (-7%)71 (-3%)89 (+34%)50 (-3%)53 (-34%)
80 (-6%)69 (+18%)


The anchors actually held up relatively well in the spring, continuing to eke out 0.6 most weeks with the occasional 0.5. 8:30 newbie Home Economics did not look all that different from American Housewife, helping it edge out Call Your Mother which had a bunch of 0.3's in the spring. At 10/9c, drama A Million Little Things returned to its original timeslot and barely improved on For Life's late-season ratings (but remained a huge DVR gainer).

Rating the Ratings

The Goldbergs*0.50.640.8-26%100solid-7%detail
American Housewife*0.40.550.6-7%85marginal+19%detail
Home Economics0.40.460.6
The Conners0.50.620.9-42%97marginal-26%detail
Call Your Mother0.30.370.5
The Con0.30.400.5

For Life0.30.340.5-38%53flop-22%detail
A Million Little Things0.30.430.7-40%66flop-24%detail

The Goldbergs: As bad as things are in the ABC comedy department, I actually expected this average would've been worse, but it managed to scrape together one more league average season with single-digit declines in each period. I was kind of on the fence between C+ and C here but what we saw of the DVR numbers looked pretty soft, so Grade: C.

American Housewife: It has a rather nice-looking gain compared with its mostly Friday season a year ago, but I'm hesitant to give it an actual good grade since it did not look meaningfully better than Schooled. Comparing this show's myriad timeslot situations requires a math degree that I don't have, so I'm just going with my gut that says this was mediocre but nothing too offensive. After ekeing out some close call renewals in the past, it did not make quite a strong enough case this time. Grade: C.

Home Economics: Continued the tradition of mediocrity in the timeslot, but the DVR numbers we saw were not that bad. Looked fairly similar to the veteran Housewife, so they may as well take a flier on a second season. Grade: C.

The Conners: It's been a hard fall from big hit levels two years ago (not to even mention the gigahit levels for the Roseanne revival). In this case, some of it is definitely explained by the timeslot move, which we can see in it getting better DVR percentage gains. But it's still on a pretty speedy downward trajectory. Grade: C-.

Black-ish: Already updated.

Call Your Mother: Other than maybe premiere night, it was the clear weak link in the comedy lineup, even compared with whatever was airing at 8:30. A particular lowlight was when it had only fifty percent retention on May 12. Grade: D.

The Con: Aired for five weeks to bridge the gap at 10/9c between For Life and A Million Little Things. It was weaker than both of them in Live+SD and presumably much weaker in DVR. Grade: C-.

For Life: Didn't have much lead-in support, especially once Call Your Mother showed up, but it really didn't last year either (when it aired on Tuesday after Black-ish). So there's not any timeslot excuse here; if anything, it might have had a better timeslot since it aired earlier in the season. It just didn't look anything like the show that held up pretty well in spring 2020. Grade: D.

A Million Little Things: It had timeslot downgrades, first in the fall when it moved from 9/8c to 10/9c (though it had a very strong Grey's Anatomy lead-in this fall), and then in the above spring comparison when it moved from Thursday after Grey's to Wednesday after Call Your Mother and some summer eps after game shows. Still a huge DVR gainer but not really much moreso than last year, so it's clearly lost some steam in addition to the timeslot-related damage. 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 ABC Wednesday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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