Monday, August 2, 2021

The Breakdown: ABC Thursday in 2020-21 (Station 19, Grey's Anatomy, The Chase, A Million Little Things and more!)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Thursday 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.


2019-20Grey's AnatomyA Million Little ThingsHow to Get Away with Murder111
2020-21Station 19Grey's AnatomyA Million Little Things146 (+31%)
152 (-10%)193 (+86%)92 (+52%)


Some of the summer game shows continued into the early fall, and then the fruitful Station 19/Grey's Anatomy pairing from early 2020 was reunited in fall 2020 to its most impressive results yet. Grey's was well into the 1's for most of its fall episodes, very close to even in raw numbers with its fall 2019, while Station was usually just shy of 1.0. Even A Million Little Things improved its hour significantly in the move to 10/9c, and was not that far away from its 9/8c showing last fall.


2019-20Station 19Grey's AnatomyA Million Little Things120
2020-21Celebrity Wheel of FortuneThe ChaseThe Hustler111 (-8%)
140 (+7%)111 (-26%)82 (+3%)


It was back to game show programming during the Station/Grey's hiatus, led by Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and The Chase (featuring the stars of the huge Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time from winter 2020). These shows were never a Jeopardy! GOAT-sized event, but they did start quite well in January.


2019-20Station 19Grey's AnatomyHow to Get Away with Murder114
2020-21Station 19Grey's AnatomyRebel110 (-4%)
121 (-5%)142 (-5%)67 (+2%)


The Shonda Rhimes shows returned for the spring, while A Million Little Things aired four eps on the night before heading back to Wednesday and making way for Katey Sagal's Rebel. Station and Grey's remained impressive but down just a notch from their big spring 2020 levels, while Rebel kept the 10/9c hour steady in Live+SD (but had much less DVRing than Murder).

Rating the Ratings

Station 190.70.831.2-21%129hit+1%detail
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune0.70.911.2
Grey's Anatomy* hit+1%detail
The Chase0.40.651.0
A Million Little Things0.30.420.7-40%66flop-24%detail
The Hustler0.40.520.7

Station 19: This is actually a pretty fair comparison because Station missed out on the fall in 2019-20 and aired almost entirely at 8/7c in that season as well (only moving to 9/8c for a handful of late spring eps). Another rock-solid season. Grade: B.

Celebrity Wheel of Fortune: Probably the most impressive newbie of the season, if you count a primetime version of a nearly 50-year old syndicated show as "new." I can't go too crazy on the grade here because it paled so much compared to Jeopardy! GOAT, but that was probably inevitable. Despite fading a bit in the late winter, it was still a force on the primetime stage. Grade: B+.

Grey's Anatomy: Despite having the exact same trend as Station, Grey's gets bumped up a notch in the grade because the fall was comparing 9/8c eps with what it did at 8/7c a year ago. Its fall was just so impressive that it makes up for the minor spring decline. A robust performance in year 17. Grade: B+.

The Chase: The average includes a bunch of its summer episodes, but in the winter it basically did 80% of the Wheel ratings and settled right around the league average. Again, it's a long way from what these guys did on Jeopardy a year ago, but it's good for game show programming. Grade: B.

A Million Little Things: Already updated.

The Hustler: Not on the level of the other two shows, to be sure; it had worse retention out of Chase than Chase had out of Wheel. And not that this counts in the grade, but it's looked pretty mediocre in the summer as well. Grade: C.

Rebel: As I mentioned above, it performed like How to Get Away with Murder in the Live+SD numbers but could not compete on DVR. And of course, late-stage Murder in Live+SD was not exactly something to aspire to anyway. Rebel looked sort of like this year's version of The Baker and the Beauty, so it gets the same grade. 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 ABC Thursday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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