Monday, August 23, 2021

The Breakdown: CBS Friday in 2020-21 (MacGyver, Magnum P.I., Blue Bloods and more!)

It's time for a journey through the CBS Friday 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.


2019-20Hawaii Five-0Magnum P.I.Blue Bloods82
2020-21The Greatest #AtHome VideosUndercover BossBlue Bloods (R)52 (-37%)
52 (-42%)58 (-26%)45 (-43%)


CBS' usual Friday drama stable did not get back on the air till December, leaving COVID lockdown-themed filler The Greatest #AtHome Videos (continuing a run that began in July) and Undercover Boss as the most frequent occupants.


2019-20MacGyverHawaii Five-0Blue Bloods83
2020-21MacGyverMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods83 (+0%)
83 (+2%)84 (+0%)82 (-1%)


The dramas were back full time in 2021, and incredibly steady with last year's performance. That was good news especially for Magnum P.I., which did not miss a beat relative to previous occupant Hawaii Five-0.


2019-20MacGyverMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods76
2020-21MacGyverMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods77 (+1%)
72 (-3%)76 (+0%)83 (+7%)


The steadiness basically continued into the spring, though Blue Bloods in the 10/9c hour was more resistant to spring declines than the other two.

Rating the Ratings

The Greatest #AtHome Videos0.40.410.5

Undercover Boss*0.30.380.5-42%58flop-27%detail
Magnum P.I.0.40.520.6-21%80hit(Fri)+1%detail
Blue Bloods*0.40.520.6-19%81hit(Fri)+3%detail

The Greatest #AtHome Videos: Another piece of The FBI Declassified-level filler. Grade: C-.

MacGyver: I've often been hard on this show because of the low DVR numbers, but there was not really anything in this particular season's numbers that screamed cancellation. It was down a bit from last year, but last year was quite strong and it still outrated seasons two and three. Now we'll see its timeslot go to a show I often compared it with, S.W.A.T., which had soft Live+SD but big DVR numbers in its 10/9c run. Those direct timeslot comparisons will be interesting, though S.W.A.T. is supposed to move to Sunday later on. Grade: B-.

Undercover Boss: I don't want to make too big a deal about five episodes that were essentially burned off to fill space in the fall, but these episodes were a lot weaker than anything we've seen from regular editions of this show before. It did have about the same Plus as the Celebrity Undercover Boss run in summer 2018, though. An afterthought showing from a former Friday night institution. Grade: C-.

Magnum P.I.: Not much to suggest this show was anything different from the pleasant surprise it was on Friday last year. Getting Hawaii Five-0-esque levels out of a much younger show is a win. Grade: B.

Blue Bloods: A small rebound from a soft-ish season last year. It looked good in the spring and might be kinda borderline B+, but it's not quite enough to take me off of a 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 CBS Friday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

Here's the now updated Schedules Plus for CBS Friday.

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