Monday, August 16, 2021

The Breakdown: CW Thursday in 2020-21 (Supernatural, Walker, Legacies)

It's time for a journey through the CW 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.


2020-21SupernaturalThe Outpost23 (-36%)
35 (-11%)11 (-66%)


One of the CW's strongest nights during its filler fall was Thursday, thanks to Supernatural going back into production for the last seven episodes of its final season. In a fall-vs.-fall comparison (even though both periods were technically the same season), they continued the show's downward trend. Meanwhile, summer staple The Outpost did as poorly as the other filler dramas at 9/8c.


2019-20Katy KeeneLegacies22
2020-21WalkerLegacies33 (+47%)
43 (+153%)23 (-17%)


Thursday suddenly became a night of huge improvement in the winter, as Jared Padalecki remained in the 8/7c hour with newbie Walker. The show skewed much older than the typical CW fare and was probably not very compatible with Legacies, which fell off noticeably in the 9/8c hour.


2019-20Katy KeeneIn the Dark10
2020-21WalkerLegacies23 (+131%)
28 (+148%)18 (+109%)


Both shows fell off in the spring, especially Walker (which was a borderline 0.2-0.3 in March but a borderline 0.1-0.2 beyond that). But the timeslot improvement ramped up to triple digits as it was compared against a truly dreadful surrender night a year ago.

Rating the Ratings


Supernatural: Already updated this season which mostly aired in 2019-20. The fall 2020 run was not that bad (especially compared to what else was airing on the network) but not enough to change my mind on the grade.

Walker: Not loving the post-premiere trajectory, but this is about as well as the CW's been able to do in recent years for newbies outside of the comic book world. The Jared Padalecki connection surely helped, but the network found a lot of older viewers as well. What we've seen of the DVR gains have looked quite good, putting it several notches ahead of Kung Fu on Wednesday. Grade: B.

Legacies: It's funny how almost all of these CW returnees are falling in the -15-20%ish range for the actual apples-to-apples comparisons. I was gonna be harsher with this one since it had a nice lead-in upgrade, but despite the winter table it actually aired mostly after Supernatural and not that many episodes after Katy Keene last year. So the standard 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 CW Thursday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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