Monday, August 30, 2021

The Breakdown: Fox Friday in 2020-21 (WWE SmackDown!)




It's time for a journey through the Fox 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.


fall

Year8:008:309:009:30Avg
2019-20WWE SmackDown!104
104104
2020-21WWE SmackDown!92 (-11%)
92 (-11%)92 (-11%)

VsAvg+55%+86%+69%
Rank3/202/203/20

SmackDown! managed to bounce back somewhat in the late summer and fall, after it really struggled with the production issues during the early pandemic months. It was not quite able to keep up with fall 2019 (inflated by the hyped early weeks) but it was not too far off.

winter

Year8:008:309:009:30Avg
2019-20WWE SmackDown!95
9595
2020-21WWE SmackDown!93 (-3%)
93 (-3%)93 (-3%)

VsAvg+51%+64%+57%
Rank3/202/202/20

Probably the most apples-to-apples comparison came in the winter, when it was just a touch behind last year's Plus levels.

spring

Year8:008:309:009:30Avg
2019-20WWE SmackDown!67
6767
2020-21WWE SmackDown!85 (+28%)
85 (+28%)85 (+28%)

VsAvg+71%+79%+75%
Rank1/201/201/20

Then came the great comparisons in the last period, when SmackDown! took just a modest spring decline and routed the pandemic-plagued eps from a year ago.

Rating the Ratings

NameLoAvgHiy2yPlusPlusy2yResults
WWE SmackDown!0.20.581.0-19%90+2%

WWE SmackDown!: This average includes both a football-inflated episode on Christmas day, plus a couple weeks when it aired on FS1 due to other sports programming. Hopefully those cancel out and paint a pretty good picture. Once the dust settled, Fox ended up with something that gets very good ratings by Friday standards. Not necessarily better than any entertainment programming (Shark Tank beat it this year, and the first Fox season of Last Man Standing was also stronger) but probably better than can reasonably be expected. Whether that lives up to the price tag, only Fox knows. 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 Fox Friday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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