Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Breakdown: CBS Sunday in 2020-21 (60 Minutes, The Equalizer, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans)

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


2019-2060 MinutesGod Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesMadam Secretary112
2020-2160 MinutesNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New OrleansNCIS (R)111 (-1%)
265 (+14%)101 (+3%)75 (-17%)47 (-12%)
183 (+11%)87 (-12%)64 (-13%)


CBS kept airing its Sunday movie nights through October, then the NCIS spin-offs returned at the start of November. They looked pretty underwhelming in this period, especially considering how well 60 Minutes was doing after the NFL.


2019-20God Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New Orleans73
2020-21The EqualizerNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New Orleans102 (+40%)
129 (+82%)96 (+16%)82 (+24%)


But Sunday got a major shot in the arm in the winter with new drama The Equalizer at 8/7c, which premiered after the Super Bowl and proceeded to absolutely blow away last year's God Friended Me ratings in the 8/7c hour. That lifted the entire night, helping Los Angeles and New Orleans to double digit gains in the winter and spring.


2019-20God Friended MeNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New Orleans69
2020-21The EqualizerNCIS: Los AngelesNCIS: New Orleans93 (+36%)
109 (+80%)93 (+20%)77 (+14%)


The Equalizer's nine episodes at 8/7c were spread out across three and a half months, including a couple four-week hiatuses, but the show still managed to stay above the league average for all of its last four episodes in the late spring.

Rating the Ratings

60 Minutes* hit+27%detail
The Equalizer0.70.750.9
NCIS: Los Angeles*0.40.610.8-10%94marginal+14%detail
NCIS: New Orleans*0.40.500.6-22%78marginal-1%detail

60 Minutes: We've emphasized many times in the past that the show's post-NFL timeslot will probably take it on an inevitable upward trajectory over the long term. This season, it had some particularly large post-NFL episodes and also got back its late-season sports lead-ins like March Madness and the Masters (after the events were cancelled/delayed last year). But even after accounting for all that, the trends were pretty strong even for regular episodes in all parts of the season. So this was a good performance. Grade: B+.

The Equalizer: Very impressive first season, and it's tough to give too much credit to the Super Bowl since it held up pretty well post-premiere even in the depths of spring. I kinda thought about an A-, but I didn't want to give it the edge over the other big newbie success of the season, L&O: Organized Crime which was more impressive with DVR numbers. So I'll stick with Grade: B+ for both.

NCIS: Los Angeles: It had major lead-in upgrades all season long (including airing earlier after 60 Minutes in the fall) so I don't think the +14% is particularly impressive here. It had a higher Plus than the last few seasons exclusively at 9/8c, but also lower than the 8/7c season in 2016-17. Grade: B-.

NCIS: New Orleans: Sort of the same boat as Los Angeles. It actually looked pretty bad in the fall but it gets some credit for the double digit growth in the spring, considering it didn't have as direct a lead-in boost that LA did. Nevertheless, it got the axe after seven seasons, so the network will avoid having more than three NCIS shows on the air at once. 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 Sunday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20

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

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