Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Breakdown: ABC Thursday in 2021-22 (Station 19, Grey's Anatomy, Big Sky)

It's time for a journey through the ABC Thursday schedule in 2021-22...


2020-21Station 19Grey's AnatomyA Million Little Things146
2021-22Station 19Grey's AnatomyBig Sky104 (-29%)
123 (-19%)125 (-35%)63 (-31%)


The poster child for aging gracefully in its first 17 seasons, Grey's Anatomy finally met with a sharp downturn in 2021-22, and it was particularly brutal in this period vs. last year's dazzling fall. The rest of the night mostly crumbled around it; Station 19 was down at 8/7c (though notably not as much), while the sophomore season of former overachiever Big Sky was pretty much a non-factor from the jump at 10/9c.


2020-21Celebrity Wheel of FortuneThe ChaseThe Hustler111
2021-22Women of the MovementLet the World See80 (-28%)
83 (-41%)83 (-25%)73 (-11%)


With last year's game shows airing on other nights, the closest thing to a regular lineup on Thursday in the winter was the three-week January pairing of limited series Women of the Movement and Let the World See. They were not particularly impressive in the ratings but ABC has done far worse with programming of this ilk in the past. (The 2017 effort When We Rise had just a 44 Plus!)


2020-21Station 19Grey's AnatomyRebel110
2021-22Station 19Grey's AnatomyBig Sky93 (-16%)
112 (-7%)114 (-20%)52 (-22%)


The declines for Station, Grey's and Big Sky were not quite as bad in the spring, in part because the year-ago spring had already taken a major dip from the fall. But Grey's remained 20% off of last year's pace, and Big Sky had no better retention than year-ago cancellation Rebel.

Rating the Ratings

Station 19*0.50.610.8-26%120solid-7%detail
Grey's Anatomy*0.50.620.8-38%123solid-22%detail
Big Sky0.20.290.4-45%58flop-31%detail

Station 19: Definitely the least troubling hour on Thursday, but still down. The hammock with a local programming lead-in probably helped mitigate the damage to some extent. Grade: C+.

Grey's Anatomy: I feel like this season kind of illustrates how miraculous this show's consistency was in the past; it had been between a 140 and 180 for a dozen years! You could maybe see this coming a little if you looked at the drop from fall to spring last year, but I think it was still worse than expected. Perhaps there's some hope for the future since it didn't have as sharp a spring drop this year. Grade: C-.

Big Sky: For this show to go from what it did in the fall/winter of season one (especially in the winter after The Bachelorette left) to essentially indistinguishable from A Million Little Things and Rebel is quite a fall. Again, it wasn't too hard to see this coming because of how much it fell in spring 2021; the spring 2022 episodes were actually close to even in Plus! But it had a very bad situation in those spring 2021 eps (building by close to a tenth on its Mixed-ish lead-ins), so even doing that Plus after Grey's is no accomplishment. It gets the Wednesday 10/9c hour next season, but it'll have trouble improving on what AMLT did there. 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 | 2020-21

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

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