Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Breakdown: ABC Wednesday in 2021-22 (The Goldbergs, The Wonder Years, The Conners and more!)

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


2020-21The GoldbergsAmerican HousewifeThe ConnersBlack-ishFor Life87
2021-22The GoldbergsThe Wonder YearsThe ConnersHome EconomicsA Million Little Things81 (-7%)
113 (-2%)90 (-4%)106 (-5%)67 (-14%)54 (-13%)
102 (-3%)87 (-9%)


After airing a lineup of veteran comedies last fall, ABC Wednesday injected some new blood with newbie The Wonder Years and sophomore Home Economics. Neither one was impressive, with Home Economics a particular eyesore on a year-to-year basis. Keep in mind that last year, these shows were among the first scripted offerings to return post-COVID and did well in their short fall runs before dropping off a lot in the winter. So going -7% vs. those episodes was not too terrible. A Million Little Things returned to the 10/9c hour and could not even keep up with the year-ago cancellation For Life.


2020-21The GoldbergsAmerican HousewifeThe ConnersCall Your MotherFor Life70
2021-22The GoldbergsThe Wonder YearsThe ConnersHome EconomicsThe Chase81 (+15%)
119 (+23%)83 (+2%)99 (+9%)66 (+4%)60 (+34%)
101 (+14%)82 (+7%)


And indeed, the shows held up a lot better in the winter this year, making the trends more favorable. The Goldbergs had a bit of a winter bounce with a couple low 0.7's, while The Conners was down a bit from the fall. The bottom-of-the-hour comedies continued to trend worse than their lead-ins, with Wonder Years squandering most of the Goldbergs momentum and Home Economics barely edging the year-ago failure Call Your Mother. The Chase brought ABC some of its strongest Live+SD numbers at 10/9c (but was well behind AMLT in delayed).


2020-21The GoldbergsHome EconomicsThe ConnersCall Your MotherA Million Little Things67
2021-22The GoldbergsThe Wonder YearsThe ConnersHome EconomicsA Million Little Things65 (-3%)
88 (-1%)61 (-13%)85 (-4%)58 (+15%)49 (-7%)
75 (-7%)71 (+3%)


The growth wore off in the spring, as The Goldbergs plummeted to low 0.5's immediately after DST and even some 0.4's late in the spring, while The Wonder Years lagged well behind the early Home Economics episodes.

Rating the Ratings

The Goldbergs*0.40.540.7-15%107solid+7%detail
The Wonder Years0.30.400.7
Home Economics0.20.330.4-28%64flop-10%detail
The Conners0.40.500.6-20%98marginal+1%detail
A Million Little Things0.20.260.3-39%51flop-23%detail
The Chase0.30.310.4-46%62flop-31%detail

The Goldbergs: With this kind of trend it is borderline B+, but it really dropped a lot from winter to spring and left the season on kind of a rough note. Still, it seems to have found a level in the last couple seasons at the league average or better, which has helped the show achieve pretty impressive longevity. Grade: B.

The Wonder Years: It was definitely weaker than season one of Home Economics in the spring-vs.-spring comparisons, which is a pretty disheartening result considering Home Ec was already a somewhat borderline renewal. But this was the tail end of a full season compared with the start of Home Ec, so when you factor in the full season I think they look like pretty similar shows. Again, though, that isn't a compliment. Grade: C.

Home Economics: Somewhat the opposite of the 8/7c hour in that it looked horrible early in the season and then held up kinda OK by comparison in the spring. But in the big picture, this show looked even weaker in season two and it was already a shaky renewal in season one. Nevertheless, it will get a third chance. Grade: C-.

The Conners: Same basic story as The Goldbergs but the trends were just a little worse in each period. You could make the case that "finding a level" is even more valuable for this show since it had been falling so hard for years after the initial Roseanne revival. Grade: B-.

A Million Little Things: Considering a big part of last season aired on Thursday, it probably wasn't that much weaker than last year (see the spring-vs.-spring comparisons). But this is still a really weak program for a big-four network to be airing on a weeknight. Grade: C-.

The Chase: Year-to-year comparisons are rough because this show got moved from a cushy post-Wheel of Fortune slot into a 10/9c Match Game-esque filler role. It had the same kind of Plus as those last couple Match Game seasons and the comedy lead-ins were weaker, so it's done the job it was asked to do. It's also had a downgrade in the summer-vs.-summer comparisons, with its lead-in going from Celebrity Family Feud to Holey Moley. 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 ABC Wednesday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20 | 2020-21

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

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