Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Breakdown: CBS Wednesday in 2021-22 (Survivor, The Amazing Race, CSI: Vegas and more!)

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


2020-21The Amazing RaceSEAL TeamS.W.A.T.85
2021-22SurvivorTough As NailsCSI: Vegas116 (+36%)
189 (+75%)81 (-1%)77 (+18%)


After a full season without Survivor, CBS Wednesday was delighted to have it back, and it delivered with the biggest fall Survivor season since 2003! The ratings fell fast beyond that opening hour, though, with sub-50% retention for reality returnee Tough As Nails. At 10/9c, the revival CSI: Vegas managed to improve the timeslot while lagging well behind what CSI had done here in the early 2010s. 


2020-21Tough As NailsSEAL TeamS.W.A.T.70
2021-22Celebrity Big BrotherThe Amazing RaceGood Sam100 (+43%)
128 (+75%)118 (+56%)55 (-12%)


The 8/7c hour was a rotation of unscripted programming, but the most frequent occupant was Winter Olympics filler Celebrity Big Brother (which also aired on a bunch of other nights). Wednesday was easily its strongest night, in part because that night housed the premiere and finale which didn't actually face the Olympics. The Amazing Race had a really good season at 9/8c to continue the timeslot growth, but it was squandered at 10/9c with medical drama Good Sam which was below 50% retention on premiere night.


2020-21Tough As NailsSEAL TeamS.W.A.T.69
2021-22SurvivorBeyond the EdgeGood Sam91 (+32%)
164 (+136%)66 (-7%)44 (-35%)


Survivor returned to its massive growth ways in the spring, but despite its triple-digit gains at 8/7c, the nightly growth was no better than the fall. Celebrity Survivor rip-off Beyond the Edge looked even worse than Tough As Nails at 9/8c, and Good Sam got into real disaster territory.

Rating the Ratings

Survivor Fall*0.70.951.1
187big hit
Celebrity Big Brother0.30.460.8
Survivor Spring*0.80.840.9
164big hit
Tough As Nails0.40.410.5-10%81marginal+13%detail
The Amazing Race*0.50.600.7-11%118solid+13%detail
Beyond the Edge0.30.330.4
CSI: Vegas0.30.400.5
Good Sam0.20.250.4

Survivor Fall: I thought I was finally done with CVPlus comparisons, but they're actually still needed for a seasonal show that last aired in 2019-20! If you just compare it to the raw Plus from fall 2019 (147) it's up 27% and a clear A. But since that season was more like a 158 when considering the spring league average inflation, it's perhaps more like a borderline A-minus. Still, this stands tall enough over where the show has been for nearly two decades that I will hand it a Grade: A.

Celebrity Big Brother: The first two seasons (including season one in 2018 which faced the Olympics) averaged roughly a 110 in Plus. This season was actually pretty comparable for the premiere and finale, but the stuff in the middle against the Olympics was a lot weaker. Considering the original recipe Big Brother is about the same strength comparing 2021 with its 2017-18 seasons, that probably goes down as a bit of a disappointment. Grade: C.

Survivor Spring: Compared with the fall season, this one looks (relatively) disappointing without CVPlus; it had a 181 in spring 2020 with raw Plus because that's when the viewership was inflated. But that spring 2020 number is 165 in CVPlus, making this season basically dead even. The spring 2022 edition may not have gotten quite as much curiosity tune-in as the fall did after more than a year off, but still just another rock-solid outing, and a big upgrade on pre-2020 spring seasons. Grade: B+.

Tough As Nails: Airing after Survivor in the fall is a lot easier than leading off in the summer/winter/spring as this show has done in the past. So the growth is not surprising or impressive, but when lined up with something like Beyond the Edge it could've been worse. Grade: C.

The Amazing Race: The fall 2020 season had to face peak Masked Singer, and this winter season had some solid lead-ins throughout the winter, but it was still a fairly impressive run. To continue the comparisons I used with Celebrity Big Brother, if you compare the Race with its against-Olympics season in 2018 it's a very different story. This show looked clearly stronger than that season, and that 2018 season was actually considered something of a "breakout" at the time after the show had floundered on Friday for years. So I'll be a little generous and go Grade: A-.

Beyond the Edge: Certainly seemed like enough of a thematic match that it could work after Survivor if it were ever going to work, but it was south of 50% retention every single week and even weaker than Tough As Nails. Yikes. Grade: D.

CSI: Vegas: Interesting to note that the last Wednesday season of CSI (101 Plus) actually went up against season one of Chicago PD (and its measly 88 Plus), and here it came back eight years later to find a night that NBC had completely colonized with the Chicago shows. CSI also had a way better lead-in with Criminal Minds back in those days. If this season of CSI: Vegas had aired after Minds and against a sub-league average Chicago PD, would it really have done any worse? Seeing its growth vs. the year-ago S.W.A.T. plus what Good Sam did later in the season make me want to be forgiving, and there was some DVR interest, but I still find this a little underwhelming considering it had the leads from the strongest years of the original series back. Those leads will not return for season two, but maybe just moving to Thursday away from PD will unleash it. Worked for S.W.A.T. Grade: C.

Good Sam: Boy, this kind of performance really makes you appreciate what SEAL Team and S.W.A.T. did on this night, huh?! Similar Plus to last year's Clarice, which I gifted a D because of DVR numbers. This show was a non-entity there. I will spare it the F because it was a lot less front-loaded and had a tougher slot compared with some of the other megabombs this season, but this was rough. 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 CBS Wednesday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20 | 2020-21

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

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