Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Breakdown: ABC Sunday in 2021-22 (Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, American Idol, The Rookie and more!)

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


2020-21Supermarket SweepWho Wants to Be a MillionaireCard Sharks80
2021-22Celebrity Wheel of FortuneSupermarket SweepThe Rookie75 (-6%)
90 (-22%)73 (-2%)63 (+27%)


It was back to game shows for ABC in fall 2021, but the network actually managed to do noticeably worse with Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (a major success on Thursday in winter 2021), while Sweep took a big drop in its move to the 9/8c hour. The network did get close to even year-to-year overall because they had The Rookie back in the fall, building on last year's Card Sharks.


2020-21American IdolThe Rookie125
2021-22Celebrity Wheel of FortuneSupermarket SweepThe Rookie84 (-33%)
95 (-36%)81 (-45%)76 (0%)


Wheel and Sweep each aired four more episodes in January, making them the most frequent occupants in the winter period as American Idol did not return till late February. Both shows posted some of their highest results of the season in the early January weeks.


2020-21American IdolThe Rookie110
2021-22American IdolThe Rookie121 (+10%)
144 (+13%)144 (+13%)76 (+0%)


American Idol had a great season in the spring, outrating the last three seasons and just about matching the spring average for the first season on ABC. The Rookie remained even year-to-year in Plus.

Rating the Ratings

America's Funniest Home Videos*0.40.560.8-16%110solid+6%
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune0.40.470.6-48%92marginal-35%detail
American Idol Sun*0.60.791.1-9%155big hit+15%detail
Supermarket Sweep0.30.390.6-44%76marginal-30%detail
The Rookie0.30.360.5-27%70marginal-7%detail

America's Funniest Home Videos: Another new high-water mark for AFV, though it's worth noting that the growth was entirely due to huge NBA-related bounces in the spring. (The NBA playoffs were later in 2021, so AFV did not get much of a boost from this last year.) The year-to-year trends were actually pretty meh for much of the season, but I'll still give it some credit for the late upswing. Grade: B.

Celebrity Wheel of Fortune: This is a pretty disappointing result for a show that thrived so much last winter. Some slippage was certainly expected because that winter run was front-loaded, but I don't really think breaking the league average was too much to ask. You'd think it would be a decent pairing with a casual audience show like AFV. I guess it helps illustrate how well Sweep did last year. It'll be interesting to see if joining up with its longtime syndication partner Jeopardy! helps in fall 2022. Grade: D+.

American Idol: The full Sunday average (including winter episodes) actually managed to outrate even the first ABC season in 2018, pulling off the highest Plus in the ABC history of the show. And the Monday episodes were arguably even more impressive. This was a much-needed development for the ABC sked considering the big declines elsewhere, especially in Bachelor world. Grade: A-.

Supermarket Sweep: I kinda feel for this show because it got downgraded to the 9/8c hour and actually had much better y2y timeslot numbers than Celebrity Wheel did at 8/7c. But -30% from the freshman season is still a big hit. Grade: C-.

The Rookie: Like many scripted shows, The Rookie returned to the fall after skipping it entirely in the COVID-delayed 2020-21 season. But this is the rare show for which airing in the fall is actually detrimental, because the game show lead-ins are so much weaker than Idol. It was even year-to-year if you just look at the post-Idol eps, but Idol itself was a good bit stronger. So it's probably safe to say that this show got a touch weaker, but nothing to worry about. Whether it's a strong enough franchise to be launching a spin-off on a different night is another question. 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 ABC Sunday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20 | 2020-21

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

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