Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Breakdown: CBS Friday in 2021-22 (S.W.A.T., Magnum P.I., Blue Bloods and more!)

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


2020-21The Greatest #AtHome VideosUndercover BossBlue Bloods (R)52
2021-22S.W.A.T.Magnum P.I.Blue Bloods88 (+69%)
94 (+81%)83 (+42%)86 (+90%)


CBS Friday was yet another lineup that grew hugely in the fall vs. the year-ago COVID filler. But this night had a particularly big story in the move of Thursday/Wednesday veteran S.W.A.T. to the night. Long a modest Live+SD performer with big DVR gains, the show became a much stronger live performer on its new night, miraculously setting a Plus era record for CBS in this hour in the fall.


2020-21MacGyverMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods83
2021-22Undercover BossMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods87 (+5%)
82 (-1%)87 (+3%)92 (+13%)


Despite its success, S.W.A.T. went off to Sunday in the new year as originally planned, and veteran reality series Undercover Boss returned to the 8/7c hour. While down some from the S.W.A.T. numbers, it was still much more successful than the show's last run in fall 2020. With their first apples-to-apples comparisons of the season, Magnum P.I. and Blue Bloods were both up, but Blue Bloods' growth was particularly noteworthy.


2020-21MacGyverMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods77
2021-22Come Dance with MeMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods65 (-16%)
45 (-37%)70 (-8%)80 (-4%)


The growth came to a screeching halt in the spring, thanks to a major derailment in the 8/7c hour with new reality series Come Dance with Me. Not only was it down massively vs. last year's MacGyver, but it brought Magnum and Blue Bloods into the negatives for this period as well.

Rating the Ratings

Magnum P.I.0.30.420.5-19%82hit(Fri)+2%detail
Blue Bloods*0.40.440.5-15%87hit(Fri)+7%detail
Undercover Boss*0.30.390.5+5%77hit(Fri)+32%detail
Come Dance with Me0.20.230.3

Magnum P.I.: Much like MacGyver last year, there was no particular reason for this show to get cancelled based on this season's ratings. I kinda thought about going higher than this because it really got sabotaged in the spring by Come Dance with Me, but it wasn't up that much in the winter and it also got to air a lot more in the fall with a really good lead-in. So I'll stick with Grade: B.

Blue Bloods: Really nice growth in the winter, not as good in the spring (even it might have caught some of the Come Dance with Me malaise indirectly), but enough to create a solid upswing to the second-highest Plus in its long history. One more year of growth like this and it would set a series record. Grade: B+.

Undercover Boss: If you look at the larger historical context around this show, this is pretty much in line with what it's been doing throughout its run. But if I punished the fall throwaway episodes last year, I will give it some credit for bouncing back to that general vicinity. Grade: B+.

S.W.A.T.: So I said last year that the S.W.A.T. move to Friday would be telling about how it compared with something like MacGyver. And... boy, was it telling. The Friday run was amazing; it basically tied the fall portion of season one of MacGyver, which was very front-loaded by its huge start, and it crushed the subsequent MacGyver seasons. Then, perhaps even more remarkably, the show did very well yet again after getting moved to Sunday at 10/9c, outrating last year's NCIS: NO by 10% while the previous two hours were narrowly down. The show set a series high in Plus despite airing on Friday and in the Sunday 10/9c "death slot"! So the question is whether this season did something special and punched above its weight historically, or if this potential was there all along and was just being completely suppressed by the Chicago PD competition. I would guess it is probably largely the latter, but I'm not sure anyone saw it coming to this extent. It overachieved my expectations so much in both slots that I really have to give it big credit. It'll get another crack at Friday next season. Grade: A.

Come Dance with Me: Throwing something like this on a successful night for CBS was a pretty dumb idea. It probably would've done a lot less damage to the network if it had just been part of the Wednesday mix like Tough As Nails and Beyond the Edge. S.W.A.T.'s trajectory certainly suggests that Chicago competition is completely prohibitive to scripted efforts on that night. CBS seems to think so too, as it will go all reality in fall 2022. 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 Friday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20 | 2020-21

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

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