Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Breakdown: CBS Friday in 2022-23 (S.W.A.T., Fire Country, Blue Bloods)

It's time for a journey through the CBS Friday schedule in 2022-23...


2021-22S.W.A.T.Magnum P.I.Blue Bloods88
2022-23S.W.A.T.Fire CountryBlue Bloods98 (+12%)
99 (+6%)101 (+22%)93 (+8%)


CBS had another record-setting Friday lineup, as the network brought S.W.A.T. back from its curious Sunday exile and shored up the weakest (or least strong) link at 9/8c in a huge way. Fire Country was nothing less than the strongest Friday scripted newbie of the Plus era.


2021-22Undercover BossMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods87
2022-23S.W.A.T.Fire CountryBlue Bloods104 (+19%)
102 (+24%)115 (+32%)94 (+2%)


The growth only accelerated beyond the fall, as S.W.A.T. started getting compared with the much weaker occupants that replaced it a year ago. Fire Country got a great winter bounce, opening January on a 0.56 (a 131 Plus, only a few points behind that huge MacGyver premiere in 2016) and then posting a series of 0.5's surrounding its post-NFL playoff episode at the end of January.


2021-22Come Dance with MeMagnum P.I.Blue Bloods65
2022-23S.W.A.T.Fire CountryBlue Bloods83 (+28%)
86 (+91%)89 (+27%)75 (-7%)


Everything cooled off in the spring, but most notable was Blue Bloods, which actually fell considerably behind last year's pace and posted the network's only red number of the season on this night.

Rating the Ratings

Fire Country0.30.501.9
Blue Bloods*0.30.380.4-15%88hit(Fri)+1%detail

S.W.A.T.: Bonkers that this show was briefly cancelled and then only resurrected for 13 final episodes, but that's the standard that CBS Friday keeps setting. Maybe not quite as impressive as last year, since a chunk of the y2y growth can surely be attributed to getting scheduled on Friday all season rather than airing on Sunday at 10/9c. But it was still up in the fall, so I couldn't possibly go less than a Grade: B+.

Fire Country: Inflated by a football episode, but still averaged a whooping 102 on Friday. Other scripted series that averaged over 100 on a Friday night: the first four seasons of SVU, season one of CSI (which may not have held on if hadn't gotten upgraded at midseason), the first Fox season of Last Man Standing, and now Fire Country. That's the list. I kinda hate to go crazy here because it's become abundantly clear that CBS has a really strong foundation on this night and can make a lot of different shows work. But I gave season one of MacGyver an A- and this was clearly more impressive in terms of average and post-premiere hold. Grade: A.

Blue Bloods: Another very old show like SVU and Shark Tank that's not too far from series high territory (had a 92 back in 2016-17). But considering how strong its 9/8c lead-in was this year, Blue Bloods managing just a +1% really wasn't all that amazing. 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 CBS Friday: 2015-16 | 2016-17 | 2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20 | 2020-21 | 2021-22

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

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