Ratings Analysis March 29-April 1

Sundays on broadcast television has been really struggling lately, and is starting to approach Fridays when it comes to low ratings. The highest-rated show of the night was a 2.3 for 60 Minutes—yet that was out of a 4.3 for the seventeen minutes of prime time the NCAA Basketball Tournament aired! Further, while Madam Secretary rose to a 1.4, one must keep in mind that its lead-in was higher than in recent weeks. After Madam Secretary, CBS was back to its usual ratings, with The Good Wife getting a 1.0 at 9 and Battle Creek a 0.8 at 10. The creators of The Good Wife have expressed interest to have a seven-season arc, but with such low ratings and the fact that they are already keeping Madam Secretary and Elementary (for syndication purposes), one has to question if this will come true. Battle Creek, on the other hand, has zero chance of survival.
Once Upon A Time hit a low last Sunday, with a 1.7 rating. Season 5B is drastically down in the ratings from 5A, which featured a Frozen-inspired arc. This led into mini-series Secrets & Lies, which had a 1.3 rating. It’s whole run has been very steady, but numbers may be too low for renewal. At 10pm, Revenge had a 1.0 rating. Despite its support from its core fan base, the show has little chance of returning next season, even getting beat by a 7pm rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
FOX only aired one program in first-run on Sunday, that being newly-introduced, very young skewing The Last Man On Earth, which had a rerun as a lead-in and had to face the season finale of The Walking Dead. As such, the first episode had a 1.4 rating, and the second a 1.2.
NBC aired the iHeartRadio Music Awards, which had a 1.7 rating. The network will feature a new lineup this upcoming Sunday: Dateline at 7, A.D.: The Bible Continues at 9, and American Odyssey at 10.
The Voice remains a major draw for NBC, hitting a 3.1 rating. This, however, led to only a 1.2 for The Night Shift, which may be renewed due to NBC’s dire situation, yet should be rating a demo point higher than it is considering the lead-in. Many, including myself, think that moving The Blacklist is something NBC wishes they had not done.
Although total viewers mean virtually nothing when it comes to renewal prospects, it is worthy to point out that Dancing with the Stars, which had a 2.1 rating, was more-viewed than The Voice. Leading out of the long-running dancing competition was Castle, with a 1.5 rating. The show has weakened, but is still rating well enough to earn an eight season.
The Monday comedies on CBS were slightly weakened, with both 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly hitting a 1.8. Props to the latter for being such a reliable utility player. After, Scorpion, which has remained pretty steady recently, grew out of the comedies to a 2.0 rating, which led into a 1.5 for NCIS:LA. The latter took a large hit in ratings with the time slot change year-to-year, yet is still a solid player for the network.
The Following was forced by FOX to air out of a rerun of Gotham, and only hit a 1.1. My safe guess is that this season will be its last.
ABC hit new lows all around, with freshmen sitcom Fresh Ofd The Boat leading off the night with just a 1.3 rating. As a fan of the show, I am very worried for its renewal prospects. ABC may not see it worth saving with two new 20th Century Fox comedies in development. If it is renewed, it will definitely need the support of The Middle, The Goldbergs, or Blackish. After, under-the-radar hidden camera show Repeat After Me had a very underwhelming 0.9 rating, being bested by a rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos despite having a better time slot. Next, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD had a 1.4 rating, a series low and a rating that is extremely underwhelming, especially considering it is at just 30% of its premiere rating in September of 2013. Despite this, it was the highest rated show for ABC’s night and will see at least two more seasons. Finishing off the night, and this unusually long paragraph, was Forever, whose 1.1 rating spells cancelled to me.
The real winner of the night perhaps is NBC’s comedy Undateable, which had a 1.4 rating despite airing out of a clip show (a fancy phrase for rerun) of The Voice, which had a 2.0 rating. Clearly its fan base has rapidly increased from its Summer 2014 run. After Undateable came One Big Happy with a 1.2, a number which is probably worthy of renewal considering the retention and the fact that it is a comedy airing on NBC.
FOX had an especially bad night, with Hell’s Kitchen’s 1.2 rating below The CW in the hour. Weird Loners was unfortunate enough to premiere to a 0.7 out of New Girl, which in turn had a series low 1.0 rating. Comparatively, last season’s Friday comedy Enlisted, which premiered out of a “for syndication purposes only” season of Raising Hope, had the same rating.
CBS’s hit drama NCIS won the night with a 2.2. However, the real news came through its lead-out, Part I of mini-series The Dovekeepers, which had a meek 1.0 rating.
The Flash rose to a 1.3 this Tuesday, boosted The CW into tied-for-third in the 8pm hour. Leading out of it was iZombie, which remained incredibly steady with a 0.7. The question is if this is enough to have the show renewed. The cons are that it is not too great of retention out of the highly-compatible Flash, which is the network’s highest-rated show, and that space is limited due to all fall shows being issued renewals. However, it is above the ratings of Reign, Jane the Virgin, The Originals, The 100, and now Supernatural, so I am currently leaning renewal.
The Middle and The Goldbergs dipped from last week’s relatively-low ratings, with the former having a 1.8 rating and the latter a 2.0, which appears to have lost steam from the Ferris Bueller episode. Modern Family rebounded to a 3.0, and the real winner for ABC was Blackish, which had a 2.4 rating, a number it has not seen in weeks. The real test, however, would be how it performs next Wednesday with Modern Family as a rerun. It is also worth noting that all four comedies finished as the top four scripted series of the night. Finishing off ABC’s Wednesday night was Nashville, with a 1.3 rating. It is still guaranteed a fourth season renewal for syndication purposes.
On the bright side for FOX, American Idol rose a tenth from last week to a 1.8 . On the down side, it has fallen tremendously from its numbers when its lead-out was Empire, proving that a lead-out can actually be a factor in a show’s ratings.
CBS aired Survivor at 8pm, which had a 2.1 rating, winning its time slot. Out of it came the second and final part of mini-series The Dovekeepers, which rated a 0.9. Comparatively, this is one tenth under the first part, which premiered out of NCIS on Tuesday.
The Mysteries of Laura had a 0.9 rating for NBC, and now that it is no longer their highest-rated freshmen show, there is seemingly no reason to defend a renewal. My guess is they try sliding Law & Order: SVU to the hour next season, or try to counter-program ABC’s family comedies with the Neil Patrick Harris Show. Speaking of SVU, it grew tremendously out of its lead-in to get a 1.5 rating. In turn, Chicago PD grew out of SVU with a 1.6. This is at the higher end of NBC’s scripted series ratings as of late, and I think there was a missed opportunity to switch it with The Night Shift after the latter proved unable to take advantage of its lead-in.
The CW did not have a particularly good night, even for their standards. Arrow started off the night with a 0.8, which led into Supernatural’s 0.6. Although it is understood that the network would like to give iZombie its best lead-in, and that Supernatural has improved upon the time slot, the show has been weakened this season. Whereas both The Originals and Supernatural consistently rated between 0.9-1.1 for the majority of last season, both have fallen to 0.6-0.7 after moving.

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