Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

So we're at that point in the season where repeats play a larger role in programming at the broadcast networks. Last night, for example, CBS used a "Big Bang" repeat to kick off a two-thirds repeat night. Repeats of hit comedies are invaluable. Just look at the Top 20 cable shows on any given night and count the number of "Big Bang" and "Family Guy" repeats ... often half or more.
Here's a primer on repeats and how a repeat led to my one mention on "Seinfeld." How's that for a lead?
Let's start here: A broadcast network licenses a show from a studio (even its own studio). Historically you order 22 episodes, and with that comes the right to a second run of each episode. The network will also get 8 additional third runs for a total of 52 runs of a series. In the "good old days" this would allow you to keep a show in its time period for the full year.
Also running 52 airings of a show allows the network to spread the cost of the license fee over as many episodes as possible and hopefully make a profit from the series.
Those eight third runs can come from any prior season of a show up to the time when that show goes into syndication. At that point all repeats come from the current season.
Now you can order more than 22 episodes (CBS quite often tries for 24) and wind up with 56 potential runs but, as we know, the trend has been toward fewer than 22 and a minimum number of repeat episodes.
Tomorrow I'll talk a bit more about how and why this is all changing, but I promised you "Seinfeld."
"Seinfeld" took a few seasons to catch on, so when I was a NBC, we were accumulating repeats that no one had seen. When we moved the show to Thursday night and it exploded, I found myself with repeats that played like originals. I feel part of the success of the show was that it felt like we were airing 30 originals over the first two seasons on Thursday.
I kept track of every third-run episode to make sure that I aired them all prior to "Seinfeld" going into syndication. At some point I had one left -- "The Heart Attack". It was hilarious and ended with George in an ambulance shouting "I'M AN EGGPLANT" while the ambulance drivers are arguing over the best Chuckles flavor. Classic.
So I schedule it and Todd Schwartz, who was the program exec on the show, comes into my office and tells me Jerry does not want me to air it. No reason is given. I beg Todd to convince him to let me air it and ask if I can speak to him personally.
This goes on for several weeks and one day Todd comes in and tells me that Jerry feels bad about the whole thing, so he wanted me to know that he gave me a shout out in an upcoming episode called "The Bubble Boy." Check out the episode and see if you can figure out when I'm mentioned.
So that's how a third run got me a "Seinfeld" mention.
Last night's schedule:
- "WWE Monday Night Raw" (mostly live)
- "Miss Sharon Jones" (Netflix -- highly recommended)
- "Jane the Virgin" (LIVE)
Questions? @maskedscheduler or masked.scheduler@gmail.com

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, Jan. 30, 2017

The numbers for Monday include slight declines for several shows and the season finale of a CBS comedy:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Bachelor (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 2.3/8 7.20
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.5/5 8.49
Gotham (FOX) 1.1/4 3.46
The New Celebrity Apprentice (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.0/4 3.69
Supergirl (The CW) 0.7/3 2.33
8:30 p.m. Kevin Can Wait (CBS) – R 1.2/4 6.39
9 p.m. Lucifer (FOX) 1.2/4 4.21
The Odd Couple (CBS) 1.1/4 5.76
Jane the Virgin (The CW) 0.3/1 0.95
9:30 p.m. The Odd Couple (CBS) – F 0.9/3 5.30
10 p.m. Timeless (NBC) 0.9/3 3.49
Scorpion (CBS) – R 0.8/3 5.27
Quantico (ABC) 0.8/3 2.85

 

Monday’s ratings were fairly soft, with CBS in reruns for two of its three primetime hours and several original shows declining a little bit from a week ago.

“The Bachelor” (2.3 rating in adults 18-49) comfortably led the night, but it was off a tenth of a point from last week. “Gotham” (1.1), “Supergirl” (0.7) and “Jane the Virgin” (0.3) also dipped a tenth.

On the not-minus side, “The New Celebrity Apprentice” (1.0) and “Timeless” (0.9) both matched their early numbers from last week (“Apprentice” adjusted up in the finals), as did “Lucifer” at 1.2. ABC’s “Quantico” drew a 0.8, down from its fast national number last week but even with the finals.

“The Odd Couple” ended its season with a 1.1 and a 0.9 on CBS, in line with its average.

Network averages:

ABC FOX CBS NBC CW
Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.8/6 1.2/4 1.0/4 0.9/4 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.75 3.83 6.08 3.62 1.64

 

Late-night metered market ratings (adults 18-49, households):

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.6/3, 2.4/6

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.6/3, 1.9/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/2, 1.7/4

12:35 a.m.

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/2, 1.1/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/2, 1.0/4

“Nightline”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4

Definitions:
Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings are available at approximately 11 a.m. ET the day after telecast. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. 
Share (of Audience): 
The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. 
Time Shifted Viewing:
 Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live +Same-Day and Live +7 Day. Time-shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+SD includes viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3 a.m. local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live +7 ratings include  viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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