Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

With all this talk about reducing commercial load, TP intelligently asks:
"Here's an idea: fewer, higher-impact commercials on traditional TV. Will advertisers pay enough for them to counteract the lost inventory for the networks? Or will more of us watch live, lifting the whole boat?"
My answer is and always will be no. At FOX, we experimented with cutting the network inventory on "Fringe" and "Dollhouse." It was raised by two of the most senior executives at the company. I asked them if they seriously thought they could double the CPM and what were they going to do with the additional time. If they ask for more content, the production company (in "Fringe's" case, Warner Bros.) will want a higher license fee to help cover the cost. Also, the affiliates are going to want their time, so I could not understand how we were going to be more profitable doing this.
We abandoned this strategy in the first year. It reared its head again with "Empire," which we hawked as limited commercials. I honestly think "Empire" would have worked regardless, and we left millions on the table.
I understand the thinking here, I just don't know if it's as simple as reduce the supply and increase the demand. How about making more compelling television?
WQ ponders this:
"So, in this heavily cluttered TV climate, do you think it would be a shrewd move of the broadcast networks to restore the 7:30 p.m. kick-off time to distinguish themselves further from the cable competition, especially since now recording devices are pretty much ubiquitous. Would this lead to more creative scheduling, or as you allude to, does scheduling even matter anymore?"
First, I think scheduling still matters, but putting that aside, the networks are never going to get back the 7:30/6:30 time period from their affiliates for two reasons. That half-hour is a very lucrative time period for syndicators and local stations. Do you really think an affiliate would prefer a broadcast show to "Wheel of Fortune," "Jeopardy" or several of the other prime access syndicated shows? Second, the networks have enough problems trying to program 22 or 15 hours. I don't think they want the aggravation of finding an additional three hours of programming each week -- and the cost that would come along with that.
I'm sure the 22-hour networks often think about eliminating the 10 p.m. hour and letting the affiliates start local news earlier, and then getting late night on at 10:30 or 11:00 with the higher HUT levels. I think the days of network expansion in the affiliate structure are over.
Questions go to either or @maskedscheduler on Twitter.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, March 12, 2018

The numbers for Monday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 2.3/9 11.72
American Idol (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.8/7 8.36
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.1/4 7.14
Lucifer (FOX) 0.7/3 2.94
Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) 0.4/2 1.29
8:30 p.m. Man with a Plan (CBS) 1.0/4 6.40
9 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) – R 0.9/3 5.85
The Resident (FOX) 0.8/3 3.82
iZombie (The CW) 0.2/1 0.74
9:30 p.m. Living Biblically (CBS) 0.7/3 4.66
10 p.m. The Good Doctor (ABC) 1.8/7 9.79
Good Girls (NBC) 1.1/4 4.74
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.6/2 4.51


“The Voice” was off slightly week to week, but it scored a solid ratings win over “American Idol” as the two singing shows went head to head.

“The Voice” earned a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49, down 0.2 from a week ago. It beat “Idol,” however, by good margin. The ABC show came in at 1.8, down half a point from Sunday’s premiere and up some from the averages for “Dancing With the Stars” (1.3) and “The Bachelor” (1.7) earlier in the season.

The two networks switched spots at 10 p.m. “The Good Doctor” drew a 1.8, a seven-episode high and 0.5 better than its last episode (a season low) two weeks ago. “Good Girls” fell 0.2 vs. last week to 1.1.

At FOX, “The Resident” slipped a tenth to 0.8, while “Lucifer” held steady at 0.7. “Legends of Tomorrow” and “iZombie” were also even with last week on The CW, as were CBS’ “Man with a Plan” and “Living Biblically.”

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.9/7 1.8/7 0.8/3 0.8/3 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 9.39 8.83 5.51 3.38 1.02


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.7/7

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 2.2/6

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 2.0/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.3/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.4/5

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4


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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