Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Some Masked Mail to start off the week. LL ponders:
"All the way from Belgium, love reading your column on TVBTN! Quick question: Why did ABC air repeats on Wednesday, Jan. 31? Is this purely to, hopefully, gain a higher sweeps result (which is only starting officially on Feb. 1), or is there another strategy to this despite the other networks just showing new episodes?"
Every network approaches the days before a sweep differently, and there is no consistency from year to year. It often depends on the state of your schedule entering a sweep. This sweep is also different because there are two weeks of Winter Olympics when the networks generally roll over, although I don't know why. CBS has something different going on with 'Celebrity Big Brother,' but the other guys are mostly in repeats for those two weeks.
ABC figured they were better off saving originals of their comedies for the long march from the February sweep (which they probably feel is a wash) to the May sweep. FOX is trying to establish its Wednesday night, so they want to keep the momentum going. ABC and CBS have "filler" for the Olympic weeks so they can save some originals.
This is what makes scheduling interesting and still important, even in the new, untethered era of viewing.
SH always has something on his mind. Here's today's question: "In reading your previous columns, I know that you have often been a proponent of taking an established hit and moving it to launch another night. Would you suggest CBS do this with 'Young Sheldon'?"
Far be it from me to tell CBS what to do. I think the answer to that is based on several considerations:
- How many more years of "The Big Bang Theory" are they assuming.
- Do they have development that they feel is compatible with "Young Sheldon"?
- Is "Young Sheldon" a self-starter, i.e., what will it do without the "BBT" lead-in?
- Will they continue with two nights of four-comedy blocks?
How CBS answers these questions will determine whether they move "YS." That's a little peek inside the way a scheduler approaches this decision. They may still get it wrong, but they generally start with a set of questions.
Do you have questions? I answer them at or you can tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018

Note: NBC’s live Olympics broadcast will result in greater adjustments than usual for the network.

The numbers for Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. Winter Olympics (NBC) (7-11 p.m.) 5.1/18 21.32
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 1.0/4 5.04
60 Minutes (CBS) 0.7/3 7.48
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) – R 0.3/1 0.88
7:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers (FOX) – R 0.4/1 1.01
8 p.m. Big Brother: Celebrity Edition (CBS) 1.2/5 4.74
Celebrity Family Feud (ABC) – R 0.8/3 3.62
The Simpsons (FOX) – R 0.6/2 1.54
8:30 p.m. Ghosted (FOX) – R 0.4/1 1.08
9 p.m. Celebrity Family Feud (ABC) – R 0.9/3 3.75
Family Guy (FOX) – R 0.6/2 1.33
SEAL Team (CBS) – R 0.4/1 2.56
9:30 p.m. LA to Vegas (FOX) – R 0.4/1 1.12
10 p.m. Shark Tank (ABC) 0.8/3 2.89
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – R 0.4/1 3.18


NBC’s Winter Olympics telecasts continued to dominate the primetime ratings; Sunday night the network more than doubled the audience of ABC, CBS and FOX combined. The handful of original shows on the other networks, however, held up reasonably well.

“Big Brother: Celebrity Edition” posted a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, rising 0.2 from Friday’s episode and stopping two straight declines after its premiere. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.0) was on par with its season average for ABC. “Shark Tank” posted a 0.8 at 10 p.m., off 0.1 from its last airing.

The Olympics had a combined metered-market household rating and share of 16.5/27 on NBC and NBC Sports Network, up from 15.7/23 (NBC only) for the first Sunday of the 2014 winter games. NBC’s preliminary 5.1 in adults 18-49 will likely end up trailing the 7.2 for the comparable night four years ago.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 5.1/18 0.9/3 0.7/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 21.32 3.83 4.49 1.16


: 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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