Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Last week, when I was talking about how the networks occasionally lose their minds, I mentioned the Amy Fisher movie war of 1993 and I promised to tell you of that insane moment in broadcast television.
Amy Fisher was known as the "Long Island Lolita" who, starting at 16, was having an affair with an oily gamoosh (I think I just made up a word) named Joey Buttafuoco. Amy shot Joey's wife, Mary Jo, and the tabloids went bonkers over this story.
The early '90s was a moment when the network news magazines started to get real tabloidy. There seemed to be a Michael Jackson story on every magazine show, and true crime was driving the ratings.
The big three networks all decided that a made-for-TV Amy Fisher movie was ratings gold, and the chase was on. Each movie was based on the rights of someone involved in the story. We had Amy's version and the rights to an interview. CBS went with the Buttafuocos' take, while ABC used the perspective of a reporter for the New York Post.
The networks were then in a mad rush to make the movie and get theirs on first.
One of the rules of scheduling is when you are competing with another network to get something on first, there are three moves: You announce, let the other guy react and then you make the final move. I employed this often at FOX with reality shows. Back in the early '90s when TV was more linear, TV Guide listings and print ads played a part in this strategy. Print ads generally needed to be reserved a week before the listing deadlines, and we would often beg the Guide to give us a day's grace period. They generally accommodated us.
We announced our date for the movie knowing that we could push it up two weeks if need be. The other two nets jumped us by a week and I believe ran their versions against each other, and then we leapfrogged them and were able to get our movie on first.
We had another advantage. We had Amy. I generally don't go to production meetings, but since this was war it was important that the scheduler be part of the process. Lucky I was, because we were about to give the exclusive Amy Fisher interview to Oprah. Not only was Oprah on mostly ABC-affiliated stations, but there was a bigger audience to be had.
I told everyone at the meeting to wait a few minutes, left the room and called Jeff Diamond, who was executive producer of "Dateline" at the time. I asked Jeff if he wanted the interview. I went back into the meeting and said that "Dateline" would be doing a two-part Amy Fisher interview to air prior to the movie.
Those were the fun times. It's OK to lose your mind every once in a while.
Tweet me @maskedscheduler, and e-mail masked.scheduler@gmail.com.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, July 9, 2017

The numbers for Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) – R 0.8/4 4.46
60 Minutes (CBS) 0.7/4 7.19
Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly (NBC) 0.4/2 3.21
Bob’s Burgers (FOX) – R 0.3/1 0.89
7:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers (FOX) – R 0.4/2 1.06
8 p.m. Big Brother (CBS) 1.8/8 6.49
Celebrity Family Feud (ABC) 1.3/6 6.76
The Simpsons (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.42
The Wall (NBC) – R 0.4/2 2.26
8:30 p.m. Family Guy (FOX) – R 0.6/3 1.46
9 p.m. Candy Crush (CBS) – P 1.1/5 4.13
Steve Harvey’s Funderdome (ABC) 0.9/4 4.63
American Ninja Warrior (NBC) (9-11 p.m.) – R 0.7/3 2.62
American Grit (FOX) 0.4/2 1.11
10 p.m. The $100,000 Pyramid (ABC) 0.9/4 4.56
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – R 0.5/2 3.56

 

CBS got more solid numbers from “Big Brother” Sunday night, but “Candy Crush” wasn’t quite as sweet as it could have been.

“Big Brother” scored a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49, up from 1.4 the previous Sunday. “Candy Crush” premiered to a 1.1, leading its hour but falling about 40 percent from its lead-in in both adults 18-49 and CBS’ target demographic of adults 25-54.

Elsewhere, “Celebrity Family Feud” (1.3, -0.1), “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome” (0.9, -0.2) and “The $100,000 Pyramid” (0.9, -0.2) were all off from their last episodes two weeks earlier. “American Grit” was steady but low at 0.4 for FOX. “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” posted a 0.4 for NBC, tying its low so far.

Network averages:

CBS ABC NBC FOX
Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.0/5 1.0/5 0.6/3 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.34 5.10 2.68 1.18

 

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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