Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Half of the 16 primetime shows were under a 1.0 rating in 18-49 viewers and 10 p.m. series are hurting. Delayed viewing picks up some audience but not that much. Networks gotta roll up their sleeves. I'm certain they are.
I received several responses to my "Remote-Free TV" post. Here’s one from MP:
I loved "Fringe," and I've watched the entire series start to finish twice now. I agree with you (well, duh) about it being a family drama -- while I loved *all* the nonsense in that show, the reason I kept coming back was the dynamics between Olivia, Peter and Walter (and *especially* between Peter and Walter).
But here's my question: If I recall correctly, "Fringe" had very big numbers its first couple seasons -- then it seemed like almost overnight ratings just plummeted, as if a show people *liked* suddenly became one people *hated*. Do you have any thoughts on the reason for that? Was it that the mythology became too confusing? Or, perhaps, was it a specific episode that led to the drop in ratings?
Although I loved the third-season parallel universe storyline, it seemed that that's when folks started to walk away in droves. I know that once a show wears out its welcome the ratings *never* return, but (at least to me) it seemed to happen ridiculously fast in the series' initial run.
Well, MP, I think there are two parallel explanations for the ratings history of "Fringe."
First, and I will take the responsibility for this, "Fringe" lived in three time periods, and each one was progressively less conducive to ratings. "Fringe" benefitted in its first season from being on Tuesday night with both a "House" and "American Idol" lead-in over its first season. That definitely inflated the ratings.
The next season "Fringe" was paired with "Bones" on Thursday night. It was a success for us but "Fringe's" ratings suffered.
It remained on Thursday to start Season 3, but we needed to move it to Friday when we decided to shift "American Idol" to a Wednesday/Thursday run. That’s where the show remained.
"Idol" always presented us with challenges as we needed to rearrange our schedule in midseason.
Second, I do feel that as the show got denser and denser, its appeal narrowed to its core base. That has always been the issue with this genre.
Last night’s schedule:
- "Designated Survivor" (ABC, L+1) Welcome back. This is pulpy fun.
- "The Goldbergs" (ABC, L+1)
- "Modern Family" (ABC, L+1)
- "Outsiders" (WGN America, L+2)
Tweets @maskedscheduler
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Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, March 9, 2017

Note: CBS, NBC and The CW were pre-empted in some markets for college basketball coverage, so their ratings are subject to greater adjustments than usual.

The numbers for Thursday include an unimpressive return for an ABC show and the debut of an unscripted series on FOX:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 2.8/11 12.99
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 1.9/7 7.36
Masterchef Junior (FOX) 1.1/4 3.76
Superstore (NBC) – R 0.7/3 2.86
Supernatural (The CW) 0.5/2 1.58
8:30 p.m. The Great Indoors (CBS) 1.4/5 7.25
Powerless (NBC) 0.8/3 2.54
9 p.m. Mom (CBS) 1.5/6 7.56
Scandal (ABC) 1.4/5 5.36
Chicago Med (NBC) 1.2/5 6.41
Kicking and Screaming (FOX) – P 0.7/3 2.24
Riverdale (The CW) 0.4/1 1.13
9:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) 1.3/5 6.23
10 p.m. The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC) 0.8/3 3.79
The Catch (ABC) – P 0.8/3 3.76
Training Day (CBS) 0.7/3 4.13


Season 2 of “The Catch” premiered to modest numbers Thursday on ABC, drawing a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49. That was good enough, somehow, to tie for the lead at 10 p.m. but was down from both its series premiere last year (1.2) and its Season 1 average of 1.0. “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.9, -0.1) and “Scandal” (1.4, -0.2) were each down a bit from their last episodes.

“Chicago Med” returned to its usual 1.2 after last week’s “Voice”-assisted season high of 1.7. “Powerless” ticked up a tenth of a point to 0.8, but “The Blacklist: Redemption” fell 0.2 to 0.8.

“The Big Bang Theory” (2.8) led the night as usual but was under 3.0 for the third consecutive episode. “Mom” (1.5) and “Life in Pieces” (1.3) were each up a tenth of a point from their last outings, while “The Great Indoors” was steady and “Training Day” fell a tenth to 0.7.

The premiere of “Kicking and Screaming” scored a 0.7 for FOX, while “Masterchef Junior” was steady at 1.1. “Supernatural” slipped a tenth to 0.5, and “Riverdale” held at 0.4 for The CW, pending updates; the network was pre-empted in several markets for college basketball.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/5 1.4/5 0.9/3 0.9/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 7.05 5.49 4.30 3.00 1.35


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.5/7

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – R: 0.5/3, 1.9/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.8/5

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.3/4

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

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R: 0.3/2, 1.1/4

: 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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