Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

I remember the first time "American Idol" was scheduled to run against the Winter Olympics and the discussion of whether we should take it off for the two weeks of the competition. I was opposed to it, and we kept television's hottest show on with little dip in the ratings. It was yet another indication of how the sports audience is a "borrowed" audience, and there is little reason to deviate from your own game plan.
Sure, the Olympics are different. I'm sure they attract more women than traditional primetime sporting events, but still, the majority of people in prime (when you consider broadcast and cable) are watching something other than the games.
I always thought it was silly when the other networks laid down against the "American Idol" finale rather than going right at us. I always gave props to Steve McPherson, who was running ABC at the time. He scheduled a two-hour "Lost" season finale right up against us. "Idol" did fine, and so did "Lost."
My point of all this is when networks don't compete, everyone loses. So I want to give a big up to CBS and ABC for coming up with some creative and trashy diversions to the games by using two of their reality franchises in "Big Brother" and "The Bachelor." They are offering some fun alternatives to the Winter Olympics. Not only will these "events" generate ratings and circulation by keeping the lights on, but they also help promote these successful franchises.
Putting the "gone fishing" sign out during these two weeks only makes it more difficult to get your audience back and the network up and running when the games are over.
I'll shut up now.
Comments and questions go to masked.scheduler@gmail.com; on Twitter it's @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

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

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Winter Olympics (NBC) (8-11 p.m.) 5.2/19 20.12
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.8/3 6.86
The Bachelor Winter Games (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) – P 0.8/3 3.00
Lethal Weapon (FOX) – R 0.6/2 2.43
The Flash (The CW) – R 0.3/1 1.09
9 p.m. Bull (CBS) – R 0.6/2 5.53
Black Lightning (The CW) 0.5/2 1.78
LA to Vegas (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.67
9:30 p.m. The Mick (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.40
10 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – R 0.5/2 5.06
20/20: Lights, Camera, Romance! (ABC) – S 0.4/2 2.17

 

Without a new episode of “The Flash” as a lead-in and opposite the Winter Olympics, The CW’s “Black Lightning” held up pretty well Tuesday night. “The Bachelor Winter Games” had a mediocre premiere on ABC

“Black Lightning” drew a 0.5 rating in adults 18-49, off a tenth of a point from last week. That’s a season low, but given the circumstances it’s a pretty solid performance for the show.

“The Bachelor Winter Games,” featuring contestants from various “Bachelor” iterations around the world, managed a 0.8 for ABC. That’s about half the average for “The Bachelor” so far this season. A “20/20” special, “Lights, Camera, Romance!,” came in at 0.4.

The Winter Olympics posted a 15.2/25 in metered-market households (NBC and NBC Sports Net combined), up from the 14.5 (NBC only) for the comparable night of the 2014 games. Its fast national numbers are on par with Monday night’s broadcast.

Network averages:

NBC ABC CBS FOX CW
Adults 18-49 rating/share 5.2/19 0.7/3 0.6/2 0.6/2 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 20.12 2.73 5.81 1.98 1.44

 

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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