Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Every once in a while, the broadcast networks lose their minds and find themselves competing for a similar audience with the same show. This happens a lot in the reality field. When I arrived at FOX in 2000 we were at the beginning of a reality explosion where secrecy was of the essence. Networks often found themselves developing similar shows, and then there was a race to get your version of the show on first.
This often got pretty ugly. FOX and NBC were both developing boxing competition shows, and NBC accused us, erroneously, of stealing the concept. Jeff Zucker, then head of NBC Entertainment, went so far as to expose several of our secret projects during his Television Critics Association press tour session. There was an unwritten rule that you don't do something like this.
I remember being on the checkout line at Costco on a Saturday morning when Gail Berman, our president of Entertainment, and Mike Darnell, our reality guru, called to tell me of Zucker's actions. I kind of lost it and the expletives were flying out of me as my fellow Costco-ers looked on in fear.
Although we knew of several of NBC's projects, we did not reveal them. Instead Darnell lit into Zucker at an entertaining press tour session where he was surrounded by several stars from our reality shows.
We once got into a battle with ABC over two shows that involved torture. ABC developed a show called "The Chair" while we did something called "The Chamber." Both shows involved putting contestants in uncomfortable positions while they were asked questions. It was a sadistic game show.
Mike called me late one evening and asked me to come down to a studio in Hollywood to watch the taping of "The Chamber's" pilot. Gail, Mike and I watched as a contestant was strapped into the chamber and the heat was raised to around 150 degrees. Suddenly, there was a glitch and we could not open the chamber. We thought we were about to roast a contestant.
During my tenure at NBC, all three networks commissioned a made-for-TV movie about Amy Fisher, the "Long Island Lolita," and there was a race to get the movie on first. I'll save that story for another day, but I got ours on first.
When networks compete with each other like this, it generally results in a lot of carnage and very little success.
All of this is to say that the networks appear to be losing their minds once again. This time it's over getting a singing competition show on the air. Word is that FOX is developing a new "American Idol"-like show to coincide with ABC returning "Idol" Classic in the spring. This feels like another example of mutually assured destruction. It rarely ends well.
On Twitter it's @maskedscheduler, and email is masked.scheduler@gmail.com.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) – S 1.3/7 6.44
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.4/2 5.09
The Middle (ABC) – R 0.4/2 2.44
Lethal Weapon (FOX) – R 0.3/2 1.56
The Flash (The CW) – R 0.1/1 0.59
8:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) – R 0.4/2 1.69
9 p.m. Bull (CBS) – R 0.4/2 4.70
Black-ish (ABC) -R 0.4/2 1.67
The Mick (FOX) – R 0.3/1 1.19
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.66
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) -R 0.4/2 1.80
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) – R 0.2/1 0.96
10 p.m. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC) – R 1.1/6 5.07
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – R 0.5/2 4.95
American Housewife (ABC) – R 0.4/2 1.75
10:30 p.m. The Middle (ABC) – R 0.4/2 1.85

 

NBC’s annual Fourth of July special was pretty much the only game in town on the broadcast networks Tuesday night, and it led the ratings by a wide margin.

“Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” drew a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.44 million viewers, down some from the 1.5 and 7.03 million last year. A replay of the show at 10 p.m. currently sits at 1.1.

Everything else on the broadcast nets Tuesday was a repeat.

Network averages:

NBC CBS ABC FOX CW
Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.2/7 0.4/2 0.4/2 0.3/2 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 6.95 4.91 1.87 1.32 0.62

 

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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – R: 0.8/5, 2.0/6

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – R: 0.3/2, 1.8/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” – R: 0.3/2, 1.2/3

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R: 0.4/3, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden” – R: 0.2/1, 0.9/3

“Nightline”: 0.2/2, 0.8/3

Note: An earlier version of this post misstated the ratings for “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.” While the second hour drew a 1.6 rating in adults 18-49, the two-hour special as a whole averaged 1.3.

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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