Fans of “The Grinder” really liked the show, and it got strong support from critics too, but it was among the lower-rated shows on broadcast TV in 2015-16.

But what if it wasn’t?

Had the rest of the country loved the FOX comedy as much as people on the West Coast (relatively) did in 2016, the show may have had an outside chance at survival. That’s one of the revelations from a breakdown of regional viewing data for the Big 4 broadcast networks from Nielsen.

The ratings company breaks down the United States into six territories, from the relatively small Northeast (New England, New York, Maryland, most of Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and a few Virginia counties) to the vast West Central, which stretches from western Indiana all the way to Montana and Wyoming. There are commonalities in what people watch across the country, but some differences too.

For example, the biggest shows are big everywhere. In some order, “The Big Bang Theory,” “Empire,” “This Is Us” and “The X-Files” make the Top 5 among adults 18-49 in all six regions (all ratings are Live +7 for calendar year 2016). “Modern Family” is a Top 5 show in four regions — all but the Southeast (where it ranks 10th) and Southwest (where it’s seventh). “Grey’s Anatomy” joins the first four in the Southeast, while the Monday “Voice” is No. 5 in the Southwest.

Nielsen also measures which shows overperform their nationwide ratings via an index number, where 100 is average. It’s here where “The Grinder” stands out in the Pacific region — again, relative to its national standing.

Here’s how every region breaks down.

Northeast
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, most of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon and Prince William counties in Virginia

Overperformers: “Designated Survivor” (36 percent above national average), “Quantico” (+32 percent), “Shades of Blue” (+31 percent), “How to Get Away with Murder” (+28 percent), “Galavant” (+26 percent)

Top 5 in ratings: “The Big Bang Theory” (5.3), “Empire” (5.3), “This Is Us” (5.0), “Modern Family” (5.0), “The X-Files” (4.9)

East Central
West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana (excluding Lake and Porter counties) and Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren, Washington and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania

Overperformers: “Man with a Plan” (74 percent above national average), “Mom” (+69 percent), “Kevin Can Wait” (+68 percent), “The Great Indoors” (+62 percent), “48 Hours Presents” (+62 percent)

Top 5 in ratings: “The Big Bang Theory” (8.1), “This Is Us” (5.9), “The X-Files” (5.8), “Empire” (5.1), “Modern Family” (4.6)

West Central
Lake and Porter counties in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana

Overperformers: “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (53 percent above national average), “The Odd Couple” (+47 percent), “The Biggest Loser” (+47 percent), “Better Late Than Never” (+46 percent), “Chicago Fire” (+45 percent)

Top 5 in ratings: “The Big Bang Theory” (6.1), “This Is Us” (5.3), “The X-Files” (5.1), “Modern Family” (5.0), “Empire” (4.2)

Southeast
Most of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida

Overperformers: “Empire” (52 percent above national average), “Rosewood” (+46 percent), “Uncle Buck” (+40 percent), “Lethal Weapon” (+38 percent), “The Carmichael Show” (+29 percent)

Top 5 in ratings: “Empire” (8.1), “The Big Bang Theory” (5.1), “The X-Files” (4.8), “This Is Us” (4.1), “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.0)

Southwest
Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico

Overperformers: “Son of Zorn” (20 percent above national average), “Empire” (+17 percent), “In an Instant” (+13 percent), “The Voice” (Tuesday) (+13 percent), “To Tell the Truth” (+12 percent). Viewers in the Southwest were also more likely than any other region to watch CBS’ 8 p.m. “Crimetime Saturday” repeats.

Top 5 in ratings: “Empire” (6.4), “The Big Bang Theory” (4.6), “This Is Us” (4.2), “The X-Files” (3.6), “The Voice” (3.5 for both Monday and Tuesday)

Pacific
Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii

Overperformers: “The Grinder” (9 percent above national average), “Fresh Off the Boat” (+5 percent), “Masterchef” (+1 percent). Pacific viewers watch less network TV overall, with most shows falling below their national averages.

Top 5 in ratings: “The X-Files” (4.8), “The Big Bang Theory” (4.6), “Modern Family” (3.7), “This Is Us” (3.6), “Empire” (3.4)

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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