Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

By this time most of the fall 2018 pilots have been shot and screened. Notes have been given, and final cuts will come in and then be sent out for the dreaded pilot testing process.
I finally sat down over the weekend and went through the descriptions, casting and auspices for the 70 or so pilots coming out of the five broadcast networks, and I thought I would give you some of my initial reactions, which I am sure have already been expressed by the myriad of TV pundits. I do believe that you can come up with an educated guess as to what will make it to series (and more importantly, succeed) based on this data.
Coming out of this season I would say that there were four shows that you could define as a success: "Young Sheldon," "The Good Doctor," "9-1-1" and "Roseanne." That's it.
"Young Sheldon" was a slam dunk and was well executed. CBS was also smart in keeping it behind "The Big Bang Theory" for the entire season since scheduling still matters. "Roseanne" was the right reboot in the right time and is part of a phase that will continue into next season.
The dramas share two things in common. They both have A-list auspices. David Shore was there for the entire run of "House," and he brings that talent to "The Good Doctor." Ryan Murphy is, well, Ryan Murphy, and bringing his train-wreck vision to a conventional format resulted in a solid and entertaining show in "9-1-1."
The other thing "9-1-1" and "The Good Doctor" share in common is that they are both "healing" shows. They are both about saving lives.
A year earlier, "This Is Us" exploded on the TV landscape. It's rare that a pilot can surprise me, but that one did. It's not my kind of show in that I could see that the driver was going to involve manipulating emotions (nothing wrong with that), but you could sense that NBC was on to something.
I bring this all up because when you look at the entire development slate, there is only one medical drama, maybe one or two other pilots that you could describe as "healing" shows, and virtually no family dramas in the vein of "This Is Us."
This is nothing new in the business, and it's tied into the current development cycle. Each network has a development budget for pilot scripts and pilots. It's based on how many new hours will be needed for the FOLLOWING season, a ratio of scripts to pilots and how many pilots are needed for those hours, assuming some failure in development. So, when the programmers return from the upfront in May, they will soon receive a budget for the 2019-20 season's development.
Tomorrow I'll talk about why this often results in pilot development being a year behind in responding to the popularity of product, and I'll also talk a bit about the themes in pilots this year.
You can question me at and tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, April 23, 2018

The numbers for Monday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.5/6 8.28
American Idol (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.4/5 7.59
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.0/4 6.41
Lucifer (FOX) 0.7/3 2.82
Supergirl (The CW) 0.4/2 1.38
8:30 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) – R 1.0/4 6.06
9 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) – R 1.0/4 5.86
The Resident (FOX) 0.8/3 3.92
iZombie (The CW) 0.2/1 0.71
9:30 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.0/4 5.55
10 p.m. Good Girls (NBC) 0.9/4 4.14
The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special (CBS) 0.8/3 3.84
The Crossing (ABC) 0.7/3 4.24


Ratings for “The Voice” dropped some on Monday, allowing a steady “American Idol” to come very close to a tie among adults 18-49.

“The Voice” averaged a 1.5 in the 18-49 demographic, down from 1.8 last week for its lowest Monday mark this season. “Idol” held steady at 1.4, giving the two shows their closest head-to-head finish so far this season. (It’s also the last time before the “Idol” finale they’ll go head to head.)

The CW was down week to week, as both “Supergirl” (series low 0.4) and “iZombie” (0.2) lost a tenth of a point. “The Resident” also slipped a tenth to 0.8 on FOX. “Lucifer” (0.7) held steady, as did “Good Girls” (0.9) on NBC and “The Crossing” (0.7) on ABC.

CBS aired comedy reruns from 8 to 10 p.m. (which, incidentally, did better than the network’s originals last week) and got a 0.8 from “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special.”

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 1.2/5 0.9/4 0.7/3 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 6.90 6.47 5.26 3.37 1.05


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 1.7/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/3, 2.3/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.7/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.1/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.0/4


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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