Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

A couple of Twitter questions this morning. First up, one about network pre-emptions:
"Is 'Arrow' going under a million in total viewers in the final ratings something The CW would worry about, or would they look at it as an anomaly [because] of the NY pre-emption?"
The CW has a different model as opposed to the other broadcast networks, so an occasional dip in the ratings of a long-running series doesn’t concern them the way another network may view the numbers. The CW is more about building up episodes for their series than they are about the ad revenue -- although everything helps.
Regarding pre-emptions, sadly that is a fact of life for the broadcast networks, especially when it comes to sports deals between network affiliates and their local sports teams. During the NFL preseason there are three or four weekends (Thursday-Saturday) where the networks get hammered by affiliate pre-emptions for the games. As the networks go year-round with original series, this can sometimes present a problem. One of the scheduler's many responsibilities is to make sure everyone is aware of these pre-emptions as they plan out early season series launches.
Here's one about license fees:
"You said as a show's run gets extended, the network will pay more of the cost of the show. Is this a negotiation thing (you want it, pay up), that the studio will only pay a flat cost per year (increased actor $$ borne by the network), or something else?"
This is all a negotiation between the network and the studio providing the series. More and more, both the network and the studio are owned by the same entity. Additionally, negations between the network and the studio now involve issues of streaming rights and windows and VOD stacking.
I don't think things have changed in that the initial license fee generally covers the first three years of a series, assuming it goes that far. If a network picks up a show for a second season, the fees have been preset. After the third year, there is a renegotiation, and at that point the network begins to cover more of the cost of production.
The simplest way to put this is in the first three years, the studio is generally producing the show at a deficit and hoping the show will be successful enough and last long enough to build up episodes and make a profit in the aftermarket. A network should be able to make some profit from series in their early seasons when the license fee is lower. I would always advocate making as many episodes of a series as possible during its first few seasons, when we were paying the lower fee.
It's for this reason that I don’t quite get the networks going for shorter orders of series (18 as opposed to 22, for instance), but then again, I am not as savvy as to how these license fees are negotiated today.
Of course, the world is not that simple, and there are ongoing discussions between the network and the studio regarding covering the cost of the show, be it talent, writers, directors or special episodes.
Hey, you got a question, I can bs my way through an answer if you email me at or Tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, April 9, 2018

The numbers for Monday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.9/7 9.75
American Idol (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.5/6 7.63
Kevin Can Wait (CBS) 0.9/4 5.83
Lucifer (FOX) – R 0.4/2 1.69
Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) – F 0.4/2 1.43
8:30 p.m. Man with a Plan (CBS) 0.9/4 5.53
9 p.m. Superior Donuts (CBS) 0.8/3 4.88
The Resident (FOX) – R 0.3/1 1.69
iZombie (The CW) 0.2/1 0.80
9:30 p.m. Living Biblically (CBS) 0.6/3 3.86
10 p.m. Good Girls (NBC) 1.0/4 4.51
The Crossing (ABC) 0.8/3 4.52
Scorpion (CBS) 0.7/3 5.42


The season finale of “Legends of Tomorrow” on The CW was in line with the show’s recent performances. It closed out its third season with a 0.4 among adults 18-49, its eighth consecutive week with that number. “iZombie” drew a 0.2, also even with its last outing.

“The Voice” (1.9) remained at No. 1 for the night on NBC, matching last week’s rating. “Good Girls” improved a tenth of a point to 1.0.

On ABC, “American Idol” ticked up a tenth to 1.5, but “The Crossing” (0.8) came down a tenth from its premiere last week. “Kevin Can Wait,” “Man with a Plan” and “Superior Donuts” were all steady for CBS, but “Living Biblically” (0.6, -0.2) and “Scorpion” (0.7, -0.1) declined.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.6/6 1.3/5 0.8/3 0.4/2 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 8.01 6.59 5.16 1.69 1.11


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.7/4, 1.9/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.7/7

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.7/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/4, 1.3/5

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/2, 1.1/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4


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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