Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

I'm starting to really dig Netflix. They play the game the way the networks used to play it back in the day. Last week, while John Landgraf was railing against the behemoth and using big words like monopsony, the Netflix gang announced a deal with the Coen Brothers. I can't believe that it was a coincidence.
Disney does not extend its output deal with the streaming service, and BOOM -- next thing you know Shonda Rhimes is a Netflixer. Attitude is everything, and Netflix seems to have it right now.
I had a lot of fun playing hardball with the other networks. I once asked our art department to create a drawing of the NBC Peacock with one hand grabbing its "crotch" and the other hand defiantly in the air, middle finger raised. The slogan under picture was "Hey, Peacock This." That was our attitude during the Must-See TV era that I have been chronicling this summer.
I think all the network honchos got off on playing the game. Just one example: After "ER" exploded, ABC programmed a Steven Bochco series, "Murder One," up against it and as a publicity stunt sent VHS cassettes to TV writers telling them to record "ER" and watch "Murder One." ABC was hoping everyone would write about it. Of course, over at the Peacock, we needed to retaliate, so we put together a promo which ended with "'ER' is so good you should watch it AND tape it."
We would also go after the press. When we premiered "Providence," Tom Shales at the Washington Post, panned it as one of many duds coming from NBC at the time. He ended his review with "NBC has done it again." "Providence" hit it right out of the box, and in our on-air promos crowing about its success, we ended with the Shales quote. The Post immediately called up to complain, and we pulled the promo, but we had our fun.
Anyway, back to Shonda. I feel for ABC. This is like LeBron leaving Cleveland or Kevin Durant departing OKC. She has defined the network's sensibility over the past few years. The good news is they still have three of her shows on the air and two more in the wings, including a "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff, so they’ll be fine.
I do wonder if she has lost a bit of her fastball. "The Catch" and "Still Star-Crossed" were meh, and I believe I saw the legal pilot and it was not memorable. My point being that had ABC held on to her factory, they may well have been paying for past success with future output not living up to expectations.
For Ms. Rhimes, this move protects her from further tarnishing her brand. She will no longer be evaluated by ratings, possibly not have to do pilots and can deliver shows on her own schedule. She has earned the right to play the game on her terms.
For Netflix, they continue to regress toward the mean, acting more and more like a conventional network. They are trying to make broader shows so that maybe, one day, they can share some numbers with us.
I think everybody wins here, and Netflix is having some fun as well. And if you can't have fun in this business, what exactly is the point?
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Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

The numbers for Monday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Bachelor in Paradise (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) – P 1.5/6 5.02
American Ninja Warrior (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.4/5 5.86
So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) (8-10 p.m.) 0.7/3 2.81
Kevin Can Wait (CBS) – R 0.7/3 4.16
Supergirl (The CW) – R 0.2/1 1.14
8:30 p.m. Superior Donuts (CBS) – R 0.6/3 3.72
9 p.m. Mom (CBS) – R 0.7/3 3.96
Hooten & the Lady (The CW) 0.2/1 0.95
9:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) – R 0.6/2 3.29
10 p.m. Midnight, Texas (NBC) 0.8/3 3.21
The Gong Show (ABC) 0.8/3 2.92
CBSN: On Assignment (CBS) 0.4/2 2.84


“Bachelor in Paradise” premiered to slightly better ratings for ABC than it did last year. The show, which teased out the controversy that caused a production shutdown over the entire two-hour premiere, scored a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49 Monday night. That’s a tenth of a point better than last season’s debut and the show’s best season debut to date. “The Gong Show” (0.8) was also above average.

“American Ninja Warrior” (1.4) was off a tenth of a point vs. last week for NBC, but “Midnight, Texas” held steady at 0.8. “So You Think You Can Dance” (0.7) and “Hooten & the Lady” (0.2) were also even.

In late night, an appearance by former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci gave “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” its best metered-market adults 18-49 rating in more than a year and its top household rating for a regular episode since September 2015. Numbers are below.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 1.2/5 0.7/3 0.6/3 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 4.32 4.98 2.81 3.47 1.04


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.7/4, 3.1/8

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 1.6/4

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.6/4

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/2, 1.0/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4

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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