Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

A few things:
- ABC has to be happy with the "American Idol" numbers. If they and stay between a 1.5 and a 2.0 on Sunday, that's a win and a start.
- Masked Wife and I have been enjoying "The Resident." I know there are naysayers, but for FOX, this and "9-1-1" are mainstream franchises with a bit of an edge. I am sorry FOX didn’t pair these two shows up. They may have had a night.
- All of CBS' good comedies are on Thursday (in my opinion), and they may need to pull a "Frasier"/"Wings" move next season and send two of them over to Monday.
Two thought-provoking questions today. First up is TI:
"I was recently talking to someone about television scheduling, and they felt that that scheduling for a cable network was much harder than scheduling for a broadcast network. They argued that broadcast schedulers only have to account for primetime, whereas cable schedulers have to figure out the whole day. What are your thoughts on who has the more difficult task? Any insight you can give on the difference between scheduling broadcast vs. cable is much appreciated."
Having never scheduled a basic cable network, I can’t talk to how difficult that is vs. scheduling a broadcast network. Also, among cable networks there are differences depending on the mix of original and acquired product. A network like FX, USA or AMC plays a different game than, say, HGTV or TLC.
I think for cable, it's more about managing inventory, while in broadcasting there's a bit more gamesmanship going on, or at least there used to be. Cable scheduling generally involves the ability to repeat an episode on several occasions, while broadcasters generally have only two runs (possibly three) and are less open to airing repeats. Repeats are part of the cable scheduling strategy.
Basic cable can also involve more strip programming and repeating blocs throughout the day. They are just different games and might require different personalities with different social skill sets. I think the network schedulers still have the "sexier" and more high-profile gigs, but that may be changing, especially among the channels that offer original programming in primetime.
BM has an interesting question:
"I'm a total ratings nerd and on occasion go back and look at the network schedules/ratings from specific seasons on Wikipedia. It got me wondering -- which network in your opinion had the most dominant run? Was it ABC in the late 1970s, CBS during the early '80s or maybe NBC during the Must-See TV era? Is there one I'm missing?"
First of all, each of these eras had different measurement issues, and there were also competitive and technological differences that affected ratings. I'm of course a bit biased since I was involved in the Must-See TV run at NBC, as well as the "Cosby Show"/"Cheers"/"A-Team"/quality drama years that preceded MSTV. Also, you did not mention the "American Idol" years at FOX, where I believe we were No. 1 for more consecutive seasons than any network in history.
Each of those runs were historic in their own right, featuring several iconic shows and nights. If I had to pick one I would say, bias aside, the Must-See TV run because of the ratings dominance during some of those seasons and especially the performance that we had on Thursday night. NBC Thursday had two dominant runs with the "Cosby"/"Family Ties"/"Cheers"/"Night Court"/"Hill Street Blues"-"LA Law" era and the "Friends"/"Seinfeld"/"Frasier"/"ER" years. I was fortunate to have been there during those times.
Questions can go to, and I'm on Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, March 19, 2018

The numbers for Monday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 2.3/9 10.67
American Idol (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.6/6 7.74
Kevin Can Wait (CBS) 1.0/4 5.92
Lucifer (FOX) 0.8/3 3.24
Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) 0.4/2 1.27
8:30 p.m. Man with a Plan (CBS) 0.9/4 5.62
9 p.m. The Resident (FOX) 0.9/4 4.23
Superior Donuts (CBS) 0.8/3 5.11
iZombie (The CW) 0.2/1 0.76
9:30 p.m. Living Biblically (CBS) 0.7/3 4.21
10 p.m. The Good Doctor (ABC) 1.6/6 9.13
Good Girls (NBC) 1.0/4 4.27
Scorpion (CBS) 0.8/3 4.89


Both of FOX’s shows improved their ratings Monday, on a night when everything else was flat or down a little. “Lucifer” (0.8 rating among adults 18-49) and “The Resident” (0.9) each rose a tenth of a point vs. last week.

“The Voice” was the night’s top show at 2.3, even with last week’s fast nationals (it adjusted up in the finals). “Good Girls” is at 1.0, down 0.1 vs. the early numbers a week ago but even with its final rating.

“American Idol” (1.6) and “The Good Doctor” (1.6) both dipped by 0.2 on ABC. CBS’ “Kevin Can Wait” (1.0), “Man with a Plan” (0.9) and “Superior Donuts” (0.8) all lost a tenth, while “Living Biblically” and “Scorpion” were flat.

“Legends of Tomorrow” held at 0.4 on The CW, and “iZombie” equaled its preliminary 0.2 from a week ago (it adjusted up to 0.3 in the finals).

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.9/7 1.6/6 0.9/3 0.8/3 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 8.54 8.20 3.73 5.11 1.01


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

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.7/4, 2.4/6

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.7/4, 2.2/6

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

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.4/3, 1.5/5

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.3/5

“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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