Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Before I get to "American Idol," I just want to say I have received quite a few emails on yesterday's column of the potential return of "Last Man Standing." First, I no longer work in the business and have absolutely nothing to do with the decision to bring back the show. Second, I appreciate the passion I'm hearing in the emails. It's great when television excites you and you can identify with the characters and their situations. I was making no value judgment here, just giving the perspective of a former broadcast executive. Moving on.
I've been getting a lot of tweets like these over the past two weeks:
"Oh, those glorious bastards at @AmericanIdol. Haven't watched it live in a decade. And here I am, VOTING. Live across the country is the right move. Leaving voting open into the night allowed viewers to delay viewing. Exactly the wrong thing to do. @maskedscheduler what say u?"
"Do you have any thoughts on ABC's apparent success with airing 'Idol' live in all time zones?"
I have so much piled up on the DVR, in addition to all I have not watched yet on Netflix and Amazon. Plus it's baseball season, so "American Idol" episodes are piling up. I was not aware of how the voting was going to be handled on the show, but I sat down this morning and watched the two live episodes.
I think the idea of going live across the country (no idea what's happening with Hawaii) is pretty smart and something that you can pull off on Sunday. This would not be possible on a weekday without major pushback from the ABC affiliates, as it would affect local news and syndication to a greater extent than on a Sunday. Given that the voting results happen at the end of the show, it encourages more live viewing. I have no idea if it's one vote per person.
I do take issue with listing all the contestant numbers at the top of the show, since it becomes a popularity contest and less of a singing competition. Ryan does say that you can change your vote up to the final commercial break, which I'm sure he has to say for legal reasons. In a way giving out the numbers at the top of the show takes away a bit of the advantage of finishing the show. That was always a tension because you wanted the best singers to close, but you also didn't want the surprise of putting a talented singer at the top and then seeing them eliminated because viewing generally grows throughout the evening.
The results felt sort of rushed at the end of the show, and it's nice when the judges can offer some advice to those leaving. I also like that it appears the judges' save has been eliminated, which was something I fought against when I was at FOX.
I didn't look that closely at whether the contestants keep the same text numbers each week, which I believe is what we did at FOX for the final seasons. That made it even more convenient to totally skip an episode.
Given the ratings for the first two live weeks of the competition, it appears ABC has made the right move with the live nationwide telecast. It eliminates the need for a results show, which is a good thing on many levels.
Email me at with your thoughts, and the Twitter is @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Monday, May 7, 2018

The numbers for Monday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.4/6 8.30
Dancing With the Stars (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.0/4 7.64
Kevin Can Wait (CBS) – F 1.0/4 5.42
Lucifer (FOX) 0.7/3 2.86
Supergirl (The CW) 0.4/2 1.59
8:30 p.m. Man with a Plan (CBS) 0.8/3 4.94
9 p.m. The Resident (FOX) 0.9/4 3.98
Superior Donuts (CBS) 0.7/3 4.35
iZombie (The CW) 0.3/1 0.82
9:30 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 0.7/3 4.34
10 p.m. Running Wild with Bear Grylls (NBC) – P 0.9/4 3.68
Elementary (CBS) 0.6/3 4.56
The Crossing (ABC) 0.5/2 3.85


The season finale of “Kevin Can Wait” improved on last week’s ratings for CBS, and it was pretty close to last season.

The show drew a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49, up from 0.8 a week ago. It was off slightly from the 1.1 for last season’s finale. “Man with a Plan,” “Superior Donuts” and “Elementary” all held steady.

“The Voice” remained No. 1 for the night, but its 1.4 was off two tenths of a point from last week’s fast nationals (it adjusted up in the finals). “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” premiered with a 0.9, on par with recent episodes of “Good Girls.”

“Dancing With the Stars” declined a bit from its premiere, falling a tenth to 1.0. “The Crossing” matched last week’s season-low 0.5. “Lucifer” (0.7) and “The Resident” (0.9) each rose a tenth for FOX, as did “iZombie” (0.3) on The CW. “Supergirl” fell a tenth to 0.4.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 0.8/3 0.8/3 0.7/3 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 6.76 6.38 3.42 4.69 1.20


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/3, 2.5/7

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.7/5

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.4/3, 1.5/4

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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