Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

The networks generally punt on Easter Sunday, so it's always fun when, whether intentionally or unintentionally, something pops. So props to CBS and the Bee Gees.
When I was at NBC we played "The Sound of Music" every year, and I would try to come up with some new hook like "letterboxing" the musical numbers, which was unheard of on network TV back in the day.
Never hurts to be aggressive on what is perceived to be a slow night.
***
Over the course of my career I have been asked which is harder to schedule, a 15-hour or a 22-hour network. I would always say that the 15-hour network is far more difficult because, in golfing terms, you need to get on the green with your first shot. If you don't get going at 8, it generally bled into 9 and then you're done for the night.
With a 22-hour network, you had far more scheduling options, and even if you screwed up the first two hours, you could often salvage the night with a strong drama or even a news magazine. My favorite format was the four-comedy block followed by a classy drama. That's still a format that ABC and CBS employ, even though we can quibble over the "classy" label.
Clearly it is no longer as simple as it used to be. The 10 p.m. timeslot would often show a ratings boost over the first two hours, but that has all changed.
The 10 p.m. hour on the networks now faces real creative competition, and often without some of the standards constraints. DVR playback, often of network shows recorded earlier in the evening, has taken a chunk out of the network audience. We are in a different news environment that may be reflected in choices later in the evening. Finally, because I always believe that much of the blame is on the networks themselves, there has been an over-reliance on one genre, drama, in the time period.
Now I get the need for a one-hour format at 10 o'clock, since the networks are trying to hold onto the audience for the local news and ending something at 10:30 would cause a migration, but I think the networks could be more creative in the time period.
I'll talk more about that tomorrow.
***
Yesterday’s schedule:
- Finished "Chewing Gum" (Netflix) Season 1 (four episodes). May not be for everyone but it may be for you. Over the top and big laughs.
- GIRLS (HBO, L+SD) We started with episode 1 and never stopped. Don't know if I was the target and I never cared for the girls (maybe Shosh) but always appreciated. Thanx for a great run. Also, Judd Apatow once publicly accused me of destroying his TV career because I scheduled both "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared." You're welcome Judd.
- "Billions" (Showtime, L+SD)
- "Fresh Off the Boat" (ABC, L+5)
On Twitter it's @maskedscheduler and on the email try masked.scheduler@gmail.com.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, April 16, 2017

The numbers for Sunday reflect a pretty quiet Easter Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. 60 Minutes (CBS) 0.9/4 8.02
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.6/3 3.71
Inside Disney Nature: Wild Lives (ABC) – S 0.6/3 3.19
Ice Age: The Great Egg-scapade (FOX) – S 0.3/2 1.12
7:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers (FOX) – R 0.3/2 0.86
8 p.m. Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Bee Gees (CBS) (8-10 p.m.) – S 1.2/4 10.26
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.8/3 5.19
Once Upon a Time (ABC) 0.7/3 2.51
The Simpsons (FOX) – R 0.6/3 1.46
8:30 p.m. Making History (FOX) – R 0.4/2 0.96
9 p.m. Chicago Justice (NBC) 0.9/3 4.88
Match Game (ABC) 0.6/2 2.43
Family Guy (FOX) – R 0.6/2 1.40
9:30 p.m. The Last Man on Earth (FOX) – R 0.4/2 1.05
10 p.m. Shades of Blue (NBC) 0.7/3 4.04
Elementary (CBS) 0.6/3 4.48
American Crime (ABC) 0.4/2 1.82

 

Sunday was a little light on original series on the broadcast networks, which held back on Easter. The originals that did air were pretty well in line with recent performances.

A CBS concert special saluting the music of the Bee Gees led the night in both adults 18-49 (1.2 rating) and viewers (10.26 million). NBC’s “Chicago Justice” (0.9) and “Shades of Blue” (0.7) were both even with last week.

ABC was also steady, with “Once Upon a Time” (0.7), “Match Game” (0.6) and “American Crime” (0.4) all matching their numbers from a week earlier.

Network averages:

CBS NBC ABC FOX
Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.0/4 0.8/3 0.6/2 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 8.26 4.45 2.49 1.14

 

Definitions:
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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