Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

It's pilot season. Within the next week or so the networks will start screening the product, make pickups, set a schedule and head to NYC for the upfronts.
Last spring I wrote about the pilot process on my blog, Revenge of the Masked Scheduler, and will probably refer to it once in a while over the next few weeks. But yesterday, while watching Daniel Murphy dismantle the Mets with a grand slam home run in the top of the first, I thought about pilots that got away to another network.
Over the course of my career a pilot would occasionally show up that had been passed on by another network. The one I will always remember is "Law & Order," which was piloted at CBS. When they passed on it, Brandon Tartikoff showed it to us with Dick Wolf's pitch of it being a drama that could be cut in half and run as half hours in syndication.
The pilot was well received, and Brandon repiloted it. The following year we screened a less gritty but excellent episode, and the rest is history. Ironically, CBS had its revenge when they took "JAG" from NBC after one season, and that evolved into the "NCIS" franchise.
At NBC, we took two ABC comedy pilots off the scrap heap with varying success. In 1995 we screened "Third Rock from the Sun," which several comedy execs were quite high on. To be honest, I didn't get it, but I brought it home and the Masked Family gave it rave reviews. Needless to say ABC was not happy.
The following year we did it again with "The Jeff Foxworthy Show." This one was on me. ABC never knew what to do with the show, and I kept telling anyone who would listen that there was something there. ABC kept putting it on and pulling it off the schedule.
Late one night, right before we were about to start the scheduling meetings, I received a call from Don Ohlmeyer, the big boss.
"I got it," he said, to which I replied "Got what?" "Foxworthy." There was stunned silence on my end. I will clean up the conversation at this point but Don, to his credit, heard me and went out and got the show once we knew ABC would not be bringing it back. He told me it was now my responsibility to make it a hit.
Unlike "Third Rock," which has lots of support in the building, "Foxworthy" met with some distain among the programming execs. We wound up changing the wife and adding a kid, and sadly "Foxworthy" only lasted a half a season.
The business is such today that nothing ever dies, so I would not be surprised to see a pilot jump networks over the next few weeks.
Last night's sked:
- "The Leftovers" (HBO, L+SD) This episode was oversold a bit on Twitter last night. It was ai’ght.
- "Billions" (Showtime, L+SD) Doesn't get the same praise but is having an outstanding season.
- "Silicon Valley" (HBO, L+SD) WELCOME BACK!!!!
"Gotham" returns tonight!
Tweet me @maskedscheduler. Via email it's

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, April 23, 2017

The numbers for Sunday include small improvements for several shows:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 1.0/4 4.83
60 Minutes (CBS) 0.8/3 9.60
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.5/2 3.91
The Simpsons (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.33
7:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers (FOX) 0.7/3 1.57
8 p.m. Little Big Shots (NBC) 1.2/5 8.24
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 1.0/4 9.41
Bob’s Burgers (FOX) 0.9/3 1.85
Once Upon a Time (ABC) 0.8/3 2.68
8:30 p.m. Making History (FOX) 0.6/2 1.33
9 p.m. Chicago Justice (NBC) 1.0/4 5.59
Family Guy (FOX) – R 0.8/3 1.73
Madam Secretary (CBS) 0.7/3 7.75
Match Game (ABC) 0.7/3 3.15
9:30 p.m. The Last Man on Earth (FOX) 0.7/3 1.71
10 p.m. Shades of Blue (NBC) 0.7/3 4.09
Elementary (CBS) 0.5/2 4.57
American Crime (ABC) 0.3/1 1.84


Sunday night brought ratings upticks for several shows on the broadcast networks. NBC’s “Chicago Justice” (1.0 among adults 18-49), ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” (0.8) and the second of two “Bob’s Burgers” episodes on FOX (0.9) were all up over their last original episodes. (The first “Bob’s” tied its previous 0.7.)

“Little Big Shots” led the night in the 18-49 demographic with a 1.2, down a tenth of a point from its last episode. “The Last Man on Earth” also fell a tenth to 0.7, while “Making History” was flat at 0.6.

“NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Madam Secretary” and “Elementary” all dipped 0.1 for CBS, as did “American Crime” on ABC. “Shades of Blue” held at 0.7 for NBC.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 0.9/3 0.8/3 0.7/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 5.46 7.83 3.13 1.59


: 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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