Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Don't you think it's about time FOX nailed "Bob's Burgers" behind "The Simpsons"? I do.
Here’s some Masked Mail. It's the holiday season, so DC asks the following:
"Just have to ask what your rationale would be as to why the networks don't still air more of the vast back catalogue of holiday specials they have at their disposal. For me the Emmy-winning Will Vinton 'Christmas Claymation Spectacular' will always be a favorite right behind Rankin Bass, Charlie Brown and Frosty. So, I guess my question is what would it take to see the California Raisins back on TV one last time, aside from a time machine?"
The networks air a lot of perennial holiday animation specials, but they no longer have the license agreements for several of them. You may find some on cable channels or on DVDs, if you remember what those things are.
Since networks are tied to movie studios, they also air several holiday specials that are offshoots of animated features.
Also, around this time of the year there are several "time buys" that masquerade as holiday specials (especially music specials). A company will approach a network to buy an hour of time to air a program, and the company will sell the network commercial time (affiliates still get their commercial load). This is a way to promote something in the guise of a holiday special. When I was in scheduling I would, on occasion, get a call from sales telling me about a time buy and asking for some available time periods.
So, to answer your question, in addition to perennials the networks have other streams for holiday programming.
TN's question is short and sweet: "Do you think Saturday nights will ever be regular night of programming? It used to be one of the best nights of TV."
It really is amazing to consider all the great television that has been on Saturday night. Each network can point with pride to classic nights of Saturday television. CBS had comedies like "Mary Tyler Moore" and "All in the Family" (and "The Carol Burnett Show," which popped a big number for an anniversary special Sunday). NBC had "The Golden Girls" and one of my personal faves, "Sisters." Many of us grew up on the ABC night of "TJ Hooker," "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island."
Sadly, I don't think we will return to that era, although you can make a case that as more and more viewing is recorded or curated, the networks should use all 15 or 22 hours as shelf space. I actually advocated that toward the end of my career.
Saturday night has become the burial ground for failed series, a place to amortize shows with repeats, an occasional theatrical (often synergy with their sister movie studio) and sports. There's little consistency to the night. As much as networks talk about all the ways they can monetize programming, I think they are still sensitive to ratings. Given the lower usage levels on the night, they would not be pretty.
Questions? Try or tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017

Note: Live sports coverage on FOX and NBC will likely result in greater adjustments than usual for those networks.

The numbers for Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. NFL overrun (FOX) 4.5/16 14.86
Football Night in America (NBC) (7-8:30 p.m.) 3.4/12 10.81
60 Minutes (CBS) 1.2/4 11.32
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) – R 0.8/3 4.48
7:30 p.m. The OT (FOX) 2.7/9 8.34
8 p.m. The Simpsons (FOX) 1.7/6 4.31
The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special (CBS) (8-10 p.m.) 1.5/5 15.20
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 1.0/4 4.55
8:30 p.m. Sunday Night Football (NBC) (8:30-11 p.m.) 5.2/18 16.17
Ghosted (FOX) 1.0/4 2.62
9 p.m. Family Guy (FOX) 1.1/4 2.61
Shark Tank (ABC) 0.9/3 3.69
9:30 p.m. The Last Man on Earth (FOX) 0.8/3 1.91
10 p.m. Shark Tank (ABC) – R 0.8/3 3.34
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.26


A “Carol Burnett Show” retrospective drew a big audience for CBS Sunday night — and performed pretty well even among those viewers who are too young to have seen the show the first time around.

The 50th anniversary special drew 15.2 million viewers — the biggest non-sports audience of the week — and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49. The latter was good for second among entertainment shows for the night and is well above CBS’ average for the 8-10 p.m. time period so far this season.

FOX’s lineup got an NFL bump, though not as large as the last time the network had football running into primetime. Compared to the last post-NFL airings, “The Simpsons” (1.7) was off two tenths of a point, “Ghosted” (1.0) and “Family Guy” (1.1) were down three tenths each and “The Last Man on Earth” (0.8) slipped a tenth.

“America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.0) and “Shark Tank” (0.9) were each down a bit vs. last week for ABC. “Sunday Night Football” earned a 13.1 household rating in metered markets, up from last week’s 12.2. It’s also ahead of the 11.5 for the same weekend last year.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 4.5/16 2.0/8 1.2/4 0.9/3
Total Viewers (millions) 14.16 5.77 11.97 4.01


: 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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