Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

On Friday, the great @TVMoJoe (Joe Adalian) pointed out the rather dismal audience deliveries for some of USA Network's recent scripted dramas. The platform is also in negotiations to hold on to the WWE television contract, which fills two of their nights in primetime ("Monday Night Raw" and "Smackdown Live").
USA used to be known as a blue-sky, popcorny (not the premium kind) network that offered meat-and-potatoes shows like "Monk," "Psych," "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains." I thought that USA filled a need that the broadcast networks (other than CBS) were trying to abandon as they started to emulate the edgier cable nets.
Then "Mr. Robot" came along, and USA abandoned ratings for the critical praise heaped on the show. I admit that I was a fan of the first season, but early on in Season 2 my Spidey senses told me this was becoming yet another Emperor's New Clothes show, and I bailed. Unfortunately, it appeared that USA drank the Kool-Aid, and now they find themselves without the meat and potatoes but loads of quinoa.
I always believed that development teams at networks should not be divided into comedy and drama, but rather needle and haystack. There are those who celebrate and aspire to do haystack shows that appeal to the largest audience, and there are other developers who prefer searching for the needle. Both sides need to be a part of a network's DNA, and executives should find the right people to champion both sides. When a network tips in either direction, problems generally follow.
End of sermon.
In other news, the season premiere of "High Maintenance" on HBO was outstanding, and I highly (ha) recommend it. Won't say more because I don't want to spoil the revelation of when it takes place.
Questions and comments? Send them to or follow me on the Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018

Note: Live NFL coverage on FOX 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. NFC Championship (FOX) (7-9:30 p.m.) 11.7/36 36.47
60 Minutes (CBS) 1.2/4 8.15
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) – R 0.6/2 3.82
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.4/2 2.62
8 p.m. 60 Minutes (CBS) 0.8/3 6.88
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 0.8/3 4.12
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.6/2 3.32
9 p.m. Shark Tank (ABC) 1.0/3 3.92
Ellen’s Game of Games (NBC) – R 0.8/3 3.36
SWAT (CBS) – R 0.6/2 4.41
9:30 p.m. NFC Championship postgame (FOX) 6.9/22 20.76
10 p.m. The Resident (FOX) – P 2.7/10 8.81
Shark Tank (ABC) 1.0/4 3.84
Ellen’s Game of Games (NBC) – R 1.0/4 3.62
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – R 0.6/2 4.73


The upside for “The Resident”: Its premiere Sunday following the NFC Championship is currently tied with “The Orville” for the second-best series premiere this season, and will probably be alone in second place (behind “Young Sheldon”) after time zone adjustments.

The downside: The show’s 2.7 rating among adults 18-49, which will probably adjust up to the low 3s (Update: or not), will end up among the lower post-conference championship episodes this decade. The NFC title game itself was down about 12 percent in metered-market households (24.4 vs. 27.6) vs. CBS’ primetime AFC Championship broadcast last year.

ABC was the only other network airing originals all night Sunday. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (0.8) and “Shark Tank” (1.0 for both episodes) were all down a couple tenths vs. last week.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 8.9/28 0.9/3 0.8/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 27.59 3.92 6.04 3.23


: 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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