Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

PB has an "American Idol" observation:
"I think the decline in ratings for 'American Idol' is because it is going against 'The Voice' on Monday night. If 'Idol' were to go with a Wednesday/Thursday schedule or a Tuesday/Wednesday it might work out."
First of all, I think ABC is happy with the performance of "American Idol" so far. Given that their Tuesday through Thursday schedules are set, they had few options but to make Sunday the home for "Idol," with a few Monday nights for the auditions. It's another example of being competitive with your scheduling and having fun with the competition. ABC and NBC have a little sumthun sumthun going on between them, and I'm enjoying it.
Let's all hope for more scheduling showmanship.
This is a sensitive subject, but LM asks:
"Your 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' observations got me thinking: Has there been an overall tone for the FOX comedies, say post 'Malcolm,' 'Bernie Mac,' ''70s Show'? What is 'So FOX' about them? Excluding 'New Girl' and 'Raising Hope' (two very different shows), FOX has produced some fantastic yet short-lived shows ('Grinder,' 'Grandfathered,' 'Enlisted,' 'Ben & Kate,' 'Sons of Tucson') that I feel would fit this brand if it were truly embraced by the network. Instead they have an attitude of only embracing 'ratings gold.' What is FOX's thought process when it comes to comedies?"
WOW. LM, I worked there for 15 years, and it beats me. What "Malcolm in the Middle," "The Bernie Mach Show" and "That '70s Show," preceded by "Married with Children," all had in common were that they were edgy family comedies. All the successful animated shows have also been family comedies.
There is a natural tendency among development executives to do something other than what works on your network, and I think that was the case with FOX. There was also a very itchy trigger finger over there coming from the tippy top of the mountain, so we tried hard to protect some of the comedies (we kept "Arrested Development" around for three seasons) from the quick yank.
We were not all that successful. I was especially upset that we could not give "Enlisted" the time to grow into a keeper. I made an impassioned speech in the scheduling room to give it a second season but was met with crickets.
If there was one issue that I often had with the FOX comedies, it was a lack of heart. There was an unfounded belief that FOX comedies needed an edge, so heart often took a back seat. I also think there was little strategy in comedy development, and it was more about what they liked than whether it was compatible with other comedies or made sense on the schedule. Of course, I was blamed for the failure when incompatible shows needed to be paired up.
Emails go to and Tweets can be directed @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, March 25, 2018

Note: CBS’ live NCAA Tournament coverage may result in greater adjustments than usual in the final ratings.

The numbers for Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. NCAA Tournament overrun 5.9/25 25.56
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 0.9/4 5.30
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.5/2 2.66
Bob’s Burgers (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.11
7:30 p.m. 60 Minutes (CBS) 4.0/16 21.26
Bob’s Burgers (FOX) 0.8/3 1.71
8 p.m. American Idol (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 1.7/6 7.38
The Simpsons (FOX) 1.0/4 2.14
Little Big Shots (NBC) 0.9/4 5.89
8:30 p.m. Instinct (CBS) 1.4/5 10.57
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) 0.9/4 1.85
9 p.m. Family Guy (FOX) 0.9/4 1.90
Genius Junior (NBC) 0.7/3 4.23
9:30 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 1.0/4 8.56
The Last Man on Earth (FOX) 0.7/3 1.60
10 p.m. Deception (ABC) 0.8/3 4.01
Timeless (NBC) 0.6/2 2.61
10:30 p.m. Madam Secretary (CBS) (10:30-11 p.m.) 0.7/3 6.54


CBS’ “60 Minutes” scored its biggest audience of the season Sunday night with a heavily hyped interview — and an assist from a highly rated NCAA Tournament game.

Pending updates, “60 Minutes” scored a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49 and better than 21 million viewers for its interview with adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who says she was paid to cover up an affair she had with Donald Trump in 2006.

The rest of CBS’ lineup also benefitted from the big start to the night, as “Instinct” (1.4), “NCIS: LA” (1.0) and “Madam Secretary” (0.7) are all up vs. last week, pending updates.

“American Idol” was fairly steady for ABC, dipping a tenth of a point from last week to 1.7. “Deception” was even with last week’s preliminary 0.8 (it adjusted down in the finals.

“The Simpsons” (1.0) improved by 0.2 on FOX, while “Bob’s Burgers,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Last Man on Earth” equaled their week-ago numbers. “Family Guy” fell a tenth to 0.9.

NBC was down across the board: “Little Big Shots” slipped to 0.9 (-0.2 vs. last week), “Genius Junior” to 0.7 (-0.3) and “Timeless” to 0.6 (-0.1).

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 2.5/10 1.3/5 0.8/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 14.11 6.01 1.72 3.85


: 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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