Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Not sure I understand what FOX was doing with a "Bob's Burgers" at 8 replacing a "Simpsons." You think I would know.
Here’s an idea for ABC: Brand Sunday night as “Rhymin' Sunday”
"Once Upon a Time"
"Time After Time"
"American Crime"
That's the type of s**t I would say at work to relieve the tension. It didn't always go over well.
The Masked Mailbox produced this question from SM, which was part of a longer, very enjoyable email:
"I could inundate you with a million more questions, but I'll resign myself and spare you to one more. I read years ago that one of the secrets of the fortune made with 'Frasier' was that, beyond its mass appeal, it hit a segment of the audience rarely hit with network shows … middle-aged, high-earning households. Advertisers of products for this segment paid a pretty penny for a commercial on 'Frasier.' What advertisers would this be? I rarely see commercials for Tiffany/Hublot/Porsche. To follow up, to your knowledge, what current show(s) might be in a similar situation?"
Although the currency in the business is 18-49 ratings (and, before folks at CBS have a coronary, 25-54) it is important to note that not every rating point is created equal and has different meaning based on the show and the network. If I were going to make broad generalizations, when I was in the game "18-49 ratings" meant 18-34 for FOX and The CW, 25-54 for CBS and 18-49 for ABC and NBC. In other words, when you bought shows on that network, that was probably the skew of the audience.
In addition to age, there were certain characteristics of a show and a network that factored into the buy. The "holy grail" in TV was "urban/upscale/affluent." We would get NAD (National Audience Demographics) from Nielsen that would provide the characteristics of the audience for each show and the networks could charge a different price for an ad based on those factors.
"Frasier" was a key player in the "Must-See TV" decade at NBC, being one of several shows valued by advertisers. Thursday night was especially valuable for automotives and movies and shows like "Frasier," "Seinfeld" and "ER" were in high demand. The satellite comedies were very valuable since they cost less but inherited the audience from the big hits.
"Frasier" was a slightly older-skewing comedy compared to "Seinfeld" or "Friends," so it may have attracted a somewhat different group of advertisers. A big part of "Frasier's" financial success was moving to Tuesday and anchoring a second night of Must-See TV. This made it more attractive in syndication, having proven that it was not just the show behind "Seinfeld" and could stand on its own.
Some networks (NBC and Turner) are again trying to introduce new metrics into the audience measurement game. It is an ongoing dialogue between networks and advertisers.
I honestly don't know what the upscale shows on broadcast TV are at the moment. Would not be surprised if "Modern Family" is above average. "The Good Wife" may have been more upscale when compared with other CBS dramas. Maybe someone out there can help with this.
Got a question? Reach me via Twitter @maskedscheduler or
The schedule was lots of disappointing college basketball (next year for the Badgers and the Jayhawks) and culture so limited viewing that included:
- The season finale of "Legion" (FX screener) I gotta think about coming back for next season.
- "Designated Survivor" (ABC, L+3)
- "Empire" (FOX, L+3) So happy to have Cookie back
- "Fresh Off the Boat" (ABC L+4) We have loads of comedies on the DVR but this is the one we go to first.
Tomorrow I'll bid adieu to "Bones."

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Sunday, March 26, 2017

Note: CBS’ live NCAA Tournament coverage could result in greater adjustments than usual for the network.

The numbers for Sunday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
7 p.m. NCAA Tournament overrun (7-7:30 p.m.) 5.3/20 20.66
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 1.0/4 5.39
Little Big Shots (NBC) – R 0.7/3 4.22
The Simpsons (FOX) – R 0.6/2 1.91
7:30 p.m. 60 Minutes (CBS) (7:30-8:30 p.m.) 2.7/10 14.89
Bob’s Burgers (FOX) (7:30-8:30 p.m.) 0.9/3 1.84
8 p.m. Little Big Shots (NBC) 1.7/6 9.73
Once Upon a Time (ABC) 0.9/3 2.95
8:30 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) (8:30-9:30 p.m.) 1.6/6 11.27
Making History (FOX) 0.7/3 1.59
9 p.m. Family Guy (FOX) 1.1/4 2.36
Chicago Justice (NBC) 1.0/4 5.79
Time After Time (ABC) 0.4/2 1.92
9:30 p.m. Madam Secretary (CBS) (9:30-10:30 p.m.) 1.1/4 8.46
The Last Man on Earth (FOX) 0.9/3 2.02
10 p.m. Shades of Blue (NBC) 0.8/3 4.39
American Crime (ABC) 0.3/1 1.62
10:30 p.m. Elementary (CBS) (10:30-11 p.m.) 0.8/3 5.58


Sunday was a mostly positive night on the broadcast networks, with most shows either steady or up some vs. the previous week.

First, the good: NBC’s “Little Big Shots” rose a tenth of a point vs. last week’s final rating to finish with a 1.7 among adults 18-49. ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” (0.9) ticked up slightly from its series low last week, and “Bob’s Burgers” and  “The Last Man on Earth” (both 0.9) rose a tenth for FOX.

CBS’ shows will likely end up on the positive side too, although late start times thanks to an NCAA Tournament game make their ratings subject to change. Currently, “NCIS: Los Angeles” (1.6), “Madam Secretary” (1.0) and “Elementary” (0.8) are all ahead of last week. The NCAA game between North Carolina and Kentucky scored a 5.3 from 7-7:30 p.m., easily the best of the tournament to date.

FOX’s “Making History” and “Family Guy” and NBC’s “Chicago Justice” and “Shades of Blue” all equaled their previous outing. “Time After Time” was also steady, albeit at a meager 0.4, and “American Crime” slipped a tenth to 0.3.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 2.1/7 1.1/4 0.8/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 10.50 6.03 1.92 2.97


Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the 18-49 rating for “Madam Secretary” and the CBS total viewer average. The correct numbers are above.

: 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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