Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

The past few days I have been asked the same question in various ways that are summed up in this tweet form long-time Masketeer Jan:
"Just wondering how likely you think it is that Les Moonves would actually be fired?"
The short answer for me -- having absolutely zero inside information -- is highly unlikely.
When Viacom was split in two at the end of 2005, Les was given the less sexy parts of the business, what many considered the dinosaurs, while Tom Freston was put in charge of "the future." I know that's simplistic, but go back and look at the coverage. Flash forward to the present, and look at which part has succeeded and who is still standing -- all with little to no drama.
There are two types of broadcast executives. One wants to be something that they are not; the other embraces what they are and tries to integrate change into the broadcast model. Les and his lieutenants represent the latter.
CBS has embraced broadcasting but at the same time has evolved into something bigger and stronger. Les ain't going nowhere.
In the good old days of the 1990s, when broadcast executives had personalities and the business had a lot more showmanship, there were all sorts of skirmishes between the NBC posse and CBS. I once called their head of research, David Poltrack (was there ever a better name for a researcher?) "the David Koresh of research," AND IT WAS PRINTED IN BROADCASTING MAGAZINE. My boss Warren Littlefield and Les would have some fun smackdowns at the annual fall network president luncheon presented by the Hollywood Radio & Television Society.
At one point there was an effort to stop the bickering among the networks and to form some sort of organization to present the broadcast perspective on the business. We were under attack by cable, and it was important to espouse the power of broadcast television.
The initial meeting was among the heads of the broadcast networks, who then appointed a representative (moi) to attend future meetings. After the initial meeting, Don Ohlmeyer came into my office to tell me about the project and how we all needed to tone down the rhetoric. Don handed me a note from Les Moonves which read:
"To P-----n
That note is framed and sitting on the bookshelf next to our television. It is one of my most prized possessions.
Email me at and tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, April 12, 2018

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 2.3/11 12.52
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 1.6/7 6.93
Superstore (NBC) 0.8/4 3.17
Gotham (FOX) 0.7/3 2.36
Supernatural (The CW) 0.5/2 1.53
8:30 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) 1.9/8 11.57
AP Bio (NBC) 0.6/3 2.13
9 p.m. Mom (CBS) 1.4/6 8.99
Station 19 (ABC) 1.0/4 5.61
Showtime at the Apollo (FOX) 0.7/3 2.74
Will & Grace (NBC) – R 0.5/2 2.25
Arrow (The CW) 0.4/2 1.09
9:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) 1.1/4 6.52
Champions (NBC) 0.4/2 1.68
10 p.m. Chicago Fire (NBC) 1.0/4 5.48
SWAT (CBS) 0.9/4 5.34
Scandal (ABC) 0.9/4 4.18


Most of Thursday’s primetime slate was steady week to week in the ratings, but a handful of shows improved.

CBS’ “Life in Pieces” (1.1 rating in adults 18-49) had the biggest gain, rising o.2 from a week ago. “SWAT” (0.9), The CW’s “Supernatural” (0.5) and “Arrow” (0.4) and FOX’s “Showtime at the Apollo” (0.7) were all up a tenth.

CBS finished first across the board for the night as “The Big Bang Theory” (2.3), “Young Sheldon” (1.9) and “Mom” (1.4) all matched last week’s fast nationals (“Big Bang” adjusted up and “Mom” down in the finals).

“Superstore,” “AP Bio” and “Chicago Fire” were likewise steady for NBC, but “Champions” fell a tenth of a point to 0.4. So was “Gotham,” which scored a 0.7 on FOX.

“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Station 19” and “Scandal” were, yep, steady for ABC too, although all three improved a bit week to week in total viewers.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/6 1.2/5 0.7/3 0.7/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 8.38 5.58 3.36 2.55 1.31


Late-night metered market ratings (adults 18-49, households):

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.6/4, 1.8/5

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 1.6/4

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/3, 2.8/8

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.1/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4


Rating: 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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