Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

My final visit to the Television Critics Association semi-annual press tour was in the summer of 2015. I was about to retire, and I headed over there to say farewell to several of the writers with whom I had established warm relations with over the years. Since then I have followed the TCA on Twitter, often making pithy comments from afar.
This summer's TCA just ended. FX Networks was on the last day, so John Landgraf, who many have anointed the "Mayor of Television," did his semi-annual State of the Business. His talks are very heady, and I don't think he feels he's done his job unless the television writers walk away with one new term or phrase through which they can filter the actions of those who do television for a living. John coined the phrase "peak TV," and this year's buzzword was "monopsony." I'm sure when he uttered it, Google exploded in the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton.
John was warning the gathered critics that his little FX mom-and-pop operation, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, can't compete with the Netflixes, Amazons, Hulus and, soon, Apples of the world for top talent, and that there will be a weeding out of channels and platforms. As a result of all this, the consumer will suffer. A monopsony is a system where there is a single buyer who interacts with multiple sellers. I honestly don't see that happening. Rather I think there will be more streaming services on the horizon.
These streaming services also rely on content from more traditional media companies, such as 20th Television (part of John's constellation) and Disney. Oh, and what did Disney announce this week? They will not be providing Netflix with content anymore and will start their own streaming service, in addition to offering the ESPN networks as an OTT buy. And what happened when Disney made this announcement? Netflix stock took a hit.
John also announced a deal with Comcast to offer FX commercial free for a fee. AMC has made the same deal. CBS All Access is up and running, offering the over-the-air CBS affiliates, the library of CBS-owned programs and originals like "The Good Fight" and "Star Trek: Discovery." I would not be surprised to see similar OTT offerings from the other networks.
If all of this seems confusing, you're not alone. The television business is evolving rapidly. Rather than John's dystopian vision, which was part James Cameron and part Karl Marx, we are probably entering a phase where consumers will choose their brands and will buy a suite of channels. FX is a very strong brand; John will be OK. The big loser as always will be all of us who will see our internet bills skyrocket to accommodate all of this.
Tim Goodman, who writes for The Hollywood Reporter and for some reason blocks me on Twitter, likes to call the TCA the "Death March with Cocktails." He labelled it that because to him the broadcast networks were dinosaurs making bland content for a model that no longer worked. He was wrong. I have told him and others on several occasions not to count out the networks.
There are a lot of smart people (like John) working over there, and if you think they are rocking in a corner of their office sucking their thumbs while the business is crumbling, you are wrong. Tim even admitted that the networks have figured it out. It just took him longer than others to see that.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017

Note: Local pre-emptions for NFL preseason games across the broadcast networks will likely result in greater adjustments than usual in the final ratings.

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.3/6 7.06
The Wall (NBC) 1.2/5 6.17
Beat Shazam (FOX) 1.1/5 3.74
Boy Band (ABC) 0.7/3 3.44
Penn & Teller: Fool Us (The CW) 0.5/2 2.08
8:30 p.m. Kevin Can Wait (CBS) – R 1.3/6 5.77
9 p.m. Big Brother (CBS) 2.2/9 7.30
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update (NBC) – P 1.7/7 6.53
The Story of Diana, Part 2 (ABC) (9-11 p.m.) – S 1.0/4 5.98
Love Connection (FOX) 1.0/4 3.52
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW) 0.5/2 1.74
9:30 p.m. Great News (NBC) – R 1.0/4 3.87
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW) – R 0.5/2 1.64
10 p.m. The Night Shift (NBC) 0.9/4 4.52
Zoo (CBS) 0.8/3 3.48


Thursday’s ratings come with a rather large caveat: Local pre-emptions for NFL preseason games on affiliates of every network will cause a lot of downward adjustments in the finals. It’s likely the 18-49 rating for most shows will adjust down by 0.1 to 0.3.

So, pending updates for everything: “Big Brother” led the night among adults 18-49 with a 2.2 rating. “Zoo” posted a 0.8 for CBS. “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update” got off to a solid start on NBC with a 1.7. “The Wall” (1.2) is currently ahead of its last airing, as is “The Night Shift” at 0.9.

FOX’s “Beat Shazam” sits at 1.1 for now, while “Love Connection” is at 1.0. On ABC, “Boy Band” is at 0.7 and part 2 of “The Story of Diana” scored a 1.0, in line with Wednesday’s fast nationals (it adjusted down to 0.7 in the finals). “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” are currently at 0.5 for The CW.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.5/6 1.2/5 1.0/4 0.9/4 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.73 5.30 3.63 5.13 1.88


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.6/4, 1.9/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.4/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.8/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.2/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden” (delayed by PGA Championship report): 0.2/2, 0.7/3

: 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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