Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

More Masked Mailbox Mania. Let's start with BB, who writes:
"Do you think if Pat Sajak hadn't left the daytime 'Wheel of Fortune,' the show might have survived in the daytime? It always puzzled me (no pun intended) how the show could be so big in the evening, but not survive in the mornings."
In the evening, "Wheel" is in prime access, which is a significantly higher-usage time period. The audience is also broader and not as dependent on older women. Also, "Wheel" is paired with "Jeopardy," which has become a "comfort food" hour of TV.
Maybe I shouldn't share this, but back in the early 1980s, when I was in NBC Stations Research, I was asked to evaluate whether the NBC-owned stations should buy "Wheel of Fortune" for prime access. I recommended against it. When I moved from 30 Rock in NYC to Burbank in 1991 to become head of scheduling, Kathy Leonard, who was my boss in stations research, gave me a copy of the memo. The moral is we're all going to make mistakes; we have to own them and be willing to make them.
This is from SG: "With the benefit of hindsight, did you and your team consider scheduling the first season of 'Will & Grace' on Thursdays at 9 p.m. instead of Mondays at 9:30 in the fall of 1998? If memory serves, that move ended up happening 2 years later."
We did indeed. We were all very high on the "Will & Grace" pilot. I argued against putting it on Thursday and in favor of scheduling "W&G" in a less high-profile time period. The honest reason is we are talking 20 years ago, where the cultural and TV landscape was different than it is today. My concern was that Thursday was our big money-making night. If we put "W&G" on the night and it struggled, we would have to act fast. If we put it in a time period where it can grow into a success and gain acceptance for its content, we could then take it to the next level scheduling-wise. Sales agreed with me, and we put it on Monday.
I saw the creators, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, in New York during the upfront and explained my reasoning to them. They got it, and the rest is history.
Speaking of "Will & Grce," PF wonders: "There are two major network reboots coming our way this season, 'Will & Grace' and 'Roseanne.' Back in the day, both were top 10 shows, both enjoyed long runs, both were well regarded, but each probably leaned toward a different demo (at least regionally, if not by age). Assuming both remakes return as funny as they were back in the day, which one do you think has the potential be the bigger success this season?"
I think they will both do well for their respective networks. "Will & Grace" was originally going to be part of a bigger Must-See TV-like night including "This Is Us," but for reasons I speculated about here, it is now surrounded by marginally rated, decent but less compatible comedies against the CBS comedy block.
"Roseanne" will probably go on Tuesday or Wednesday surrounded by similar family comedies. Not to play scheduler, but with "The Middle" ending this season, maybe "Roseanne" is scheduled Tuesday at 8 with "The Middle" at 8:30 for the final run of episodes. Just a thought.
If you put a gun to my head, I think "Roseanne" will get a slightly higher rating.
Back to the MSTV saga on Monday.
Questions? Follow along on Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017

Note: Local pre-emptions for NFL preseason games on, ABC, CBS and NBC and CW affiliates 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 1.2/6 6.71
The Wall (NBC) 1.0/5 5.36
Beat Shazam (FOX) 0.8/4 2.60
Boy Band (ABC) – F 0.7/3 2.73
Penn & Teller: Fool Us (The CW) 0.4/2 1.68
8:30 p.m. Kevin Can Wait (CBS) – R 1.1/5 5.53
9 p.m. Big Brother (CBS) 1.8/8 6.44
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update (NBC) 1.5/6 5.76
Love Connection (FOX) 0.6/3 2.38
Battle of the Network Stars (ABC) 0.5/2 2.31
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW) 0.4/2 1.44
9:30 p.m. Great News (NBC) – R 0.8/3 3.15
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW) – R 0.4/1 1.45
10 p.m. The Night Shift (NBC) 0.8/3 4.13
Zoo (CBS) 0.6/3 2.89
The Gong Show (ABC) – R 0.5/2 1.99


The finale of “Boy Band” on ABC tied its season high in Thursday night’s ratings. The show closed with a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49, pending updates, matching the premiere for its best mark of the season. It’s currently up two tenths of a point vs. last week.

CBS led the night thanks to “Big Brother,” which currently shows a 1.8. That may change due to a couple of NFL preseason pre-emptions. “Zoo” (0.6) is even with last week, pending updates.

“Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update” (1.5) is even with last week’s preliminary rating; last week’s show adjusted down to 1.2 in the finals, and Thursday’s show will probably come down a little. Ditto for “The Wall” (1.0) and “The Night Shift” (0.8).

“Beat Shazam” and “Love Connection” are both even with last week’s early ratings for FOX. The 0.4s for “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” on The CW are subject to change with NFL pre-emptions factored out in the finals.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.2/5 1.0/4 0.7/3 0.6/3 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.15 4.65 2.49 2.34 1.56


Late-night shows aired repeats.

: 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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