Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

So, I watched FOX's new series "9-1-1" yesterday. I was impressed with the premiere performance as well as the "big tent" appeal of the show. I was intrigued that something like this was coming from the Ryan Murphy factory.
I liked the storytelling and the fast-paced action, given the multiple crises that our heroes had to resolve. The show did slow down when it digressed into the personal stories, which really didn’t inform much about the characters' lives.
Ironically, I felt this was a bit too on the nose and that most of the characters were rather stereotypical. Connie Britton is especially wasted here. Fortunately, I think this show will succeed not because of the characters, but because of the situations, and if they pack three or four stories into an hour, this will be a keeper for New FOX.
OK, we have time for one letter from the Masked Mailbox. It's from VP, who shares a common complaint:
"What is this nonsense of the networks and cable stations putting programs on winter breaks. This is so annoying. This started in November with 'Chicago Fire' and continued with others. I am a retired senior citizen and I watch a lot of TV, so this really annoys me. Most of the alternate programs that they air are not very good. I realize that it cuts down on reruns [but] it's really annoying and I bet I am not the only one that feels this way."
As a fellow retired senior citizen, I feel your pain. As I have often mentioned, the broadcast season is about 35 weeks and, historically, networks order 22 original episodes. So that means about 12-13 weeks of repeats. The networks have always gone into repeat mode around mid-December for a few weeks, but in recent years they have drawn attention to this with the "midseason finale" nonsense.
Networks are also ordering less, so the gap between "midseason finales" and "winter premieres" are getting wider, or when the show comes back, it comes back for only a few episodes. "The Good Place" only does 13 originals, so it returns for a few weeks and then goes away until the fall. "Empire" only does around 18, so it has a long gap between chunks of episodes.
CBS and ABC (for comedies) will order 24 episodes to avoid the long gaps during the season.
This notion of splitting up seasons is a form of "cable envy," where the broadcast networks try to imitate basic cable channels who started splitting these 13- or 16-episode seasons ("Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead," for example) in half.
My suggestion is if you can afford it, subscribe to a streaming service and use the gap time to binge some series. That’s what the Masked Wife and I do.
Email questions to and follow me on Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 3.1/12 15.99
The Four: Battle for Stardom (FOX) (8-10 p.m.) – P 1.2/4 3.73
Superstore (NBC) 1.1/4 3.92
The Middle (ABC) – R 0.7/3 3.59
Supernatural (The CW) – R 0.2/1 1.03
8:30 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) 2.6/10 14.67
The Good Place (NBC) 1.0/4 3.08
American Housewife (ABC) – R 0.7/3 2.77
9 p.m. Mom (CBS) 1.7/6 9.95
Will & Grace (NBC) 1.4/5 4.89
Truth and Lies: Waco (ABC) (9-11 p.m.) – S 1.1/4 5.00
Arrow (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.70
9:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) 1.3/5 7.41
Great News (NBC) 0.6/3 2.48
10 p.m. SWAT (CBS) 1.1/4 6.17
Chicago Fire (NBC) 1.1/4 5.89


FOX’s new singing competition “The Four: Battle for Stardom” had a decent debut Thursday, improving the night for the network. It was far outpaced, however, by CBS.

“The Four” delivered a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49, an improvement over the “Gotham”-“The Orville” combo from the fall, which typically drew a 0.9-1.0 on Thursdays. It’s well below even the smallest “American Idol” average when it was on FOX, but in the context of this season it’s not bad.

CBS led the night easily, with every show improving on its last outing. “The Big Bang Theory” (3.1) was up half a point vs. its last episode, with its best showing since week 2 of the season. “Young Sheldon” grew by even more — 0.8 — to 2.6, tying its second-best rating of the season. “Mom” (1.7, +0.3), “Life in Pieces” (1.3, +0.2) and “SWAT” (1.1, +0.1) improved as well.

At NBC, “Superstore” and “Chicago Fire” (each 1.1) rose a tenth apiece vs. their last episodes in early November. “The Good Place” returned steady at 1.0, but “Will & Grace” (1.4, -0.2) was down. “Great News” (0.6) improved on its late-December numbers but was off a tenth from the last time it had a “Will & Grace” lead-in. ABC’s special “Truth and Lies: Waco” posted a 1.1.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.8/7 1.2/4 1.1/4 1.0/4 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 10.06 3.73 4.36 4.39 0.86


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

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.7/4, 2.1/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.6/3, 2.8/7

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – R: 0.5/3, 1.7/4

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.5/3, 1.3/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden” – R: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R: 0.3/2, 1.0/3


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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