Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Two follow-up questions on "The X-Files" today. First, this from EC:
"Is it true that 'The X-Files' created a sort of scheduling myth that you should put sci-fi on Fridays because 'nerds can't get dates?' Or maybe that's not a myth.”
Well, it does feel as if a lot of sci-fi winds up on Friday night. "Star Trek" went there after its first season, and at FOX, "Dark Angel" and "Firefly" were both Friday shows. However, I think you find sci-fi all over the schedule. FOX struck out with "Minoirty Report" on Mondays in 2015-16, and "The Orville" is on Thursday in the fall.
If there is any "myth" to Friday night, it may be that sci-fi is perceived (erroneously) to be for geeks who may be more likely to be at home that night. The reality is the sci-fi viewer is more 25-54 than 12-34, and it is pretty balanced between women and men.
Then there was this question from MF:
"Love reading your daily thoughts, but I had to write you after reading the first question. I thought it was great you referenced 'The X-Files' being scheduled with 'Brisco County, Jr.' I loved 'Brisco' and was all in when it debuted. And while it, sadly, didn't last, that ended up being my gateway to 'The X-Files,' a show I watched all nine years of its original run and its surprise 10th season a year ago.
"I remember thinking 'Brisco' looked great, and I loved every minute. But I also remember seeing commercials for 'The X-Files' and thinking what the heck, I'll give it a go. I wonder how often shows that have high expectations that flop do succeed in getting eyeballs onto shows that stick for a network?”
Every once in a while, networks will bet on the wrong horse in terms of targeting their promotion, and a show that flies under the radar winds up succeeding. Networks do not have unlimited resources, and when it comes to fall launches, they do have to pick their favorite children, to paraphrase one of my bosses.
In the good old days promoting Show A would benefit the lead-out Show B, but those were simpler times. The one situation which in some ways was similar to "Brisco"/"X-Files" was also on a Friday night. In the fall of 2000 CBS put their chips down on "The Fugitive" reboot starring Tim Daly. They also bet heavily on a Bette Midler comedy. The lead-out show to "The Fugitive" received far less attention and perhaps benefitted from the promotion for its lead-in. That show was "CSI," which along with "Survivor," helped CBS to its long, steady road to success.
As always, we're not that smart.
Tweet me at @maskedscheduler and keep the questions coming at

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, July 13, 2017

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. America’s Got Talent (NBC) – clip show 1.2/5 6.93
The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.0/4 6.13
Beat Shazam (FOX) 0.9/4 2.93
Boy Band (ABC) 0.6/3 2.47
Penn & Teller: Fool Us (The CW) – P 0.4/2 1.63
8:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) – R 0.8/3 4.52
9 p.m. Big Brother (CBS) 1.8/7 6.05
The Wall (NBC) 1.2/5 6.04
Battle of the Network Stars (ABC) 0.7/3 2.71
Love Connection (FOX) 0.6/3 2.32
Hooten & the Lady (The CW) – P 0.2/1 0.95
10 p.m. The Night Shift (NBC) 0.7/3 4.43
The Gong Show (ABC) 0.7/3 2.87
Zoo (CBS) 0.6/3 3.08


NBC got a ratings bump Thursday with help from an “America’s Got Talent” clip show. The show, featuring the best of the audition round, drew a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 (up from 0.9 for “Hollywood Game Night” last week) and helped “The Wall” (1.2) to its best showing of the summer so far.

“Big Brother” led the night in adults 18-49 with a 1.8, off slightly from 1.9 a week ago. “Beat Shazam” (0.9) and “Love Connection” (0.6) were steady for FOX, as were all of ABC’s shows and “Zoo” (0.6) on CBS.

“Penn & Teller: Fool Us” premiered to a decent 0.4 on The CW, and the debut of “Hooten & the Lady” came in at 0.2.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.1/5 1.1/5 0.8/3 0.7/3 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 5.80 4.82 2.63 2.68 1.29


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – R: 0.6/3, 1.7/4

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.6/4

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/3, 2.4/6

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.1/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R: 0.3/2, 0.9/3

“The Late Late Show with James Corden” – R: 0.2/2, 1.0/3

: 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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