Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Some Masked Mail to end the week.
RT wants to know: "I have a question about the 'dead slots' Friday and Saturday on broadcast networks? In the '70s/'80s/'90s, for example, Saturday was a normal day in network TV, and maybe Friday too, but why are Fridays and Saturdays today 'death days'? 'Profiler,' 'Emergency' and a lot of other shows ran many seasons on Saturday night."
Friday and Saturday nights have the lowest television usage, but for decades that did not stop the networks from aggressively programming those nights, and some of the best nights of television were found there. I’m sure you all have your favorite Friday and Saturday night blocks, whether it was TGIF, "TJ Hooker"/"The Love Boat"/"Fantasy Island" or the CBS Saturday comedies, including "Mary Tyler Moore," "The Bob Newhart Show" and "The Carol Burnett Show." "Miami Vice" and "Dallas" were Friday night staples.
I think that what happened was that competitors to the networks started to be more aggressive on the lower HUT nights, especially HBO, which would schedule their premiere theatricals on the night and take big chunks out of the networks. In addition, as I have said often here, it just became unprofitable to spend excessive license fees on this night when Monday-Thursday were somewhat more attractive to advertisers.
Another factor was sports. As sports rights fees exploded, the networks needed to find space on their schedules to air sports to amortize the cost of these packages. Also, sports is much less prone to delayed viewing.
Friday still has a good amount of original programming, but Saturday is pretty much sports and repeats. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
ML has a good question: "The 'Agents of SHIELD' fandom was happy to see the series renewed for a sixth season. However, we're perplexed in it being scheduled for summer 2019, which seems to be both an obvious scheduling backwater, as well as a possible de facto cancellation, as May 2019 upfronts will preclude any Season 6 ratings data. What say you, oh wise one?"
Well, Disney owns the show so they probably felt that an additional 13 episodes would still be profitable for them, but I can't deny that holding the show until summer 2019 is pretty much an admission that this may be its final run. On the other hand, at this point maybe the ratings don't really matter all that much. ABC may see "AOS" as a recurring summer series, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
I think as networks do shorter orders and the time between seasons expands, they run the risk of seeing ratings for series decline even more rapidly than has been the case in recent years.
Email me at with any questions and the Twitter is @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, June 28, 2018

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.0/5 5.91
The Four: Battle for Stardom (FOX) (8-10 p.m.) 0.8/4 2.57
Little Big Shots (NBC) 0.7/4 6.03
The Gong Show (ABC) 0.5/3 3.15
Supernatural (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.76
8:30 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – R 1.1/5 6.25
9 p.m. Big Brother (CBS) 1.3/6 5.09
Match Game (ABC) 0.7/3 3.64
Marlon (NBC) 0.6/3 2.96
Black Lightning (The CW) – R 0.1/1 0.57
9:30 p.m. Marlon (NBC) 0.6/3 2.45
10 p.m. SWAT (CBS) – R 0.6/3 3.41
Take Two (ABC) 0.5/2 3.08
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) – R 0.5/2 2.53


“The Four: Battle for Stardom” improved week to week on FOX, and the originals on ABC and NBC held steady week to week. “Big Brother,” however, fell some from its premiere and its Thursday debut a year ago.

“The Four” scored a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49, up 0.1 from last week. “Big Brother” led the night with a 1.3 but was off from Wednesday’s 1.5 and from the 1.6 for its Thursday premiere in 2017.

At ABC, “The Gong Show” (0.5), “Match Game” (0.7) and “Take Two” (0.5) all matched last week’s premieres. “Little Big Shots” (0.7) and “Marlon” (0.6 for both episodes) also held steady on NBC.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.0/4 0.8/4 0.6/3 0.6/3 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 4.86 2.57 3.75 3.29 0.67


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.6/7

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.4/3, 1.7/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” – R: 0.4/3, 1.4/4

12:35 a.m.

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

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.0/3

“The Late Late Show with James Corden” – R: 0.2/2, 1.2/4


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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