Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

It’s a Masked Mailbox morning. This from the ever-inquisitive BS who also says he has a follow-up:
"There are several shows that run a minute or two later so the networks can air more ads during them. The show after or sometimes before gets a minute less as a result. Are there too many overruns now?"
Nah. This is a tried and true practice which does not ask a show to shorten its running time. Networks simply move a commercial minute from one show to another in order to maximize total revenue. Not doing this can leave tens of millions of dollars on the table.
Since networks determine which show get the added commercial minute after the upfront, you sometimes see a situation where a show like "The Good Doctor" is a minute shorter to add time to "Dancing With the Stars." "TGD" will command a higher CPM in the scatter market, so it's possible ABC may add a minute or two to that show later in the season.
I don't think the viewer feels the effect of this since show times are correct in terms of DVR listings. One of the consequences of this practice is that some shows' ratings are inflated a bit in the fast nationals. It's all corrected in the afternoon. It's why Rick is adjusting shows up and down.
A second question this morning which can be reduced to: "Is too much of a deal these days made about critical acclaim?"
I don't think so. It's one of many factors that goes into decision-making these days, but it is far from the determining factor. Most critics will generally gravitate to the more obscure or niche shows because the role of the critic is not to evaluate the commercial potential of a series, but rather its artistic or creative potential. Critics often become show advocates hoping that their support will translate into higher viewership, or at least help to keep a show on the air.
From the perspective of the television executive, you want to feel good about your product. It's cynical to think that all execs think about is the ratings. I have talked about my support over the years for "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "I'll Fly Away," so trust me, it's not just the ratings. There needs to be a balance.
From the viewer's perspective, the research I have seen over the years as to what motivates someone to watch a show based on promos generally put critic quotes way down on the list. That doesn't stop marketers from putting quotes in the promo.
More Masked Mail next week. If you have a question email me at, and the Twitter is @maskedscheduler.
Enjoy the weekend.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017

Note: CBS affiliates in New York City and Buffalo pre-empted their regular schedules for “Thursday Night Football.” Ratings for the network may be subject to greater adjustments than usual.

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory 2.7/11 14.13
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 1.8/7 7.34
Superstore (NBC) 1.0/4 3.51
Gotham (FOX) 0.9/3 2.72
Supernatural (The CW) 0.6/2 1.82
8:30 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) 2.4/9 13.29
The Good Place (NBC) 1.0/4 3.04
9 p.m. Mom (CBS) – P 1.8/7 9.61
Will & Grace (NBC) 1.5/6 5.60
Scandal (ABC) 1.1/4 4.93
The Orville (FOX) 1.0/4 3.76
Arrow (The CW) 0.5/2 1.35
9:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) – P 1.5/6 7.70
Great News (NBC) 0.7/3 2.73
10 p.m. SWAT (CBS) – P 1.3/5 7.47
Chicago Fire (NBC) 1.0/4 5.78
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) 0.9/3 3.62


“Young Sheldon” made its Thursday debut for CBS to solid ratings — but it was also down a sizable amount from its series premiere in late September.

“The Big Bang Theory” spinoff drew a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 in its regular home, which may adjust down a bit as a couple of CBS affiliates aired “Thursday Night Football.” That’s currently down about 37 percent from the 3.8 for its premiere.

It did, however, do a very good job of retaining the “Big Bang” lead-in, which was 2.7 in the 18-49 demographic, and was the night’s No. 2 show by a pretty healthy margin.

CBS’ other new show, “SWAT,” is currently leading the 10 o’clock hour at 1.3, pending updates, which would put it ahead of the network’s average in the hour last season. “Mom” (1.8) and “Life in Pieces” (1.5) are currently ahead of last season’s premieres (1.5 and 1.4) and will likely end up about even in the finals.

The CBS comedy block seems to have taken some viewers from NBC’s comedies, which were all down week to week. “Superstore” dipped 0.2 to 1.0, “The Good Place” (1.0) came down a tenth of a point, and “Will & Grace” (1.5) and “Great News” (0.7) each fell three tenths. “Chicago Fire” is off 0.2 at 1.0.

“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” were all even with last week for ABC. “Gotham” was also steady for FOX, while “The Orville” slipped 0.2 to 1.0. At The CW, “Supernatural” (0.6) and “Arrow” (0.5) were on par with last week.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.9/7 1.3/5 1.0/4 0.9/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 9.95 5.30 4.40 3.24 1.59


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

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.7/4, 2.0/5

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

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.8/8

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.2/4

“Nightline”: 0.4/3, 1.2/4

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

: 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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