Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

LY has a question regarding my former haunt: "Why doesn't FOX air programming at 10 p.m.?"
Without going through its history, FBC came into existence as a program supplier for the stations News Corp. was acquiring, as well as for affiliated stations. Virtually all of these stations were independents -- i.e. not affiliated with one of the three major broadcast networks -- and most of them started their news an hour earlier than the network affiliates. The earlier newscasts gave them a unique identity in the market, and they were extremely profitable.
These stations, including the FOX owned and operated stations, would resist any effort on the part of FBC to move their news to an hour or even a half hour later in the evening. When I came to FOX, the head of the FOX owned and operated (O&Os) stations had enormous power over the network.
Such a move would require an additional five to seven hours of original programming, which would mean a lot more failure on the network. One of the reasons why the final hour of prime has been so difficult in recent years is that in addition to all the streaming options, the 10/9 Central hour is used more and more for playback of shows recorded earlier in the evening.
One more issue was tat FOX does not have a network news organization that can fill several hours of primetime like the other broadcast networks can. Fox News (which didn't exist when FBC began) is a separate entity, and we worked with them when it came to breaking unto the primetime schedule for news.
Interestingly, while I was there, the difference between the networks when it came to actual scripted original series hours was closer than you would think given that FOX programmed seven fewer hours.
Early in my time at FOX, we seriously looked at taking a run at Conan O'Brien (we did it twice while I was there), and one of the options we looked at was convincing the affiliates to move their news to 11/10 p.m. so Conan could come on right out of our primetime schedule. We went over this with our affiliates and O&Os, and let's just say we were told it was a non-starter. When we went after Conan a second time, not only would our affiliates not move their news, but most refused to move the syndicated programming that followed their local news.
I think we are at a point where a network may go down to 15 hours sooner than FOX going to 22. Remember, NBC tried something like this when they unsuccessfully stripped Jay Leno at 10 p.m. for a while. This was also an option for the network when they were trying to keep both Leno and David Letterman back in the early 1990s.
I answer questions when you email me at or tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Roseanne (ABC) 3.4/15 13.47
The Voice (NBC) – clip show 1.3/5 7.71
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 0.8/3 4.06
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.44
The Flash (The CW) 0.6/2 1.80
8:30 p.m. The Middle (ABC) 1.9/8 7.48
9 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) 1.4/5 5.10
Elton John: I’m Still Standing – A Grammy Salute (CBS) (9-11 p.m.) – S 0.9/4 7.12
Rise (NBC) 0.8/3 4.53
LA to Vegas (FOX) 0.7/3 2.28
Black Lightning (The CW) 0.5/2 1.56
9:30 p.m. Splitting Up Together (ABC) 1.2/4 4.20
New Girl (FOX) – P 0.7/3 1.99
10 p.m. Chicago Med (NBC) 1.1/5 6.44
For the People (ABC) 0.6/2 2.72


“New Girl” opened its final season on FOX Tuesday night with a series low among adults 18-49 — and it wasn’t alone. “Lethal Weapon” and “The Flash” are also currently at lows.

“New Girl’s” 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic is a tenth of a point below its previous low. “Lethal Weapon” returned from four weeks off with a 0.8, also 0.1 behind its prior low mark. “LA to Vegas” held steady at 0.7.

“The Flash” posted a 0.6 on The CW; its previous low was 0.7 earlier in the season. “Black Lightning” matched last week’s 0.5.

ABC was down across the board but still led the night. “Roseanne” stayed on top with a 3.4 (down from 3.9 last week). “The Middle” (1.9) fell 0.3, “Black-ish” (1.4) came down 0.1, and “Splitting Up Together” (1.2) and “For the People” (0.6) each dropped two tenths vs. last week.

A “Voice” clip show scored a 1.3 for NBC, while “Rise” and “Chicago Med” were even with a week ago. CBS got a 0.9 from its music special “Elton John: I’m Still Standing.”

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.5/6 1.1/4 0.8/3 0.8/3 0.6/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.95 6.22 6.93 3.10 1.68


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.6/4, 1.8/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.7/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/2, 2.8/7

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.2/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4

: 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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