Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Don’t know if NBC is still considering making a run at "American Idol," but it looks like it's getting to the point where a once-a-year "The Voice" may help the franchise survive a bit longer.
We're a month away from the broadcast networks screening their pilots and announcing their schedules for fall and beyond. I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion about how this is all changing and may be an archaic system. I will probably have an opinion or two on all this, but I thought that this morning I would share with you the three pilots that got away. These were pilots that we screened, I really liked, but for different reasons never made the schedule. You see I didn't win every battle.
Two were NBC pilots and one happened while I was at FOX. I could find no connection among them with two being dramas and one a comedy. All of them just stimulated my spidey senses, and I thought they could work. I'll never know.
"The Alan Cumming Show"
This was a comedy pilot at NBC way before he became a star across the pond and killed it in "The Good Wife." Alan comes to America in search of his long-lost brother, played by Kevin James. A lot of the comedy was about Alan's exposure to the American lifestyle, there was a lot of slapstick and the chemistry between the two of them was outstanding.
There was a lot of laughter in the room when we screened the pilot and, trust me: I have sat through comedy pilots where the only ones laughing were the comedy development execs. I was leading the discussion and was surprised that the response afterwards was in sharp contrast to the mood during the screening.
What I could get out of people was that it was "too silly" and did not fit in with the "smart" comedies that many felt defined the network.
There was enough support to try it again but with a different brother, Rob Lowe. We may have made it smarter, but we took out the funny.
"Chaos Theory"
I loved "Sisters," so when this drama about three sisters living in a college town came along, I was all in. To be honest I can't tell you what the story was (I think one sister returns and there may have been a wedding at the end), but it was a solid family drama with heart and humor.
Once again the NBC chichi-fou-fou card was played, and instead of "Chaos Theory" we picked up a relationship drama called "Cold Feet," which again many felt better fit the NBC brand. Remember "Cold Feet"? Anyone? Anyone?
This is the one that really drove me nuts. Here's the three- (or two-, not sure) word pitch: Medical A-Team. It was a group of doctors who traveled the world looking for alternative cures for diseases, and the bad guys were big pharma.
It delivered on the premise, and the pilot told a story of the team racing against the clock to save a young girl's life. Danny Cannon, who until that point had never directed a pilot that didn't go to series, directed "Cure." This one didn't go.
I remember it was our highest-testing FOX drama that season (2007), and let's just say one higher up refused to put it on the air because it was "too manipulative." THAT'S WHAT TELEVISION IS ABOUT M**********R!
I'm certain everyone in the business has their version of this.
Yesterday's sked:
- "Chewing Gum" (Netflix, 2 episodes from Season 1) Heard a lot of good things about it and they just dropped Season 2. Will come back for more when I have the time.
- "24: Legacy" (FOX, L+1)
- "Fargo" (FX screener, episode 1) Looks like another epic season with a top-shelf cast.
@maskedscheduler is the Twitter and emails go to

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The numbers for Tuesday were pretty soft across the board:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) – clip show 1.6/7 7.66
The Middle (ABC) 1.2/5 5.23
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.9/3 9.03
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) 0.7/3 1.93
The Flash (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.86
8:30 p.m. American Housewife (ABC) 1.1/4 4.22
The Mick (FOX) 0.8/3 2.15
9 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) 1.1/4 3.69
Prison Break (FOX) 1.1/4 3.21
Trial & Error (NBC) 0.9/3 3.81
Bull (CBS) – R 0.7/3 7.33
iZombie (The CW) 0.3/1 0.85
9:30 p.m. Imaginary Mary (ABC) 0.8/3 3.09
Trial & Error (NBC) 0.8/3 2.95
10 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.64
Agents of SHIELD (ABC) 0.7/3 2.34
Chicago Fire (NBC) – R 0.6/2 3.01


The dog days of the TV season hit the broadcast networks pretty hard Tuesday, with several originals taking hits.

FOX’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” returned from a three-month layoff to a series-low 0.7 rating among adults 18-49, about 0.3 below its season average. “The Mick” held steady at 0.8, and episode 2 of “Prison Break” fell 0.4 from its premiere to 1.1.

“The Voice” led the night with 1.6 for a clip show on NBC. “Trial & Error” went 0.9/0.8, with the second episode up a tenth vs. last week — the night’s only week-to-week improvement.

At ABC, “Fresh Off the Boat” (1.1) and “Agents of SHIELD” (0.7) were even with last week, but “The Middle,” “American Housewife” and “Imaginary Mary” were all off a tenth vs. their preliminary ratings a week ago (“The Middle” adjusted up in the finals). “iZombie” dipped a tenth from its premiere to 0.3 coming out of a “Flash” rerun.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.0/4 1.0/4 0.9/3 0.8/3 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 4.68 2.62 3.48 7.67 0.86


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

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.8/5

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

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – R: 0.3/2, 2.0/5

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, 1.0/4

: 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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