Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

On Tuesday I opined that there appears to be a disconnect between what succeeded in a TV season and what the networks develop for the following season. There are several reasons for this. I could whine about how development execs often refuse to bring schedulers into the process before they need to start making decisions on the following season's crop (honestly, several did during my career, and they have gone on to powerful and successful jobs) but in my opinion, the process is broken.
When we return from the upfront, we need to get to work on presenting a budget for the new season, which includes money allocated for development. By July, the agents and creators come knocking on the doors of the development execs, and the games begin. Keep in mind no one has seen a second episode of the new shows -- most of which have just gone into production on the season around then -- and we are months away from getting feedback from the audience in terms of ratings. Even the TV critics have not yet weighed in, since we have not even had TCA yet.
So without having sufficient data to evaluate needs, nor knowing if any trends will emerge as to what the audience will embrace, the dance begins, and decisions are made less by need and more by a variety of factors including:
• Fear of losing a pilot to another network.
• Relationships with the agents and creators (possibly paying off in a new opportunity).
• Star f***ing, i.e. ordering scripts of shows for the announcement.
• Acknowledging that the pool of opportunities has shrunk due to the increased competition from streamers, premium cable and the top cable channels such as FX and AMC.
• The pressure to make series or pilot commitments without a script.
Often by September, prior to the start of the season, most if not all of the development budget has been blown. Once the feedback from viewers starts coming in, it may take months before pitches reflecting what's working start coming in, and they may be rolled over to the next season's development.
In addition, believe it or not, there is often a resistance to replicate what is working. I remember when "ER" was huge questioning why we weren't developing more medical dramas. I still feel that there are all sorts of ways to do "healing" shows. The response I got back was, "Well, we already have 'ER.'" Never quite understood that.
One more variable in all this is that there is not a lot of deep thinking about why something works. I have given the example of why "Prison Break" tapped into why "Lost" exploded, as opposed to the failed attempts at sci-fi shows that other networks premiered. I'm not saying we knew better, but in retrospect we figured out the connection between "Prison Break" and "Lost."
This season, the result of development and feedback being out of sync means we got a lot of procedurals in drama and broken families in comedy. More on that tomorrow, including my sight-unseen picks for next season series orders.
Email queries to, and the Twitter is @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) 1.5/6 9.06
Roseanne (ABC) – R 1.3/5 6.33
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 0.9/4 4.25
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.73
The Flash (The CW) 0.6/2 1.92
8:30 p.m. Roseanne (ABC) – R 1.3/5 6.08
9 p.m. Roseanne (ABC) – R 1.5/6 6.44
Rise (NBC) 0.8/3 4.39
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.97
LA to Vegas (FOX) 0.6/2 2.07
The 100 (The CW) – P 0.4/2 1.39
9:30 p.m. Roseanne (ABC) – R 1.5/6 6.32
New Girl (FOX) 0.6/2 1.60
10 p.m. Chicago Med (NBC) 0.9/4 6.06
Deception (ABC) 0.8/3 3.16
Bull (CBS) – R 0.6/2 5.12


“The 100” returned to The CW Tuesday with ratings equal to its debut last season. The show scored a 0.4 rating among adults 18-49, even with its 2017 debut and slightly ahead of last season’s 0.3 average. “The Flash” held steady with last week’s 0.6.

NBC’s “Chicago Med” took a hit, falling three tenths of a point to 0.9, which ties a series low. “The Voice” (1.5) and “Rise” (0.8) were steady.

A block of “Roseanne” reruns performed well for ABC, averaging 1.4 from 8-10 p.m. A Tuesday episode of “Deception” drew a 0.8, up from Sunday’s 0.6 and a little ahead of “For the People’s” average in the time period.

“Lethal Weapon” improved a tenth to 0.9 on FOX, and “LA to Vegas” and “New Girl” held steady at 0.6 each.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.2/5 1.1/4 0.8/3 0.7/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.25 6.50 3.04 6.27 1.65


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

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.6/4

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/3, 2.5/7

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

12:35 a.m.

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

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 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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