Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

I'm telling you right upfront: This is going to be a morbid and dark post.
Tuesday at the CBS portion of the Television Critics Association press tour, CBS confirmed that next season on "Kevin Can Wait," Erinn Hayes (Kevin James' wife on the show) is dead and Leah Remini (KJ’s wife from "The King of Queens") will be reuniting with James. If I've learned anything from 35 years in the TV game, it's that viewers enjoy the death of characters on their favorite shows, and that it can often result in a bump in the ratings. I called it the "Kill a star, get a rating" syndrome.
Of course, the viewer has to anticipate it. If it happens with enough lead time and in a creative way, it can be ratings gold. Probably the greatest death of a character was the "LA Law" episode where the evil Rosalind Shays fell down an elevator shaft to her demise. It was a shocker, but since it was meant to be a total surprise, NBC never reaped the ratings benefit from that event. This was the days before DVRs, streaming and social media, so there were limited opportunities to watch and rewatch the scene and maybe throw an ad in front of the clip.
There have been several occasions when the real passing of an actor will provide an occasion to incorporate that into the storyline and get a one-time pop for the series. It's usually done in a tasteful way.
Two of the biggest shows on television today "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones," factor death into the very essence of the series and make it impossible to miss an episode or go on social media immediately after the show.
I had an occasion back in the NBC days to actually put a hit out on a character in a series. A Martinez played Agent Nick "Coop" Cooper, sort of the boyfriend to "Profiler" lead Dr. Samantha Waters (Ally Walker, wife of FX leader and Peak TV proselytizer John Landgraf). The ratings for "Profiler" were starting to sag, and I suggested that we pull out the oft-used trick of doing an episode where we show several recurring characters with the tag, "This week on 'Profiler,' one of these people will die" or some variation of that. The decision was made to off Agent Cooper. I'm pretty certain we got a pop in the ratings.
I had an opportunity to meet A Martinez on several occasions, including when he was on the daytime soap "Santa Barbara," which the Masked Wife was addicted to after the birth of the Masked Daughter. He was a really nice guy.
A year or so after I put out the hit on him, both our daughters were performing in a concert and he remembered me. He came over to say hello, and I told him that I was responsible for his demise on "Profiler." He was totally cool with it and had gone on to other roles.
Just thought I would point out that offing characters is one of the fun things about working in the business. Drop the guns, take the cannoli gang.
Tweet me @maskedscheduler. The Masked Mailbox is at

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. America’s Got Talent (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) 2.7/12 13.12
The Middle (ABC) – R 0.7/3 2.89
Lethal Weapon (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.72
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.4/2 5.66
The Flash (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.77
8:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) – R 0.6/3 2.14
9 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) -R 0.6/3 2.04
Bull (CBS) – R 0.5/2 5.16
The Mick (FOX) – R 0.4/2 1.26
Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.61
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) -R 0.5/2 2.04
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) – R 0.3/1 1.00
10 p.m. World of Dance (NBC) 1.8/7 7.36
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – R 0.5/2 5.39
Somewhere Between (ABC) 0.4/2 1.72


“America’s Got Talent” improved its ratings for the second straight week on Tuesday. The show tied its season high in adults 18-49 with a 2.7 rating and had its biggest total audience of the summer at 13.12 million viewers.

“World of Dance” (1.8) is up a tenth of a point vs. last week’s fast nationals; it adjusted down to 1.6 in the finals. On ABC, “Somewhere Between” is currently even with last week’s 0.4. It also adjusted down in the finals.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 2.4/10 0.5/2 0.5/2 0.4/2 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 11.20 5.40 2.09 1.42 0.69


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.7/4, 1.9/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.6/3, 3.0/8

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/2, 1.4/4

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.1/4

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

“Nightline”: 0.2/2, 1.0/3

: 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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