Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

More Masked Mail today. This question came from Natalie:
"You were talking about your Twelve Commandments for pilot pick-up and your other stories about pilot season. That got me wondering about how much you were in the loop as the shows evolved. I'd love for you to share any stories you have of network consternation over such dramatic shifts, or the give-and-take of the dreaded 'notes from the network' midway through a show's run. Were you and the execs around you nudging such changes, or more just reacting to ideas from the creators?"
The point person between the network and the showrunners is the current executive. You have to trust that the current exec passes along any input from the network to the show. If there is something really troubling, it might go up the food chain and the President of Entertainment may lob in a call.
Other executives can air out their concerns during Current meetings. In my time at the networks they were weekly events, but after a certain regime change at FOX, they sort of disappeared and were closed to several interest groups within the company.
Current meetings were very valuable during the Must-See TV days at NBC and were well attended. The current exec for each show would go over the next few episodes, and there would be input from marketing, scheduling and press and publicity, among others. Sometimes we would change the order of the episodes, and it gave us an opportunity to coordinate episodes among shows on the same night. We were doing well, so they were fun. When things aren't going well, there is a tendency to circle the wagons and get more exclusionary.
I would sometimes disagree with the direction of a show, but I never called the showrunners directly to voice concern. I would go to the current executive and give them my input. If I did call showrunners, it was generally to compliment, or if I had a close relationship, pitch an idea.
During my career I pitched episodes of "LA Law," "Law & Order," "Providence" and "Family Guy" that became episodes. I had a special relationship with Hart Hanson, the showrunner of "Bones," and had no problem throwing out ideas. I even appeared in two episodes.
I got several questions like this over the past few days:
"What do you make of FOX getting 'Thursday Night Football'? And paying more than $100 million more than CBS/NBC did last season? They'll probably win Thursdays, but the matchups are normally 3rd or 4th rate."
I think, for FBC, making a major move like this was about making a statement that the network will be open for business after the deal with Disney is complete and 21CF is left with the network, the owned stations and FOX Sports. Making a five-year commitment drives the point home.
This deal, combined with the Sunday package, is also important for retransmission agreements and the income derived from that and reassures the FOX affiliates that the network will continue to compete for the big events. In a world of delayed viewing, live sports is highly valued. I have to believe that the NFL will try to include some quality games in the package.
Knowing that their Thursday in the fourth quarter is filled, the network can readjust their development budget and make a few less pilots and order one or two fewer series to offset some of the cost.
I think FOX needed to do this, and it's not about this deal being profitable in and of itself -- although maybe they feel it will be.
Have a question? You can reach me at or on Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Ellen’s Game of Games (NBC) – F 1.9/7 7.67
NCIS (CBS) 1.4/5 13.60
The Middle (ABC) 1.2/5 5.62
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 1.1/4 4.38
The Flash (The CW) 0.8/3 2.26
8:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) 0.9/3 3.79
9 p.m. This Is Us (NBC) 2.7/9 10.07
Bull (CBS) 1.1/4 10.68
Black-ish (ABC) 1.0/4 3.70
LA to Vegas (FOX) 0.8/3 2.51
Black Lightning (The CW) 0.6/2 1.88
9:30 p.m. Modern Family (ABC) – R 0.7/3 2.63
The Mick (FOX) 0.7/3 2.02
10 p.m. Chicago Med (NBC) 1.5/6 7.37
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) 0.9/3 8.21
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC) 0.5/2 2.29


The huge ratings for “This Is Us” after the Super Bowl on Sunday didn’t carry over to its regular airing Tuesday. The show returned to its prior season average, which still made it the top show of the night in adults 18-49.

“This Is Us” earned a 2.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic, on par with its pre-Super Bowl average. It helped lead NBC to a win for the night along with “Chicago Med” (1.5, tying its season high) and the finale of “Ellen’s Game of Games” (1.9, up 0.1 vs. last week).

Most other shows were down a little bit compared to their last outings. CBS’ “NCIS” (1.4), “Bull” (1.1) and “NCIS: New Orleans” (0.9) all slipped a tenth of a point, as did “Lethal Weapon” (1.1) on FOX, “The Flash” (0.8) on The CW, and “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” (0.5) on ABC. “The Middle” (1.2) and “Black Lightning” (0.6) each dipped by two tenths.

“Fresh Off the Boat,” “Black-ish,” “LA to Vegas” and “The Mick” all held steady with their last episodes.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 2.0/8 1.1/4 0.9/3 0.8/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 8.37 10.83 3.32 3.39 2.07


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.7/4, 2.3/6

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/3, 3.0/8

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.6/4

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.5/4, 1.5/5

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/2, 1.4/5

“Nightline”: 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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