Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

It's a Masked Mail Wednesday. LY is curious:
"How come the broadcasts networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and The CW) do not order more than 24 episodes for their comedies? I am asking because the other day, I was watching the 'That 70s Show' Season 4 finale, and I looked and saw that it was episode 27 for the season."
Hey man, you're lucky to get 22 episodes out of most shows. More and more comedies will give you 13 episodes for the entire season.
More and more comedies are single-camera rather than multi-cam, and it's a lot easier to crank out multi-cam episodes, which are more like little plays rather than small movies. Also, the old syndication models are changing, so there is no longer the need to get to 100 episodes ASAP.
Talent commitments also may limit the number of episodes for a series.
Personally, I don't get this acceptance of shorter-order series, but I'm old school.
MO'K asked me to ponder this:
"I'm a big fan of 'New Girl,' as are the other six people that watch it, but I'm not oblivious to its ratings. How in the world did this show manage a seventh, albeit abridged, season?"
"New Girl" was one of the highest-testing FOX comedies ever. What was especially impressive about the pilot was that it was one of the few "four-quadrant" comedies that we developed. By that I mean that it appealed to all groups, old (35-49) and young (18-34), female and male. That was a rarity for FOX, which generally made comedy pilots limited to one quadrant.
"New Girl" is also a comedy owned by 20th Century Fox and Peter Chernin's (the former president and COO of FOX's parent company) production company, so the corporation benefits from the negatives.
The series started out with solid ratings, but about two-thirds of the way through the first season you could see the erosion beginning. And to be honest, the show started to get somewhat irritating. However, given the ownership and the fact that it was rare for FBC to develop a successful live-action comedy, the network has stuck with it. I think these final episodes are a way for the show to bring closure to the story, and they have earned that.
Got a question? I can BS my way through and answer, so email me at, or on the Twitter it’s @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Ellen’s Game of Games (NBC) 2.2/8 8.76
The Middle (ABC) 1.4/5 6.11
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 1.2/4 4.97
NCIS (CBS) – R 1.0/4 9.72
The Flash (The CW) 0.8/3 2.47
8:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) 1.0/4 3.87
9 p.m. This Is Us (NBC) 2.5/9 9.77
Black-ish (ABC) 1.0/4 3.76
LA to Vegas (FOX) 0.9/3 2.77
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) – R 0.9/3 8.68
Black Lightning (The CW) – P 0.8/3 2.31
9:30 p.m. The Mick (FOX) 0.8/3 2.30
Modern Family (ABC) – R 0.8/3 2.87
10 p.m. Chicago Med (NBC) 1.5/6 7.87
Bull (CBS) – R 0.7/3 5.82
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC) 0.6/2 2.56


“Black Lightning” premiered to very solid ratings for The CW Tuesday night.

The show scored a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49, retaining all of its lead-in from “The Flash.” Aside from the “Legends of Tomorrow” crossover episode in late November, it was the best rating for The CW in the time period this season, and the highest-rated series debut on The CW since “Legends” in January 2016.

NBC led the night despite a slightly down outing for “This Is Us,” whose 2.5 was off 0.2 from last week. “Ellen’s Game of Games” (2.2) and “Chicago Med” (1.5) each rose a tenth of a point.

All of FOX’s shows were up, with “Lethal Weapon” tying its season high at 1.2 and “LA to Vegas” (0.9) and “The Mick” (0.8) each improving a tenth of a point vs. last week. “The Middle” was up a tenth for ABC at 1.4, while “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Black-ish” and “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” all held steady. CBS aired reruns.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 2.0/8 1.0/4 0.9/4 0.9/4 0.8/3
Total Viewers (millions) 8.80 3.75 8.07 3.62 2.39


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.7/4, 2.1/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.6/3, 1.9/5

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

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.5/4, 1.4/5

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.3/4

: 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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