Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

AK inquires, "I once read (I think in one of your articles) that NBC tried to pick up 'Married With Children' if FOX had canceled it. Do you think the show would have survived on NBC as long as it did on FOX had that happened? Would the NBC censors have been too much of a hassle for such a show on the network? I know NBC had risqué comedies, but the crude nature of the 'MWC' jokes were a different beast."
I think I did bring this up when I was writing about my years scheduling Must-See TV. During pilot screening we put our bets on a piece of development called "Monty" starring Henry Winkler (who, by the way, is one of the nicest people that I was fortunate to meet in the business) to lead off our Thursday night. It did not live up to expectations, and we were trying to figure out what was the best scheduling move.
We eventually moved "Mad About You" to the leadoff spot on our Thursday schedule, but before we pulled the trigger, Don Ohlmeyer told us that there was a possibility of stealing "Married With Children" away from FOX. "MWC" was up for renewal, and Don wanted to know our thoughts about getting it. We were all in favor of this, and he went off to make it happen.
We did discuss the issue of censorship, but we came to the conclusion that the show had been on FOX for several seasons, so there would be an acceptance by the advertisers about the content of the show. I seem to remember that we also discussed making this move with our head of standards, who agreed that after so many seasons, the show was what it was and standards would not require a change to the tone. We knew it would be a non-starter if "MWC" needed to conform to NBC standards.
We could not make the deal and made the "Mad About You" move ... which resulted in a lot of grief about lowering the standards of 8 p.m. comedies given the adult nature of the show. I was singled out by some groups as being personally responsible for the cultural decline of civilization. Ironically, juvenile humor was OK but sexual innuendo was not. This probably turned out to be a better long-term move for us.
We did have some risqué comedies on our air. There was a lot of content on "Seinfeld" that would not pass network censors today. You still need to earn the right to push the boundaries, and the ultimate test is ratings. If a broadcast network would have taken the risk with "The Walking Dead," the ratings would have allowed the creators to do the show they wanted to do. "Married With Children" would have kept on trucking on NBC, but honestly, in the end "Mad About You" helped to define the direction that we were heading in.
Ask me anything about TV, and I'll make up an answer. Send questions to, and you can follow and ask me stuff on the Twitter @maskedscheduler as well.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Roseanne (ABC) 2.5/11 10.31
NCIS (CBS) 1.2/5 12.12
The Voice (NBC) 1.2/5 7.48
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 0.7/3 3.07
The Flash (The CW) 0.6/2 1.69
8:30 p.m. The Middle (ABC) 1.5/6 6.10
9 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) 1.2/5 4.57
Bull (CBS) 1.1/5 10.32
Rise (NBC) 0.7/3 3.83
LA to Vegas (FOX) – F 0.5/2 1.80
The 100 (The CW) 0.4/2 1.06
9:30 p.m. Splitting Up Together (ABC) 1.1/4 3.89
New Girl (FOX) 0.5/2 1.46
10 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) 0.9/4 8.11
Chicago Med (NBC) 0.9/4 5.75
For the People (ABC) 0.6/3 2.23


Tuesday’s ratings were not pretty for the broadcast networks, as a number of shows fell in the ratings, some by sizable margins.

“The Voice” recorded an all-time low among adults 18-49 for a regular episode with a 1.2 rating. “Roseanne,” although it still led the night, fell nine tenths of a point from its last original episode to 2.5. “The Middle” (1.5) was off half a point, and “Lethal Weapon” (0.7) came down two tenths.

“Rise” (0.7), the season finale of “LA to Vegas” (0.5) and “New Girl” (0.5) each dropped a tenth vs. last week’s fast nationals (“LA to Vegas” adjusted up in the finals).

Two shows, “Splitting Up Together” (1.1) and “NCIS: New Orleans” (0.9), rose a tenth from their last originals. “NCIS,” “Bull,” “The Flash” and “The 100” were all steady, and “Chicago Med” was even with last week’s preliminary 0.9; it adjusted up in the finals.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 1.1/4 0.9/4 0.6/2 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 4.89 10.18 5.69 2.32 1.37


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.6/7

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 1.8/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.7/5

12:35 a.m.

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

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

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

: 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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