Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Since it has come out that FOX appears likely to obtain "WWE Smackdown," with "Raw" remaining on USA, I have been getting a lot of questions.
First, I assume the show will remain live in that, given social media, anything that would happen on a tape-delayed show in front of 10,000-plus fans would be out there immediately. Given what FOX is allegedly paying, I have to believe it will be live.
Second, I think this is a smart move by FOX and an acknowledgement that live television will generate the highest ratings. They now have three nights (Thursday-Saturday) of live programming.
Here are two representative questions about the potential deal. First, JS asks:
"With FOX reportedly getting 'WWE Smackdown' for fall 2019, and assuming the deal with Disney has gone through by then, do you see them ordering any pilots into production for the 2019 TV season? The way I see it, if most of the fall shows this year are still on then, they don't have much room for anything new and may not want to invest in scripted much anymore anyway. Interested in your thoughts."
Well, assuming this deal happens, it will give FOX three nights of sports and sports entertainment. That means, in all likelihood, they will go into the 2019-20 season with four nights of entertainment programming -- five in midseason when the NFL ends. I'm fairly certain FOX will continue to develop scripted shows, but they can afford to be more targeted than they currently are. FOX can also be a bit more farsighted in their strategy.
The big issue once the deal is finalized will be who will be the supplier of their shows given that they will be losing a sibling studio. What sorts of financial arrangements will they make since it is virtually impossible to monetize a show exclusively through ad sales, and especially when FOX is making noise about reducing ad load.
Interesting times ahead.
LS brings up an interesting point:
"With 'TNF' and now 'Smackdown,' New FOX is going in hard with sports. Great. So why are the selling off the regional Fox Sports nets? Wouldn't they want that exposure if they are growing/evolving the Fox Sports brand?"
That is a really good question to which I don't have an answer. I can speculate that this might have been a way to sweeten the Disney deal in that ESPN does not have a regional sports network, but that is just my speculation. There is a cost to having the RSN in that you need to program it with both original product and some lesser sports rights, and unloading the network can help reduce the cost of New FOX.
Happy to answer any and all questions. You can email me at and the Twitter is @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Roseanne (ABC) – F 2.4/12 10.33
NCIS (CBS) – F 1.2/5 11.80
The Voice (NBC) – R 1.1/5 6.08
The Flash (The CW) – F 0.8/4 2.12
Movie: Hancock (FOX) (8-10 p.m.) 0.5/2 1.55
8:30 p.m. The Middle (ABC) (8:30-9:30 p.m.) – F 1.7/7 7.08
9 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (9-11 p.m.) – F 1.5/6 8.71
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.69
The 100 (The CW) 0.3/1 0.96
9:30 p.m. Splitting Up Together (ABC) – F 1.0/4 4.06
10 p.m. 48 Hours: NCIS (CBS) – P 0.5/2 4.19
For the People (ABC) – F 0.5/2 2.45


“The Middle” ended its nine-year run on ABC Tuesday with solid ratings. The hour-long finale drew a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49, its third-best mark of the season.

“Roseanne’s” finale led the night in adults 18-49 with a 2.4, tying a season low. “Splitting Up Together” (1.0) and “For the People” (0.5) were even with last week.

“The Voice” had its lowest-rated finale ever with a 1.5 on NBC. “The Flash” finale scored a 0.8 for The CW, its best mark since early February (but town from 1.1 for last season’s closer). “The 100” was even with last week’s 0.3.

“NCIS” finished its season at 1.2, even with last week’s fast nationals (it adjusted up in the finals) but down from 1.5 last season.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 1.3/5 0.8/3 0.5/2 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 7.83 5.57 7.56 1.54 1.55


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 2.0/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.5/4

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.3/2, 2.4/6

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.2/5

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 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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