Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Both "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Voice" were below a 2 rating in 18-49s for their finales. "The Voice" is following a similar pattern to "American Idol" in skewing older every season. Twice a year for both shows isn't helping at this point. Still, reality competition is a relatively strong genre, and I expect more new attempts in the next year or so.
So, "Twin Peaks" both bombed and was a huge success for Showtime. I guess it's in the eye of the beholder. I vote bombed. More tomorrow.
I haven’t opened the Masked Mailbox in a while so let's see what we have. This is from JS: "Love your posts on tvbythenumbers. [Recently] you talked about testing pilots. My question is in this day of depressed network ratings, why wouldn't any of them try something like what Amazon does? Show a bunch of pilots let's say the week after the season and have viewers vote on the ones they like best. Pick those up for the fall. I seem to recall CBS showing rejected pilots in the summer during the '80s, and I recall maybe one or two actually getting picked up. Would this be feasible and why or why not?"
There are a couple of issues which make it unlikely that a broadcast or basic cable channel would go down that path. First, program testing, in order to have reliable results, needs to follow some basic rules about sampling and also needs to ensure that a range of voices are being incorporated into the results. Putting pilots online or on air and having the viewers vote on them pretty much ensures that the findings will be skewed in ways that will not result in more favorable ratings if the show goes to series.
Second, the purpose of testing is to provide a set of analytics to help executives not only decide whether or not to pick up a series, but also how to make it better moving forward. I don't believe Amazon does anything more than count votes.
Finally, we have no idea how many people actually vote and whether Amazon's decisions are actually based on those votes.
I and others have advocated possibly airing the rejected pilots (which was common in the past) and seeing if any of them attracted an audience or generated some buzz (a word I despise) which would merit a second look.
This is from JM: "You have alluded many times to different tweaks you would have made to prolong the life of "Idol" and curb some of the erosion. What are some of those things that you think would have worked better?"
I was interviewed about this yesterday for a trade publication. I made the point that the "American Idol" FOX walked away from was not the "American Idol" that was known as the "Death Star." Sadly, as the ratings inevitably dipped, the natural instincts of entertainment execs is to "fix" it. Generally, in this business fixing something accelerates the erosion.
I hope that the ABC execs take the time to really study the early years of "Idol" and rather than reinventing or putting their stamp on the show, they go back to why it worked in the first place.
True story: After FOX bought the show, based in part on the recommendation of Elizabeth Murdoch, several of us met with Rupert to go over programming. When the discussion came around to "Idol," one exec talked about how we were going to change the show from the British version. Rupert slammed his fist on the table and, in so many words, said "Why do you always feel you need to fix something that is working? Just do the show." That’s the best advice I could give ABC.
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Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Flash (The CW) – F 1.1/4 2.97
Downward Dog (ABC) 1.0/4 5.72
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.9/4 8.31
Great News (NBC) 0.7/3 3.13
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) 0.7/3 1.82
8:30 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (8:30-11 p.m.) – F 1.3/5 8.84
Great News (NBC) – F 0.8/3 3.07
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) – F 0.6/2 1.55
9 p.m. The Voice (NBC) (9-11 p.m.) – F 1.9/7 9.07
Bull (CBS) – F 1.1/4 8.35
Prison Break (FOX) 0.7/3 1.92
iZombie (The CW) 0.4/1 1.05
10 p.m. 48 Hours: NCIS (CBS) 0.6/2 4.68


“The Voice” and “Dancing With the Stars” each had their lowest-rated finales ever among adults 18-49 on Tuesday. “The Voice” earned a 1.9 rating in the demographic, three tenths of a point below the previous low of 2.2 set last May. (The fall 2016 cycle closed with a 2.5).

“DWTS,” meanwhile, came in with a 1.3, also three tenths below the previous low from last spring. It was off half a point from Monday’s episode.

Elsewhere, the season finale of “The Flash” (1.1) rose two tenths vs. last week but was off 0.2 from last season’s finale. “iZombie” is currently up a tenth vs. a week at 0.4, pending updates.

“Bull” closed its season on CBS with a 1.1, matching its season low. The finale of “Great News” (0.8/0.7) was up over last week’s 0.7/0.6, while “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (0.7/0.6) held steady. ABC’s “Downward Dog” (1.0) held up pretty well, falling just a tenth from its premiere — probably in part thanks to its proximity to the “DWTS” finale.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.5/6 1.3/5 0.9/4 0.7/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 7.08 8.32 7.11 2.01 1.80


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.8/4, 2.4/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.6/3, 2.0/5

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

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.4/3, 1.3/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.3/5

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/3, 1.2/5

: 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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