Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

More Masked Mail today. CE has a question that I'm asked a lot:
"Hi, this is my first time to ask a question. I am a sci-fi/action type viewer. The shows I watch are generally at the bottom of the ratings ('Taken,' 'Gotham,' 'The 100,' etc.). Why do shows like these usually not get the ratings they need, and why do the networks still make these types of shows (I'm glad they do!)?"
As a scheduler I was never a fan of putting sci-fi on the schedule, even when I personally liked a show (as was the case with "Fringe"). There are several reasons why this genre (fantasy excluded) has a hard time generating numbers. First, I think the majority of viewers run from this genre and will not give it a sampling. Unlike procedurals, sci-fi generally requires a commitment to view every week, and if you are not there from the beginning there is a concern that it will be hard to follow.
Sci-fi fans are the most demanding of all viewers. They expect the producers to lay out the rules of the show and to abide by them. When they don't, the fans will quickly walk away from the show.
Finally, a lot of these shows start with the unexplained and move toward revealing what is behind the events. That often leads to disappointment and eye rolling.
The networks continue to try these franchises, but if you notice, far less this season than others. FOX has "The Passage" for midseason, and having read the books, I wonder how they will pull this one off. NBC's fall series "Manifest" also has a sci-fi tinge.
The CW relies on genre TV, but they are less tethered to a traditional ratings mode of evaluating shows -- although the traditional networks are rapidly coming down to their deliveries.
I think one reason these shows continue to pop up on schedules is that the marketing execs love them because they are generally more promotable than more conventional shows.
More in the sci-fi/ fantasy genre from KT:
"'Gotham' has been one of my favorite series of the last few years, and I know it was one of the last shows that came along during your time at FOX. It had a solid premiere but lost momentum as the first season progressed and never really recovered. I was just wondering your thoughts as to why it didn't necessarily live up to its potential."
I recently stopped watching "Gotham." I enjoyed it, but it got to the point where I felt like they were making it up as they were going along and were just throwing the kitchen sink into every episode. I think the biggest obstacle to "Gotham" going to the next level was there from the beginning. I remember sitting in the screening room when our head of drama development told us that we would not see Bruce Wayne as Batman until the final shot of the series. I knew at that moment the show would be serviceable at best.
That's my take on it.
I'm at and @maskedscheduler on Twitter. Ask away.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Note: The CW’s ratings may be subject to greater adjustments than usual due to a baseball pre-emption in New York City.

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. America’s Got Talent (NBC) (8-10 p.m.) – P 2.4/11 12.06
Beat Shazam (FOX) – P 0.8/4 2.43
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.7/3 6.16
The Middle (ABC) – R 0.6/3 3.33
The Flash (The CW) – R 0.3/1 1.15
8:30 p.m. The Middle (ABC) – R 0.5/3 2.57
9 p.m. Love Connection (FOX) – P 0.6/3 1.78
Bull (CBS) – R 0.6/3 5.12
Black-ish (ABC) – R 0.5/2 2.10
The 100 (The CW) – R 0.3/1 1.02
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) – R 0.5/2 1.91
10 p.m. World of Dance (NBC) – P 1.8/7 7.17
48 Hours: NCIS (CBS) 0.5/2 4.34
Splitting Up Together (ABC) – R 0.4/2 1.75
10:30 p.m. Splitting Up Together (ABC) – R 0.4/2 1.74


The season premiere of “America’s Got Talent” brought in strong ratings Tuesday — just not quite as strong as last year’s debut.

The NBC show scored a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, off from 2.7 for its 2017 premiere. It was still far and away Tuesday’s No. 1 show in all measures. “World of Dance” opened to a 1.8, down from 2.4 for its series premiere last year but in line with its Season 1 average.

FOX debuted new seasons of “Beat Shazam” (0.8) and “Love Connection” (0.6), both of which came in 0.1 below their averages last summer (when they aired on Thursday, away from “AGT”). CBS’ “48 Hours: NCIS” was even with last week’s 0.5.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 2.2/10 0.7/3 0.6/3 0.5/2 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 10.43 2.10 5.21 2.23 1.09


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

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.9/5

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – R: 0.5/3, 1.9/5

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – R: 0.3/2, 2.0/5

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden” – R: 0.2/2, 1.0/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R: 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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