Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Those cards and letters keep coming in.
I received a lengthy email from WQ. Now that ABC has announced "American Idol" as its Sunday 8-10 p.m. show in March, he was wondering what I felt would be the 10 o'clock series to take whatever advantage there is of the "Idol" lead-in. His choice is "Deception," which is a procedural, and I tend to agree with him.
It seems there are three choices, assuming ABC will be putting a drama behind "Idol." "The Crossing" is yet another sci-fi series with a bizarre premise that will probably not hold up for an entire season. "For the People" is a legal drama from Shonda Rhimes, and I have to assume that is targeted for Thursday night.
"Deception" is a classic "he's a/she's a" episodic procedural with an underlying mythology. In this one he's a world-renowned magician in trouble with the law and she's an FBI agent. One has a super power and the other is in law enforcement. This worked for us at FOX as we successfully put both "House" and "Bones" behind "Idol."
Truth be told, the best lead-out to "Idol" would be another reality show, but I don't know if ABC has anything in their arsenal other than some game shows.
Remember "super-sizing"? PMR does and asks, "Years after you left NBC, it is attributed (by Bill Carter and others) that Jeff Zucker came up with the idea of 'super-sizing' episodes of 'Friends' due to difficulty in getting his 8.30 shows to work. But as opposed to a 60-minute episode, it would be a bloated 45-minute piece at times, with promos filling out the hour.
"My question is, would it be harder to sell these 'special length' episodes in syndication?
And as a sidelight question, would a network-owned program give any thought about syndication during the show's run enough to affect its outcome? I recall being a pissed off 'Who's the Boss?' fan during their final season on ABC when the promised Tony/Angela wedding never happened due to fears of losing syndication sales.”
I left NBC in March 2000, and the super-sizing ploy debuted that fall. It was in response to CBS putting "Survivor" in the 8 p.m. Thursday timeslot head-to-head with "Friends" and a Steven Weber comedy called "Cursed" (which later was renamed "The Weber Show"). "Survivor" had premiered that summer, and Jeff Zucker knew NBC would get shredded as soon as "Friends" ended and this marginal comedy started at 8:30. This was a classic cynical programming move by Zucker, who has always had little respect for the audience.
The additional time was mostly promos and placing more ads in "Friends" and fewer in "Cursed." I honestly do not remember if there was significant additional program time in "Friends" (which came from Warner Bros.). If there was, I'm certain WB asked for a higher license fee and they re-edited the episodes for syndication. I think it was mostly filler though.
When I was at FOX we tried something called "Remote Free TV," which meant fewer commercials and more program time. We did it with "Fringe," another WB show. We paid a higher license fee and they delivered a longer episode, plus one cut to time for when we repeated it. These are gimmicks which rarely achieve the intended result.
Regarding your second question. I really don’t think networks think about the impact of shows in syndication when making creative decisions about the new network episodes. The show has already been sold.
Thanx for the questions. If you have one, my email is On Twitter I can be followed and questioned @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Voice (NBC) 2.0/7 9.89
NCIS (CBS) 1.5/6 12.94
The Middle (ABC) 1.3/5 5.64
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 1.0/4 3.89
The Flash (The CW) 0.9/3 2.40
8:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) 1.0/4 3.84
9 p.m. This Is Us (NBC) 2.6/9 9.93
Bull (CBS) 1.2/4 10.39
Black-ish (ABC) 1.1/4 3.90
The Mick (FOX) 0.7/3 2.11
Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) 0.5/2 1.55
9:30 p.m. The Mayor (ABC) 0.7/3 2.51
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX) 0.6/2 1.65
10 p.m. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) 1.1/4 9.71
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NBC) – F 1.0/4 4.24
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC) 0.6/2 2.60


All three of NBC’s Tuesday shows improved a little on their ratings from a week ago, giving the network a win among adults 18-49 for the night.

“This Is Us” led primetime with a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, up a tenth of a point from last week. “The Voice” (2.0) and the finale of “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” (1.0) each rose a tenth as well.

“NCIS: New Orleans” rose a tenth to 1.1 on CBS, and “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” came down a tenth to 0.6 for ABC. Every other show was even with last week’s finals.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.9/7 1.3/5 0.9/3 0.8/3 0.7/3
Total Viewers (millions) 8.02 11.02 3.51 2.89 1.97


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

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.7/7

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.6/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/4, 1.3/5

“Nightline”: 0.4/3, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/3, 1.3/5

: 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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