Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

"The Orville" will probably go up a few ticks, to about (or slightly above) what "Son of Zorn" did a year ago when FOX employed the same strategy. FOX will repeat this strategy this coming Sunday, then premiere the show in its Thursday 9 p.m. time period leading out of the "Gotham" premiere. Episode 4 will air in premiere week against the return of "Will & Grace" and "Thursday Night Football" and bridged by the return of "Grey's Anatomy."
I don't think "The Orville" knows what it is, and although this is a sound scheduling strategy, it also enables FOX to burn off four episodes before reality sets in. I would not be surprised if "The Orville" is under a 1 rating in 18-49s by week four. At the end of the day, it's the show.
Issue Two:
I stopped laughing long enough to comment on Jeff Bezos' claim that he wants the developers at Amazon to bring him their "Game of Thrones." I could leave it at "duh" and move on to the next topic. That's not me.
I recently talked somewhere here about television "regressing to the mean." I think it was around the time that Netflix "shockingly" started cancelling shows. I noted that regardless of the platform, everyone starts acting like the very television executives they once mocked.
There are a variety of reasons for this. At some point data and the bottom line matter, and we are starting to see that among the anti-network streaming platforms. Because they do not share viewing data, they leave it up to the television press to imagine how successful their original product is, and the more esoteric the product the more "buzz." I think reality is setting in.
Bezos is acting like someone who just discovered his d**k. I'll let you in on a little secret, Jeff: It's always been about hits, not just buzz hits, but big, widely consumed hits. "Mad Men" was a great show, but "The Walking Dead" is what AMC needed. "The Leftovers" existed because of "Game of Thrones." That is no different from how broadcast networks operate. I have mentioned here that "Homicide: Life on the Street" had a long, creatively excellent history at NBC because it came along during the Must-See TV era and could be protected in a low-risk time period.
When I was at NBC I, along with the marketing execs, were often accused by the programming executives of preventing a lot of smart programming from getting on the air because we felt the shows were too narrow. Guilty. I once proposed to Warren Littlefield that we divide our development teams into needle developers and haystack developers. Haystack developers were in the business of trying to develop the biggest universal-appeal shows, while needle developers were looking to develop that one in a thousand show that defied the odds of success.
I think Bezos is looking at the data and starting to see that buzz is not enough. The irony is that the projects that Amazon announced as their attempt to go big, international and buzzy feel pretty much like the projects that they have been doing all along.
Here's another secret, Jeff. "Game of Thrones," "The Walking Dead," "Empire" and "This Is Us" all share something in common. They drop an episode a week. This notion of dropping a series all at once for binge watching limits the ability to generate sustained conversation, and the series fades into the ether rather quickly. Hulu seems to have figured this out. In other words, the problem isn't just the content. What you have to do is act more like a television network.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017

The numbers for Tuesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief (NBC) – S 1.1/5 6.09
Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief (ABC) – S 0.7/3 3.95
Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief (CBS) – S 0.6/3 4.08
Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief (FOX) – S 0.4/2 1.59
The Flash (The CW) – R 0.3/1 1.25
9 p.m. America’s Got Talent (NBC) (9-11 p.m.) 2.3/9 11.36
Black-ish (ABC) – R 0.6/2 2.48
NCIS (CBS) – R 0.5/2 5.18
The Orville (FOX) – R 0.5/2 1.58
Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.77
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) – R 0.5/2 2.16
10 p.m. Bull (CBS) – R 0.5/2 4.47
Somewhere Between (ABC) 0.3/1 1.65


“America’s Got Talent” had its lowest Tuesday ratings of the season, but there’s an asterisk attached to that stat.

The show aired an hour later than usual Tuesday night, following the multi-network telecast of a benefit telethon to raise money for recovery from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. “AGT” posted a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49, down from 2.6 last week.

The “Hand in Hand” benefit drew a combined 15.71 million viewers on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX (it also aired on several cable channels). It raised a reported $44 million for relief efforts.

The only other original show on the broadcast networks Tuesday was ABC’s “Somewhere Between,” which at 0.3 was off a tenth of a point from last week.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.9/8 0.6/2 0.5/2 0.4/2 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 9.60 4.58 2.64 1.59 1.01


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.9/5, 2.5/7

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.5/4

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

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.5/4, 1.3/5

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 0.9/3

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 0.9/4

: 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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