Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

It's hard to know how to interpret the fact that "This Is Us" returned to its average rating the Tuesday after the Super Bowl, given the large audience that stayed for the episode late Sunday night.
The most cynical (and darkest) explanation goes back to my "Kill a Star, Get a Rating" theory of TV viewing. I think it's behind part of the success of "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones." Viewers enjoy seeing established characters killed off on a show, and a large part of the post-Super Bowl "TIU" audience was not regular viewers of the show but were aware that a death was going to happen in the episode. I know that goes to the darkness in us all, but hey, prove me wrong.
It's also possible that we are at a point where fans of the show view "TIU" in a specific way and have returned to their personal method of viewing. The Tuesday rating was the live + same-day segment of the audience, but when all the numbers are aggregated, "TIU" will deliver its audience for the episode.
Finally, there could be something of an "Alias" effect here. ABC placed an episode of the J.J. Abrams show after the 2003 Super Bowl that concluded an increasingly complex story thread of the series. I guess the thinking was that it would bring closure for viewers who loyally suffered through the insanity, and it would possibly recruit a new audience with a fresh storyline. I don't think it played out the way ABC hoped. "Alias" was on the decline, and this just accelerated the downward spiral.
We saw that the Monday after the Super Bowl that network viewing patterns pretty much returned to normal levels for all the networks. I don't know if I shared with you the story of "The Glutton Bowl," which was a two-hour eating competition from my pal Bruce Nash. It was a fun two hours and we had the Super Bowl on FOX that year. I pushed hard to convince my bosses to air it the following night. I felt the promos for the show in the Super Bowl would entice a lot of viewers to come back the next day.
I was shot down, and instead we aired original episodes of "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Public," which delivered similar ratings to their season average. Oh well. By the way the "Ally" episode introduced us to her daughter. Anyone remember who played her? No cheating.
Email me at and follow on Twitter @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018

The numbers for Wednesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Big Brother: Celebrity Edition (CBS) – P 1.8/7 7.25
The Blacklist (NBC) 1.0/4 6.35
The X-Files (FOX) 0.9/4 3.74
Movie: Inside Out (ABC) (8-10 p.m.) 0.8/3 3.10
Riverdale (The CW) 0.4/2 1.29
9 p.m. 9-1-1 (FOX) 1.7/6 6.59
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.3/5 6.65
The Amazing Race (CBS) (9-11 p.m.) 1.1/4 5.01
Dynasty (The CW) 0.2/1 0.66
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) 1.2/5 7.22
Match Game (ABC) 0.6/2 2.56


The premiere of “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition” put up solid ratings Wednesday, leading the night in both adults 18-49 and total viewers. The show drew a 1.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 7.25 million viewers.

A two-hour “Amazing Race” came in at 1.1, down 0.1 from last week’s fast nationals (it adjusted up in the finals).

FOX’s “9-1-1” continued its strong first season with a 1.7, up a tenth of a point vs. last week. “The X-Files” was steady at 0.9. “Riverdale” fell a tenth to a season-low 0.4 on The CW, while “Dynasty” maintained its 0.2.

NBC’s last night of programming before the Winter Olympics got steady numbers from “The Blacklist” (1.0) and “Chicago PD” (1.2) — although “PD” had its biggest total audience in two year — and a small improvement from “Law & Order: SVU” (1.3, +0.1 vs. last week).

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 1.3/5 1.1/4 0.9/3 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 5.76 5.16 6.74 2.92 0.98


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.6/4, 2.1/6

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

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.7/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.3/5

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.0/3

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4


Rating: 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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