Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

The great Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) pointed out this morning that, on Wednesday night, we have gone from seven shows over a 2 rating in 18-49 adults in 2015 to only one last night.
I honestly don’t think the argument that it’s being made up in other ways accounts for this. Something to ponder.
"Lethal Weapon" and "Star: had identical 18-49 ratings last night but "LW" had 2 million more viewers. Difference between a broad appeal show and one trying to hit a more narrow target.
Got a question a few days ago about what goes into the scheduling of promos.
I can't speak for other network schedulers but, in the two networks that I worked for, the Program Scheduler did not have responsibility for the scheduling of promos. Whether that made sense or not, I never expressed to my bosses since a) I had a lot on my plate and b) I could still give some input into the process.
Promo scheduling was embedded in the marketing area with input from other departments. So what goes into the process?
I guess you start with priorities for the week, let’s say. That would be a discussion among marketing, scheduling and program executives who would fight for spots for their shows. Of course everyone felt that their show was a priority, and if you caved to everyone no show would get the proper weight for the promos to have an impact.
I would always prioritize by whether a show had a promotable episode, was it a show that we needed to work, was showing signs of erosion. Of course top priority was given to premieres of new series. The final decision would generally come from the network president or whatever the title du jour was.
There would be some GRP (Gross Ratings Point) target for a show, which would determine the number of promos needed, and there would be some determination of audience compatibility and program duplication to assess the likelihood that the right audience is seeing the promo.
Another aspect of all this is the quality of the promos themselves. We would test promos, and there would often be a tension between the "creative" aspects to the promo vs. the informative aspect. I always leaned toward the information value since my experience was that viewers are more likely to check out a show if they know what it's about prior to showing up. That wasn't always the direction we would take.
I was not a big fan of tease campaigns. I felt there were several shows that could have opened bigger (especially sci-fi/fantasy) if we helped the viewer understand the concept. Tomorrow I'll talk about "Fringe."
Last night’s schedule was light:
- 30 for 30 "This Was the XFL" (ESPN L+7) Where Dick Ebersol through his son sort of throws Vince McMahon under the bus for the XFL disaster. I knew Dick well when at NBC and it was fun seeing my pal John Miller do his thing. Also, I hired Billy Rebman (VP Sports Research) when I ran Audience Research at NBC. Great guy.
- "Lethal Weapon" (FOX L+SD) For a second there I got excited that Jordana Brewster was leaving the show, but not to be. Oh well.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017

The numbers for Wednesday include a milestone for an NBC show and a dubious record for a CBS veteran:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Goldbergs (ABC) 1.7/6 6.11
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 1.3/5 6.24
Hunted (CBS) 1.2/5 5.34
Blindspot (NBC) 0.9/3 4.60
Arrow (The CW) 0.6/2 1.61
8:30 p.m. Speechless (ABC) 1.6/6 5.45
9 p.m. Modern Family (ABC) 2.2/8 7.24
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.6/6 6.84
Star (FOX) 1.3/5 4.21
Criminal Minds (CBS) 1.2/4 6.70
The 100 (The CW) 0.4/1 1.03
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) 1.6/5 5.39
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) 1.3/5 6.29
Match Game (ABC) 1.0/4 3.57
Code Black (CBS) – F 0.9/3 5.99


The 400th (more or less) episode of “Law & Order: SVU” got a bit of ratings bump Wednesday night. The show scored a 1.6 rating in adults 18-49, its second-best mark of the season and a seven-episode high. That didn’t carry over, however, to “Chicago PD,” which was off 0.2 vs. its last episode with a 1.3. “Blindspot” matched the 0.9 for its last original.

At CBS, “Criminal Minds” dipped a tenth of a point week to week, earning a series-low 1.2. “Hunted” also came in at 1.2, while the season finale of “Code Black” fell 0.2 from last week at 0.9.

“The Goldbergs” (1.7, -0.3) and “Modern Family” (2.2, -0.1) were both down from their last episodes but helped carry ABC to a win for the night. “Black-ish” (1.6, +0.2) improved on last original, and “Speechless” held steady at 1.6.

“Arrow” (0.6) and “The 100” (0.4) were both even with last week for The CW. FOX’s “Star” also held steady at 1.3, but “Lethal Weapon” was down a tenth to 1.3.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.5/6 1.3/5 1.3/5 1.1/4 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 5.22 5.91 5.22 6.01 1.32


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.8/4, 2.5/6

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.4/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/2, 1.8/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.5/4, 1.4/5

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

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


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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