Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Two things about last night's ratings:
ABC took a peek at "Fresh Off the Boat" in the leadoff Wednesday spot. At mid-season networks often try to get a feel for how a show would perform in a different time period as they think about the next season schedule. I did it quite often.
The biggest gamble I took at NBC was when I was considering cancelling one of our two movie nights. I put an original "Frasier," some other comedy and an original "Law & Order" on a Sunday night to see what a night of scripted series would do there. As always with these experiments the results were inconclusive. "FOTB" did better in this slot but not as well as incumbent "The Goldbergs" so...

My bet is "Star" will get a "relationship" renewal. FOX owns the show and wants to stay in the Lee Daniels business so ignore the second consecutive week of falloff.
The buzz yesterday at the NBC TCA (press tour) day was the announcement that "Will & Grace" is returning for a 10-episode run in 2017-18.
I was at NBC for the first three seasons of the show. Warren Littlefield talks about "W&G" in his book about the Must-See-TV era "Top of the Rock." One thing I remember about the show was that it was developed off-cycle, which I think contributed to its success. Today this notion of year round development is baked into the lexicon but back in 1997 the development cycle was pretty rigid.
We loved the pilot and there was a debate as to where to schedule it. We had 3 four-comedy blocks on the schedule (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and the was the first post-"Seinfeld" schedule.
There were several who wanted the show on either Tuesday or Thursday but I insisted that we give the show a Monday night launch. Now remember this is 20 years ago. TV and society were a bit different than today. My argument was that, given the nature of the show, if we put it on a high-profile night which demands more money and we meet some advertiser resistance or it doesn't perform, we may damage the show. Starting "W&G" on the more low-profile Monday night would give it a chance to find an audience with less pressure. I won that debate and the rest is history. We moved it to the Tuesday 9 p.m. anchor spot the following season and, in its third season, "Will & Grace" was the centerpiece of our Thursday night.
One more story. Yesterday on Twitter I pointed out that Jack and Karen do not interact in the pilot. They meet for the first time in episode 2. The day of that taping some big shot GE dude was in town to give us a talk about the company. I remember walking away thinking GE was a loan shark company. Anyway, Warren asked me to take the GE dude to the "W&G" taping that night. I was in the audience for the first Jack and Karen scene. It was electric and the audience went total bats**t.
I excused myself and called Warren to tell him I may be wrong but we may have struck gold here. Hope these 10 episodes don't disappoint.
In other news I have a mea culpa. "Lucifer" has a 22 episode order. I was a bit surprised when I was asked about the short order since this was a Warner Brothers shows and they generally want 22-24. Will do my homework next time.
So here was last night's schedule in the Masked Household:
- 2 Big 12 Basketball games live on ESPN2 and ESPNU...Big 12 Conference Basketball is the best.
- "Fresh Off the Boat" (L+SD)
- "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (L+13)
- "Lethal Weapon" (L+8) followed by the Masked Wife's speech about how much she loves the show
- Another (L+13) "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" because the first one was so entertaining. They have come back on fire.
You can send me questions at either my Twitter feed @maskedscheduler or

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017

The numbers for Wednesday feature a record low for an awards show and a boost for an ABC comedy airing outside its usual spot:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) 1.5/6 5.48
Lethal Weapon (FOX) 1.4/5 6.25
Undercover Boss (CBS) 1.1/4 5.86
Blindspot (NBC) 0.9/3 4.67
Arrow (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.87
8:30 p.m. Speechless (ABC) 1.6/6 5.36
9 p.m. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.4/5 6.38
Modern Family (ABC) – R 1.3/5 4.53
People’s Choice Awards 2017 (CBS) (9-11 p.m.) – S 1.2/4 6.66
Star (FOX) 1.2/4 4.00
Frequency (The CW) 0.2/1 0.78
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) 1.5/5 4.62
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) 1.5/6 6.94
Match Game (ABC) 1.0/4 3.52


The people did not choose to watch the People’s Choice Awards Wednesday night. The annual awards hit an all-time low in adults 18-49 with a 1.2 rating, a tenth below last year’s 1.3. The total audience did tick up a little, from just over 6 million to 6.66 million.

No show got above a 1.6 rating for the night, with “Speechless” on ABC taking the top honors. “Fresh Off the Boat” aired in the usual “Goldbergs” spot and got a 1.5, its second-best rating of the season. “Black-ish” scored a 1.5, down from last week but without the benefit of a new “Modern Family” as its lead-in.

FOX’s “Lethal Weapon” matched last week’s 1.4, but “Star” dipped 0.2 to 1.2. “Blindspot” was off a tenth at 0.9 for NBC, while “Law & Order: SVU” (1.4) and “Chicago PD” (1.5) held steady. “Frequency” posted a 0.2 for The CW.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.3/5 1.3/5 1.2/4 1.2/4 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 5.13 4.51 6.39 6.00 0.83


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.8/4, 2.3/6

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.1/6

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.9/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 0.9/3

“Nightline”: 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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