Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

Two questions today from the Masked Mailbox. First up, from MvW:
"I have a question that has been on my mind lately -- as a programmer for FOX (and NBC), what was, in your expert opinion, the true impact and meaning of 'The X-Files' for FOX as a network? Was it the show that truly gave the network a megahit, or just another well-rated show? I cannot think of another FOX show, or a '90s show, that was bigger than "X-Files" as a cultural phenomenon. But since its ratings declined at the end, and FOX wasn't too interested in making more movies (the awful sequel barely got made), why did FOX want to bring it back? Didn't all indicators point towards failure?"
Let me start at the end of the question. "The X-Files" return was/is part of a wave of bringing back legacy series. Next season we get "Will & Grace" and "Roseanne." These shows, the theory goes, have built-in, pre-sold audiences that will embrace their return and will guarantee some sort of ratings success. Even Netflix has gotten into the act with franchises like "One Day at a Time" and "Fuller House." FOX knew that with both stars returning, and a launch after a big NFL game, the odds were pretty good the "The X-Files would do better than trying to launch something new."
Regarding the importance of "The X-Files" for FOX, I lump it in with "Married with Children," "The Simpsons" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" as the four shows that defined the brand to this day; mostly in a positive way. I do think that these shows put some constraint on developing beyond what was perceived as the FOX viewer. "The X-Files" in particular helped put FOX on the map big time when it moved to Sunday night.
The irony of the show was that, when it premiered in the fall of 1993, it was paired with a Western called "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.," which several FOX executives felt was going to be the big breakout show. We never really know.
This one is from MC : "Really enjoy your posts on TVBTN and have been a follower for a while. Had a question -- what was your problem with "The Orville"? It's probably my most anticipated pilot, I love 'Family Guy' and sci fi. Would really appreciate a short reply if you have the time, thanks!"
For context, I gave "The Orville" a D in my fall MASKYs piece. I evaluate these shows on their chances of success and their sustainability as a series. For me "The Orville" failed on both counts. Sci-fi is difficult and FOX has a pretty solid record of failing in the genre (I don't consider "Gotham" or "Lucifer" sci-fi). When you combine that with something that feels more like a sketch or a bad version of "Spaceballs," it wasn't really that funny. Hope I'm wrong for FOX's sake.
Finished "Orange Is the New Black" last night. What is it with shows that by season three or four they start to get darker and darker? Not just dramas, some comedies as well.
"Preacher," "Suits," "The Strain" and "Game of Thrones" all back by Sunday. TV is good!
Follow on Twitter @maskedscheduler and email at

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The numbers for Wednesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Big Brother (CBS) 1.9/9 6.41
ESPY Awards (ABC) (8-11 p.m.) – S 1.4/6 5.30
Masterchef (FOX) 1.0/4 3.44
Little Big Shots: Forever Young (NBC) 0.9/4 6.00
Arrow (The CW) – R 0.2/1 0.79
9 p.m. Salvation (CBS) – P 0.7/3 4.83
The Carmichael Show (NBC) 0.7/3 3.19
The F Word with Gordon Ramsay (FOX) 0.6/3 1.96
The 15 Most Iconic Summer Blockbusters of All Time (The CW) – S 0.2/1 0.63
9:30 p.m. The Carmichael Show (NBC) – R 0.5/2 2.47
10 p.m. Criminal Minds (CBS) – R 0.5/2 3.47
This Is Us (NBC) – R 0.4/2 1.95


ABC led Wednesday night’s ratings thanks to its broadcast of the ESPY Awards, but the show was down some vs. last year.

The awards honoring the best of sports from the past year drew a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.3 million viewers, pending updates, down from 1.7 and 5.6 million a year ago.

CBS’ “Big Brother” was the evening’s top-rated show with a 1.9, up a tenth of a point over last week. That lead-in didn’t help the premiere of “Salvation,” however — the drama lost more than half of “Big Brother’s” audience in debuting with a 0.7.

“Masterchef” (1.0) and “The F Word” (0.6) were even with their last episodes two weeks ago on FOX. “The Carmichael Show” was also steady at 0.7 for NBC, but “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” dipped a tenth to 0.9.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/6 1.0/4 0.8/3 0.6/3 0.2/1
Total Viewers (millions) 5.30 4.90 2.80 3.60 0.71


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.7/4, 2.7/7

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – R: 0.6/4, 1.7/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.8/5

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.1/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R:0.3/3, 0.9/3

“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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