Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

In today’s Variety, Brian Steinberg talks about the difficulties of FOX cutting back on commercial inventory. It’s what I have been ranting about, so I’m not crazy. Check out the link above.
GW has two questions.
"I really enjoy reading about your experiences in broadcasting and your thoughts on current network challenges. I have two questions that I would like to submit for your thoughts.
"Question #1: CBS seems to get a lot of negative press about doing the same type of shows and that they skew older than the other networks. With more and more competition for the 18-49 viewer (which I realize is the target for advertisers), is it not smart on CBS' part to go for a different audience and one that may not be quite as ready to watch the streaming sites?
"Question #2: What are your thoughts on how the costs for producing more content for all of these streaming platforms, cable and broadcast networks, and syndication can be covered with so much being produced and the smaller audiences reaching all of them? Even with international sales and such, I would have to think we are close to a saturation point and I would like to know your thoughts."
Two good questions. Regarding CBS, their audience looks for certain types of shows from them, which can be reduced to multi-camera comedies (laugh tracks), procedurals and high-end reality competition shows. They do try to go beyond those core genres, but when they stray too far they generally get punished by their large core audience.
CBS has now dabbled successfully in the single-camera comedy space with "Life in Pieces" and "Young Sheldon," and one of the best dramas on the network in recent years has been "The Good Wife," which was sort of a legal drama but much more. I also believe they are going to dabble a bit in the world of singing competitions. Over the summer, CBS has experimented a bit in the sci-fi genre with some success.
What is important to keep in mind is because CBS subscribes to the big-tent theory, they do get a lot of older viewers. But their 18-49 audience is close to and often exceeds the delivery of the other networks. They are often portrayed as being a network for older viewers (hey, I’m guilty of doing the "old" jokes regarding their audience when I was at NBC and we were all a bit more like cowboys), but by getting everyone, they are competitive in that demo.
Regarding the cost of making all this product for all these platforms, I think we are starting to see what I call "regression to the mean," where the streaming services are beginning to act like more conventional networks. We are seeing more cancellations of series in their first or second season by the streamers, which tells me they are looking at clicks, which are their ratings.
I think there is a rush to generate as much content as possible because I believe the streamers think a lot of their off-network product might go away at some point -- broadcast networks could start withholding their output and creating their own streaming services. Since we don't see data, I continue to speculate that off-net content drives the streamers far more than their original content. It doesn't feel that way since social media focuses on the original content and often declares shows "hits" without any data to support the claim.
I also believe that at some point we will see ads popping up on Netflix and Amazon in order to sustain the cost of production, with a premium, commercial-free option at a higher cost.
Thanx for the questions. is how to reach me and I try to answer as many questions as possible. The Twitter is @maskedscheduler.

You can go here to read the Variety story mentioned in The Masked Scheduler’s column.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The numbers for Wednesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Empire (FOX) 1.7/7 5.25
Survivor (CBS) 1.5/7 7.77
The Goldbergs (ABC) 1.2/5 4.89
The Blacklist (NBC) 0.8/4 5.47
Riverdale (The CW) 0.4/2 1.11
8:30 p.m. Alex, Inc. (ABC) 0.8/4 3.23
9 p.m. Modern Family (ABC) 1.3/5 4.65
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.2/5 6.27
Star (FOX) 1.2/5 3.88
SEAL Team (CBS) 0.9/4 5.93
The Originals (The CW) 0.4/2 0.93
9:30 p.m. American Housewife (ABC) 0.9/4 3.75
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) 1.2/5 6.06
Code Black (CBS) 0.7/3 5.10
Designated Survivor (ABC) 0.6/3 3.58


“The Goldbergs” returned from a couple weeks off to a series low among adults 18-49.

The ABC comedy drew a 1.2 rating in the demographic Wednesday, a tenth of a point behind its previous low. “American Housewife” (0.9) also recorded a series low, and “Modern Family” (1.3) tied its low. On the plus side for the network, “Alex, Inc.” (0.8) and “Designated Survivor” (0.6) were up a tenth each.

The just-renewed “Empire” (1.7) led the night for FOX, rising a tenth vs. last week’s fast national rating and matching its final number. “Star” held steady at 1.2.

NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” fell two tenths from its last episode to 1.2, but “The Blacklist” (0.8) and “Chicago PD” (1.2) both held steady. “Riverdale” and “The Originals” (both 0.4) also matched last week’s numbers.

“Survivor” slipped a tenth to 1.5 on CBS. “SEAL Team” ticked up to 0.9, and “Code Black” was even with the 0.7 for its premiere last week.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/5 1.1/5 1.1/5 0.9/4 0.4/2
Total Viewers (millions) 4.57 6.27 5.94 4.00 1.02


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 1.9/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/3, 1.6/4

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.3/2, 2.6/7

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: o.3/3, 1.1/4

“Nightline”: 0.3/2, 1.2/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.2/2, 1.2/4


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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