Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

"Empire's" audience erosion has to be of concern and it'd hard to turn this around.
Yesterday I discussed the pros and cons of moving "This Is Us" from Tuesday at 9. I wouldn't do it. Another bold move back in the mid-'90s was when we broke up our Must-See-TV Thursday lineup and moved "Frasier" and "Wings."
PP asked me the following question: "Last week you mentioned scheduling 'Frasier' on Tuesdays up against 'Roseanne' & 'Home Improvement' was seen as a big move. Hypothetically, could both shows not have co-existed peacefully? They seemed to go after two different audiences, coastal urbanites vs middle America / suburbia?"
When we made the move of "Frasier" over to Tuesday our intention was not to take down "Roseanne." We did feel that the two comedies could coexist in the Tuesday 9 p.m. time period. To be completely honest, we did see some vulnerability in "Roseanne," which had been on for several seasons. "Frasier" was entering its sophomore year.
The switch of "Home Improvement" and "Roseanne" took us by surprise. After the fall schedules were announced, Ted Harbert, the chairman of ABC Entertainment, started calling Don Ohlmeyer, our boss, and threatened to make this move. Don and I discussed it, and I could not understand the logic since we felt that both comedies could exist in peaceful harmony. When I did the math, this struck me as a net loss in ratings as well as hastening the demise of both comedies.
Ted called Don one day to tell him that ABC had commissioned studies to determine whether to make the switch and that they had decided to do it. Fortunately, Don trusted my instincts and the rest is history.
TV is no longer a zero-sum game. I believe we are at a point where it's almost irrelevant what the other nets are programming against you. Towards the end of my career I rarely looked at the other network schedules and did what was best for us. That ABC switch was more about ego and d--- wagging than doing what was right for the network.
Out celebrating the Masked Son's birthday, so a night off from the telly.
Tweet me @maskedscheduler and email at

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Note: The CW was pre-empted in Los Angeles for baseball, so its numbers may be subject to greater adjustments than usual.

The numbers for Wednesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Survivor (CBS) 1.8/8 8.11
The Goldbergs (ABC) 1.4/6 5.15
Blindspot (NBC) 0.9/3 4.15
Shots Fired (FOX) 0.8/3 3.12
Arrow (The CW) 0.5/2 1.59
8:30 p.m. Speechless (ABC) 1.2/5 4.41
9 p.m. Empire (FOX) 1.8/7 5.57
Modern Family (ABC) 1.6/6 5.53
Criminal Minds (CBS) 1.4/5 7.22
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.0/4 4.95
The 100 (The CW) 0.4/2 1.07
9:30 p.m. Black-ish (ABC) 1.2/4 4.15
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) 1.1/4 6.02
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS) 0.9/4 4.99
Designated Survivor (ABC) 0.9/4 4.63


All three of CBS’ shows Wednesday night were up week to week among adults 18-49. The rest of the Big 4 were mostly down.

“Survivor” (1.8 rating), “Criminal Minds” (1.4) and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” (0.9) each rose a tenth of a point vs. last week. CBS led primetime in both adults 18-49 and total viewers.

At ABC, “Modern Family” fell 0.3 from its last episode to a series-low 1.6. “Designated Survivor” (0.9) was off 0.2 and tied its season low. “The Goldbergs” and “Speechless” were even with last week, and “Black-ish’s” 1.2 matched its preliminary number from a week ago (it adjusted up in the finals).

“Empire” fell below 2.0 for the first time, drawing a 1.8 for FOX. That’s down 0.3 from a week ago. “Shots Fired” held steady at 0.8. “Law & Order: SVU” (1.0) and “Chicago PD” (1.1) were each down a tenth for NBC, while “Blindspot” was steady at 0.9.

The CW’s numbers are subject to change with a pre-emption in Los Angeles, but “Arrow” is currently even with last week and “The 100” is up a tenth at 0.4.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/6 1.3/5 1.2/5 1.0/4 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 6.78 4.34 4.75 5.04 1.33


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.6/4, 2.2/6

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

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.4/2, 1.7/5

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.4/3, 1.2/5

“Nightline”: 0.2/2, 1.1/4

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 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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