Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

RM has a question about paying the judges for competition shows:
"I was wondering how shows like 'Idol' pay judges and the host given the fluctuation in programming hours? The current season of 'DWTS' is just 4 episodes vs. a more traditional 12. Do the judges get paid differently? What if the judges decided that it wasn't worth it ? With 'Idol' there was a lot of press about Katy Perry and Ryan Seacrest's salaries, and the ABC version has far fewer hours that when it ran on FOX. How can ABC afford this?"
Well, the producers and the network agree on a license fee for the number of hours. The talent's salaries can come out of that, but there is usually a separate way to pay for the talent, which may come from the network. My recollection is that the talent was not paid by the hour, but rather a flat fee for the show. I don't remember what happens if additional hours are ordered. That fee may be attached to what the network pays for each additional hour.
In the case of "Idol" moving to ABC, I'm sure they knew the importance of Ryan Seacrest to keeping the live shows moving as well as the need for a big name to anchor the judges' panel. They were willing to pay so that "Idol" gets off to a strong start. It appears that they made the right decision.
Regarding this abbreviated "Dancing With the Stars," I'm certain that the talent was paid a reduced fee, and if they resisted, I'm sure ABC would have changed their minds by going to different judges.
Here’s an interesting observation from HU:
"I understand that characters on procedurals have to have backstories, but why do writers often ruin shows by making the backstory the whole story? 'The Mentalist' was ruined when the hunt for Red John took over. 'Criminal Minds' was nearly done in by Dr. Reid's imprisonment. 'The Blacklist' became all about Red starting over, Keene losing her husband, etc., etc., and completely lost its focus on the Blacklisters. 'Elementary' is focused far too much on Holmes' problems, and crime-solving has become secondary. These are just a few examples. Personally, I think this hurts the show in the long run. Shows should stick to what made them popular to begin with. What's your take on this?"
This is a great question, and there is no right or wrong answer. I think for long-running procedurals, it's important to keep the characters fresh and interesting by delving more into their personal lives and how that impacts their jobs and ability to solve crimes. I agree that when the crime-solving takes a back seat, and there is too much of a focus on the characters' personal lives, you can lose interest in the show. What is so great about procedurals is that you can join them at any stage of their life cycle, but if you create confusion for the occasional viewer, it's harder to build the audience.
When I was at FOX, "Bones" did the best job of maintaining the procedural structure while at the same time developing the characters and giving the show a real family feel and keeping it fun. Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan were the best and great to work with.
"Fringe," on the other hand, started out as a procedural in the tradition of "Night Stalker" with the monster of the week but quickly became a complex story with an alternative universe, Observers and two of everyone. Unless you were there at the beginning, it was hard to follow, and the audience never built.
I think it's important to evolve characters, but not at the expense of the procedural elements.
My email is and @maskedscheduler is how you can follow me on the Twitter and ask questions there as well.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The numbers for Wednesday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. Empire (FOX) 1.6/7 5.01
Survivor (CBS) 1.5/7 7.62
The Goldbergs (ABC) 1.2/5 4.75
The Blacklist (NBC) 0.7/3 4.90
Riverdale (The CW) 0.4/2 1.01
8:30 p.m. Alex, Inc. (ABC) 0.7/3 3.04
9 p.m. Modern Family (ABC) 1.3/6 4.68
Star (FOX) 1.2/5 3.82
Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 1.1/4 5.69
SEAL Team (CBS) 0.9/4 6.22
The Originals (The CW) 0.3/1 0.76
9:30 p.m. American Housewife (ABC) 1.1/4 4.10
10 p.m. Chicago PD (NBC) – F 1.2/5 6.29
Code Black (CBS) 0.7/3 5.02
Designated Survivor (ABC) 0.5/2 3.27


The just-renewed “Chicago PD” ended its season Wednesday with ratings in line with last week and its season average.

The finale scored a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 on NBC, even with last week (it was off slightly from the 1.3 for last season’s finale). “The Blacklist” (0.7) and “Law & Order: SVU” (1.1) were each off a tenth of a point.

“Empire” kept its hold on the No. 1 ranking among adults 18-49, though its 1.6 was down a tenth vs. last week. “Star” was steady at 1.2 for FOX.

“American Housewife” rebounded from last week’s series low on ABC, rising two tenths to 1.1. “The Goldbergs” and “Modern Family” held steady (albeit at low numbers for them), and “Alex, Inc.” (0.7) and “Designated Survivor” (0.5) each lost a tenth.

“The Originals” fell a tenth to 0.3 on The CW, but “Riverdale” held steady at 0.4. CBS’ “Survivor,” “SEAL Team” and “Code Black” were all even with last week.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/6 1.0/4 1.0/4 0.9/4 0.3/1
Total Viewers (millions) 4.41 6.29 5.62 3.85 0.89


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

11:35 p.m.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 2.0/5

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.5/3, 1.6/4

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.4/2, 2.4/7

12:35 a.m.

“Late Night with Seth Meyers”: 0.3/3, 1.2/5

“Nightline”: 0.3/3, 1.1/4

“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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