Over the course of the fall, a few patterns have emerged in the ratings for the broadcast networks: “Empire” is still really strong (Wednesday’s series low excepted), even if it’s not doing the otherworldly numbers it did last season. Tuesdays at 10 are still a black hole for ABC. And “The Flash” will always pull a 1.4 or 1.5 in adults 18-49.

That last one led to some digging into the question: What are the most consistent shows on TV? “The Flash” is certainly on top of that list. Every one of its seven episodes thus far has posted a 1.4 or 1.5 same-day rating, making it the most consistent performer on broadcast this season.

Of course, “consistent” doesn’t always mean “good.” “The Flash” is The CW’s top-rated show, so that’s obviously a good thing. Then there are shows like “CSI: Cyber” or “The Mysteries of Laura,” which turn out similar ratings week to week but are well below their network averages.

The CW is easily the most consistent network as a whole this season. No show on the network has varied by more than three tenths of a point from its highest- to lowest-rated episode, and as a whole its No. 1 show (“The Flash”) is only 1.2 points ahead of its lowest rated one (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”).

FOX, by virtue of having both the top-rated show on broadcast (“Empire”) and a couple of series (“Sleepy Hollow,” “The Grinder”)  below 1.0, has the biggest in-network variance — more than four points.

Below are each network’s most consistent shows this season — some good, some not so good. All ratings cited are live + same-day; shows have to have aired a minimum of five episodes for inclusion.

Net Show 18-49 season average Season High Season Low Variance from average
ABC High Low
High end The Middle 2.04 2.2 1.9 0.16 0.14
Once Upon a Time 1.64 1.8 1.5 0.16 0.14
Low end Nashville 1.08 1.2 1 0.12 0.08
Castle 1.13 1.2 1.1 0.07 0.03
High end NCIS 2.23 2.5 2.1 0.27 0.13
Low end CSI: Cyber 0.84 1 0.7 0.16 0.14
Hawaii Five-0 1.08 1.1 1 0.02 0.08
High end Gotham 1.5 1.6 1.3 0.1 0.2
Low end Sleepy Hollow 0.91 1.1 0.8 0.19 0.11
High end Chicago Fire 1.83 2 1.6 0.17 0.23
Chicago PD 1.5 1.7 1.4 0.2 0.1
Low end Undateable 0.77 0.9 0.6 0.13 0.17
The Mysteries of Laura 1.11 1.2 1 0.09 0.11
The CW
High end The Flash 1.43 1.5 1.4 0.07 0.03
Low end Crazy Ex-Girlfrend 0.29 0.3 0.2 0.01 0.09


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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