The Nielsen ratings tell us which shows are dominant and which shows are struggling each week. But they don’t tell us everything.

If you delve deeper into the numbers — as we do below — you discover that there’s a super-tight race to be the No. 1 network show that doesn’t involve football, but that the Top 2 contenders are separated by a wide margin from everyone else. You discover that the networks are more patient this season than any time in recent history, but that it comes at a price. And that “The Walking Dead’s” declines aren’t really all that bad.

Here are some previously hidden numbers from the first two months of the 2016-17 TV season. All ratings cited below are live + same-day unless noted.

Difference between the 18-49 ratings for the No. 1 entertainment show on broadcast, “Empire” (3.467) and No. 2 “The Big Bang Theory” (3.422).

Difference between “The Big Bang Theory” and the No. 3 show, the Monday edition of “The Voice” (2.65).

0.6, 30%
Gap between the No. 1 new series on the broadcast networks, “This Is Us” (2.6), and the No. 2 new show, “Kevin Can Wait” (2.0).

15%, 16%, 17%
Year-to-year viewership losses for “Sunday Night Football,” “Thursday Night Football” (broadcast only) and “Monday Night Football” through week 10 of the NFL season. Cable-only ratings for “Thursday Night Football” are off 25%.

Year-to-year decline in adults 18-49 for “The Walking Dead” through five episodes (6.7 last year to 6.2 this year).

Spread between “The Walking Dead’s” 18-49 rating (6.2) and that of the No. 2 scripted show on cable, “American Horror Story: Roanoke” (1.6).

Number of people who watch “Designated Survivor” the night it airs (through Nov. 6).

Number of people who watch “Designated Survivor” in the seven days after it airs, by far the biggest DVR/on-demand gain this season on the broadcast networks.

Shows pulled from the broadcast networks’ schedules as of Nov. 22. It’s the deepest into a season we’ve gone without an official cancellation since at least 1990.

Scripted hows on the Big 4 networks currently averaging under a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 (rounded to two decimal places).

Scripted shows on the Big 4 under 1.0 at this time last season.

Years since as many people watched a baseball game on TV as the 40 million who tuned into Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. Game 7 of the 1991 World Series had 50.3 million viewers.

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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