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Here are the preliminary broadcast ratings for Saturday, August 19, 2017.


Note: Some preliminary ratings are inflated due to football preemptions. Check back after finals for official numbers.

Time
Show
18-49 Rating
Total Viewers        (In Millions)
8:00pm
48 Hours (R) (CBS)
0.9
4.49

NASCAR Cup Series (NBC)
0.9
4.23

America’s Funniest Videos (R) (ABC)
0.7
3.47

Lucifer (R) (FOX)
0.6
2.01




9:00pm
Princess Diana: Her Life, Her Death, Her Truth (R) (CBS)
0.9
4.55

The $100,000 Pyramid (R) (ABC)
0.7
3.22

Love Connection (R) (FOX)
0.5
1.99




10:00pm
20/20: In an Instant (R) (ABC)
0.6
3.28

(R) = repeat
  

Written Sighing at the End of an Era by Bridger Cunningham

Notice several red bullet holes in this chart?  1971 instigated a change in tone for television.  CBS, running in threat of losing its prized 1st place status by a resurgent NBC, decided to part with "rural" themed nods from the 50's and 60's to keep up with the changing times.  It managed to spare Gunsmoke as its ratings shot high, but the casualties took our The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Mayberry RFD, Hee Haw and the Jim Nabors Hour.  With the Vietnam War raging on and counter culture front and center, rural folks in hapless situations didn't fit the times.

Also spurring CBS' saddle was ABC claiming the 1st Place show in their history with Marcus Welby, MD.  Relevant younger professionals were the audience the networks wanted.  Doctors, police officers and modern women working replaced traditional families with a stay-at-home wife recklessly spending money.  Movie evenings took 20-percent of the top-30 chart, along with several CBS sitcoms still burning strong.  1971 changed the game.


Source -- http://fbibler.chez.com/tvstats/by_5_yr_period/top_programs_1970-1975.html
Written Awing a Broadcast Record by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for guiding light logoBefore CBS swung the fatal ax on ailing Guiding Light, it was a record setter.  Not only for being the then-longest broadcast TV show on the air at 57 years (Today show took the next honor and passed this record in 2012).  But it also was a soap from the radio heyday, having launched in January 1937.  That ended a nearly-73-year old scripted production.  So how did GL fall?  A ratings hit well into the 90's, it hit a sharp decline during the Seinfeld era.  Save for a brief late-90's renaissance, it frequently placed in the bottom of the Nielsens pack.  Cruise through Wikipedia's article on the series, readers will notice frequent changes in writers and producers.  Perhaps TVRG's commenting muse Smoo will shine some light on the workings of what went wrong.  Then, starting in early 2008, the New York based production moved to New Jersey to slash the budget by one-third.  The quality changed as the soap adopted the Blair Witch-esque steadicam, leaving older viewers dizzy.  Countless changes and poor writing sank the show, which was replaced by gameshow Let's Make a Deal.

Days of Our Lives nosed up in the ratings as all CBS shows experienced significant declines.  ABC soaps held steady, and GL's sister show, As the World Turns, experienced a sharp drop and was speculated as the next rumored casualty.


Having dueled for Nielsens since 1978 for the 3pm timeslot, GH emerged victorious and left the 3pm timeslot bare and vacant.


Source -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._daytime_soap_opera_ratings
Written Shocked At Obscurity by Bridger Cunningham



Image result for as the world turns last yearA ratings juggernaut falling is shameful.  Launched on April 2, 1956, As the World Turns quickly climbed the Nielsen ladder, reigning in 1st Place from 1958-78.  Incidentally, All My Children, the show who overthrew them from this glory in 1978, ended the following year.  ATWT never reclaimed its 50's-70's glory, resting in the middle of the pack throughout much of the 80's before briefly climbing back to the top in the early 90's.  The longstanding New York-produced soap was the last CBS franchise to film there and limped out of the gates its last year.  Now the longest-standing soap on the air, its fortunes soured late in 2009 months after sister soap Guiding Light went black in September.  Announced as its replacement was The Talk, CBS' tribute to ABC's uber-popular The View, starring Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini, Roseanne star Sara Gilbert and CBS President Les Moonves' wife, newscaster/reality TV host Julie Chen.

Elsewhere, another soft and eroding season for the soap remains.  Young and the Restless held steady and Bold and the Beautiful ticked down.  All My Children capitalized on its 40th Anniversary in January, and Days of Our Lives capitalized on its 45th Anniversary with celebratory stories.  ABC ponies General Hospital and One Life to Live experienced losses and looming discussions of shuttering for all ABC shows across the board.


As The World Turns leaving the timeslot it called home for over 27 years left fellow competitor One Life to Live now in a standalone space.  The 1pm hour was booked solid, and General Hospital stood alone.


Source -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._daytime_soap_opera_ratings

Written Trying to Remember UPN and WB by Bridger Cunningham

All good things come to an end, including launching new broadcast network platforms.  After struggling to keep up with the Nielsens for some time, UPN and WB closed their doors after 12 seasons.  The end product, a merger called "CW," a combination of Warner Brothers and CBS.  Viacom, CBS' parent company, absorbed Paramount, taking the P out of the equation.  As cruel as it seems to shutter two new platforms, they were not progressing at appropriate benchmarks.  WB hit its stride in the 4th season in 1997-98 season with Dawson's Creek, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and 7th Heaven.  All UPN could muster was two Star Trek continuations, a WWF/WWE Smackdown and America's Next Top Model.  WB lost steam after 2002 despite several fleeting hits as their late 90's finds aged.

The networks recycled a plethora of soft shows from other networks, most of which survived up to three seasons.  The problem lie with the fact that fellow "joke" network, FOX, ignited a firestorm of publicity by its 4th season with Married... With Children and the Simpsons.  Several soft seasons followed after the buzz cooled, but FOX placed its stamp on the soap brand and X-Files in the mid-90's, assuring renewed interest when MWC faltered and Simpsons became ho-hum.  At the same benchmark in FOX's 12th season in 1997-98, it possessed three top-20 entries and 7 top-50 performers.  WB and UPN could only muster entries which reached into the 60's with the majority of their players resting in the ratings cellar.  WB and UPN's curse was timing.  Had they launched in 1987 vs. 1995, perhaps their fortunes would have mirrored FOX', who hit their stride in the 2000's in the reality TV craze.

WB and UPN's failures were not in vain, as CW has possessed more promise in their upcoming 12th season.  They don't house hits in the top 50, and the other four networks' declines have several CW shows outperforming.  Other networks' fortunes were about to take a turn for the worse as the streaming age birthed with Youtube launching in early 2006.  NBC initially suffered the greatest blow, followed by ABC losing its sports privileges.


Trending Hot -- Reality TV was alive and well, aiding FOX in their push.  ABC experienced what would be their last run in 2nd place, aided by their last Superbowl.  Soapy premises on ABC's Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, as well as FOX's House, became the next guilty pleasure.  Procedural dramas allowed CBS to kill it in the ratings.

Trending Tepid -- Despite the announced merger, UPN and WB continued to market scripted programming instead of coasting on autopilot.  The results produced the still-popular Supernatural and America's Next Top Model cracking the top-100.  Deal or No Deal kept Gameshows in the running.  NBC continued to crumble with only Medium and My Name is Earl and several gameshow/reality franchises as their bright spot.

Trending Cold -- Sitcoms delivered unwelcome Nielsens.  Longstanding favorites Will and Grace, Malcolm in the Middle and ABC staple TGIF ended their runs, leaving the surviving sitcoms to fend off cold Nielsen winters.

Source -- http://criminalmaster.proboards.com/thread/1988
Image result for All My Children Opening BookWritten Closing the Book on New York Productions by Bridger Cunningham

In one fell swoop, ABC cancelled All My Children and One Life to Live on April 14.  And to fill their schedule?  More Reality TV, because Jersey Shore was so popular and Reality TV was big in the 2000's.  The end result?  A modest replacement with cooking show The Chew, and another chatterbox with Katie Couric.  A hot mess for a number of years, All My Children went out with a bang.  Though it does not show in these figures, it did manage to end its last week in September in 2nd place.  Few primetime stars of the past made cameos except Josh Duhamel, but the quality showed in the July-September ratings.

Elsewhere, the only show to improve this season was fellow dead-soap-walking OLTL, which ticked up a tenth.  General Hospital held steady, and that was where the positive news stopped.  Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives dropped a tenth, and Bold and the Beautiful dropped two-tenths.


The 1:00 timeslot, a competitive launch space for 35 years among the three networks, lost ABC's bubbled delivery.


Source -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._daytime_soap_opera_ratings
Written Questioning How Long This Genre Will Endure by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for One Life to Live FinaleThe last standing New-York produced soap, One Life to Live, ended on January 13.  Rather than go out a withered mess, the show went out with a bang, spiking three-tenths for its coup-de-grace.  Several former favorites, including Castle's Nathan Fillion and Desperate Housewives' Tuc Watkins showed up to say goodbye.  So why did OLTL go away?  It was not the worst in the ratings, though it spent much of its last 20 years in the middle to bottom of the pack.  The Economic Depression left everyone scrambling to cut costs, and Reality TV cost one-third less to produce.  Add New York union costs, and OLTL became the latest casualty.  Sadly, their exit left the declining General Hospital in harm's way as it appeared ABC was on a soap purge.

Elsewhere, Young and the Restless made a dramatic two-tenth slide, while Bold and the Beautiful picked up their scraps and gained two for their 25th Anniversary.  GH dropped a tenth into last place, and Days of Our Lives remained steady.  This season was forecast as the death knell of soaps as their ratings remained in a grave coma amidst contract negotiations.


One Life to Live exited the schedule, leaving General Hospital on an island and the other three soaps perched in the early afternoon.


Source -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._daytime_soap_opera_ratings
Written Grateful Another Genre Lives on by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for GH 50th AnniversaryTwo milestone anniversaries marked the year as General Hospital turned 50, and Young and the Restless hit 40.  ABC milked every inch of the event, calling a plethora of favorites back for a splashy event and investing in catchy promotions and graphics.  Y&R?  I guess everyone hates turning 40, and it showed.  Days of our Lives ticked down a tenth, while GH went the other way.  Elsewhere, Bold and the Beautiful experienced significant increases.  The greatest victory for the season involved no threats of cancellation which plagued ABC and NBC for years.


General Hospital moved up one hour after 34 years in its winning timeslot.  As predicted, no major changes in performance. The four soap remains all housed their own timeslots with little competition from their fellow sudsers.


Source -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._daytime_soap_opera_ratings

Written by The Never Mentioned Twin by Bridger Cunningham

Image result for GH AvaSoaps enjoyed another nice season as they seemed to be riding on the New York Purge's infamy.  No major changes in scheduling, rank or performances in Nielsens to report, nor any major milestone anniversaries.  GH rode high on their 50th Anniversary fame, while no one noticed Y&R turned 40.  Either way, cancellation threats ceased, leaving the only four remains a sigh of relief as their evil twin, reality TV, could not take their place.

No scheduling changes occurred this season, leaving the four soap remains to display quality with little competition from their genre.


Source -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._daytime_soap_opera_ratings

The fall television season is approximately a month away, so I'll be putting out some rating predictions for the returning & new scripted shows that will premiere this fall. First up is FOX. Here is how I think each show will perform in the Adults 18-49 demographic.


Monday





Time
Show
18-49 Average
 Prediction
Last Season’s Average
Predicted Trend
8:00pm
Lucifer
0.87
1.03
-16%
9:00pm
The Gifted (NEW)
1.23
N/A
N/A

Lucifer: After two seasons at 9, Lucifer will be making the move to 8. The drama had a rough 30% drop last year but stabilized in respectable territory. But, it only fell hard because it had a front-loaded first season average. In reality, the second season wasn't far off from the the low 1s it was doing at the end of its inaugural season. Ultimately, the show is moving to a new timeslot, so I'm not expecting it to stay steady. But, it'll drop a lot less than last year.


The Gifted: Most comic book & Marvel shows on television have started strong and then fallen hard (Gotham, Agents of Shield, Supergirl). I'm expecting the same fate for The Gifted. There will be a good amount of initial interest thanks to the Marvel and X-men name, but it won't be doing much better than Lucifer by the end of the season. 

Tuesday



Time
Show
18-49 Average
 Prediction
Last Season’s Average
Predicted Trend
8:00pm
Lethal Weapon
1.06
1.57
-32%
9:00pm
The Mick
0.82
1.11
-26%
9:30pm
Brooklyn 9-9
0.71
0.85
-16%

Lethal Weapon: Unlike most tv shows based on movies, Lethal Weapon actually did very well and was easily the strongest new Fox show of the 2016-17 season. Unfortunately, things will be getting a lot tougher for the drama. It will be making a move to Tuesdays at 8 and will face against another procedural, NCIS. Aside from that, the series will have four more episodes than last season. This means that it'll most likely have to air in the lower-viewed spring months instead of finishing in the winter like its first season. Because of these factors, a 32% drop seems about right. 

The Mick: The first season of this comedy averaged a solid 1.11 in the 18-49 ratings. But, if you take out the two football-boosted episodes that aired on Sunday, that average falls down to just a 0.96. The series started with a strong 1.3 for its Tuesday premiere but was down to a measly 0.7 by the finale. I think it'll have a pretty ugly drop solely because of how inflated the first season average is and how low it was towards the end. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: After an extended hiatus, this cop comedy collapsed towards the end of its fourth season with most episodes pulling a 0.6 or 0.7. This time, the series gets to air in a higher-viewed hour with an okay lead-in, so it should drop a bit less, but it still won't look pretty. 


Wednesday




Time
Show
18-49 Average
 Prediction
Last Season’s Average
Predicted Trend
8:00pm
Empire
1.66
2.75
-40%
9:00pm
Star
1.30
1.35
-4%

Empire: Okay, this seems brutal for Empire, but hear me out. The series premiered to a 4.2 at the beginning of the season and was down to a 2.7 by its fall finale. Through the span of just 9 episodes, the show lost 36% of its audience despite being an established show. Then, the show fell as low as a 1.9 towards the end of the season. Empire hasn't shown any real signs of stabilizing and it seems like it will stay in freefall mode.

Star: Out of all the returning Fox shows, I predict that Star will have the best trend. It's going to be airing behind Empire and while the latter is not the powerhouse it used to be, it still pulls in strong numbers. It doesn't hurt that both shows are also compatible. I expect it to be close to even with last year's average.

Thursday




Time
Show
18-49 Average
 Prediction
Last Season’s Average
Predicted Trend
8:00pm
Gotham
0.81
1.08
-25%
9:00pm
The Orville (NEW)
0.98
N/A
N/A

Gotham: After three full seasons of airing in the same timeslot, the drama will be making the move to Thursday. It doesn't help that Gotham isn't a very steady show. The second season was down 36% from its first and it was 23% for its third season. Because of the timeslot change, I'm expecting roughly the same drop as last year.


The Orville: The Seth McFarlane vehicle will get to air 2 episodes with an NFL lead-in. That should help its average a good bit. I think it'll do okay in its first weeks on Thursdays (0.9-1.0), but it'll be in bubble territory towards the end of its 13-episode run. 


Friday



Time
Show
18-49 Average
 Prediction
Last Season’s Average
Predicted Trend
9:00pm
The Exorcist
0.56
0.67
-16%

The Exorcist: Despite unsatisfactory numbers, Fox decided to keep The Exorcist and it'll return to its old timeslot. This prediction may seem a bit optimistic, but it was a relatively stable show. Sure, it fell 40% from week 1 to week 2, but after that, it was always at a 0.6 or 0.7. I think it will be down a good bit, but it won't be that far from last season's average. Plus, it'll have a solid Hell's Kitchen lead-in to keep it from hitting anything too alarming. 

Sunday


Time
Show
18-49 Average
 Prediction
Last Season’s Average
Predicted Trend
7:30pm
Bob’s Burgers
0.87
0.95
-8%
8:00pm
The Simpsons
1.43
1.76
-19%
8:30pm
Ghosted (NEW)
0.99
N/A
N/A
9:00pm
Family Guy
1.13
1.29
-12%
9:30pm
Last Man on Earth
0.76
0.90
-16%

Bob's Burgers: The Belchers had a small 8% drop last year. Bob's Burgers is a relatively stable show, so I'm expecting another single digit dip. But, if the show ends up in the 8:30 or 9:30 slot, it'll probably have a higher average.

The Simpsons: This seems a bit brutal for a show that was up last year, but I still expect it to go down this path. Last year, the series had a Treehouse of Horror episode that was also its 600th episode and also had a 1-hr episode after a football game. With the absence of gimmick episodes like those, it'll probably drop a good bit. 

Ghosted: Ghosted won't be getting a football-boosted premiere like last year's Son of Zorn and it doesn't have much buzz on social media. It only has 11 episodes and will get boosted by football, so its average won't look too bad, but it won't look great on nights without NFL.

Family Guy: This long-running animated comedy had an okay trend last year (down 13% year-to-year). I'm expecting it to stay in that vicinity. As usual, it will get some help from the football halo, but it'll also do well on its own merit. 

The Last Man on Earth: The Will Forte comedy will be entering its fourth season and will remain in the post-Family Guy slot. Due to its serialized nature, it won't be as steady as a show like Bob's Burgers, but it'll keep the lights on. It'll probably look bad in the fall, but that's only because it doesn't really benefit from football like the other comedies. Overall, I'm expecting it to drop a bit less than last year. 

What do you think of these predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.