March 12, 2018



Was AMERICAN IDOL’s return all that ABC had hoped?

DEMOGRAPHIC DETAIL: For each broadcast program (or hour segment), the chart below displays preliminary key advertiser demographics (adult 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 ratings), audience skews (women 18-49, men 18-49 and adults 50+ shares) and total viewership (thousands of people over the age of 2).

Ratings analysis and comparisons follow the chart.

Fast Demo 2018 Mar 11.SUN

ABC:  The very expensive, much-ballyhooed return of AMERICAN IDOL began at 2.3, which was down 0.7 from both the premiere and finale of its last 2016 season on FOX, but up 0.1 from the next-to-last episode of that season.  The episode before that had dipped to 1.4, and we’ll see as the weeks roll on how the reboot holds up.  The premiere of DECEPTION that followed won the 10PM hour but was comparatively weak at 1.3, including 1.1 for its 2nd half-hour.  The night started with AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS at 1.1.

FOX:  The network counterprogrammed its own one-time hit with OJ SIMPSON:  THE LOST CONFESSION?, which was at a fair 1.2.  Contrary to what the chart says, the 7:30PM BOB’S BURGERS was new at 0.7, with a rerun preceding it at 0.4.

NBC:  3 hours of AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR provided a 0.8 lead-in to the return of TIMELESS, which was also at 0.8, down 0.1 from its February 2017 season finale.

CBS:  The night started with 2 hours of 60 MINUTES at 0.9/0.9, up 0.1 from last week’s hour.  The night’s scripted shows aired for the first time since January 14th with NCIS: LA down 0.1 to 0.9, and MADAM SECRETARY down 0.1 to 0.6.

CBS is giving most of its line-up the night off tonight, with new episodes of only MAN WITH A PLAN and LIVING BIBLICALLY.

COMPARISONS TO SIMILAR NIGHTS: Preliminary adult 18-49 ratings versus the same night last year and same night last week.

Fast Track 2018 Mar 11.SUN

CABLE RATINGS: Come back this afternoon for detailed demographic ratings for top Friday cable programs. Saturday & Sunday cable ratings will be posted Tuesday morning.




About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."


  1. Destiny

    That’s surprisingly good for Timeless. It kinda had to be after Sony threw what $10-15 million? at NBC to get the show renewed. That one off American Ninja Warrior special underperformed I felt. The actual show returns in May.

    If anyone took something from Gary Newmans recent comments, they’re an idiot. It’s his job to talk up shows, even flops.

    • Destiny

      Too early to celebrate Deception I would say. Those half hours and the prospect of American Idol not holding in the future would cast some doubt on it.

      • FlopWatch

        I can’t tell with Idol because of expectations, ABC basically banked everything on it.

        • Destiny

          I don’t think Idol premiered bad. I mean, it did grow in its second hour. It’s not a bomb. It’s the staying power that counts. Will people return for further episodes?

          • FlopWatch

            I don’t think it’s bad either, it’s just up to ABC’s expectations for this show, and it’s a lot given the major push.

          • Destiny

            Are you feeling good about Mondays airing? I have no real opinion either way.

          • FlopWatch

            Idk, it’s a hard read, but I need more data before judging, the premiere didn’t really give me enough.

        • Douglas from Brazil

          ABC promised a 1.8 premiere for the advertisers, so that 2.3 is a little sign of relief for now.

    • FlopWatch

      It depends on how the regular lineup performs.

      As for Gary, well yeah, he’s a moron, but with the new FOX situation, he probably stopped caring a while ago, it’ll just be a transition to there when it happens.

      • Destiny

        I was expecting something like a 0.5-0.6 for Timeless. It was off the air for such a long time and doesn’t have a whole lot of buzz. That and the timeslot isn’t the easiest out there, NBC basically buried it.

        I just felt that had to be said. I’m seeing people thinking that The Exorcist has a chance, it doesn’t. You’d think people who frequent ratings websites would understand that these comments are meaningless. Actions speak louder than words everytime.

        • FlopWatch

          I guess, it depends on the lineup though with Genius Jr. incoming.

          Exorcist? It literally dipped into a 0.3 and with the New FOX situation and the fact that FOX has already renewed 3 new dramas already, there’s really no point in renewing this show, they have plenty of options.

          • Destiny

            Did you read his Gotham comments? Like anyone would believe that Fox would care about getting a WB show with declining ratings further seasons.

          • FlopWatch

            Yeah, but it is a PR piece, they’re not going say what’s getting cancelled directly.

          • Destiny

            Exactly. While I hope for Gotham fans that the show gets renewed, his comments don’t mean anything. There’s a long way to go.

          • FlopWatch

            The fact that The Exorcist is supposedly on the ‘bubble’ makes it suspect.

    • Those are decent debut numbers for Timeless, but it doesn’t have much leeway for slippage.

      • FlopWatch

        The problem is that it doesn’t have ANW as a lead in from now on which has helped the show in both airings between this premiere and last season’s finale and it’ll have to air into late Spring which it avoided last season.

      • Destiny

        Sony could just drop a ton of cash at NBCs door again to get renewed, assuming it doesn’t fall to embarrassing levels.

        • FlopWatch

          That I’m not so sure about, it’ll be the first time it has to air in late Spring which it avoided last season and it won’t have ANW to help out from now on.

          • Destiny

            I think it would be better placed as a Summer series after ANW if this retention isn’t a one off thing. ANW usually does better than this and high fractional in the Summer would eclipse anything CBS could produce. They would win Summer with no effort.

          • FlopWatch

            NBC Summer has some of the strongest lead ins available so that’s already a step up from Spring.

            CBS is usually barren because all they have is Big Brother and nothing else, just flops and whatever scripted content gets renewed usually does horribly especially in y2y declines.

  2. Dave

    Tonight’s the real test for Idol.
    Word of mouth from last night was quite positive but it will be interesting to see if that initial “I need to check this out” boost wears off plus competition from The Voice. If it can stay at a 2.0, ABC will have a celebration.

  3. Marius

    That’s the lowest I remember for an USA vs the World special of ANW :(
    Too bad, it’s the best competition show on the air…

  4. Jake in TX

    Isnt it amazing how few peoplevare watching these shows. There are 340 million people in this country and a big deal is made about 9 milliom watching American Idol. Plus muliti-millons of dollars are being paid out. When someone makes a political statment the media makes it sound like millions and millions see it. We are so manipulated by those in power.

  5. Justme

    I don’t think idol will last long. First night on the air, last time to see 10 mil.

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