Fall television shows under network gun

The axe has been dropped.

Networks fret each season over which show will hit the chopping block. According to Entertainment Weekly, this season’s first cancelled show is CBS’s “Made in Jersey.”

But why do networks make these quick decisions? “Jersey”’s low viewership is the biggest factor for the show’s cancellation, and only two episodes aired.

Nielsen, an entertainment-viewing pollster, uses two different methods to determine the amount of people watching any given show, according to Nielsen Media’s website. Families receive either a Nielsen box to hook up to their TV or a journal to document their viewing for a given week.

Once the information is gathered, two different percentages are computed: the rating and the share.

Ratings are determined by dividing the number of households tuned into a certain program by the number of households with a television. For example, if 1,000,000 people in the country have a television and 50,000 tune into this evening’s fascinating “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” then the rating equals 50,000/1,000,000, or .05 percent.

Shares are determined the same way. The number of people watching a particular program is divided by the amount of televisions watching anything during the observed timeslot. For example, if 700,000 of those hypothetical 1,000,000 televisions are on and 50,000 televisions are tuned to “Honey Boo Boo,” then the share is 50,000/700,000, or .07 percent.

Network heads often discuss ratings and shares by demographic, and the most coveted and ad friendly demographic of all is the 18-49 age group.

So how is your favorite show faring? Each ratings point in the weekly polls is equal to 1,142,000 homes watching any given program. Here is the outlook for the big four networks based on the second week of fall programming (Oct. 1-Oct. 7):


According to BusinessWeek, ABC’s highest rated show was “Dancing with the Stars,” with an 8.2 rating and a 12 share. Three ABC dramas ranked within the list’s top 25: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Castle” and “Once Upon a Time.”

The drama “Last Resort” is performing OK, according to Entertainment Weekly, but the channel might look to jump ship with new dramas set to premiere in January.


NFL games are driving NBC right now, according to BusinessWeek. None of NBC’s scripted shows managed to reach the top 25.

The only non-NFL event to place was the singing competition “The Voice” with a 7.4 rating and an 11 share.

Despite the lower ratings, NBC continues to do well the 18-49 demographic, according to a New York Times blog. The channel recently renewed well off, but not stellar, series “Revolution,” “The New Normal” and “Go On” for full first seasons.


Beyond “Jersey”’s cancellation, CBS did well on BusinessWeek’s list. Comedies “The Big Bang Theory” and “2 Broke Girls” placed fourth and 23rd on the list, respectively. The new drama “Elementary” and returning “Blue Bloods” drama also placed in the top 25 among others.

CBS took the week’s top spot with a new “NCIS” episode, which earned an 11.6 rating and an 18 share.


FOX is in a situation similar to NBC. However, the channel doesn’t have the luxury of broadcasting NBC’s highly rated NFL games. The only FOX show to place was the singing competition, “The X Factor,” with a 5.8 rating and a 9 share.

“The Mob Doctor,” a new drama series on the network, went from a 1.3 rating in its first week to a 1.0 in its second. According to Entertainment Weekly, “The Mob Doctor” could be the next one to go.

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About Karsten Burgstahler

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at kburgstahler@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext.255.

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