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mtlchickie

Ratings and Scheduling

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Hmmm. I have this notion that Friday is a bad night, but I'm not positive about that. I thought TAR was always safe being on Sunday since CBS knew that the fan base would follow it. Of course, that logic could account for Friday nights, too.

 

I wonder what was behind the change.

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Friday is the Dead Zone of teevee programming, because most people are out doing fun things to kick off the weekend.  I am old, so I dine with the early birds and hustle home to watch Dateline, so this might work out just fine :)

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Hawaii 5-0 was moved to Fridays and has been there for 2 seasons, I think. It seems to be what CBS is doing with shows they want to keep, which have lower ratings than they'd hoped, but a loyal audience.

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That's the key - TAR has always had a loyal audience that would follow the show anywhere. And with DVR options, the actual broadcast time matters less.

 

However, I am firmly in the camp that believes the show has deteriorated greatly. I only watch about half of the episodes that I record, and I've already stated that I think this is by far the worst season ever, even compared to the ill-conceived TAR 8: Family Edition. 

 

I wonder if there are others like me, and if so, how many. I wonder if any CBS brass think the show is stale. And I wonder if that might be reflected in this schedule change.

 

TPTB need to get their act together on casting. YMMV, but I happen to know that a friend of Phil's has told him the same thing to his face (and he doesn't see the problem).

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I only started watching the show in the last few years, so other than this season, which had a largely unlikable cast, I haven't really noticed much.

I always DVR the show, so not having to add time to account for football overrun is a positive, plus there's not much on on Friday, whereas Sunday is packed for me.

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Agreeing with you all; Fridays is much better, as my DVR always threatens to have a nervous breakdown on Sundays due to the abundance of "must-see" teevee. And no more asking Mr. Boston Gal if the football games are running late, thus requiring me to adjust the DVR timing.

 

However, if this threatens my viewing/recording of Shark Tank, head are gonna roll....

Edited by A Boston Gal

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I think that CBS is HOPING that TAR has a loyal audience that follows it to Fridays at 8, but since the ratings have dwindled fairly substantially in the last year or two, this is more likely them easing the transition as TAR enters its final frontier, and trying to see if they can find another success story Sundays at 8.  This past season they aired Undercover Boss there, which generally got around 1.3-1.6 in the coveted 18-49 demo, and more recently, Unforgettable, which is hovering at 0.8 - 1.0.  This season of Race has generally averaged about a 1.7 or 1.8.

 

So with that, if TAR can maintain its current ratings, it would easily be renewed (the highest rated show on all of Fridays is Shark Tank, which generally gets around a 2.0).  But that's a wholly unrealistic wish, as Fridays are much more of a TV graveyard than other nights.  I think if it can only drop a little bit, and be in line with what UB was doing, then it has a chance to survive a couple more years.  But if it goes down to the 1.0 range, then 25 or 26 will be our swansong.

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I hardly ever watch live so a Friday schedule is easier for me to record and not worry about missing the end. A sign of whether CBS views the move as positive or negative may be what they schedule in TAR's current spot on Sunday at 8. 

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I'll not miss the Race constantly being 15-30 minutes or so late depending on football, golf, etc. it's always been it's burden to carry on Sundays. So I won't miss that. If it keeps up with this trend for casting it might not matter if they switch it to run in daytime because it won't be worth watching.

 

As I've said elsewhere the latest Survivor that ditched Redemption Island and returning players in varying numbers hit gold this year with a "regular people" cast. That is what TAR needs to do, return to normal people doing Amazing things in a RACE (not a collective handholding) around the world.

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TAR survival may depend on getting back to winning the Emmy again.  Hard to cancel a show with that many awards and a steady audience. 

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Or TAR could do a "Dallas" and stay healthy for a while - then again, "Dallas" was almost 25-30 years ago or so...

 

I wonder if they were considering another weeknight before settling on Friday nights (Thursday nights even bar for football???)

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I'm really disappointed I'm going to have to choose between Shark Tank and TAR.  I LOVE TAR. But my husband doesn't watch it, and he does watch Shark Tank. So I'm thinking no TAR for me. We can't record a separate channel from what we are watching because we use our computer as a recorder.

 

I'll end up having to wait for it to be released on the internet. Is CBS one of the websites that makes you wait a month if you aren't a cable subscriber? I hate that they do that now.

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It's been a couple of years since I tried, but I used to be able to watch TAR episodes on the CBS website the next day.

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I watched an episode on the CBS website two seasons ago and it was available the next day. If spoilers bother you be careful on their site. I knew the ending before I even found the video. Maybe have your husband find and start it for you!

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I'm sure my DVR will appreciate the move but I'm not liking it. We're usually home on Friday nights so I guess this gives us something to watch other than old episodes of What's Happening but it won't feel the same. Maybe I'll dvr it and then wait until Sunday night to watch it...

Edited by AlderwomanShaw

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Not having a DVR (dark ages, I know!) I watched TAR many times on cbs website.  It was usually available for me on the west coast, about an hour after the show was over on broadcast TV here.

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Oh, and based on the 9/26 start date, does anyone know when the season finale may be?  I'm wondering about 12/12 -- I'll be in NYC and have a friend in the area who is also a big fan.  I know there will be no TARCON (boo hoo) but may try to arrange a viewing party if it will be that weekend.

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TAR survival may depend on getting back to winning the Emmy again.  Hard to cancel a show with that many awards and a steady audience. 

Slam dunk as of 8/25/14!

Now let's hope you are right and it stays on for more years to come. Bring back regular folks and cast highly competative people who are not there to MAKE FRIENDS and HELP each other out.

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Do we know when the new teams will be announced?

 

Today!  (Although actually it was announced when the race took off, but they re-announced today)

 

http://www.cbspressexpress.com/cbs-entertainment/releases/view?id=39070

 

Bethany Hamilton is the professional surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack.  They made a movie about her.

 

Keith Tollefson and Whitney Duncan were on "Survivor" and her marriage broke up when they got together on the show.  She's also a country singer, and appeared on "Nashville Star".

Edited by Rick Kitchen

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Now that the teams are 'officially' announced I'll be adding threads over the next few days. If you're interested in talking about them before I get them setup feel free to start threads on your own. Please preface them with S25: so we can keep them separate from previous seasons.

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I was watching the football game to day and it went into overtime even. I was getting all tense thinking we have to see all of 60 Minutes still and what that meant for TAR... as 60mins was still on at like 8:30 tonight. Then I remembered we no longer have to do that daily dance with TAR on a nice steady Friday time this year. That made me smile.

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I know, right? Friday nights might be questionable, but we don't have to worry about NFL overrun anymore.

 

What ratings would the show need in order to guarantee its survival?

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I am rather bummed, as on the West Coast, there was never a delay, and 8:00 PM Sunday was dedicated to TAR.  

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I've had a sick feeling that this was going to be the last season since they first announced the move to Friday night. When I saw that it was up against Shark Tank, I got even more worried. Now these numbers come in and they're dismal.

When Phil kept mentioning that this was the silver anniversary of the show, and the emphasis on it being Season 25, I wondered if the producers were thinking that this would be a good season to end with. If it is the last, I will be incredibly sad, because TAR has been my favorite TV show for years, and even though it's no longer the show it was during its 'Golden Years', I will miss it terribly.

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I feel the same way as you Mrs. P.  The quality isn't quite up there with the early seasons, but its still my favorite show, and the only show I still make a point to sit down and watch Live (though on Fridays that will get interrupted a few times and watched Saturday morning).  I hope we get a season 26, but I believe Undercover Boss is taking the timeslot in the spring, so I'm not sure where Race would go.  Maybe Madam Secretary will plummet and get yanked (It didn't premiere very strongly).

 

As for us, as mentioned, a 1.1 rating is not good.  I was hoping for a 1.3 or 1.4.  For reference, season 21 (fall 2012) hovered near the 2.7-3.0 mark, 22 (spring 2013) was around the 2.2 - 2.4 mark, 23 (fall 2013) was around 2.0-2.1, and 24 (spring 2014) was around 1.5-1.8.  The show was rather remarkably steady for most of its run on Sundays, from season 10 all the way to around 18 or 19, but it does appear viewer fatigue has been setting in.  I will enjoy it while it lasts. 

Edited by TheRabbi

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Well, maybe if Madam Secretary bombs on Sundays, TAR would be put right back there. At least it didn't rate as low as Utopia, which is a genuine freakshow of the reality genre.

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Or may be Stalker won't work out on Wednesdays and they put it in Wednesdays somehow? Back to back with Survivor?

They can market it as reality night.

Edited by Artsda

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Or may be Stalker won't work out on Wednesdays and they put it in Wednesdays somehow? Back to back with Survivor?

They can market it as reality night.

That would be great, I don't know why they don't since it seems like both shows have the same fans.

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I'd love them back to back, but since they have different producers, they each want their show to be the "star" of the night.

How does Nielsen ratings work with DVR recordings? I've always been curious because I've been a Nielsen household and you have to fill out which shows you watch. Not when. And if they see you watching three shows that are all on at the same time, how would that count in the ratings?

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DVR ratings are reported in L+3 (watched within 3 days of airing) and L+7 (7 days).  However, the Live + same day (the 1.1 that was reported today) is all that really matters in the long run.  Almost everybody who watches on a DVR skips the commercials, so advertisers generally only care about the L+SD.

 

TAR has never been a highly DVR'd show.  I honestly don't recall ever seeing it in the top 25 of the week.  While its possible a few more people will DVR it on a Friday than on a Sunday, it certainly won't be able to make up the gap of the viewers lost from the timeslot move.

 

The actual rating that really matters, that is never widely reported, is the C+3 ratings, which lists how many viewers watched the COMMERCIALS within 3 days of airing.  So even if you watched it later Friday night on your DVR and breezed through commercials, you'd be left out of that tally.

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Glad it is Friday.  People I know couch potato on Friday cause it's the end of the work week and everyone is tired.  So I don't buy the Friday nights are death stuff.  They aren't after 16 year olds going off to the movies like in the 1950's types anymore.  People live more "virtually" these days at home I think.

 

And Sunday nights was always depressing cause TAR was associated with having to get up soon and go back to work.  (Also the football and golf stuff too during the spring seasons).

 

What was their original night?  Anyone remember?  I remember I was pissed when they moved it to Sunday night.  Was it Wednesday maybe?  I know it wasn't Friday, Saturday or Sunday so I still have three guesses left, hah.

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The change in days doesn't really matter to me - I've only watched TAR on DVR for years now.  When it was on during football season I'd simply add an hour to the recording time to make sure I got the whole show.

 

Of course, the vast majority of my TV viewing is via DVR, other than live sporting events.  So I'm not the demographic the networks are hoping for.

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Glad it is Friday. People I know couch potato on Friday cause it's the end of the work week and everyone is tired. So I don't buy the Friday nights are death stuff. They aren't after 16 year olds going off to the movies like in the 1950's types anymore. People live more "virtually" these days at home I think.

And Sunday nights was always depressing cause TAR was associated with having to get up soon and go back to work. (Also the football and golf stuff too during the spring seasons).

What was their original night? Anyone remember? I remember I was pissed when they moved it to Sunday night. Was it Wednesday maybe? I know it wasn't Friday, Saturday or Sunday so I still have three guesses left, hah.

Monday's...it premiered on the eve of September 11,2001 and like most programs vanished a week due to the Preempted schedule caused by the tragedy. I have always wondered if it hadn't lost the momentum from the delay if it would have been as big as SURVIVOR.

Edited by North of Eden

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When would be a good time to panic? I see that Shark Tank is moving to 9, and Last Man Standing is going an hour-long this week. Do TAR fans have reason to fear Tim Allen? And would TAR still stay strong over Utopia? Jim might me a creepy dentist, but he's probably not as messed up in the head as the Utopiots.

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Shark Tank killed it in the ratings last week. 9 is it's usual slot, so that might help. I watched Utopia once, that was more than enough. But I agree, Lantern7, those people are nuts.

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Week 2 saw a tiny increase in ratings, up to a 1.2 rating, tied with Last Man Standing in the hour.  Overall I'd say that's a decent thing.  It sure beats losing viewers in week 2, and its still about even with H50 and BB on Fridays.  Madam Secretary took a dive in week 2 as well, so CBS might have to accept a lower threshold for ratings success.

 

The premiere jumped from a 1.1 to a 1.7 in the Live + 3, not that that number really matters.  It was doing about a 1.7 in the Live numbers last spring, so there is still work to be done.  But we're trending in the right direction at least, right?

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Should be start a "how to improve TAR"/"how to save TAR" topic? I would have a few ideas in terms of casting and scheduling :-)

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Is there a legitimate danger that CBS would take TAR off the schedule and/or fail to schedule a TAR26? I've been good in remembering to watch it . . . I was busy at New York Comic Con on Friday, but I managed to get home and watch it, as well as DVRing the episode.

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Week 3 regressed to its premiere ratings, a 1.1 in the 18-49 demo.  Not great

 

Here's the good news: those ratings aren't bad.  CBS has long been the network of skewing older; while they don't have fantastic ratings in the 18-49, they are 2nd in their timeslot overall.  And they have almost twice the 18-49 demo and 3 times the viewers of "Utopia", FOX's $50M flop.

 

I don't know what TAR costs, but I figure it probably runs around $10M/season.  As a total exercise in guess work:

 

  • Phil's salary and costs: undisclosed, but "a couple million" seems realistic at this point.  Found one cite that says $100K/episode.  Let's add in various supporting costs (his flights, nice hotels, assistants, etc), and round it up to $2M
  • Prize pool and contestant stipends: the racers all get a (modest) stipend while they're missing work for 4 weeks, plus the $1M grand prize and lesser prizes for the 2nd place team downward.  Let's ballpark about say $1.5M
  • Race employee pay: Bertram van Munster is quoted here as saying about 2,000 people work on the race, although many/most are likely local facilitators hired to help set up and execute during the few days of each location.  Let's totally wild-ass-guess and say an average of $1000/week per person * average of 1+ weeks working on the race, fudge factor in for a handful of higher paid full-timers (race assistants production assistants) who are there from start to finish.  $3M
  • Race slush fund: Not just all the plane tickets they buy (including ones not used) or the cars rented, or the fees paid to set up challenges in specific locations, but also the monstrous cell phone roaming bills as they're frantically sharing production info mid-race (in the "How Stuff Works" I quoted above, BvM says they spend $25,000 just on phone calls), or the pre-race trips made to plan out the leg, etc, etc.  I'm gonna go ahead and toss out, without good reason, a ballpark of $1M.
  • Pre- and post-production: The producers, race planners, testers, Amazing Editors and related staff are presumably more fixed employees of Worldwide Race.  No idea how many here, but a team of say 20 editors, sound people, etc for the 2-3 of months they work, they're presumably well paid.  I'll toss in another $2M.

 

I probably am way off on some guesses, but I hope that underestimating on one bullet point is balanced by overestimating on another.  And if you figure a show getting 6M viewers would be able to charge $75-100K per 30-second spot, there's about 18 minutes of ads in a one hour show... the show probably costs ~$1M/episode to create and earns 2-3x that in ad revenue on first broadcast, which goes into the pockets of CBS, it's affiliates and the producers (via CBS paying them for first broadcast rights). 

 

25 seasons in, the producers and CBS must have costs/ratings/ad revenue down to a science, so whatever CBS pays is likely a certainty to give the executive producers guaranteed profit on the initial broadcast.  Advertisers pay up front, so if the show doesn't do as well they aren't happy- but TAR seems like a show that clocks in its viewers fairly consistently.

 

Long story short: I know nothing but how to Google, but from what I can see the ratings are probably fine for this show, and we shouldn't be worried.  So long as it's reasonably profitable for both Worldwide Race and CBS, this thing will stick around until Phil & Co. grow tired of it.

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Interesting, thoughtful arguments, and I hope you're right.  The final Friday ratings came out today, and while TAR didn't change, its very interesting that Shark Tank is really the only show that does any decent ratings on Friday.  That got a 2.0, and it was the only show that rated above a 1.3, so TAR getting a 1.1 in the lowest watch slots of the week, Fridays at 8, has to count for something.  

 

Like yourself, I have no idea what TAR costs to produce.  I recall reading an article probably 5 years ago that estimated the cost of a season at around 13-15 mil (I believe this was around the time of TAR 14/15).  If that was somewhat accurate, I'm sure they've fine-tuned it by now and cut accordingly, but inflation could also keep it around that number.  You also ned to keep in mind filming permits for countries and locations, security details, and liability (taking out insurance policies for all those Fords they're driving for example).

 

If I had to guess, I'd say season 26 is looking good, but only CBS knows for sure.

Edited by TheRabbi
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Here's what's bothering me about a 26th season: isn't the race that airs in the late winter/spring actually run starting in late November and ending shortly before Christmas?

 

If so, I'm not sure that the network's delay in calling for a new season will give the producers enough time to set things up. That would mean a delay in airing a potential Season 26, possibly even a skip in the schedule.

 

I'd love to be wrong, but I also don't want to engage in wishful thinking or rationalizing, and it doesn't look good by that standard.

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