Summer TV’s Ratings Winners And Losers

As the season heads into its final weeks, The Hollywood Reporter assesses the strong performers and disappointments of the past three months. From left: Big Little Lies (HBO), BH90210 (Fox), Yellowstone (Paramount Network) and The Bachelorette (ABC).

Summer Originals Explode On Broadcast

If it seems like there’s more original programming to watch on the broadcast networks this summer than in recent years, it’s because there is. The five English-language networks will offer up 55 original series between Memorial Day and the start of the 2019-20 season in late September, including in-season shows that continued into summer. That’s up from 42 in 2018, an increase of more than 30%.

Fox Ramps Up Off-Cycle Development

While reading pilot scripts, picking up and casting pilots this winter, Fox also has been actively buying drama and comedy pitches in a renewed effort to develop projects for off-cycle pilot and straight-to-series orders.

Summer TV’s Winners & Losers (So Far)

Summer is officially upon us. A historically subdued time on the TV calendar, the unrelenting pace of content output today has made it so that it’s now almost as competitive as the traditional broadcast season. Almost. So who’s pulling their weight and who can’t catch a break?

Summer 2016 TV, Cable, Streaming Highlights

Television has been unleashed from the calendar — who cares about time slots or premiere dates when you can binge entire seasons anytime, anywhere? Still, there’s anticipation of cool diversions during the hot summer. The season begins on Memorial Day with a four-night event across three networks, a reprise of the historic miniseries Roots.

Good, Bad & Ugly: A Summer TV Mega-Recap

The summer TV season has just about run its course, and if the Nielsen ratings are any indication, there wasn’t much to love about the warm-weather interregnum.

Summer’s Top Shows Among Millennials

Millennials’ media habits are very different than older generations, but despite their devotion to online video and video games, they still watch a fair amount of traditional television. This summer, they’ve been especially interested in zombies, teen moms and just about anything on Adult Swim.

Finally, New Shows Rise To The Top

For years oldies have dominated summer but this year five first-timers have infiltrated the top-rated programs, led by ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud and Fox’s Wayward Pines.

Summer’s Top Shows Are Mostly Oldies

Returning programs dominate the top 10 among 18-49s. In fact, several long-running shows have even seen gains this summer. So much for trying new things.

Five Ways To Fix Summer Television

 Broadcast ratings are sinking and the networks need new ideas. Media people offer smart solutions, from embracing game shows to letting regular-season hits run into summer.

Media Buyers: Fox Is Summer’s Big Surprise

Fox may not have the best ratings this summer. But it does have the appreciation of media buyers for trying something new. They say the network’s ambitious miniseries Wayward Pines is the most impressive new show of the summer, despite posting lower ratings than several other new shows.

Scripted Shows Wilt In The Summer Sun

The boom in scripted summer programming has been met with increasingly diminished returns, as broadcast and top-tier cable nets are struggling to land a hot-weather hit.

New, Returning Shows Heating Up Summer

Summer has evolved from a rerun graveyard to the home of lively offerings, with enough choices to threaten your vacation plans — or at least DVR capacity.

Summer TV Lineup Is Full On Cable

Not every cable TV series has been scheduled, including FX’s returning comedy You’re the Worst, and there’s not enough space to include one-off TV movies like Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (9 p.m. July 22). But here’s a pretty comprehensive list of what viewers can expect from cable networks over the next three months.

Fox’s Summer Play: Keeping It Real

The network is sticking largely with unscripted fare, including two new shows and a revival. Its major scripted effort, Wayward Pines, has drawn modest numbers.

NBC’s Summer Strategy Mixing It Up

The network is one of the few to do well with scripted and unscripted shows. As America’s Got Talent wanes, NBC hopes to find worthy successors.

Why Nets Are Going For Broke This Summer

For decades, the broadcast networks took the idea of summer vacation quite literally — programming reruns and other filler content from June through mid-September, much to the frustration of advertisers. Those days are finally over, as broadcasters follow the lead of cable and, more recently, Netflix, by packing their summer slates with big series presented in unique ways (like NBC’s Aquarius)  that help audiences more easily consume content and aid advertisers in reaching viewers.


ABC’s Summer Play: Riding The NBA

Finals will lift the network to No. 1 the first month, in a reversal of the regular season, when the network lags its rivals because of its lack of sports programming.

Networks Offer Variety Of Shows For Summer

Fox’s intriguing Wayward Pines premiered last week to disappointing ratings and MasterChef was back for a new season earlier this week. ABC’s latest edition of The Bachelorette already is underway as is new game show 500 Questions. But there’s plenty more to come. Here’s a look.

Summer Shows Have Marketers Scrambling

For the marketing executives whose job it is to round up eyeballs to watch television, the summer is turning out to be hazy, crazy, anything but lazy. A deluge of original programming is replacing many of the reruns that typically dominate schedules this time of year, offering viewers perhaps the most new summertime series since the early decades of the medium. By one count, broadcast networks and cable channels are introducing 88 shows from late May, when the 2013-14 season ended, through late September, when the 2014-15 season will begin.

Summer TV Should Come With Warnings

A rash of scripted summer thrillers cautions viewers to batten down the hatches. The message is clear: Danger lurks everywhere. A certain brand of TV drama has always kept its audience on high alert, at least as far back as The Twilight Zone. But these days, with agencies hacking your email, new diseases cropping up, ice caps melting and drones overhead, viewers are sitting ducks for the titillation of dramatized threats to offer welcome distraction from the real thing.

No Summer Vacation For Network TV

The summer blockbusters are coming. And to see them, you don’t even need to get off your sofa. The TV networks are pouring unprecedented amounts of money — and some very creative deal-making — into getting A-list movie writer-producers and actors onto your living-room flat screen during the hot months.

NBC’s Summer Play: Going Scripted

The network has six new comedies and dramas premiering, hoping for the same success ABC and CBS have had with scripted summer fare. Plus it’s got Talent.

Solid Starts For ABC, NBC Weekend Shows

By the lax standards of summer television, new shows on ABC and NBC had decent debuts over the weekend. ABC’s Sing Your Face Off and NBC’s Crossbones both improved on their timeslot averages.

The Big Trends On Broadcast This Summer

The Big 5 have more scripted series following the success of Under the Dome. They’re also reviving dead shows and programming on Friday and Saturday.

Summer TV Competition Gets Serious

The broadcast networks have trumpeted plans to take pressure off the traditional fall premiere season by rolling out new shows throughout the year. The summer will test that strategy. Starting this month, the five broadcasters are scheduled to premiere 13 scripted series over the course of the season (including CBS’s Extant), up from 10 last year. At the same time there are more cable nets than ever in the summer frey. Here’s a look at the season ahead.