Here’s an idea for ABC: Brand Sunday night as “Rhymin’ Sunday:”

  • “Once Upon a Time”
  • “Time After Time”
  • “American Crime”

That’s the type of s**t I would say at work to relieve the tension. It didn’t always go over well.

The Masked Mailbox produced this question from SM, which was part of a longer, very enjoyable email:

“…I read years ago that one of the secrets of the fortune made with ‘Frasier’ was that, beyond its mass appeal, it hit a segment of the audience rarely hit with network shows … middle-aged, high-earning households. Advertisers of products for this segment paid a pretty penny for a commercial on ‘Frasier.’ What advertisers would this be? I rarely see commercials for Tiffany/Hublot/Porsche. To follow up, to your knowledge, what current show(s) might be in a similar situation?” – SM

Although the currency in the business is 18-49 ratings (and, before folks at CBS have a coronary, 25-54) it is important to note that not every rating point is created equal and has different meaning based on the show and the network. If I were going to make broad generalizations, when I was in the game “18-49 ratings” meant 18-34 for FOX and The CW, 25-54 for CBS and 18-49 for ABC and NBC. In other words, when you bought shows on that network, that was probably the skew of the audience.

In addition to age, there were certain characteristics of a show and a network that factored into the buy. The “holy grail” in TV was “urban/upscale/affluent.” We would get NAD (National Audience Demographics) from Nielsen that would provide the characteristics of the audience for each show and the networks could charge a different price for an ad based on those factors.

RELATED: Masked Scheduler mailbag: Is the 10 p.m. slot dead?

“Frasier” was a key player in the “Must-See TV” decade at NBC, being one of several shows valued by advertisers. Thursday night was especially valuable for automotives and movies and shows like “Frasier,” “Seinfeld” and “ER” were in high demand. The satellite comedies were very valuable since they cost less but inherited the audience from the big hits.

“Frasier” was a slightly older-skewing comedy compared to “Seinfeld” or “Friends,” so it may have attracted a somewhat different group of advertisers. A big part of “Frasier’s” financial success was moving to Tuesday and anchoring a second night of Must-See TV. This made it more attractive in syndication, having proven that it was not just the show behind “Seinfeld” and could stand on its own.

Some networks (NBC and Turner) are again trying to introduce new metrics into the audience measurement game. It is an ongoing dialogue between networks and advertisers.

I honestly don’t know what the upscale shows on broadcast TV are at the moment. Would not be surprised if “Modern Family” is above average. “The Good Wife” may have been more upscale when compared with other CBS dramas. Maybe someone out there can help with this.

Got a question? Reach me via Twitter @maskedscheduler or at

Posted by:The Masked Scheduler

The Masked Scheduler is a 35-year veteran of the broadcasting business and a twenty-five year veteran of the prime time scheduling wars. He left the business in 2015 following a “Loser Leaves The Business” match. In addition to providing insights on the TV business for “TV By the Numbers” the Masked Scheduler is a media consultant, blogger and raconteur.