‘Special’ fever hits for Games

What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”?

During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings.

In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused ABC of using the ploy so that “Home Improvement’s” ratings weren’t “dragged down,” thereby endangering its chances of finishing the season as the nation’s top-rated program. “Improvement” is neck-and-neck with “60 Minutes” for the top slot, with the CBS show ahead by 0.1 of a rating point.

“‘Day One’ is certainly not going to beat out ’60 Minutes,’ and we did it with that, as well,” ABC exec VP of research Peter Chrisanthopoulos fired back. “We were dealing with one of the most atypical weeks in TV. The week is considered an anomaly and we shouldn’t be benefiting or penalizing (regular) shows.”

Rivals also point out that CBS employed the same labeling tactics with “60 Minutes,” tagging the edition that aired opposite NBC’s Jan. 30 Super Bowl telecast as a special.

“David (Poltrack) can’t have it both ways. He ought not to exercise the prerogative and complain about it at the same time,” said Nicholas Schiavone, NBC’s VP of media & marketing research.

The option to code a program as a special, when its content and competition are both deemed atypical, is frequently employed by local television stations afraid of having their fare slaughtered in the ratings by major events. Networks usually use the Nielsen loophole less often.

More TV

  • David Harbour'Stranger Things' event, Los Angeles,

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Is Inspired by 1985's 'Fletch' (EXCLUSIVE)

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

  • Disney Channel logo

    TV News Roundup: Disney Channel Announces 'Coop & Cami' Premiere Date

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

  • Star Wars Resistance Trailer

    'Star Wars Resistance': Disney Drops Trailer for 'The Force Awakens' Prequel Series

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

  • Michelle Wolf Joel McHale

    Michelle Wolf, Joel McHale Talk Shows Canceled by Netflix

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

  • Jeremy Corbyn Brexit

    British Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn to Deliver Edinburgh TV Festival Lecture

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

  • The Affair

    The Debate Over 'The Affair' Star Ruth Wilson's Awkward Exit (Column)

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

  • Mayans MC

    TV Review: 'Mayans M.C.' on FX

    What’s so special about ABC’s “Home Improvement,””Grace Under Fire,””20/20, “”PrimeTime Live,””Day One” and NBC’s “Now”? During the second week of the Olympics, each of those programs were labeled as “specials,” meaning those telecasts don’t count in their respective season-to-date Nielsen ratings. In a conference call with reporters, CBS senior VP of research David Poltrack accused […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content