TV Long View: One More Way 'Masked Singer' and 'Big Bang Theory' Are Unique

These two shows are outliers, as dramas almost entirely populate the top of the delayed-viewing charts.
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'The Masked Singer' (left), 'The Big Bang Theory'

Delayed viewing of TV is generally a rich-get-richer game: Shows that start out with bigger-than-average audiences also tend to be the ones that get the largest gains after they air.

In that sense, it's absolutely no surprise that series like CBS' The Big Bang Theory (No. 1 in same-day viewers this season, second in adults 18-49, excluding sports) and Fox's The Masked Singer (14th in viewers, first in the 18-49 demo) — rank near the top in DVR gains as well.

In another way, though, those two shows are outliers: The top of the delayed-viewing charts are populated almost entirely by dramas.

Dramas make up just under half (58 of 120) of the non-sports series that have aired on the broadcast networks in 2018-19, as of publication time. There are 30 comedies, 26 unscripted shows and six news programs.

Yet dramas count for 16 of the 20 shows with the biggest seven-day gains among adults 18-49 — 80 percent. Seventeen of the top 20 in viewers added (85 percent) are dramas.

The Big Bang Theory, its spinoff Young Sheldon and The Masked Singer are the only non-dramas among both sets of top 20 gainers; ABC's Modern Family joins them in the top 20 among adults 18-49.

The Masked Singer's gains are especially unusual for unscripted series. The Fox phenomenon grew by 3.43 million viewers and 1.2 points in adults 18-49 after a week of delayed viewing. It outpaces the next-largest unscripted gainers by 51 percent in viewers (2.27 million for NBC's America's Got Talent: The Champions) and 71 percent in adults 18-49 (0.7 for ABC's The Bachelor).

The Big Bang Theory is similarly well ahead of Young Sheldon in viewers added (4.68 million versus 3.53 million, a 33 percent advantage) and Modern Family in 18-49 gains (1.5 versus 1.1, a 36 percent advantage).

Here are the top 20 gainers in each measure through March 3, per Nielsen. Non-dramas are noted in bold.

Total Viewers

Show Network Live + SD viewers (millions) Live +7 viewers (millions) 7-day gain (millions)
Manifest NBC 6.488 12.607 6.119
The Good Doctor ABC 6.61 12.604 5.994
This Is Us NBC 8.537 14.045 5.508
New Amsterdam NBC 6.308 11.645 5.337
Bull CBS 6.745 11.54 4.795
The Big Bang Theory CBS 12.997 17.677 4.68
Blue Bloods CBS 8.604 13.002 4.398
911 Fox 5.853 10.197 4.344
The Rookie ABC 4.157 8.318 4.161
Chicago PD NBC 7.165 11.278 4.113
NCIS CBS 12.232 16.071 3.839
NCIS: New Orleans CBS 7.546 11.181 3.635
FBI CBS 9.187 12.79 3.603
Criminal Minds CBS 4.616 8.217 3.601
Chicago Fire NBC 8.15 11.743 3.593
Young Sheldon CBS 11.18 14.705 3.525
A Million Little Things ABC 4.263 7.779 3.516
Grey's Anatomy ABC 6.856 10.32 3.464
The Masked Singer Fox 8.136 11.566 3.43
The Blacklist NBC 3.872 7.282 3.41

Adults 18-49

Show Network Live + SD rating Live +7 rating 7-day gain
This Is Us NBC 2.1 3.9 1.8
The Big Bang Theory CBS 2.3 3.8 1.5
Manifest NBC 1.3 2.8 1.5
The Good Doctor ABC 1.1 2.5 1.4
Grey's Anatomy ABC 1.7 3.0 1.3
New Amsterdam NBC 1.2 2.5 1.3
911 Fox 1.4 2.6 1.2
The Masked Singer Fox 2.6 3.8 1.2
A Million Little Things ABC 0.9 2.0 1.1
Modern Family ABC 1.3 2.4 1.1
Chicago PD NBC 1.1 2.2 1.1
Law & Order: SVU NBC 0.9 1.9 1.0
Criminal Minds CBS 0.8 1.7 0.9
Young Sheldon CBS 1.8 2.7 0.9
How to Get Away With Murder ABC 0.7 1.5 0.8
The Rookie ABC 0.7 1.5 0.8
Bull CBS 0.8 1.6 0.8
Empire Fox 1.5 2.3 0.8
The Orville Fox 0.8 1.6 0.8
The Passage Fox 1.0 1.8 0.8

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