TV Long View: The Most Average Shows on Broadcast TV

These are the series whose ratings line up best with their network's overall numbers.
Courtesy of ABC, FOX and NBC
From left: 'Single Parents,' 'The Orville,' 'Ellen's Game of Games'

Most discussions of ratings are about the highs and lows — which shows are taking off, holding at or near the top of the rankings or experiencing the biggest losses.

This is not about that. It's about the middle of the pack, the shows with audiences closest to the average rating for each broadcast network and for all five nets this season.

The Hollywood Reporter calculated the average live-plus-7 ratings for each network's primetime entertainment shows, excluding sports and news programming. Here are the ones on each network closest to those averages. All figures are through Feb. 3.

ABC
Averages: 1.5 rating in adults 18-49, 6.09 million viewers

Closest to average: First-year comedies Single Parents and The Kids Are Alright. Single Parents is the only ABC series right on the network's 18-49 average of 1.5 (it even has the same seven-day gain of 0.6 as the network overall). With 5.86 million viewers, The Kids Are Alright is the closest to the mean in terms of total audience.

CBS
Averages: 1.6 in adults 18-49, 10.32 million viewers

Closest to average: The Neighborhood, Bull and Hawaii Five-0. Rookie comedy The Neighborhood (which has been renewed) and third-year drama Bull both pull in 1.6 ratings among adults 18-49. Five-0's 10.35 million viewers are just three-tenths of 1 percent off the network average.

(CBS network averages exclude the post-Super Bowl premiere of The World's Best, which is the only episode that had aired by Feb. 3 and is not indicative of its overall performance thus far.)

Fox
Averages: 1.7 in adults 18-49, 5.93 million viewers

Closest to average: The Orville. Seth MacFarlane's sci-fi series is one of four Fox shows to average a 1.7 in the 18-49 demo (Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and Star are the others), but The Orville's 6.23 million viewers are much closer to the network mean than the others.

NBC
Averages: 1.9 in adults 18-49, 8.26 million viewers

Closest to average: Ellen's Game of Games. It is joined by Law & Order: SVU and The Titan Games in drawing a 1.9 demo rating after seven days, but Game of Games' 7.77 million viewers are also the closest to the network average, with a 94 percent correlation vs. 92 percent for SVU (7.62 million) and just 80 percent (6.61 million) for Titan Games.

The CW
Averages: 0.6 in adults 18-49, 1.88 million viewers

Closest to average: Legends of Tomorrow. The DC series (currently on hiatus until April) is right on the network average in adults 18-49 (as are Black Lightning, Legacies and Roswell, New Mexico), and its 1.82 million viewers are only about 60,000 off The CW's total audience — a 96.7 percent correlation.

All networks
Averages: 1.5 in adults 18-49, 6.87 million viewers

Most average show of all: This calculation is a bit less obvious, because of the six series that average 1.5 ratings in adults 18-49, only two — CBS' SWAT (8.64 million viewers) and ABC's Single Parents (5.05 million) — were anywhere near the average total audience across all five networks. Neither one, however, is even within 25 percent of that number.

Of shows within 0.1 of the 18-49 average, Fox's The Cool Kids has a total audience (6.32 million) nearest to the all-net mean of 6.87 million. It can thus be named the most average-rated show on all of broadcast TV this season.