highest rated comedy

If you thought pre-Ted he was just the Family Guy guy– as if that weren’t enough– think again. He also created the popular animated show American Dad!, for which he still does extensive voice work: the slightly less popular and and now sadly cancelled The Cleveland Show (a Family Guy spin-off); live-action sitcoms The Winner and the upcoming Dads with Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi; a series of animated webisodes called Seth Macfarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy; and his latest TV Project, documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a follow-up to Carl Sagan’s legendary 1980 series Cosmos: A Personal Journey.

In-between all that, he still finds time to take Family Guy Live on the road; record vocal albums (his debut Music Is Better Than Words was released in September 2011); oversee Comedy Central Roasts (he is the only person to have hosted more than one– his tally totals David Hasselhoff, Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump); host the Oscars; appear as Ensign Rivers on Star Trek: Enterprise (he showed up in two episodes of the series’ third and fourth seasons); make countless appearances on TV chat shows, often political forums; keep up a punishing schedule of speaking engagements; provide voices for Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken; and campaign for issues of social justice (he is a vehement supporter of gay marriage). It’s a wonder he finds time to sleep, let alone write, direct and star in a movie like 2012’s Ted, the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time.

It’s also a wonder he doesn’t look more exhausted. When we meet at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, where he’s promoting comedy Western A Million Ways To Die In The West (which he wrote, directed, produced and stars in as a meek sheep farmer forced to find his courage by mysterious newcomer Charlize Theron), he greets Empire with a cheeky grin on his boyish face. Macfarlane obviously takes the business of comedy very seriously, talking eloquently and passionately about his work, but he’s also a comic who can be amusing and charming without trying too hard. Not something you can say of everyone in his profession…

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What you should know about TV Ratings

No one ever listens to me BUT herardentwish asked me how tv ratings work especially with the advent of DVR and people hopping online to watch more and more media content rather than sit in front of the television.

I mean essentially, tv ratings became a thing before you think. It was actually invented for radio broadcasts, then old dude Arthur Nielsen who was a marketing guy expanded that to television in the 50s. This was back when t.v. was the thing your family did as a group together after dinner for one hour.

ALSO not everyone even had a t.v. so it was easy to predict that if there were three channels to pick from, and maybe 1,000 people in your city had a television, what the percentage of viewers might be for a thing.

The stupid problem is that the formula hasn’t changed much, it’s just adjusted for how long we now spend watching t.v. on average, who watches (ethnically and age wise) and how many people have easy access to a television which is now millions of people. Except now millions of people are also like ‘fuck you’ to commercials.


So, advertisers pay money (a lot of it, that’s why the Superbowl is apparently more about the ads than the game) to say 'We want our ad to run during this show because A LOT OF PEOPLE WATCH IT.’

It’s like in The Walking Dead, when we got this shot of walkers chowing down on a dead guy and then the first ad at the break was people chowing down on fried chicken.


And if your show does well, more expensive companies who have more money to throw at the network will hop on the dollar sign train and everyone is happy. What ruins everyone’s happy is less viewers which can be for a couple of reasons:

1) People just aren’t watching.

2) People are fast forwarding through commercials, therefore you never see the ad, which means sales don’t go up for that product, whatever it is.

3) People are watching on their computers.

So, about point 1:

Nielsen can’t actually give everyone the software to track what’s being watched, because as of 2013, approximately 115 MILLION people have a t.v. So, here’s what they do. Ratings will look like this:

Once Upon a Time - Live, Same day rating2.1/6.

That means that on average, 2.1% of everyone in the country with a television were at some point watching the show, and 6% watched for the entire hour solid.

A single point = 1.15 million households. So, that’s roughly 6 million people who watched it live. That’s a lot of people. When you get down into the 3-4 million mark, there’s a danger zone unless you’re say, on HBO where there is no advertising and the only risk is the company’s. But when people don’t watch, advertisers pull, the network loses money, the show gets canned. Thems the breaks. RIP, Happy Endings.

When you throw the DVR thing into the mix it gets even more complicated. You have to wait 7 days to even get those numbers. (Though some companies will only wait 3 days, which gives you some inaccuracy right there.)

Continuing to use Once Upon a Time as our example and the same episode, once the 'plus seven’ days were added, that increased their numbers to 2.3/7. So, there is a notable difference. The problem is that when people are watching on their DVRs, advertisers aren’t making money, so if the ratings aren’t high on the live viewing, they start pulling out, the ratings drop, and that’s how good shows get cancelled. The difference in numbers can be so insignificant that statistically there’s no actual measurable difference between one show and the other, so it will literally come down to which show had the highest rating even if one show is 2.1 and the other is 2.2.

The problem with Nielsen is that, sure, it now rates DVR viewings too, but the sample sizes are small, and raters are still required to keep a diary. Yes, an ACTUAL diary and that is something I have been a part of. A diary that you actually write down what show you watched and at what time you watched it. My experience? Jesus, I don’t remember when I watched this thing on my DVR. I guess it was…three days ago around two in the morning?

That is 100% what the diary looks like.

(So really if you want to 'boycott’ something you need two things: A Nielsen rating box and a DVR. If you don’t have both of those things, you are 100% wasting your time not watching a show.)

Point two was kind of covered in point 1, so moving on to point three:

There’s a reason Hulu has ads you can’t skip.

If they have advertisers, they can keep the price of being able to watch all this free content at a certain level because we’re seeing ads for say, Tide laundry detergent, and once we’re done with our New Girl binge watch, we want to smell like a summer spring day like Jess Day probably does. So we go out and buy that product.


Internet versions of television shows still don’t count in the ratings. STILL. IN 2014. Because the ads are either non-existent (Netflix) or there aren’t enough of them (Hulu), and remember - it’s all about $$$$$$$ 

The Money Train. (Or: A movie I didn’t know was real until 5 seconds ago.)

Just to give you an example of how times have changed?

I Love Lucy was once the highest rated comedy on television with an average of 43 million viewers per episode.

The highest rated comedy of the 2013 season was The Big Bang Theory with 19 million viewers per episode.

Congratulations, America. We’ve had a good run.

Some fun ratings facts:

The season 12 premiere of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia was the highest rated thing on FXX ever! For a network that’s only 4 years old and a show that’s 12 years deep, they’re doing pretty well.

Also, Kaitlin’s other show The Mick is the highest rated new comedy for the 2016-17 season, even with the drop from the New Years Day special premiere to its normal timeslot.

Hoorays and yays all around.


Hot off its season five premiere last night, SHOWTIME has ordered a sixth season of SHAMELESS, the network’s highest-rated comedy series  for a 12-episode order. Production on season six starting later this year.

The fifth season of SHAMELESS stars Oscar nominee and Emmy winner William H. Macy as pickled patriarch Frank Gallagher and Golden Globe nominee Emmy Rossum as daughter Fiona. Recently garnering three Emmy Award nominations in the ‘Comedy’ category, as well Golden Globe and SAG noms for Macy, SHAMELESS season 5 finds the Gallaghers dealing with the upsides and downsides of personal growth and urban renewal. As their neighborhood begins a move towards gentrifying, the Gallagher clan tries to reconcile their chaotic past in the hopes of building a better future. Dermot Mulroney, Steve Kazee and Sasha Alexander guest star. The series stars Macy and Rossum, along with Ethan Cutkosky, Emily Bergl, Shanola Hampton, Steve Howey, Emma Kenney, Cameron Monaghan, Jeremy Allen White, Noel Fisher and special guest star Joan Cusack. Based on the long-running hit U.K. series, SHAMELESS is executive-produced by Emmy Award winning television and film producer John Wells, Andrew Stearn, Christopher Chulack, Davey Holmes and Nancy Pimental. Wells developed the series for American television. Paul Abbott serves as executive consultant. SHAMELESS is produced by Bonanza Productions, Inc. in association with John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

‘Saturday Night Live’ is an institution unlike anything else in television history. The many brilliant ‘Not Ready for Primetime Players’ over the years is a who’s who of film and television comedy for the last two generations. The roster includes everyone from the iconic first cast in 1975 to household names ranging from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler, to Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers — to name only a few. This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, was the brainchild of Lorne Michaels, who still presides over the whole enterprise today. This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL’s historic 40th season next year.
—  Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment

China has banned all online streaming of The Big Bang Theory while in America it’s the highest rating comedy show so really, which is the worse country for human rights violations here