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Impact of Fox nixing overnight ratings on how we see TV viewing numbers

The first complete trailer of The X-Files.
The first complete trailer of The X-Files.
Televisione Streaming/Flickr

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When Fox airs the first episode of its ‘X-Files’ reboot after the NFC Championship Game on January 24, we won’t see how well it did the next morning.

Fox announced it will no longer be gathering ‘overnight’ ratings, as it has done in the past. The numbers are generated by Nielsen and give an insight into how many households tuned into or watched on-demand a previous night’s primetime show.

The move is an effort, Fox says, to “change the conversation” about television watching. More and more viewers are tuning in to primetime shows via DVR, video-on-demand, or on streaming platforms.

Fox will become the first major network to nix the overnight ratings, but its competitors suggest that it wouldn’t be getting rid of the ratings if they had better overnight numbers to show.

So far, no other networks have said they might follow suit, although there have been executives who suggest that the conversation is a good one to start. TV journalists and publications that report the overnight numbers say they’ll continue to report Fox’s ratings.


Stephen Battaglio, Staff writer for The Los Angeles Times covering TV and media biz out of New York; LA Times: “Fox tries to break the overnight ratings habit as TV viewing changes.” He tweets at @SteveBattaglio