TV Networks Hide Bad Ratings with Typos

The networks are using typos to try and prop up their ratings.

Cnet writes that when an episode performs poorly with viewers, the networks often intentionally misspell the show title in their report to Nielsen.

This fools the system into separating that airing out as a different show and keeping it from affecting the correctly-spelled show's average overall rating.

It's a trick that networks are using much more often. 

The practice was initially used sparingly -- for instance, when a broadcast would go up against a major sporting event. But it has now grown fairly common, with NBC misspelling the title of "NBC Nightly News" 14 times since the current TV season began last fall. At one point, that reportedly included an entire week of broadcasts.

Competitors ABC and CBS allegedly followed suit, with ABC reportedly submitting "Wrld News Tonite" on seven occasions over the same time period. CBS reportedly misspelled the name of its evening newscast as "CBS Evening Nws" a total of 12 times.

The bigger question has to be, why does Nielsen allow this to happen?

 Nielsen issued the following statement about the practice: 

"With participation and input from clients, Nielsen maintains a rigorous set of policy guidelines for how network clients can and should receive program and commercial ratings credit for their programming. Nielsen takes these Policy Guidelines very seriously and if we find a network working in contrast to this agreed-upon policy, we address the issue in a direct fashion as a way to maintain fairness and balance over all of our clients and the industry as a whole. We have many touch points with clients throughout the season to ensure guidelines are being adhered to."  

So, in other words...if the checks keep clearing, Nielsen is going to let this slide.