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At TCA: Steve Harvey, the Man of Many Hats, and Nielsen, the Company of Many Numbers
August 4, 2017  | By Ed Bark

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- Steve Harvey defies ubiquitous. To say he's everywhere is to shortchange him.

He somehow found time to appear late Thursday afternoon at NBC Universal's portion of the Television Critics Association press tour. The principal agenda: promoting his retooled and retitled daytime show Steve, which is relocating from Chicago to Hollywood this fall.

"I wanted to bring late night TV to daytime. I think that's what's missing," Harvey explained.

Things then got a bit esoteric, with Harvey contending that "nobody watches daytime for 'takeaway' anymore. You just tune in to find out how to become a coupon queen and how to make your dresser look better with new knobs and how to make linguine in a machine."

Anyhoo, Harvey wants to provide viewers with the option of a "big laugh in the middle of the day. I mean, really get a good, hard 'spit on your computer' type laugh. That's what I'm after. And coming to L.A. naturally will allow you to have a lot more input with celebrities. They can drive over instead of flying to Chicago."

We pause now to remind readers that Harvey already seems impossibly busy as the host of NBC's Little Big Shots and Little Big Shots: Forever Young, plus ABC's Celebrity Family Feud and Steve Harvey's Funderdome, which air back-to-back on Sunday nights. Oh, and he also has a weekday radio vehicle, The Steve Harvey Morning Show.

It's not all that arduous, he said. And it certainly beats heavy lifting.

"All the shows I have, I can tape them in packages and blocks," he said. Plus, "I'm just a hard worker . . . I worked at Ford Motor Company. I put eight spark plugs in 1,400 engines a day. That's hard. You want me to come out here and talk and tell jokes, and you're going to pay me this much money? This is a piece of cake to me."

Harvey ran into something of a buzz saw recently when a disgruntled staffer from his daytime show leaked an email that made him seem like an imperious dictator.

He wrote in part, "There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE." And in case that wasn't clear, "I want all 'ambushing' to stop now. That includes TV staff."

Harvey said the email taught him that "I can't write, and I should never write. I just did it."

"I'm not really a mean-spirited guy at all," he added. "I'm really a congenial guy. But it's kind of like if you go home everyday and all your kids (are) in the kitchen waiting on you and start hammering you, you just need a moment. That's all it was. It's really not that big a deal. I thought it was cute. You all didn't."

His presence and workload are not by design, but he'll take it.

"What's happened to me in my life now is just a lot of God's grace," Harvey said. "I didn't plan it. I didn't see it coming. I never thought I'd have this much success on TV. It's really kind of humbling . . . And I'm 60. I know you're stunned. I don't look like it, I know."

Harvey realizes that Ellen DeGeneres has long been doing the same kind of daytime show that he says daytime needs. But "Ellen needs a friend," he said. "Ellen needs somebody to go with her and have that type of show."

They're already friends and business partners as co-producers of Little Big Shots (right) and its spinoff. And since Ellen and Steve are syndicated by NBC Universal Television, they'll be on the same station in most major markets.

Harvey said that his new show likewise will include a monologue and games with guests and the audience.

"I'm not going to do anything that's not in my wheelhouse," he said. "I'm old enough to know what I do. I won't get talked into something I can't do."

Steve launches on Sept. 5. Until then -- believe it or not -- Harvey actually has a little time on his hands.


The Nielsen Company tried to make sense of the sprawling TV universe during a Saturday morning panel. So many "platforms," so many new ways to measure.

Here are just a few eye-openers:

* Nielsen says that among 25-to-54-year-olds, 24 percent of their TV-watching is via streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. It's the highest percentage of any age group.

* During a 35-day period after their broadcast network premiere, the average audience for episodes of CBS' The Big Bang Theory grew from 13 million to 23.3 million viewers. The network's NCIS also has a very big afterlife, increasing its viewership from 14.6 million to 21 million viewers via On Demand and DVR recording.

* Baby boomers (ages 53 to 70 as defined by Nielsen) remain the most voracious viewers of "Live + DVR/Time-shifted TV." In the first quarter of this year (Jan.-March), they consumed 6 hours and 42 minutes a day.

In comparison, Generation Z (2-to-20-year-olds) just can't be bothered. They watch just two hours and 18 minutes a day. Television consumption still increases with age, although Generation X (38 to 52) consumes more than two hours less per day -- 4 hours, 38 minutes -- than Baby Boomers do.

Perhaps you're thinking that younger viewers watch a lot more these days via an app or website on their smartphones. Nielsen has data on that, and it may not be quite what you think.

Baby Boomers logged an average of 2 hours, 29 minutes a day in this way, not that far behind 2 hours, 36 minutes for Gen X and 2 hours, 51 minutes for Millennials (ages 21 to 37). Gen Z doesn't even register yet on that scorecard.

* Nielsen is newly re-tackling out-of-home viewing after earlier abandoning it as too complicated.

The impetus is Nielsen's acquisition in 2013 of the Arbitron media and marketing research firm. It took a while, but Nielsen at last is utilizing Arbitron's "portable people meters" to measure viewing in workplaces, bars, airports, other peoples' homes, etc. Arbitron had deployed roughly 80,000 of the devices to measure radio listening in the country's 40 largest radio markets.

Kelly Abcarian, Nielsen's senior Vice President of Watch Product Architecture, told TVWorthWatching that the portable meters are roughly the size of an old-school pager.

Nielsen waited until April of this year to launch its out-of-home viewer measurement service, with ESPN, Fox Sports and the Turner networks signing up as subscribers. More  networks are on the way, Abcarian said, but would say no more.

Nielsen is measuring out-of-home viewership for a wide variety of networks, including the Big Four broadcasters (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC). They're expected to sign up soon.

Intriguing stat: Among 25-to-54-year-olds, June's live, morning James Comey hearings got an 11 percent "lift" from out-of-home viewing on broadcast networks and an 18 percent bump for CNN.

"People were absolutely glued to this television event" in a variety of locales, Abcarian said. And Nielsen's still fledgling measuring service is finally coming to grips with that.

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