Hurricane Irma Soaks ‘Sunday Night Football’ & ‘The Orville’; Ratings Delayed


Tampa was thankfully largely spared from the worst of Hurricane Irma, but ratings on the Big 4 got drenched Sunday. And it may be days before we know how many people watched the Dallas Cowboys’ 19-3 trouncing of the New York Giants last night on NBC.

Because of the extreme weather over the weekend, Nielsen was not able to seamlessly collect viewer data for the official kickoff of Sunday Night Football last night or the debut of The Orville on Fox.

“Our first priority and thoughts are for the safety of our clients, Nielsen associates, and communities in which we operate and serve,” the rating company said in a statement. “The team that reports ratings has evacuated the Tampa Bay area due to Hurricane Irma. Therefore, our ratings will be delayed in the near term. We are actively monitoring the situation in Florida and will provide another update as soon as we know more.”

“As a result, until we are able to resume normal operations, no data will be issued,” Nielsen told clients directly late Sunday. “We will keep you updated on the situation and our plans for resuming data release,” the Florida-based data company added after having to shut down operations at its Oldsmar HQ because of Irma’s advance.

“We understand that this is not optimal for clients, but we are facing a powerful storm and a unique situation,” Nielsen said with obvious understatement. “We appreciate, in advance, your understanding.”

There hasn’t been an update this morning on when we’ll see ratings for the NFL on NBC, the preview of Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi drama, 60 Minutes sit-down with Steve Bannon, and the 2018 Miss America competition. In fact, sources say ratings may continue to be delayed until later this week for both broadcast and cable. In addition to the Cowboys’ win at home, we do know that Miss North Dakota Cara Mund won the pageant shown on ABC on Sunday.

At this point, it is unknown whether data will be collected for tonight’s primetime.

Earlier this summer, ratings were delayed for America’s Got Talent and other shows on the morning of June 28 because Nielsen wanted to double-check some “processing performance” anomalies in the results coming from markets like Austin and Los Angeles. Previously, a power outage early in the morning March 12 at Nielsen’s Global Technology and Innovation Center in Oldsmar led to delays.

As for the weather, though Irma was been downgraded to a tropical storm, more than 6 million people in the Sunshine State are without power this morning. Now heading towards Georgia and Alabama, Irma could still cause harm, officials are warning the region.

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