Predicting Nielsen Ratings from Pilot Episodes Scripts: A Content Analytical Approach


  • Starling Hunter Wayne State University



pilot episode, script, screenplay, television, television series, television ratings, Nielsen ratings, statistical analysis, panel data, regression analysis, content analysis, network analysis, semantic network analysis


Textual and content data were extracted from the pilot episode scripts of 183 new, dramatic television series and used to predict the 18-49 demo ratings for the first five episodes of each series’ first season. As expected, the originality of a series’ premise, the track record of success of the its creator(s), and the cognitive complexity of its pilot episode script each explain a statistically significant proportion of the variance in the Nielsen ratings over the first five episodes.


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How to Cite

Hunter, S. (2019). Predicting Nielsen Ratings from Pilot Episodes Scripts: A Content Analytical Approach. Series - International Journal of TV Serial Narratives, 5(1), 9–21.



Narratives / Aesthetics / Criticism