SBD/12/Sports Media

TBN FORMULA ANGERS FANS, PRODUCES HIGH RATINGS FOR NETS

     Tuesday Night's LCS opener got a ABC 14.6 Nielsen rating,
the highest LCS rating since the Mets and Dodgers generated a
16.4 in '88.  The rating is also 29% higher than LCS numbers from
'93.  In Seattle, the Mariners-Indians drew a 47.9 rating, while
getting a 45.8 in Cleveland.  Cincinnati drew a 31.6 for the
Braves-Reds, while Atlanta drew a 30.2 (Prentis Rogers, ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 10/12).
     ABC BURNED BY SPORTS:  NBC placed first in prime-time
Nielson ratings for the first time in nine weeks, pushing ABC to
second place.  Tom Bierbaum reports in this morning's VARIETY
that ABC's loss can be partially blamed on "its weakest Monday
Night Football telecast of the season," and three nights of
baseball coverage.  However, Bierbaum notes "the new and
controversial baseball playoff format managed generally
competitive prime time numbers. ... Though the week's five game
average -- a 10.5 rating, 20 share -- equals the previous lowest
rating for a single playoff baseball telecast since" October '91.
Then again, Bierbaum writes that "baseball's sagging popularity
relative to football's is demonstrated by the fact that there's
only been one 'Monday Night Football' telecast in 15 years (and
probably ever) lower-rated than any of last week's five playoff
baseball games" (DAILY VARIETY, 10/12).
     OTHER NOTES:  ABC yesterday took the heat for the decision
to sign off from Tuesday's Mariners-Indians game and not carry
extra innings of Reds-Braves.  ABC Sports spokesperson Mark
Mandel said covering sports "is a great burden on our affiliates
and we do everything to get them back to their local programming"
(WASHINGTON POST, 10/12). ....In USA TODAY, Michael Hiestand
writes MLB should accept the criticism for problems with The
Baseball Network, not the networks.  Hiestand notes it is "MLB's
responsibility, not TV's to protect its fans" (USA TODAY, 10/12).
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