SBD/Issue 46/Sports Media

Reeking Of Desperation: ABC Tabs New Hit For “MNF” Intro

Sheridan Seduces T.O. Before “MNF”

ABC’s “MNF” earned a 12.7/20 overnight Nielsen rating for Eagles-Cowboys last night, down 3% from a 13.1/20 for the comparable Eagles-Packers game last year. “MNF” drew a 35.0/48 in Philadelphia and a 28.5/40 in Dallas/Ft. Worth (THE DAILY).

A STROLL DOWN WISTERIA LANE: The introduction to last night’s game featured a taped segment of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” cast member Nicollette Sheridan, who plays Edie Britt, wearing only a towel in the Eagles locker room before the game, seducing Eagles WR Terrell Owens. Here is the dialogue between the two:

Sheridan: “Hey there, Terrell.”
Owens: “What are you doing here?”
Sheridan: “My house burned down, and I needed to take a long, hot shower. Where are you off to looking so pretty?”
Owens: “Baby, it’s ‘Monday Night Football.’ Game starts in ten minutes.”
Sheridan, laughing and looking at Owens seductively: “You and your little game. I’ve got a game we can play.”
Owens: “Edie, this is major. We’ve got Parcells and the Cowboys, and Donovan needs me.”
Sheridan: “What about my needs? What about Edie?”
Owens: “Will you stop it. All of Philadelphia is counting on me.”
Sheridan: “I can’t help myself. I love you T.O.”
Owens: “Then how about you tell me what’s buried underneath that pool.”
Sheridan: “You know I can’t tell you that.”
Owens: “Then I got a game to play.”
Sheridan: “Terrell, wait.”

Sheridan dropped her towel, and Owens said: “Aw hell, the team’s going to have to win this one without me.”

PLAYTIME: The scene cut to “Desperate Housewives” cast members Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman watching the scene on TV. Hatcher: “Oh my God, who watches this trash? Sex, lies, betrayal.” Huffman: “And that woman, she’s just so ... desperate.” Hatcher: “I know what we should watch.” Hatcher changed the channel, the “MNF” theme music started playing, and then Hatcher and Huffman said in unison, “Are you ready for some football!?” ABC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said of Owens during the game, “He wants to meet Angelina Jolie, but he did meet Nicollette Sheridan” (“MNF,” ABC, 11/15).

ABC’S RESPONSE: ABC Sports VP/Media Relations Mark Mandel during last night’s game said that he had not “heard any reaction to the segment” with Owens and Sheridan. Mandel: “I’m sitting at home watching the game and nobody called or e-mailed me. Before every [‘MNF’ game], we do something entertaining to get the viewer to watch the game. We have traditionally looked for all kind of hooks to do these kind of segments, if there is an ABC show doing particularly well” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/16). Attempts to reach ABC this morning were unsuccessful. The NFL also did not comment on ABC’s intro (THE DAILY).

REAX: PHILLYBURBS.com’s Kevin Cooney writes the Owens-Sheridan skit was “priceless. That was a good example of ABC cross-promotion that actually worked” (PHILLYBURBS.com, 11/16). In Philadelphia, Doug Darroch writes the skit “made Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction look like small potatoes. If you saw it, your office is probably talking about it today. If you’re a parent having to answer uncomfortable questions, you’re not real pleased with ABC today” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/16).

BILL OF RIGHTS: SI’s Peter King reported the NFL “thinks Disney’s going to have trouble ponying up the money for one contract in the ESPN/ABC deal (Disney owns both), never mind two. NBC and Fox are in play for Monday night as well, and there’s a 95[%] likelihood that the Monday night winner will be an over-the-air network, not cable. I don’t see NBC making a business deal that doesn’t make business sense, though” (SI.com, 11/15).

RIGHT TEAM, WRONG NETWORK: Meanwhile, Michaels said of Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston –- both former Cowboys who now work as NFL analysts for Fox — being shown on camera in a luxury box during the game: “Great promo for Fox” (“MNF,” ABC, 11/15).

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