SBD/Issue 21/Sports Media

Cowboys-Cards Earns 14.7 Rating, Fox's Top NFL Game This Season

Fox' Cowboys-Cardinals Broadcast
Earns Net's Top NFL Rating This Season
Fox earned a 14.7/30 final Nielsen rating (23.6 million viewers) for its late-window NFL coverage Sunday, anchored by Cowboys-Cardinals (74%), marking the top Fox NFL game rating this season. The 14.7 also marks the net's highest-rated and most-watched telecast since the "American Idol" finale back in May. "The OT" on Fox also posted a 9.0/15 (14.2 million viewers), marking the show's highest rating since Week 13 in '06 (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand explains the massive Cowboys-Cardinals rating by writing the Cowboys are "TV soap opera stars" (USA TODAY, 10/14). But in Dallas, Barry Horn reported KDFW-Fox in Dallas-Ft. Worth earned a 35.3 rating for Cowboys-Cardinals, marking just the "fourth-highest rated of the six games this season" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/13).

SUNDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: The Patriots-Chargers "Sunday Night Football" game earned NBC a 9.4/15 overnight Nielsen rating from 8:30-11:30pm ET. While the game was up 11.9% from an 8.4/13 overnight rating for the comparable Saints-Seahawks game last year, it also marks the lowest “SNF” overnight of the season. The game, however, beat out Phillies-Dodgers NLCS Game Three in 49 of the 56 Nielsen metered markets, earning a 31.1/50 in San Diego and a 22.8/36 in Boston (THE DAILY).

RULING ON THE FIELD: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in St. Pete for the league's Owners Meetings, said of the NFL Network, "We've been struggling to get distribution. Just this past Friday there was a very significant ruling by the FCC that said the NFL had been discriminated against by Comcast. ... We've been trying to get distribution over the last two years with Comcast and some other larger operators but they have resisted for reasons, frankly articulated in this decision, that were against the law. We're hopeful that decision will spur negotiation and more distribution" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/14). SI.com's Peter King wrote the "eight games in the NFL Network's second-half package might be much more visible now, with the news that the NFL-Comcast dispute is headed to a administrative law judge, with a possible resolution sometime this year." King: "If so, the league must hope for some of the teams on its slate to rally. Like, now." The eight matchups feature teams with a combined 43-43 record (SI.com, 10/13).

Writers Feel "Fox NFL Sunday" Too
Crowded With Addition Of Strahan
AHEAD OF THE GAMES: ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons and K.C. Star columnist Jason Whitlock spent a segment on yesterday’s “The Jim Rome Show” talking about the various NFL pregame shows. Simmons said “Fox NFL Sunday” was “doing fine, they didn’t need Michael Strahan. ... All of a sudden you’ve got five guys on your pregame show and basically, the guys are talking at each other ... and nothing flows naturally.” Whitlock said, “Everybody gets to make a comment about one particular game or one particular player. No one ever gets to disagree. ... The interplay between the guys on Fox used to be one of the best parts. They would joke with each other, but now there’s less of that because everybody has to make their comment.” Simmons lauded CBS’ “The NFL Today” host James Brown, but said, “They feel obligated to get the other four guys in the show involved.” Simmons: “At halftime, Shannon Sharpe is reading the Ravens-Colts highlights. Do you think Shannon Sharpe’s strong suit is reading highlights and narrating what’s happened in this game?” Whitlock said NBC’s “Football Night In America” has built the show “around guys who do highlights at a high, high level, and Cris Collinsworth is the only guy really allowed to utter an opinion.” Simmons: “They’ve hired so many people. ... Costas is now the maître d' at the restaurant. He has no real role at the show, he just kind of introduces it.” Whitlock: “Last week, I literally thought that Bob Costas wasn’t on the show. That he had taped some stuff beforehand and they were pretending that he was on the show” (“The Jim Rome Show,” 10/13).

EARNING KUDOS: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote Fox NFL sideline reporter Laura Okmin during Sunday's Panthers-Buccaneers game reported that Buccaneers QB Jeff Garcia and his wife were expecting their second child. Okmin was "solid all afternoon, more so than the typical do-little sideline reporters we're used to seeing on all networks," and her "good work included nice pieces" on Buccaneers RBs Warrick Dunn and Earnest Graham (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/13).

NOTES: On Long Island, Neil Best writes under the header, "Kornheiser Shticks Well In MNF Booth." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser's "wit and non-jock takes play well" off ESPN's Ron Jaworski on "MNF" and "give the show a different, lighter feel from its staid Sunday afternoon counterparts" (NEWSDAY, 10/14)....Sunday's edition of "Fox NFL Sunday" featured commentary from actor Mark Wahlberg and scenes from his new movie, 20th Century Fox' "Max Payne," intermixed with NFL game action. Fox' Curt Menefee began the broadcast by saying, "You saw the open, now go see the movie: 'Max Payne' in theaters everywhere beginning this Friday" ("Fox NFL Sunday," Fox, 10/12).

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