SBD/Issue 59/Sports Media

Giant Numbers: Fox Sees Best National Window Overnight Since '06

Fox' national window yesterday that featured Cowboys-Giants in 90% of the country earned an 18.9 overnight Nielsen rating, marking the net's best national-window overnight since a 19.1 for the same matchup in Week 13 of the '06 season. Meanwhile, NBC earned a 13.7 overnight rating for Vikings-Cardinals "SNF" last night, up 23% from an 11.1 for Bears-Vikings last year. The 13.7 is NBC's fourth-highest NFL overnight of the season, and also gave the net a win in primetime. The game earned a 46.1 in Minneapolis and a 31.7 in Phoenix (THE DAILY).

NFL WEEK 13 OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS
NET
'09 GAME
RAT.
NET
'08 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
CBS
(single)
11.1
Fox
(single)
12.7
-12.6%
Fox
(regional)
10.5
CBS
(regional)
8.3
26.5%
Fox
Cowboys-Giants (90%)
18.9
CBS
Steelers-Patriots; Broncos-Jets*
16.3
16.0%
NBC
Vikings-Cardinals
13.7
NBC
Bears-Vikings
11.1
23.4%

VICK-TORIOUS RETURN: In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich writes Fox benefited from Eagles QB Michael Vick contributing to two touchdowns in yesterday's Eagles-Falcons game, which marked Vick's return to Atlanta, "though there was a fair bit of luck involved and the story was a little bogus." Fox "devoted much pre-game talk to his return to Atlanta as if he was expected to be the pivotal player" in the Eagles' offense, though, "as has been the case all year, he spent much of his time on the bench until the Eagles built up a big lead" (TORONTO STAR, 12/7). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Fox had a "nice catch" in showing on-field video of Vick "embracing" Falcons Owner Arthur Blank. However, the N.Y. market watched the game, won by the Eagles 34-7, to its conclusion before moving to the dramatic Saints-Redskins overtime game (N.Y. POST, 12/7).

GAME REVIEWS: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox' Ron Pitts and John Lynch, who called yesterday's Buccaneers-Panthers game, "proved themselves as a decent tandem." Pitts "calls a solid game," and Lynch "shows he has a future in the business." Lynch played 11 years with the Buccaneers, but he "wasn't afraid to be critical, such as when the Bucs blundered their way through a two-minute drill at the end of the first half and continually shot themselves in the foot in the second half" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/7). The TORONTO STAR's Zelkovich writes Fox' xMo "super slow-motion camera worked wonders" during yesterday's Cowboys-Giants game, as viewers "could almost read the players' tattoos" (TORONTO STAR, 12/7). Meanwhile, in Buffalo, Alan Pergament wrote NFL Net analyst Matt Millen is "one of the more technical analysts on TV" and play-by-play announcer Bob Papa is a "decent play-by-play man, but he isn't exactly in the Dick Enberg or Mike Tirico excitement range" (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/6).

WILD CARDS: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and former ABC/ESPN analyst Joe Theismann will serve as analysts for NBC's first game of its January 9 Wild Card round playoff doubleheader. Tom Hammond will serve as the play-by-play announcer. Theismann, who played under Gibbs with the Redskins from '81-85, "doesn't assume the cameo will lead to a return to NFL TV games" after he was dropped from the ESPN "MNF" crew after the '06 season. Meanwhile, the second game of NBC's doubleheader will feature its "regular Sunday night voices," announcer Al Michaels and analyst Cris Collinsworth (USA TODAY, 12/7).

LOCAL RESTRICTIONS: TV BY THE NUMBERS' Robert Seidman noted S.F.-based KTVU-Fox cut away from Saints-Redskins with "about 2 minutes left" in order to show the start of 49ers-Seahawks. Seidman: "Even though I understand the local affiliate has to air the 49ers game, the opening of that game was meaningless. Meanwhile the Saints were down 7 and driving to tie the game with less than 2 minutes" (TVBYTHENUMBERS.com, 12/6).

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