SBD/Issue 20/Sports Media

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  • TBS Ratings, Viewership Down For First Day Of MLB Postseason

    Wednesday's Yankees-Twins Game The Most-
    Viewed LDS Game One Ever On Cable

    TBS averaged a 3.0 U.S. rating and 4.612 million viewers for its three MLB LDS telecasts on Wednesday, down 9.1% and 6.5%, respectively, from a 3.3 rating and 4.933 million viewers on the opening day of LDS telecasts last year. Yankees-Twins ALDS Game One opener from 8:30pm-12:30am ET topped the day's telecasts with a 4.3 U.S. rating and 6.9 million viewers, making it the most-viewed opening LDS game in cable TV history. TBS earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.2 million viewers from 5:00-8:00pm for Reds-Phillies NLDS Game One, which featured Phillies P Roy Halladay throwing a no-hitter. Viewership for the telecast grew 41% in its final hour from 3.9 million viewers at 7:00pm to 5.5 million viewers at 8:00pm. The early afternoon telecast of Rangers-Rays ALDS Game One earned TBS a 1.6 U.S. rating and 2.2 million viewers, down 20% and 19%, respectively, from a 2.0 rating and 2.8 million viewers for Phillies-Rockies in the early game last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    TBS OPENING DAY OF MLB LDS TELECASTS
    '10 TELECAST
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    Yankees-Twins: Game One
    8:30pm-12:30am
    4.3
    6,914
    Reds-Phillies: Game One
    5:00-7:58pm
    2.7
    4,209
    Rangers-Rays: Game One
    1:29-4:52pm
    1.6
    2,244
    AVERAGES
    3.0
    4,612
    '09 TELECAST
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    Dodgers-Cardinals: Game One
    9:51pm-1:39am
    3.3
    4,973
    Yankees-Twins: Game One
    6:00-9:51pm
    4.3
    6,607
    Phillies-Rockies: Game One
    2:29-5:31pm
    2.0
    2,758
    AVERAGES
    3.3
    4,933

    CALLING HISTORY: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes TBS announcer Brian Anderson's call of Halladay's no-hitter "had a ton to recommend it -- its efficiency, its understatement and its restraint -- to name a few elements." Anderson: "A lot of announcers want to put their stamp on that moment. I'm just the opposite. I wanted to call the play and get out. It was so loud. It's the loudest stadium I have ever been in. The booth was shaking." Wolfley writes TBS "got out of the way of the big moments and let the pictures and sounds from Citizens Bank Park tell the story." Anderson and analyst Joe Simpson "didn't concern themselves with one of the silliest myths in baseball broadcasting -- that you don't mention a pitcher throwing a no-hitter for fear of jinxing it" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/8). In California, Jim Carlisle writes TBS "did a solid job in covering Halladay's historic performance," as there was "nothing the network did that took away from the event." Neither Anderson nor Simpson are "ostentatious on the air, which helped the occasion speak for itself" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 10/8). USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy writes TBS' telecast was "tense, dramatic, must-see TV." Anderson and Simpson "kept viewers abreast of Halladay's masterpiece until the final out, then let the roar of the crowd tell the story for a full 47 seconds" (USA TODAY, 10/8). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes of the "first 10 shots TBS presented" after Halladay completed the no-hitter, "four were crowd shots, one was of fireworks and one was of the electric Liberty Bell in center." A "shot of the Reds' dugout ... would've been nice" (N.Y. POST, 10/8).

    Ernie Johnson Earning Mixed
    Reviews On TBS Coverage

    BEST OF THE REST: In California, John Maffei writes TBS announcer Ernie Johnson, who is calling the Yankees-Twins series with John Smoltz and Ron Darling, is "really good." Smoltz and Darling "are good, but might it have been better to pair one of the two former pitchers with a hitter to give some better insights?" Meanwhile, Maffei writes he has "always been a big fan of Simpson," and Anderson also is "good." However, TBS reporter David Aldridge was "completely lost interviewing" Halladay after Wednesday's game (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 10/8). The N.Y. POST's Mushnick writes Johnson is a "studio host thrown into a big play-by-play role," and he "had a rough opener" during Wednesday's Game One. Johnson "seemed so eager to make it easy-breezy ... that he lost feel and track of the game." But Johnson is "preferable to the poor, lost fellow he replaced, Chip Caray" (N.Y. POST, 10/8). In DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote he loves "seeing Cal Ripken Jr. working in the studio for the TBS coverage" of the MLB Postseason. It is "amazing that he doesn't get more face time during the season, locally or nationally" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/7).

    GIVE IT TO ME STRAIGHT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes TBS' coverage of the Yankees-Twins series "has been solid and straightforward -- sort of." The net during Thursday's Game Two was "not forthcoming with its in-game manager interviews," as the spots "were presented as if they were live." There was "no clear indication, either by graphic or a voice" as to whether the interviews were live or taped. But as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was speaking to the announcers, Twins P Carl Pavano "walked behind him," the "same Pavano who was on the mound in the top of the fifth inning" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/8).

    LATE-NIGHT TV: USA TODAY Founder Al Neuharth writes under the header, "TV Midnight Baseball Is No Way To Get Fans." TV and advertisers "have taken control of the times for playoff and World Series games," and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "simply has not kept the TV schedule from going wild" (USA TODAY, 10/8).

    HYPE IT UP: In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal wrote some hype for TBS' new show "Conan" during the MLB Playoffs "will go a long way," but "too much hype for 'Conan' will go nowhere." A "Conan" source said that the "subject of promotion has been discussed at length," and that host Conan O'Brien's team "obviously wants to avail itself of the opportunity the playoffs offers but is acutely aware of the fine line between enough and too much." TBS Senior VP/Entertainment PR Karen Cassell said, "The baseball playoffs are a tremendous promotional platform for creating awareness for Turner entertainment programming" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/6). The net ran 18 total promos for "Conan" during Wednesday's coverage (THE DAILY). Meanwhile, CBS' David Letterman in his monologue Thursday night said, "Watching the games on TBS and they have a Conan blimp. I am three times his age. I don't have a damn blimp" ("Late Show," CBS, 10/7).

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  • MLB Regular Season: Fox Saturdays Flat; ESPN, TBS Audience Down

    Fox averaged a 1.8 final Nielsen rating and 2.7 million viewers for its Saturday MLB telecasts this season, flat with last year's record-low figures. Ratings and viewership had declined the previous five seasons for Fox' regular-season package. The net finished on a high note last Saturday, earning a 2.2 rating and 3.4 million viewers, up 83% from a 1.2 rating and 1.7 million viewers for last year's finale. Fox' primetime telecast on May 22 was the net's highest-rated and most-viewed coverage of the season with a 2.7 rating and 4.3 million viewers. Among afternoon telecasts, coverage on May 8 featuring Yankees-Red Sox was tops with a 2.5 rating and 3.7 million viewers.

    FOX MLB SATURDAY REGULAR-SEASON TREND
    YEAR
    GMS
    RATING
    VIEWERS (000)
    '10
    26
    1.8
    2,700
    '09
    26
    1.8
    2,700
    '08
    26
    2.0
    2,900
    '07
    26
    2.3
    3,312
    '06
    18
    2.4
    3,348
    '05
    18
    2.6
    3,606
    '04
    19
    2.7
    3,727
    '03
    18
    2.7
    3,600
    '02
    18
    2.5
    3,445
    '01
    18
    2.6
    3,377

    BRISTOL BALL: ESPN averaged a 1.4 U.S. rating and 2.2 million viewers for its 24 "Sunday Night Baseball" telecasts this season, down 13% and 12%, respectively, from a 1.6 rating and 2.5 million viewers for the net's 23 telecasts last season. The net's Red Sox-Yankees telecast on August 8 was the highest-rated and most-viewed "SNB" with a 2.3 U.S. rating and 3.5 million viewers. ESPN averaged a 1.0 U.S. rating and 1.4 million viewer for 66 MLB telecasts this season, including non-exclusive Monday and Wednesday telecasts. That is down from a 1.1 rating and 1.6 million viewers last season.

    MLB REGULAR-SEASON GAMES ON ESPN
    YEAR
    GAMES
    VIEWERS (000)
    '10
    66
    1,386
    '09
    66
    1,607
    '08
    63
    1,693
    '07
    64
    1,775
    "SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL" ON ESPN
    YEAR
    GAMES
    VIEWERS (000)
    '10
    24
    2,177
    '09
    23
    2,458
    '08
    24
    2,617
    '07
    23
    2,752

    FUNNY BUSINESS: TBS averaged a 0.4 U.S. rating and 557,000 viewers for 26 telecasts during the third season of its non-exclusive Sunday afternoon MLB telecasts, even in ratings but down 11% in viewership from last season. That does not include the '09 Twins-Tigers AL Central tiebreaker. The net's first season of telecasts in '08 averaged 0.5 U.S. rating and 624,000 viewers, excluding that season's White Sox-Twins AL Central tiebreaker. None of the net's telecasts this season topped the 1 million viewer mark despite the net airing 12 Yankees games. Just one regular-season, non-tiebreaker telecast on TBS has topped 1 million viewers in the three years -- an Indians-Yankees game from April 19, 2009.

    TBS SUNDAY MLB TELECASTS TREND (EXCLUDES TIEBREAKERS)
    YEAR
    TELECASTS
    VIEWERS (000)
    '10
    26
    557
    '09
    27
    614
    '08
    25
    624

    STRASMAS PRESENT: Nationals P Stephen Strasburg's MLB debut on June 8 marked MLB Network's highest-rated and most-viewed game this season, the first year that the net was rated by Nielsen. MLB Network from April to September saw a 51% increase in average primetime viewers, with August marking the best two months in the net's history with an average of 150,000 viewers. Weeknight games from August 2-6 also marked the net's most-viewed week ever with 220,000 primetime viewers per night. MLB Network saw spikes in its audience when it cut to major performances, including 300% bumps for the finishes of perfect games by A's P Dallas Braden on May 9 and Phillies P Roy Halladay on May 30. The net also saw a 330% increase in audience when it cut to Tigers P Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game on June 2.

    MLB NETWORK PRIMETIME AVG. VIEWERSHIP DURING '10 MLB SEASON
    MONTH
    VIEWERS (000)
    April
    97
    May
    89
    June
    107
    July
    131
    August
    150
    September
    148

    AND NOW YOUR LOCAL NEWS: FS Midwest topped all MLB RSNs this season with a 9.5 local rating for its Cardinals game telecasts, up from a 7.97 rating last year. The A's had the lowest local average rating with a 1.16 on Comcast SportsNet California, which was actually up from a 0.82 rating on the net last year. The Nationals saw the biggest percentage increase among all MLB teams, up 136% for its telecasts on MASN/MASN2. The Reds (+95%) on FS Ohio and Rays (+77%) on FS Florida/Sun Sports also saw significant bumps in TV numbers on their way to their respective division titles. The Cubs saw the sharpest drop among MLB clubs, down 39% on CSN Chicago. The Red Sox were not far behind, down 38% for games on NESN (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    TOP MLB RSN REGULAR-SEASON RATINGS
    NET
    TEAM
    '10 AVG.
    PREV.
    % +/-
    FS Midwest
    Cardinals
    9.50
    7.97
    19.2%
    FS North
    Twins
    8.77
    6.25
    40.3%
    CSN Philadelphia Phillies
    8.30
    7.13
    16.4%

    PENNANT FEVER: CSN Bay Area averaged an 11.83 local rating and over 300,710 HHs for its telecast of the Oct. 3 Padres-Giants game, during which the Giants clinched the NL West. The game is the net's highest-rated Giants game ever, besting the Oct. 1 game against the Padres, which averaged a 10.55 rating. Twenty of the 24 Giants games that aired on the net beginning on September 1 were the highest-rated program for the day (CSN)....In California, John Maffei notes Channel 4 San Diego averaged a 5.4 local rating for its Padres telecasts this season, up 42% from last year, and averaged a 6.6 for its primetime Padres broadcasts, up 57%. Each ratings point "represents about 11,000 viewers." Channel 4 averaged a 9.4 rating for the Oct. 1 Padres-Giants game, with the postgame show "posting a solid 2.5." KSWB-Fox averaged a 7.7 for the Oct. 2 Padres-Giants game, while the Oct. 3 game, which aired on Channel 4 -- "without the conflict of a blacked-out Chargers game -- did a 10.3 rating" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 10/8).

    RATINGS ROUNDUP: CSN Philadelphia averaged an 8.3 local rating (247,000 HHs) for its Phillies game telecasts this season, up 16% from a 7.14 rating last year (CSN)....FS Ohio officials said the '10 season was the "highest-rated Reds season" ever for the RSN. The Reds ratings "could be one reason the Bengals' TV audience is down 1.5 ratings points -- or 4 percent -- after four games this season," as "three times the Bengals aired head-to-head with Reds' pennant race games" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/7)....MASN averaged a 1.4 local rating (33,000 HHs) in the DC market for its Nationals telecasts this season, up 100% from a 0.7 last season. The net averaged a 0.4 rating in the Baltimore market for the telecasts, even with '09. Meanwhile, MASN averaged a 3.3 local rating in Baltimore for its Orioles telecasts, up 10% from a 3.0 in '09. Orioles telecasts averaged a 0.7 rating in DC, even with '09 (MASN)....FS Wisconsin averaged a 4.9 local rating for 136 Brewers game telecasts, down 19% from a 6.1 last season. WMLW-IND averaged a 4.4 rating for 16 telecasts (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/8).

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  • Fox, NBC, CBS Seeing Record NFL Audience; ESPN Sees Small Decline

    Nine NFL game telecasts have topped the 20 million-viewer mark this season, a new record through four weeks for the league. NBC leads all NFL TV partners, and is also seeing the most-viewed NFL primetime package through four weeks since ABC in in '96. The net averaging a 13.7 rating and 22.9 million viewers for its "SNF" franchise. The average include Cowboys-Redskins from Week One, the most-viewed "SNF" game ever, as well as the Vikings-Saints Thursday opener, the most-viewed NFL Kickoff game ever. "SNF" also stands as the top primetime show on all of TV in viewers and all key adult and male demos. Fox is averaging an 11.7 rating and 19.7 million viewers for its Sunday afternoon telecasts, the net's best start ever for the NFC TV package. Fox' two national window telecasts have averaged a 15.2 rating and 25.6 million viewers, buoyed by the Week One Packers-Eagles game. That stands as the most-viewed Week One Sunday telecast on record. Both of Fox' national window metrics are up 9% from the start of last season. CBS is averaging a 11.3 rating and 18.699 million viewers, the net's best marks through four weeks since gaining the AFC TV package in '98. It is also the highest viewership mark for the AFC TV package since '87. The net's two national window telecasts have averaged a 15.1 rating and 25.1 million viewers, up 19% for both metrics from a 12.7 rating and 21.0 million viewers last year at the same point.

    ESPN SEEING SLIGHT DROP: ESPN is the one network seeing a decline in ratings and viewership through four weeks of NFL coverage. "MNF" is averaging a 9.3 U.S. rating and 14.786 million viewers, down 5% and 6%, respectively, from a 9.8 rating and 15.684 million viewers last year. The net's '09 figure include the most-viewed telecast in the history of cable, the Week Four Packers-Vikings game that featured Vikings QB Brett Favre's first game against his former team. This year's figures, however, remain up 16% and 17%, respectively, from an 8.0 U.S. rating and 12.6 million viewers at the start of the '08 season (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP THROUGH WEEK FOUR
    NET
    '10
    (000)
    '09
    (000)
    1-YR
    % +/-
    '08
    (000)
    2-YR
    % +/-
    NBC*
    22,853
    20,756
    10.1%
    17,814
    28.3%
    Fox
     19,677
    17,196
    9.8%
    15,192
    29.5%
    CBS
    18,699
    15,671
    19.3%
    15,221
    22.9%
    ESPN
    14,786
    15,684
    -5.7%
    12,972
    14.0%
    NOTE: * = Includes Thursday night NFL Kickoffs. The '08 NFL Kickoff also started early (7:00pm ET) to accommodate coverage of the Republican National Convention.

    DYNAMIC DUO: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes the "onscreen casting" of newly acquired Vikings WR Randy Moss and Favre "could be a ratings booster rocket at just the right time." It was "already logical that the league's TV schedule would feature Favre," and in the coming weeks the NFL is "doing just that." The Vikings play the Jets on "MNF" this week and then the "mediagenic Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 in Fox's featured late-afternoon Sunday slot." There then is the "classic Favre vs. those unappreciative Green Bay Packers in NBC prime time in Week 7," followed by a game that "sell itself: Moss showing up in New England to try to show up his old team on Fox in Week 8" (USA TODAY, 10/7).

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  • Radio Heads: NFL Teams Dominate The Dials On Opening Weekend

    Two-thirds of all men ages 25-54 that were listening to the radio in the K.C. market during the Chiefs’ season opener were tuned in to the game, according to data from Arbitron's newly created sports division. KCFX-FM, the team’s flagship station for 21 straight seasons, aired the team’s "MNF" game against the Chargers. The Steelers' opening Sunday home game against the Falcons averaged a 64.3 share in that demo on the team’s flagship stations WDVE-FM and WBGG-AM. The Ravens-Jets game averaged a 6.8 in N.Y. on WEPN-AM, the Jets’ flagship station, while the Lions-Bears game had the league’s largest opening weekend radio audience. CBS Radio-owned WBBM-AM, the Bears’ radio rights holder since '00, drew an average of 855,700 listeners in the Chicago market during its game coverage. During the game coverage, the NFL broadcasts were the top-ranked programs for 25 of the 29 flagship stations. In N.Y., the Jets game was also head-to-head with a Yankees-Rays game, which had AL East title implications. In Charlotte, the Panthers were outdrawn by a country radio station, while in the Bay Area, the Raiders were behind an adult contemporary station. Hispanic programming finished higher overall in Phoenix than the Cardinals' station. This is the first time Arbitron has compiled an NFL Opening Weekend report of Portable People Meter (PPM) data. The compilation includes listener data for the 29 teams in 23 markets where the PPM service has been put into place. Arbitron’s PPM tracking is not used in the Buffalo or New Orleans markets.

    TOP/BOTTOM FIVE NFL WEEK ONE RADIO TELECASTS
    GAME
    MARKET
    MEN 25-54 RATING
    Chargers-Chiefs
    K.C.
    66.1
    Falcons-Steelers
    Pittsburgh
    64.3
    Lions-Bears Detroit
    51.0
    Vikings-Saints Minneapolis-St. Paul
    49.8
    Packers-Eagles Philadelphia
    45.8
    GAME
    MARKET
    MEN 25-54 RATING
    Ravens-Jets N.Y.
    6.8
    Raiders-Titans S.F./Oakland/San Jose
    6.9
    Cardinals-Rams Phoenix
    7.4
    Panthers-Giants Charlotte
    11.0
    Panthers-Giants N.Y.
    15.7

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  • Islanders Nearing Rights Deal With Hofstra Univ. Radio Station

    WRHU May Broadcast Isles' Games
    From 470-Watt Radio Station

    The Islanders are on the verge of "forming one of the odder media partnerships in professional sports," reportedly teaming with Hofstra Univ.'s WRHU-FM for radio broadcasts of the team's games, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Former Islanders VP/Media Relations Chris Botta reported on his blog the team is "close to a deal" with the on-campus WRHU ahead of Saturday's season-opener against the Stars. WRHU is a 470-watt station; by contrast, Rangers games are broadcast on ESPN Radio 1050 N.Y., a 50,000-watt station. The agreement with WRHU would "give the Islanders a chance to save money because Hofstra students would serve as intermission hosts, sideline reporters and perhaps color commentators." They also reportedly would "handle some of the engineering and production." It is unclear, however, "how closely the students would work with Chris King, the Islanders’ main radio broadcaster." Belson notes "most teams pay radio stations to carry their games," though it is "unclear how much the Islanders might pay Hofstra." For the past two seasons, Islanders games were carried by the Long Island Radio Group, which broadcast night games on WMJC-FM and day games on WHLI-AM (N.Y. TIMES, 10/8). On Long Island, Neil Best notes the Islanders last season "frustrated many fans by eliminating their radio announcers and simulcasting audio of the television account on radio," but the WRHU deal would "end that arrangement" (NEWSDAY, 10/8).

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  • NASCAR's Ratings Drop During Chase A "Very Disturbing Pattern"

    Ratings For First Three Chase
    Races Down More Than 20%

    NASCAR during the first three races of the Chase for the Sprint Cup on ESPN "has lost an average of a fourth of its viewing audience from one year ago at the start of the Chase" on ABC, and the ratings drop is "developing into a very disturbing pattern," according to Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Ratings for the Oct. 3 Price Chopper 400 were down 28%, while the Sept. 26 AAA 400 was down 23% and the Sept. 19 Sylvania 300 was down 28%. Utter wonders, "What's going on with NASCAR's TV audience?" There is something "going on here when such a precipitous drop coincides with what is supposed to be the biggest part of your season." Utter: "I can tell you this: Everyone in NASCAR -- not just executives -- but everyone who has a stake in stock car racing had best hope someone can find out why this is going on and attempt to fix it fast" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/8). In Las Vegas, Jeff Wolf offers solutions to the declining ratings, including ending the Cup season "in mid-October by eliminating six races so the series doesn't have to contend with the NFL juggernaut." Also, beginning in October, NASCAR should "move races from Sundays to Saturday nights" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/8). However, driver Greg Biffle believes the Nielsen ratings system "is out of date and does not accurately reflect the popularity of the sport." Biffle: "We're going to continue to fight with this TV rating until we have a way to measure another way of finding out how people keep up with the race. You can get it on your computer, you can get it on your phone, and everybody is tweeting lap-by-lap. So today you don't have to sit in front of the TV, you don't have to watch it to still be an avid NASCAR fan" (Wilmington NEWS JOURNAL, 10/7).

    GOING DOWN TO SOUTH PARK: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes he was "naive enough" to believe the season premiere Wednesday night of Comedy Central's "South Park" "would do a smart job of roasting NASCAR and its followers." But having "South Park" character Eric Cartman "somehow realize his dream of driving a rig in two races, then crashing his way to the finish, left our needle on empty" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/8). Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann notes though viewership figures "weren't readily available Thursday, given the history of 'South Park' and NASCAR on ESPN, it's likely that nearly as many people saw cartoon racing on Comedy Central as watched the real thing Sunday" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/8).

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  • Filmmakers Take Some Liberties In Making "Secretariat" Film

     

    Walt Disney Pictures' newest film, "Secretariat," debuts nationwide today starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich, and the filmmakers "had to take some liberties in order to make this movie," according to Andrew Beyer of the WASHINGTON POST. Secretariat's real-life story "didn't have a triumph-of-the-underdog theme that is a staple of sports movies," nor were the "people surrounding him especially colorful or lovable." Disney "mined William Nack's meticulously reported biography of Secretariat to find the female-empowerment theme that could make this film a hit." But while there are "plenty of sentimental embellishments," the story is true, and Lane "makes it a compelling one." Moreover, "Secretariat" depicts the racing world "more credibly than most movies and shows the racing action vividly." Beyer: "Purists should forgive the inaccuracies and relish the fact that Secretariat's story has finally come to the screen" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/7). USA TODAY's Maria Puente noted Disney and Secretariat Owner Penny Chenery, who is depicted by Lane in the film, have "high hopes for the movie." Chenery: "The movie brings back good memories, but will it have legs? This is what I'm really hoping for, that it will get people out of themselves" (USA TODAY, 10/7).

    I WANT THE TRUTH! In L.A., Kenneth Turan writes "Secretariat" is "hardly the place to look for a thoroughly factual account of the events in William Nack's book of the same name." The film's credits note "Secretariat" is "suggested by" Nack's book, not the customary "based on" (L.A. TIMES, 10/8). The THOROUGHBRED TIMES' Frank Angst wrote while the movie "takes plenty of liberties with the facts, it seems to have little interest in adding to Secretariat's legend." As a character, the horse is "portrayed more as an underdog than a once-in-a-lifetime freak of nature" (THOROUGHBREDTIMES.com, 10/4). In L.A., Kevin Modesti writes on one hand, "Secretariat" is a "sweet celebration of the horse, his owner and his time." On the other hand, "in a weird way it ends up diminishing Secretariat." The film "misleads newcomers to the topic by taking the story of the utter domination of the 1973 Triple Crown by a freakish talent and shrink-wrapping it into an underdog package" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/8).

    GETTING THE DISNEY EFFECT: In Buffalo, Jeff Simon wrote under the header, "Disney's Corny Take On America's Greatest Racehorse." The film is "very much like the kind of live action movies Disney was making in the '70s -- egregiously nonthreatening, cornball in sentimentality, full of uplift and, in this case, a family whose worst moments never descend to real vulgar acrimony." But it "doesn't really have to be all that good to be a winner for family audiences in moviehouses" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/7). In N.Y., Manohla Dargis writes "Secretariat" is "squeaky clean and as square as a military flattop." The movie "sticks to the Disney gospel that life means following your dreams" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/8). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's Owen Gleiberman wrote "Secretariat" is a "sketchy and rather innocuously upbeat movie." Director Randall Wallace "often seems to be aiming for the same Christian demographic that helped make a hit out of 'The Blind Side.'" This film is "so insistently square it undercuts the very drama it's out to capture" (EW.com, 10/6). In Tulsa, Michael Smith writes "Secretariat" is a "corny Disney family film/feminist drama that manipulates history and emotions so often that it made me groan" (TULSA WORLD, 10/8). USA TODAY's Claudia Puig writes under the header, "Secretariat's Legend Leaves Corny Script In Dust." The film's sentimentality "undermines the impact of this underdog saga" (USA TODAY, 10/8). In Orlando, Roger Moore: "A well-acted tale of an underdog's triumph that sorely lacks an underdog, it teeters between pleasantry generic film biography and rank manipulation" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/8).

    "Secretariat" Lauded For Its Realistic Racing
    Scenes, Including Footage From Churchill Downs

    UNDER REVIEW: In Boston, Wesley Morris writes under the header, "Wire-To-Wire Winner." The film is "happy proof of what care, polish, and some modest humor can do for a tired-seeming entertainment" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/8). In N.Y., Lou Lumenick writes Secretariat's 31-length win at the '73 Belmont Stakes provides the film with a "can't-miss climax." The moment is "such a high that you can overlook the corny dialogue in the script by Mike Rich and the sometimes laughable sense of period achieved" by Wallace (N.Y. POST, 10/8). In Chicago, Michael Phillips wrote the film "isn't bad, but it's precisely what you'd expect" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/7). On Long Island, Rafer Guzman writes under the header, "No Winner's Circle For 'Secretariat'" (NEWSDAY, 10/8). In Illinois, Dann Gire: "If this movie were a horse, it would be shot. You know, for being lame" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 10/8).

    A DAY AT THE RACES: In Seattle, Moira Macdonald writes Wallace has "staged the races wonderfully, using a jittery horse-cam to give us a jockey's-eye-view and letting those thundering hoofs make their own music" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/8). In Louisville, Tamara Ikenberg writes the "intensity of the race sequences, which have been reenacted as accurately as possible, is breathtaking." The look of the film "is also authentic." The Kentucky Derby scenes were filmed at Churchill Downs, while "other sequences were filmed at Keeneland Race Course" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/8). In K.C., Robert Butler writes the film benefits from the "inherent thrill of the races themselves" (K.C. STAR, 10/8).

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  • DirecTV CEO Mike White Profiled By Hollywood Reporter

    DirecTV's White Notes NFL Sunday Ticket
    Still Important Feature For The Company

    Former PepsiCo Vice Chair Mike White joined the board of DirecTV in ‘09 and took over as Chair, President & CEO at the start of this year. He is featured in a Q&A with the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and excerpts follow.

    Q: You are featured in Sunday's episode of CBS' "Undercover Boss," where they had you do DirecTV field work. Was there a benefit to doing the show beyond getting some publicity for the company?

    White: I'm still a new CEO in a new industry. I spent 20 years in the consumer-products world selling Pepsi and Doritos. I really thought it would be an invaluable opportunity to learn more about our business. We critically depend on our field technicians and call agents who are the voice of DirecTV to our customers, and this was a great opportunity to connect with them.

    Q: Did you learn anything new about DirecTV or its customers?

    White: When you get out there, you realize how complex and sophisticated the technology we have is, and that every home is different. Trying to activate that technology in the home means you bump up against all kinds of unique things. I was struck by how physically demanding the technician job is and how complex the call-agent job is. We take 127 million calls a year, and you would like to think every one is perfect. But it is a bit like a needle in the haystack when you got someone on the other end of the phone trying to troubleshoot what the customer's problem is. I was really pleased with some things. Our folks are incredibly passionate about customer service. But some things weren't working exactly the way we drew them up in the laboratory.

    Q: How key is your NFL Sunday Ticket contract in the digital age?

    White: Sports is fundamental to our identity at DirecTV, and certainly the NFL is one of the most popular sports in America. For us, our partnership, which we have had for over 15 years, is really important. This year we expanded our service with the addition of the iPad application. It continues to be an important part of DirecTV.

    Q: Is Sunday Ticket a profitable business?

    White: I wouldn't comment on specifics. We have a new deal with the NFL negotiated a year ago, and we are going to look to expand the franchise (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/8).

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  • Final Nielsen Ratings From Recent Sports Telecasts

    The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings (THE DAILY).

    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    "NFL on Fox": Redskins-Eagles (94%)
    10/3
    Fox
    4:15-7:23pm
    13.8
    23,134
    "Sunday Night Football": Bears-Giants
    10/3
    NBC
    8:30-11:14pm
    12.5
    20,929
    "NFL on CBS": (single)
    10/3
    CBS
    1:00-4:05pm
    10.6
    17,606
    "NFL on Fox": (regional)
    10/3
    Fox
    1:00-4:15pm
    8.3
    13,679
    "The OT"
    10/3
    Fox
    7:23-8:00pm
    7.2
    11,922
    NCAA Football: Florida-Alabama
    10/2
    CBS
    8:00-11:16pm
    5.0
    8,595
    "Football Night in America"
    10/3
    NBC
    7:30-8:15pm
    4.9
    7,877
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    10/2
    ABC
    3:30-6:00pm
    4.4
    6,996
    "Fox NFL Sunday"
    10/3
    Fox
    12:00-1:00pm
    3.8
    n/a
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    10/2
    ABC
    8:06-11:45pm
    3.0
    4,866
    NCAA Football: Tennessee-LSU
    10/2
    CBS
    3:30-6:55pm
    2.6
    4,089
    MLB: (regional)
    10/2
    Fox
    4:00-7:00pm
    2.2
    3,385
    "The NFL Today"
    10/3
    CBS
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.1
    n/a
    Ryder Cup: Fourball, Foursomes
    10/3
    NBC
    8:00am-1:03pm
    2.1
    2,924
    Ryder Cup: Fourball, Foursomes
    10/2
    NBC
    8:00am-6:00pm
    1.8
    2,572
    PBR: Mohegan Sun Showdown (taped)
    10/3
    CBS
    4:30-5:30pm
    1.1
    1,692
    "College Football Today"
    10/2
    CBS
    3:00-3:30pm
    0.8
    n/a
    "College Football Countdown"
    10/2
    ABC
    3:00-3:30pm
    0.8
    n/a
    Alltech FEI Equestrian Games (Part 2)
    10/3
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.7
    1,107
    Ryder Cup: Fourball, Foursomes (bonus)
    10/3
    NBC
    6:00-8:00am
    0.8
    1,028
    Alltech FEI Equestrian Games (Part 1)
    10/3
    NBC
    1:03-4:00pm
    0.6
    837
    "College Football 2010 Special"
    10/2
    CBS
    2:30-3:00pm
    0.5
    n/a
    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    "Monday Night Football": Packers-Bears
    9/27
    ESPN
    8:30-11:46pm
    10.8
    17,454
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Price Chopper 400
    10/3
    ESPN
    1:00-4:15pm
    2.3
    3,742
    NCAA Football: Texas A&M-Oklahoma State
    9/30
    ESPN
    7:30-11:34pm
    2.4
    3,655
    "Monday Night Countdown"
    9/27
    ESPN
    7:00-8:30pm
    2.4
    3,467
    NCAA Football: Penn State-Iowa
    10/2
    ESPN
    8:00-11:08pm
    1.3
    2,271
    "Sunday NFL Countdown"
    10/3
    ESPN
    1:00am-1:00pm
    1.5
    2,195
    NCAA Football: Miami-Clemson
    10/2
    ESPN2
    12:10-3:55pm
    1.5
    2,190
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    10/2
    ESPN2
    8:00-11:29pm
    1.2
    1,934
    NCAA Football: BYU-Utah State
    10/1
    ESPN
    8:00-11:30pm
    1.3
    1,879
    "College GameDay"
    10/2
    ESPN
    10:00am-12:01pm
    1.2
    1,669

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