SBD/Issue 20/Sports Media

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).

Yankees-Twins: Game One
Reds-Phillies: Game One
Rangers-Rays: Game One
Dodgers-Cardinals: Game One
Yankees-Twins: Game One
Phillies-Rockies: Game One

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" (, 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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