SBD/Issue 73/Sports Media

CBS Earns Its Best NFL Single Overnight Since '98; "MNF" Up 11%

Fox led all Sunday NFL telecasts with a 15.6 overnight Nielsen rating for its national window, which featured the Packers' 45-17 blowout of the Giants. The Week 16 national window is down nearly 5% from CBS' telecast last year, which featured Broncos-Eagles. Fox also saw a 26% drop for its regional coverage. On CBS, the net's singleheader coverage, which had Jets-Bears as the top game, earned a 15.4 overnight, marking the best NFL singleheader window this season and the net's best singleheader since it re-acquired NFL rights prior to the '98 season (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Orlando, Hal Boedeker wrote NBC was the "biggest loser Sunday night" when the NFL postponed Vikings-Eagles "SNF" due to a snowstorm. Early ratings showed CBS "pulling in the most viewers Sunday night, and Fox delivering the most young adults" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 12/27). DAILY VARIETY's Jon Weisman wrote the postponement left Fox to "win Sunday primetime" in the adults 18-49 demo "thanks to its own football coverage and halfhour animated comedies." NBC "ended up with a primetime slate featuring 'Football Night in America,' followed by reruns of 'Minute to Win It'" (VARIETY.com, 12/27).

NFL WEEK 16 SUNDAY OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS
NET
'10 GAME
RAT.
NET
'09 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
CBS
(single)
15.4
Fox
(single)
9.4
63.8%
Fox
(regional)
8.8
CBS
(regional)
11.9
-26.1%
Fox
Giants-Packers (90%)
15.6
CBS
Broncos-Eagles (57%)
16.4
-4.9%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ALL SAINTS DAY: ESPN earned a 12.1 overnight for last night's Saints-Falcons "MNF" finale from 8:30-11:45pm ET, marking the third-best "MNF" overnight this season behind Giants-Cowboys on Oct. 25 and Vikings-Jets on Oct. 11. Saints-Falcons is also up 11% from Vikings-Bears in Week 16 last year. In New Orleans, the game earned a 24.0 local rating on ESPN and a 36.6 rating on WDSU-NBC, while in Atlanta, the game earned a 16.5 rating on ESPN and a 20.9 rating on WSB-ABC (THE DAILY).

CHRISTMAS PRESENT: NFL Network averaged a 3.8 U.S. rating (7.8 million viewers) on Christmas night for its Cowboys-Cardinals telecast, marking the net's highest-rated and most-viewed NFL game this season. Cowboys-Cardinals is also up 15.2% from a 3.3 rating (6.9 million viewers) for Chargers-Titans on Christmas night last year. Last Thursday, the net earned a 2.4 U.S. rating (4.4 million viewers) for its Panthers-Steelers telecast, down sharply from Cowboys-Saints last year, which aired on a Saturday night and earned a 5.7 U.S. rating and 10.5 million viewers (THE DAILY).

TITLE TILT IN PRIMETIME: Sunday's Rams-Seahawks game has been moved to an 8:20pm ET start time on NBC. Jaguars-Texans and Titans-Colts were moved to 4:15pm, and both will air on CBS. Bears-Packers, Cowboys-Eagles and Giants-Redskins were moved to 4:15pm and will air on Fox (NBC). In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted Sunday's game will mark the Rams' first national TV appearance since NFL Network televised their game against the Steelers in December '07 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/27). The winner of Rams-Seahawks will win the NFC West, and SI.com's Peter King noted in Week 17, "all ratings concerns take a back seat to the game that [means] the most to the playoff picture" (SI.com, 12/27).

Opinions Divided On
CBS Analyst Fouts

BOOTH REVIEW: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote while Sunday's Ravens-Browns game was a "pretty boring affair," no one can "take boring and turn it into tedious like CBS Sports." Zurawik: "Start with the endless string of promotional messages this network seems absolutely addicted to. ... How many holiday greetings from the production workers in the CBS Sports control room and trucks does it take before viewers know CBS Sports wishes them a happy holiday season?" Zurawik: "Most of all, spare me the shots of the goofballs in the stands acting like fools." Analyst Dan Fouts, "at his worst," is "another key element in the mix of tedium," as he "regularly lapses for long stretches in a flat, monotone tone of voice" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 12/26). But in Denver, Dusty Saunders wrote Fouts and ESPN announcer Mike Tirico are "often underrated" among NFL broadcasters and analysts. Fouts, who is paired with Ian Eagle on CBS, "always comes prepared with full background information on teams, stadiums and cities." Meanwhile, Saunders noted NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have been "seldom out of sync" in their "second Sunday night season together." Michaels is "billed as the play-by-play man and Collinsworth the analyst," but they "smoothly move back and forth in the two categories without stepping on one another's broadcasting toes." Saunders wrote Collinsworth is "as good -- and maybe a bit better -- than the legendary" John Madden (DENVER POST, 12/27).

SET YOUR SCHEDULE: In L.A., Sam Farmer noted Christmas "falls on a Sunday next year, so you can expect the NFL will have a full Christmas Eve slate of games on Saturday." Next year's schedule "isn't out yet, but there will also probably be a game or two played on Christmas Day" (LATIMES.com, 12/27).

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