SBD/Issue 81/Sports Media

Fox Gets Best Wild Card Overnight; NBC Best WC Weekend Since '95

Packers-Eagles Overnight Up 11.9% From
Comparable Cards-Packers Game Last Year

Fox earned a 24.4 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday’s Packers-Eagles NFC Wild Card game from 4:45-7:45pm ET, marking the net's best Wild Card game rating ever and best for any NFC Wild Card game since a 24.9 overnight for Bears-Saints on CBS in '91. Packers-Eagles is up 11.9% from the net’s 21.8 overnight for the comparable Cardinals-Packers game in the late window last year. CBS earned an 18.8 overnight for the Ravens-Chiefs AFC Wild Card in yesterday's early window, down 3.1% from a 19.4 overnight for comparable Ravens-Patriots game last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

SATURDAY NIGHT WILD: NBC averaged a 19.4 overnight Nielsen rating for its two NFL Wild Card telecasts on Saturday, marking the best two-game average for a Wild Card Saturday in 16 years. The two-game average was up 6% from Wild Card Saturday last year, which featured Jets-Bengals and Eagles-Cowboys. Jets-Colts was the top-rated program on Saturday night and helped NBC to a primetime win among all nets. Saturday night's Jets-Colts AFC Wild Card telecast earned a 20.8 overnight from 8:15-11:00pm, marking the highest rating ever for a primetime Wild Card Saturday game and best for any Wild Card Saturday game since Cardinals-Cowboys earned a 20.9 overnight in '99. The telecast was up 6% from the comparable Eagles-Cowboys game. Jets-Colts peaked at a 23.6 rating from 10:00-10:30pm. Saints-Seahawks earned an 18.3 overnight from 4:30-8:00pm, marking the best early Saturday Wild Card game in 20 years. Saints-Seahawks was up 8% from the comparable 16.9 overnight for Jets-Bengals last year (Karp). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell notes NBC's Jets-Colts "figures to average more than 30 million viewers when national estimates come in on Tuesday" (DAILY VARIETY, 1/10). NBC earned a 10.2 rating in the adults 18-49 demo for Jets-Colts (, 1/9).

NBC Sat./4:30pm Saints-Seahawks 18.3 Jets-Bengals 16.9 8.3%
NBC Sat./8:00pm Jets-Colts 20.8 Cowboys-Eagles 19.6 6.1%
CBS Sun./1:00pm Ravens-Chiefs 18.8 Ravens-Patriots 19.4 -3.1%
Fox Sun./4:30pm Packers-Eagles 24.4 Cardinals-Packers 21.8 11.9%

PROUD AS A PEACOCK: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes NBC's "best use of TV as TV" during its two games Saturday was "educational and fun." After Colts QB Peyton Manning "audibled to a running play that led to a first down on third and long, NBC's tape, shot from behind Manning, showed the entire left side of the Jets defense to have abandoned the line of scrimmage to defend the pass." Mushnick: "We saw exactly what Manning saw, and it was an extraordinary sight. That might have been the best between-plays use of videotape all season." Meanwhile, NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth "struck gold" during Jets-Colts when he "nailed the next-to-the-last play" -- Jets QB Mark Sanchez throwing to WR Braylon Edwards (N.Y. POST, 1/10). On Long Island, Neil Best wrote Collinsworth "did an excellent job throughout, breaking down what the Jets were doing in real time in ways that matched nearly perfectly what the Jets themselves explained after the game" (, 1/9).

OFF THE MARK: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote while he was "deeply impressed" with NBC's coverage, he was "not so with CBS Sports and its coverage" of Ravens-Chiefs. "The NFL Today" pregame show was "so flat" Zurawik "switched to the NFL Network." During the game, announcers Phil Simms and Jim Nantz "never focused on how poorly" Chiefs QB Matt Cassel played and "how literally frightened he seemed of the Ravens ferocious defense." Zurawik: "Simms, Nantz and CBS Sports, in general, never call anyone out on the field during the games. But in avoiding the negative that way, they give lie to what viewers are seeing with their own eyes. If you are going to provide analysis, don't pull punches." However, Zurawik wrote the camera work for "most of the game was terrific," and he "loved the shot viewers were given of the first fumble" by Ravens QB Joe Flacco (, 1/9).

PLAYING BY THE RULES: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted Fox rules analyst Mike Pereira during Packers-Eagles made a "vanity booth appearance ... to force in some commentary about the playoff overtime rules." However, Pereira "later did provide a useful explanation about the officials' decision to allow the Eagles to replay a two-point try after a touchdown." Meanwhile, Fox sideline reporter Chris Myers, "working the Eagles' sideline, provided solid reporting about the injury to" Eagles WR DeSean Jackson (, 1/9).

Several Network Officials Believe That
Favre No Longer Has A Future In TV

MISSED OPPORTUNITY? In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote there had been the "distinct possibility" Vikings QB Brett Favre "would eventually wind up on television" when he decided to retire. However, even a "limited schedule seems out of the question for Favre," as the consensus of NFL TV officials was that the "recent controversies surrounding Favre have made him toxic when it comes to TV -- at least in the short-term." One network producer said, "There's a backlash against him. People don't look at Brett like they did three or four years ago, when he was the aw-shucks type of guy, the gunslinger, the everyman." A network official added, "It's more than one incident with Brett. It's hard to overcome a number of different incidents and stuff that has happened over such a short period of time. All this stuff is fresh in the mind. It would be hard to use him next season" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/9).

DRESS REHEARSAL: In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck noted Friday's LSU-Texas A&M AT&T Cotton Bowl was a "dress rehearsal for Fox Sports, in terms of technology, logistics and production planning," for Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on Feb. 6. The Cotton Bowl kicked off at 7:00pm CT, and a similar kickoff time to the Super Bowl "allowed for measuring the different lighting element for a prime-time event." Fox prior to the game "had been inside JerryWorld for only noon and 3:15 p.m. games." Fox Senior Producer Bill Brown said the net will use "20 to 22 manned cameras" during the Super Bowl and estimated 16 cameras were used Friday night, or "half a dozen more cameras than we would've used for a normal Cotton Bowl." There "are no on-field events scheduled" for Cowboys Stadium during the next four weeks, and Brown said, "We'll be leaving behind a lot of our equipment because we'll be back here next month" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/9).

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