SBD/January 5, 2011/Media

"SNF" Becomes First Sports Series To Rank No. 1 In Primetime

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" this season became the first sports series to be the "most-watched TV show in prime time, ahead of any reality, drama or comedy series," according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. "SNF" averaged 21.8 million viewers this season, up 12% from last year and ahead of second-place ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," which averaged 20.5 million viewers. It marks the "first time a sports series has ranked as the most-watched show from the start of the TV season on Sept. 20 through the end of the NFL regular season." "SNF" still has to "beat Fox's 'American Idol,' which returns to the air Jan. 19." But NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol said that it is the "first time in 40 years a sports series hit No. 1 in prime time." Ebersol: "To finally see (the NFL) become TV's No. 1 program is unbelievable. It's never happened with any sports series." McCarthy notes "SNF" finished No. 3 "behind 'Idol' and 'Dancing' during the last full TV season, which ran from Sept. 20 through late May." Meanwhile, "all five of the NFL TV partners -- CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and its own NFL Network -- are posting big audience gains for the last three years" (USA TODAY, 1/5).

LOCAL SUCCESS: Patriots telecasts averaged a 34.9 local rating in the Boston market during the '10 regular season, marking the team's best average local rating ever. The previous record of 33.6 was set during the '07 regular season in which the Patriots went 16-0. Four Patriots games this season rank in the top six all-time for regular-season ratings in the Boston market (Patriots)....In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted KSDK-NBC averaged a 38.7 local rating for Sunday's Rams-Seahawks game, making it the "best-rated Rams regular-season game in nine seasons." The 38.7 rating is the "seventh-highest nonplayoff figure they have drawn in their 16 seasons in town." Two cities in Oklahoma, "home of Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford, ... cracked the top six" in local ratings for the game, as Oklahoma City ranked fifth and Tulsa ranked sixth (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/4).

POST-GAME ENTERTAINMENT: CBS yesterday announced that it will broadcast an original episode of its "Hawaii Five-O" series immediately after its telecast of the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 23 (CBS).

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