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NBC earned a 4.5 final Nielsen rating and 7.4 million viewers for the final round of the U.S. Open on Sunday from 1:30-7:47pm ET. The 4.5 rating is tied with the final round in '88 as the lowest-rated Sunday of the U.S. Open on record (dating back to the early '70s). The tournament in '88 concluded with an 18-hole playoff that Monday afternoon. This year's figures are down from a 5.8 rating and 9.3 million viewers for the final round in '10, which was played at Pebble Beach and aired from 3:00-9:15pm ET. Coverage of Saturday's third round earned a 3.2 rating and 4.6 million viewers from 2:00-8:02pm. Saturday coverage last year earned a 3.7 rating and 5.6 million viewers from 5:00-11:24pm, while the third round in '09 earned a 3.4 rating and 4.9 million viewers. ESPN averaged 1.1 million viewers for their coverage of the second round on Friday from 9:57am-3:00pm and 890,000 viewers for coverage on Thursday from 10:00am-3:00pm. Last year, the net averaged 2.2 million viewers on Friday and 2.1 million viewers on Thursday (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
U.S. OPEN FINAL ROUND TREND ON NBCYRRATINGVIEWERS (000)
WINNERTIGER'114.57,369 Rory McIlroyDNP'10*5.89,266 Graeme McDowell4t'09**4.77,073 Lucas Glover6t'08*^7.512,080 Tiger Woods1'076.49,547 Angel Cabrera5t'064.76,954 Geoff OgilvyMC NOTES: * = Tournament held on West Coast with late primetime finish. ** = Final round began Sunday evening until play was suspended. Finished on Monday morning. ^ = Tournament finished on Monday with 18-hole playoff and one-hole sudden death.
THE BRITISH IS COMING: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes ESPN "likely stands to gain" from McIlroy's victory. ESPN will broadcast next month's British Open, "traditionally the lowest-rated major in part because of time-zone issues," and the net "stands to gain extra hype as the McIlroy phenomenon sinks in" (USA TODAY, 6/21). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Jonathan Wall wrote after listening to Chris Berman during the first two rounds of the U.S. Open on ESPN, viewers "got a sense of why Augusta wanted nothing to do with the 'Berman-isms' and the crummy one-liners." Wall: "I know he has a clause in his ESPN contract that says he gets to work the U.S. Open, but the only person who actually gets pleasure out of hearing Berman talk about golf is Berman himself. Simply put, he brings nothing to a major championship telecast" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/20).
STROKE & DISTANCE: BROADCASTING & CABLE's John Eggerton reported in a letter NBC is sending to some viewers, the network states that the "decision to edit the Pledge of Allegiance in a piece teeing off its U.S. Open Golf coverage was a 'bad decision' made by a 'small group of people,' and that the controversy it created was justifiable." NBC wrote in part, "We are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously. Unfortunately, when producing the piece -- which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having our national championship played in our nation's capital -- a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a bad decision" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 6/20).
THERE'S ONLY ONE: The debut episode of Golf Channel's “Feherty” aired last night, with host David Feherty beginning the broadcast by saying, “My name's David Feherty, and welcome to my world and the show that we're going to call ‘Feherty,’ because that's my name and using anybody else's name would pretty much just be weird. I’m going to be straight with you. I struggle daily with addiction and mental illness, but take my meds and I'm okay today. There's no guarantee I'll be okay tomorrow, but today I'm fine. For the most part the inside of my head is uncensored and I have an unnerving tendency to say or do pretty much whatever comes into it. This may not fit the traditional structure of television and will probably make some of the suits at the Golf Channel a little jumpy. But those guys are more chicken than you are, Frank.” Frank was a stuffed rooster sitting on Feherty’s desk. More Feherty: “But hey, what's the point of doing this show if I can't challenge conventional wisdom, tip a sacred cow or two, deflate a pompous dillwad, or make a TV executive soil his trousers?” (“Feherty,” Golf Channel, 6/20).
Comedy Central canceled its sports news show "Sports Show with Norm Macdonald" after one season. The show, which served as a Tuesday night lead-in for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," debuted April 12. "We will not be moving forward with production on a new season of 'Sports Show,'" Comedy Central Senior VP/Corporate Communication Steve Albani said via e-mail. In its two-month run, the show averaged 962,000 viewers in its 10:30pm ET timeslot (John Ourand, THE DAILY). Macdonald said that he "was open to hosting a similar-style program and talked up 'an Internet campaign to save the show.'" Macdonald: "Maybe I'll call (the network) and ask them to bring it back. I'll say, 'Just bring it back. How much could it hurt television, really?'" (EW.com, 6/20). The chart below lists ratings and viewership for all nine episodes.EPISODE DATEU.S. RATINGVIEWERS (000)4/120.71,0114/190.56504/260.79155/30.79805/100.67845/170.91,2605/240.71,0075/310.71,1146/70.7944
PEELING BACK THE ONION: DAILY VARIETY's Jon Weisman reported Comedy Central also has "declined to renew" "Onion SportsDome" for a second season. The show, which ran from January-March, "was in a similar ratings neighborhood" as Macdonald's show (VARIETY.com, 6/20).
CBSSPORTS.com's Brett McMurphy cited sources as saying that the ESPN proposal the Big East Conference turned down last month was for "nine additional years worth $110 million to $130 million annually." The deal "would have extended the league's media-rights deal with ESPN through the 2022-23 school year." But Big East Commissioner John Marinatto last month said the conference decided to wait because it wanted to "maximize and monetize our value the best way possible." McMurphy noted ESPN "has an exclusive 60-day window to renegotiate with the Big East beginning in September 2012." If the two sides "can't reach a deal, the Big East can entertain offers from other networks starting Nov. 1, 2012, as well as ESPN" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/20).
TIME IS RIGHT: Rogers Media is launching Sportsnet magazine in Canada in October, and incoming Rogers Publishing President Ken Whyte said the "biggest reason we didn't do this before is that we didn't own" the Rogers Sportsnet TV channel. Whyte: "Before, there wasn't an opportunity to do cross-platform stuff. Now we have it that gives us a real competitive edge." Whyte said of advertising in the magazine, "The men's advertising category has developed over the last decade for men's grooming products (like Axe deodorant). And auto is back, too, after two or three years. It now seems likely that you can get them back." Whyte added that the "inspiration" for Sportsnet "will come from the European model of sports magazine." Whyte: "It'll be a reader's magazine. I like to say that about everything I publish" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/20).
FOLLOW ME: The website hosting NBA Draft prospect Jimmer Fredette's web series -- FollowJimmer.com -- has eclipsed 2 million page views, according to the series producer, Tupelo-Honey Productions. The online channel launched the series June 2 on YouTube and syndicated it to SI.com. The series was created to chronicle how Fredette has been handling the 30 days leading up to the NBA Draft. This week, the series will feature coverage of Fredette and his family at the NBA Draft, plus home video shot by the Fredette family (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
NOTES: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote with the departure of Dick Ebersol, it is "time for NBC to restore some long-lost good will." The net can "start by fixing those comically transparent, self-serving, credibility-killing weekend 'Sports News' studio reports to include information that actually serves viewers instead of NBC" (N.Y. POST, 6/20)....A new studio at 190 N. State Street in Chicago "will serve as the home" for ESPN Radio 1000 Chicago broadcasts and "will be sponsored by Cadillac." The "multiyear partnership" for the studio "will be announced at a ribbon cutting ceremony in early September" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 6/20).