SBD/September 26, 2011/Media

Fox Earns 15.8 Overnight Rating For Packers-Bears; "SNF" Helps NBC Win Primetime

Fox topped all NFL Week Three Sunday games with a 15.8 overnight Nielsen rating for its national window featuring Packers-Bears in 81% of markets, up 11.3% from a 14.2 for CBS’ comparable national window last year, which featured Colts-Broncos. Earlier in the day, Fox’ regional coverage was down 9.5% from last year, while CBS’ singleheader was down 10.7%. NBC earned a 13.2 overnight Nielsen rating for last night’s Steelers-Colts “SNF” matchup, up 1.5% from a 13.0 for Jets-Dolphins in Week Three last year. The game led NBC to a win in primetime among all nets, despite 11 broadcast TV shows having their season premieres. The telecast peaked at a 14.4 rating from 11:00-11:30pm ET as the game was winding down. Pittsburgh led all markets with a 48.5 local rating, while Indianapolis finished second with a 40.7 rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

'11 GAME
'10 NET
'10 GAME
% +/-
Packers-Bears (81%)
Colts-Broncos (81%)

SAYING SORRY: During yesterday's “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show, host Curt Menefee admitted headlines from the Sept. 11 Bears-Falcons game were not real and apologized to Bears QB Jay Cutler. Menefee noted during the game, the production crew "displayed an incorrect graphic." Menefee: "Now the production team told our announcer Darryl Johnston that a taped video package that made the air came from actual headlines concerning” Cutler’s performance during last year’s NFC Championship game. Menefee: "Well, in fact they were not. Fox Sports regrets this mistake and apologizes to Cutler, the Chicago Bears organization and everyone involved” (“Fox NFL Sunday,” 9/25). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes it was the “worst apology.” The apology "laid the blame on the production staff and not” Johnston, who said these were "actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago." Jones: “This is a major blunder. It's a serious breach of ethics and undermines Fox's credibility.” Fox apologized “only after the Chicago Tribune uncovered the truth.” Jones: “If the Tribune had not checked it out, would we have gotten an apology Sunday?” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/26). YAHOO SPORTS’ Matthew Darnell wrote the apology “feels a little incomplete,” and it “sounds like they're apologizing just for telling Johnston that the headlines were real, and not for the fact that they completely fabricated headlines.” Darnell: “It's not the kind of story I'm going to lose sleep over, but it will make it a little harder to trust Fox in the future” (, 9/25).

BUCKING THE TREND: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes Joe Buck’s voice “has recovered much of its force.” Buck called Fox' Packers-Bears game yesterday and Wolfley notes his voice is “not all the way back,” as it is “still lacking at those moments in a football game when an announcer needs it the most” (, 9/25). In Chicago, David Haugh noted since Buck brought attention to Cutler last week “for isolating himself from teammates on the sideline after a second-half rant during the Saints loss, a perception grew that either he or Fox has developed an anti-Jay agenda.” But Haugh wrote this was Buck “describing a scene obvious to everybody in the press box” and partner Troy Aikman “providing perspective.” Haugh: “This was a professional doing his job.” Buck said, "A week later, it's almost crazy trying to assign some sort of deep meaning behind something that, at the time, was you just making an observation” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/25).

NETWORK ROUNDUP: The ST. PETERSBURG TIMES’ Jones writes CBS’ Boomer Esiason "made some serious allegations" during "The NFL Today," claiming the Cowboys weren’t up front to QB Tony Romo on his injury. Esiason: "In my estimation, reading everything, listening to everybody, he was either lied to or he was misdiagnosed. Lied to or misdiagnosed. In both cases, that's negligent." Meanwhile, Jones writes give Fox “credit for continuing to think outside the box by adding a medical expert on its NFL coverage” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/26). In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes, “Give the CBS broadcast team credit for this: Even though the Baltimore Ravens game was a blowout, they never totally lost their focus.” The Ravens defeated the Rams 37-7 yesterday and CBS’ Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots “tried to generate some enthusiasm at the microphone right up until the end of the broadcast, and that's not easy in a game that was never in doubt” (BALTIMORE SUN, 9/26). In Denver, Dusty Sanders writes CBS’ Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker “kept Sunday's Broncos-Titans game in a clear focus.” Tasker was “up to the task of pinpointing key offensive and defensive schemes of both teams, despite leaning too heavily on the traditional cliches: ‘He does a great job …’ or ‘He does a nice job …’” (DENVER POST, 9/26). 

VOICING HIS OPINION: In San Jose, Daniel Brown noted when the 49ers “pushed longtime analyst Gary Plummer out of the radio booth, I was among those to worry that Plummer's blunt assessments would be replaced by someone who would stamp a smiley face on even the worst defeat.” But Brown wrote, “I was dead wrong.” Eric Davis “exploded the notion that he is anybody's house organ last Sunday by blistering the 49ers during a 27-24 loss” to the Cowboys. Davis said that, from “the start, no one from the 49ers has given the slightest hint that there would be restrictions on what he can say or how he can say it” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/25).

BROADCASTING FUTURE? USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes Comcast Sports Southeast hired former NFLer Brett Favre as an announcer for his alma mater Southern Mississippi's game against Rice on Saturday. But Favre said he is "not committing to a new career in broadcasting." ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz said about Favre potentially joining the net's roster of analysts, "As we've said in the past, if he has an interest in a broadcasting career, we would be open to a discussion with him" (, 9/26).
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