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TBS averaged a 4.6 U.S. rating and 7.012 million viewers for Yankees-Tigers Game Four on Tuesday night, marking the most-viewed LDS game since Indians-Yankees Game Four in '07, which drew 9.232 million viewers and still holds the mark as the most-viewed LDS game ever on cable. For four LDS telecasts on Tuesday, TBS/TNT averaged 4.001 million viewers, up 9% for the comparable fifth day of LDS coverage last year, when all telecasts aired on TBS. The Rangers' series clincher over the Rays in the afternoon slot on TBS earned a 1.7 rating and 2.228 million viewers, up from a 1.5 rating and 2.219 for Game Four of the same series last year, which aired on a Sunday afternoon. Phillies-Cardinals Game Three earned a 3.1 rating (4.617 million viewers) in the 5:00pm window. That rating is up from the comparable Giants-Braves Game Three last year, which earned a 2.6 rating (4.231 million viewers) on a Sunday afternoon. TNT's Brewers-D'Backs Game Three on Tuesday night earned a 1.2 rating (2.107 million viewers (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In St. Louis, Joe Strauss reports Philadelphia outdrew St. Louis in TV ratings for Phillies-Cardinals Game Three Tuesday on TBS. The game drew a 21.6 local rating in Philadelphia and a 20.4 rating in St. Louis. Philadelphia has been "ahead for all three games" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/6).
NATIONAL PASTIME: TBS aired two NLDS Game Fours last night, with Phillies-Cardinals earning a 3.5 overnight rating from 6:00-9:00pm ET. The only comparable game from last year was Giants-Braves Game Four, which earned a 3.7 overnight on a Monday night, but had a 7:30pm start. TBS also earned a 2.8 overnight for Brewers-D'Backs Game Four last night from 9:30pm-1:15am. For the 8:00-11:00pm primetime window, TBS averaged a 3.5 overnight rating (Karp).
PINCH HITTER: Fox yesterday announced former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will serve as an analyst for the first two games of the ALCS. Regular analyst Tim McCarver is having a minor heart-related procedure late this week, but he is expected to return to the broadcast booth in time for Game Three next Tuesday (Fox). Francona said, "I've only broadcast one other game in my life, and that was in the Arizona Fall League about 13 years ago and it was on the radio and there were probably 12 people (listening) and I sucked. So this is going to be interesting" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/6). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote Francona's "postseason stint on TV is interesting." Kaduk wrote if White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf "doesn't want to open his wallet to land Francona or Francona doesn't want to work with Kenny Williams, TV will provide a nice layover spot until the next round of open jobs comes" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/5).
FROM THE BOOTH: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote TBS analyst John Smoltz during the ALDS "has been prescient much of this series and educated viewers nightly on pitching." Deitsch: "Announcers, like hitters, sometimes find themselves in a groove and that's where Smoltz is in at the moment. He's having a postseason to remember." Meanwhile, TBS play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson "has performed like a pro working with Smoltz and Ron Darling." Anderson, who calls Brewers games for FS Wisconsin during the regular season, said, "I know there will be a lot more people watching and talking about me, and criticizing or praising. But I'm not going to change my style or be anyone else" (SI.com, 10/5). In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote TBS' Joe Simpson "prefers understatement to overstatement." Wolfley: "He prefers marking his points quietly rather than loudly. He prefers arching his eyebrow to pointing his finger when a manager makes a move he questions" (JSONLINE.com, 10/1).
FOOTBALL FRENZY: USA TODAY's Christine Brennan notes the "Fox NFL Sunday" pregame show "received a bigger overnight rating than any of TBS' baseball playoff games through the weekend," and it "appears that we're not just a nation of football fans, but also a nation that has decided to make a day of it with the NFL." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "Can I explain that to you? No. I'm not sure why that is. We've had four games a day, so we're asking a lot of the fans. Remember, we're on cable for this round. But I'll say this: If I take all the evidence today ... I'm very satisfied. Baseball is more popular than ever." But Brennan notes there is "a hide-and-seek aspect to finding these early MLB playoff games that simply doesn't exist when turning on the NFL" (USA TODAY, 10/6).
TO THE VIDEOTAPE: TBS during Tuesday’s Rangers-Rays Game Four showed a slo-mo replay of one of its own camera operators falling down as he followed Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre around third base following one of his three home runs. ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said, “I wish more people in sports could make fun of themselves. Too often we treat this place like a cathedral. Laugh, it feels good. The players mess up. The players make errors. So do we media-types” (“Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 10/5). But ESPN’s Jim Rome said, “Way to pick your crew up. What, didn’t have time to drop the ‘Chariots of Fire’ theme over that face plant?” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN2, 10/5).
ESPN today announced it is parting ways with Hank Williams Jr. and will not broadcast the singer’s “Are You Ready For Some Football?” introduction for its “MNF” coverage. ESPN Senior Dir of Communications Bill Hofheimer said the “football-themed tease open that we have been using to start the ‘MNF’ telecast will now air before kickoff.” This Monday’s Bears-Lions matchup features an opening segment narrated by Pro Football HOFer Barry Sanders, and Hofheimer said the telecast “will begin with a quick scene set highlighting the atmosphere at Ford Field.” The Lions are hosting their first Monday night game since October '01. “In between the scene set and tease, we will have preview segments in the booth with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski and a couple of commercial breaks as usual," Hofheimer said. "This is the format we’ll likely use for the remainder of the season.” He said the net has not made any decisions beyond that regarding the use of musicians to fill Williams’ role. Williams on Monday made several disparaging comments about President Obama, including comparing him to Adolf Hitler. The singer had been a part of the “MNF” telecast on ABC and ESPN since '91.
Univ. of Texas men’s AD DeLoss Dodds on Monday sat for a Q&A with the TULSA WORLD’s John Hoover, where he discussed the school's Longhorn Network and the Big 12 Conference's new TV revenue-sharing policy. The following is an excerpt from that interview.
Q: With the Big 12 announcement (Monday) that equal revenue sharing is now affirmed for Tier 1 and Tier 2 television revenue, can you explain why Texas won't share any of its LHN money or Tier 3 money?
Dodds: It's never been shared before. There's never been any there. We've worked it. We've made something good out of it. Nobody else in the country shares it, except Big Ten and Pac-12 because they did conference stuff. They did conference networks. Florida doesn't share their third-tier.
Q: A question I've gotten a lot is why the Big 12 presidents and chancellors can't ask for a vote on sharing Tier 3.
Dodds: It's never been on the table. It's just never been there.
Q: If they wanted to, could they say, "Let's vote on this?"
Dodds: They could vote on it. But they might not get it. You know? It's just never been a part of the deal. It'd be like us going to Oklahoma State and saying, "Hey, you got $160 million from Boone (Pickens). I think we ought to have a share of that." They'd say, "Well, that's not fair." There are just some things that are done differently. We're not gonna share Oklahoma State's money, and they're not gonna share our Tier 3 stuff.
Q: On the academic side of it, those (LHN) revenues will be distributed to various parts of the university. Is that why it's not up for negotiation?
Dodds: Yeah. Bill Powers, our president, and I talked about it. They're 10 percent of the network, and they're gonna get 50 percent of the revenue. Over a five-year period of time, that's $30 million. And we've done nothing on this campus that's been better for the relationship between academics and athletics than $30 million.
Q: The perception is that Texas is being painted as the bad guy, the evil empire or whatever. Longhorn Network probably helps perpetuate that. Does that concern you as the man in charge here, that the Texas brand is taking a PR hit?
Dodds: We're good people. And we do it the right way. And we've got 550 kids that we love, and we treat them the way they're supposed to be treated. And we're in it for kids. We didn't do the Pac-12 (because of) the kids. It wasn't money, it wasn't anything else. We don't want to put our kids in airplanes and have them in airplanes half their life going back and forth (TULSA WORLD, 10/5).
Author James Miller, who co-wrote the inside look at ESPN titled “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” said that the importance of "MNF" to ESPN "has accelerated an internal debate" about Hank Williams Jr. prior to the controversial remarks he made Monday about President Obama that resulted in him being dropped by the net. Miller: “Even before this occurred, there were people who thought the opening was past its prime and were advocating a new one. Others want to keep it for its tradition and legacy” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/6).
HEAT WAVE: ESPN.com's Chris Broussard reported “The South Florida All-Star Classic,” hosted by Heat G Dwyane Wade and Fs LeBron James and Chris Bosh, “will be televised locally" on WFOR-CBS and sister station WBFS-MYN at 7:30pm ET Saturday night. The game will also “be streamed live on cbsmiami.com.” Sources said that Florida Int'l Univ. men’s basketball coach and Basketball HOFer Isiah Thomas “was instrumental in getting the TV deal accomplished” (ESPN.com, 10/5).
REPORTING LIVE...: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes the worst part of the NBA lockout "is that we’ll get more of what we’ve gotten for weeks from ESPN: endless coverage of the labor strife, even when no progress has been made.” Morrissey: “Right now, it’s death by 1,000 David Stern sound bites. ... We sports consumers can work with real news. We cannot work with images of ESPN reporters standing outside of a building in Manhattan talking about a big clump of nothing that’s going on inside” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/6).
WELCOME ABOARD: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has hired Rob Carlin as a television anchor and reporter. He replaces Russ Thaler, who is now the host of “NBC Sports Talk” on Versus. Carlin will serve as an anchor for “SportsNet Central” and will host “Capitals Central” and “Capitals Post Game Live" for home games. Al Koken will take over that role when the team is playing on the road (Comcast SportsNet).