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ABC’s broadcast of Alabama's 41-14 win over Michigan in the Cowboys Classic Saturday night led all sports telecasts over Labor Day weekend with a 4.7 overnight Nielsen rating. That figure is flat compared to the LSU-Oregon matchup in the game last year. ESPN’s 12:00pm ET telecast of Ohio-Penn State, the first game in Happy Valley since the death of former coach Joe Paterno and first since the team was put on probation for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case, led all cable TV games on Saturday with a 2.5 overnight rating. The net’s Clemson-Auburn Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in primetime earned a 2.2 overnight, down slightly from a 2.3 overnight for the comparable Boise State-Georgia game last year. Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech in primetime on Labor Day earned ESPN a 2.9 overnight, down 12% from a 3.3 rating for Miami-Maryland last year. “College GameDay” earned a 1.3 overnight for its first telecast of the season, down from a 1.7 last year.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND COLLEGE FOOTBALL OVERNIGHTSDATENET
GAMESTART (ET)RAT.9/1ABC Michigan-Alabama (Cowboys Classic)8:00pm4.79/3ESPN Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech8:00pm2.98/31ESPN Boise State-Michigan State8:00pm2.59/1ESPN Ohio-Penn State12:00pm2.59/1ESPN Clemson-Auburn (Chick-Fil-A Kickoff)7:15pm2.29/1ABC (regional)3:30pm2.29/1ESPN Bowling Green-Florida3:30pm2.09/1CBS Notre Dame-Navy9:00am1.99/1ESPN Arkansas State-Oregon10:30pm1.69/2ESPN Kentucky-Louisville4:00pm1.49/1Fox Hawaii-USC7:45pm1.49/2ESPN Alabama State-Bethune Cookman12:00pm0.79/1ESPN2 Northwestern-Syracuse12:00pm0.69/1ESPN2 (regional)4:00pm0.68/31FX Marshall-West Virginia12:00pm0.49/1FX Colorado State-Colorado4:00pm0.3
GETTING THE FIRST ONE OUT OF THE WAY: Fox earned a 1.4 overnight for Hawaii-USC, the debut broadcast of the net's new primetime Pac-12 package. The net also earned a 1.9 overnight for the premiere of its “Fox College Saturday” pregame show from 7:15-7:45pm (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Tampa, Tom Jones noted Fox' primetime package debuted Saturday and asked, "I have one question: Did anyone see it?" The problem Fox is going to see most weeks is that the game it airs "is not going to be as intriguing as ABC's Saturday night game." Fox' "best hope is that the ABC game turns into a blowout early and folks flip over to a much closer game on Fox." Meanwhile, the pregame show hosted by Erin Andrews, Eddie George and Joey Harrington debuted 15 minutes late due to an overrun with the Phillies-Braves game, and Jones noted the issue with the show "is that it airs in the early evening when a slew of games are being televised." Jones: "Why watch a pregame show about a game that hasn't started yet when you can watch an actual game?" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/4).
MIXED BAG FOR FOX SPORTS: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote FSN's telecast of Oklahoma-UTEP Saturday night "left something to be desired." Announcers Mike Morgan and J.C. Pearson "failed to explain a UTEP penalty ... that left the Miners deep in their territory, failed to give the yardage on Michael Hunnicutt's field goal for the Sooners and had incorrect yardage on OU's second touchdown drive." Sideline reporter Laura McKeeman, a former beauty pageant contestant, "stood out for her looks, but not for her comments." Meanwhile, the game included several promos "for Sooner Sports TV, which is expected to include OU programming" on FS Oklahoma and FS Southwest. The school's partnership with FSN "has not been officially announced" (OKLAHOMAN, 9/3). In Denver, Dusty Saunders wrote FX analyst Joel Klatt has been "heavily promoted as one of the broadcasting stars" on Fox, and he "lived up to his billing" during Saturday's Colorado State-Colorado game. Klatt was in "fine form throughout, particularly when pinpointing quarterback play" (DENVER POST, 9/3).
The Notre Dame IMG Radio Network yesterday announced that it was suspending Notre Dame analyst Allen Pinkett without pay "for three games, inclusive of last Saturday’s season opener with Navy." In South Bend, Eric Hansen notes Pinkett's first broadcast this season "will be the Sept. 22 night game with Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium." Pinkett was suspended following "comments he made to a Chicago radio station last week that the Notre Dame football team needed more 'criminals' in order to be successful." Pinkett "has been part of Notre Dame football radio broadcasts for eight years." A decision on the "full makeup" Notre Dame radio announcing crew alongside play-by-play announcer Don Criqui "will be made in the coming days" (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 9/5).
RETURNING TO THE RAVINE: The Dodgers announced that Spanish-language radio play-by-play announcer Jamie Jarrin in '13 will return for a 55th season on KTNQ-AM as part of a three-year contract. The team also signed contract renewals for Spanish-language radio announcers Fernando Valenzuela and Pepe Yniguez. Additionally, Eric Collins and Steve Lyons were retained for Dodgers broadcasts on Prime Ticket and KCAL-CBS, while Charley Steiner and Rick Monday were re-signed for Dodgers broadcasts on KLAC-AM (Dodgers).
GOIN' TO CAROLINA: In Raleigh, Chip Alexander notes Chantel McCabe is joining the Hurricanes TV broadcast team on FS Carolinas "as a sideline reporter and host." McCabe "replaces Bob Harwood, who left after last season." She previously was a "general assignment reporter for WGGB-ABC 40 in Springfield, Mass." McCabe joins Hurricanes play-by-play announcer John Forslund and analyst Tripp Tracy on the telecasts (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/1).
HI, MY NAME IS...: In Jacksonville, Ryan O'Halloran introduced himself as the new Jaguars beat writer for the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. O'Halloran wrote, "I come to Jacksonville after covering the Washington Redskins for eight years -- one for the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, five for the Washington Times and two for Comcast Sports Net" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 9/4).