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CBS scored the highest NFL rating of the day yesterday, earning a 14.4 overnight Nielsen rating for its coverage of Jets-Steelers in the late-afternoon window. Jets-Steelers was seen in 82% of the country. The 14.4 rating is down 5% from a 15.1 in the comparable window in ’11. The net earned a 11.6 overnight in the early-afternoon window, a 16% gain from a 10.0 last year. NBC earned a 13.9 overnight for Lions-49ers, down 11.4% from a 15.7 for Eagles-Falcons last year. Fox drew a 13.3 for its single-header coverage, down 2% from a 13.6 (THE DAILY).
A BIG MESS: In Dallas, Barry Horn writes yesterday brought a "lousy performance by the Cowboys that was matched by the Fox broadcast.” Analysts Tony Siragusa and Daryl Johnston were “disagreeing over a rules interpretation concerning a chop block" and despite the net having former NFL VP/Officiating Mike Pereira in the studio, the analysts did not "go to him for clarification." That "deserves a flag for illegal procedure.” Horn: “I don’t get Siragusa’s role. He’s down on the field and never seems to be in the broadcast flow. That’s the way it has been for years” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/17). In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes CBS’ Ravens-Eagles telecast yesterday was “almost as incompetent as the officiating.” The telecast included "players misidentified, random images inexplicably popping up on the screen, key injuries missed or ignored, and announcers sticking to pre-game story lines long after they should have [been] abandoned based on what was actually happening on the field” (Baltimore SUN, 9/17).
BUCK-ING THE TREND: In Tampa, Tom Jones conducted a Q&A with Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, who said of communicating during the week with his baseball and football partners Tim McCarver and Troy Aikman, “Troy and I will text each other lot. I can't text with Tim. Tim doesn't text. I'm better off sending smoke signals and sending up a pterodactyl.” Buck added, “The chemistry is great with both. For example, I'll throw out a reference like Foo Fighters. Tim has no idea who the Foo Fighters are. Neither does Troy, probably. I need to say Kenny Chesney to get his attention. ... Both are such pros and we're so comfortable around one another that we are able to work together well.” Buck said of the similarities between McCarver and Aikman, “Their work ethic is amazing, and it's what made them great players in their sports. I can tell you that I know now why Troy won three Super Bowls, and it's not just because of his accuracy and arm strength. I see what he does to prepare for a game and you know why he's a success.” Buck: “Tim is at a point that he could just walk in a minute before the broadcast and wing it, but he doesn't do it that way. He continues to work hard. He still loves the game” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/16).
IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? In N.Y., Bob Raissman asks regarding NBC's "Football Night in America" pregame show, "Does anyone still watch?" It has "nothing to do with the quality of the program," but that "live game action on Fox or CBS is still going on when ‘FNIA’ airs." Last season, and last Sunday, games "went deep into the NBC show." Late afternoon games on Fox or CBS are followed by a postgame show that "eats further into ‘FNIA.’” Raissman notes, “It’s reasonable to ask: At some point, will NBC consider cutting ‘FNIA’ to a half-hour show?” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/17).
Canadian TV network programmers in response to the lockout are “confronting a winter of prequels, sequels and canned laughter where hockey used to be,” according to Bruce Dowbiggin of the GLOBE & MAIL. Sportsnet is “putting agreements in place” with the AHL and the CJHL “to show their games on its five channels.” In Sportsnet’s plan, Toronto fans “might see the AHL Marlies games and OHL Brampton Battalion games on Sportsnet Ontario,” while Vancouver fans “could see the Canucks’ Chicago Wolves affiliate and the WHL Vancouver Giants on Sportsnet Pacific.” Depending on the length of the lockout, the “volume of games could grow as the owners keep their star players sidelined.” Meanwhile, TSN “proposes expanded coverage" of the MLS playoffs, additional NFL coverage from ESPN, expanded '13 IIHF World Junior Championship coverage and additional college football and basketball games. CBC Head of Media Relations Chuck Thompson said, “CBC's first regular season game isn't until Oct. 11th, so there's no immediate need to roll out our plan as yet. We'll go there when and if the league starts cancelling games” (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/17). The GLOBE & MAIL’s James Mirtle noted, "During the last lockout, 'Hockey Night in Canada' became 'Movie Night in Canada,' with host Ron MacLean taking viewers through some classics every Saturday night" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/16).
IMPACT ON NBC SPORTS NETWORK: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand noted NBC Sports Network “could end up taking an untimely hit" if the NHL season is "severely delayed or canceled.” NBC Sports & Olympics VP/Communications Chris McCloskey yesterday said, "We are preparing a selection of replacement programming that includes soccer, boxing, original programming, and college football, basketball and hockey." NBC and its cable channel last year started a 10-year deal with the NHL “for games that will ... create plenty of TV tonnage.” Given NBCSN's “long-term plan to get at least close to top-of-mind among sports viewers, this is a bad time to be throwing together a big dinner with leftovers” (USATODAY.com, 9/16).
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully yesterday was profiled on “CBS News Sunday Morning," with CBS’ Lee Cowan noting that Scully’s “melodic voice has been the soundtrack of the Dodgers since 1950, when they were still the Brooklyn Dodgers.” Scully said, “It’s been a sport that I’ve loved ever since I could throw a ball.” Cowan said Scully “isn’t just an announcer, he’s a storyteller.” Many fans "consider him the poet laureate of baseball.” Scully said of his iconic call of Dodgers RF Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit home run in Game 1 of the ’88 World Series, “I have no idea where that came from and that’s the fun of it if you get a good one off once in awhile.” Cowan said after 63 years, Scully has "won nearly every award possible.” Scully last month signed an extension with the Dodgers for “at least one more season” with the “blessing of his family and the adulation of the fans.” Scully: “There’s no way I could say goodbye to all of this, not yet anyway” (“CBS News Sunday Morning,” CBS, 9/16).