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TNT's NBA opening night doubleheader on Tuesday, which featured Celtics-Heat and Mavericks-Lakers, averaged a 3.2 U.S. rating and 4.8 million viewers, leading TNT to a win among all cable nets in primetime. The games also ranked No. 1 and No. 2 among all telecasts on Tuesday among males 18-34 and 18-49. The audience numbers were affected by Hurricane Sandy, with more than 20% of metered market households not factored in, including top markets N.Y., Boston and Philadelphia. By comparison, the '10-11 season-opening doubleheader on TNT averaged a 3.7 rating and 5.7 million viewers featuring Heat-Celtics and Rockets-Lakers. Meanwhile, TNT has been forced to alter its programming schedule tonight with the postponement of the Knicks-Nets game at Barclays Center. The net will air two episodes of "The Mentalist" from 7:00-9:00pm ET, then will air a 30-minute edition of "NBA Tip-Off" before the televising Thunder-Spurs as originally scheduled at 9:30pm (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
YOU DON'T SEE ME: In Houston, David Barron reported despite “discussions that a company spokesman said continued" into last night, Comcast SportsNet Houston officials “were unable to expand the new network’s list of cable subscribers prior to” the Rockets regular-season opener against the Pistons. With carriage “limited to Comcast, Phonoscope and a collection of smaller systems, only about 40 percent of Houston’s roughly 2.2 million television households had access to the first Rockets game on the new network” (CHRON.com, 10/31). Meanwhile, CABLEFAX DAILY reports “negotiations are continuing” between Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Cox, DirecTV and Dish Network after the net's first Lakers broadcast last night. With 70 games on TWC's roster, "there's still time for deals to be made” (CABLEFAX DAILY, 11/1).
THE THUNDER ROLLS: Basketball HOFer Nancy Lieberman said that she is “excited about her new role” as an analyst on FS Oklahoma's "Thunder Live" pre- and postgame shows. In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht notes Lieberman was a “longtime basketball analyst for ABC and ESPN,” and has a “long history with Fox Sports Southwest, dating to the 1980s.” Lieberman: “They were one of the first ones to give me an opportunity to do men's college basketball. I am grateful to the folks at Fox, but I am over the moon to be able to do this and be a part of the Thunder broadcast team” (OKLAHOMAN, 11/1).
ESPN’s Bill Simmons is joining the net's “NBA Countdown” this season and talked with the N.Y. TIMES' Jonah Bromwich and addressed how he will reconcile his “identity as superfan, someone who watches the games as a Celtics fan or a Clippers fan, with the pressure to remain unbiased.” Simmons said, “I’m not going to hide from it; I’m definitely going to have fun with it. ... If I’m coming out after a big Celtics game and they lose a heartbreaker, my demeanor the next 10 minutes after that game ... I don’t know how I’m going to respond.” Simmons said of developing chemistry with his co-hosts, “I don’t think it’s rocket science. On TV everybody is filling a role. And if TV works correctly, it’s because people are doing different roles correctly. I don’t think it’s very different from basketball. Everybody fills a role and brings something different to the table.” He said of co-host Magic Johnson, “I think they leaned on Magic too much last year. He was the first guy you heard from every time they came out of a game. They just put this enormous pressure on him to have be-all and end-all revelations constantly.” Simmons said of the show's competition with TNT's "NBA Tip-Off," which includes Basketball HOFer Charles Barkley, “If we’re going to try to beat TNT just purely on talking about the same things they talk about, well, they have Barkley and we don’t. We have to be smarter and more sophisticated and funnier and we have to outthink them. Because if it’s just a case of talent against talent, Barkley is the best studio guy who ever lived and we’re going to lose” (NYTIMES.com, 10/31).