SBD/October 23, 2013/Media

After Vikings-Giants, Does NFL Need To Think About Flex-Schedule Component For Mondays?

Vikings-Giants saw a 6.6% ratings jump from last year despite not being a great game

ESPN finished with an 8.4 rating and 13.2 million viewers for its Week 7 Vikings-Giants “MNF” telecast, up from a 6.6 rating and 10.7 million viewers for Lions-Bears last season, which aired up against Fox’ Giants-Cardinals NLCS Game 7. Through eight “MNF” telecasts, ESPN is averaging an 8.5 rating and 13.36 million viewers, down slightly compared to the same point last season (8.6 rating, 13.42 million viewers) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). The fact that Monday's game featured two teams that were a combined 1-11 and some less than quality football had some critics calling for the NFL to expand the flex-schedule component that exists for NBC's Sunday night game to "MNF." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "We as people who are watching on Thursday night, on Sunday night, on Monday night deserve the best possible games. You don’t just throw teams in there." He added, "I think America will take flexing over having to watch those two teams." Columnist Kevin Blackistone said, "There doesn't seem to be any law, any amendment written that says we have to have good football on Monday night. We have plenty of other good football all weekend long and we have the flex deal for Sunday night so that we're guaranteed a pretty decent matchup then. Every 'Monday Night' season there comes a game where people go, 'Oh my goodness, this is horrible. They've got to fix this.'" However, he noted the league logistically "can't flex Monday night" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/22). CBSSN's Jim Rome said to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, "We know you love flexing your muscles, flex the schedule because the Vikings are going national again Sunday night. This nation will slam ice picks in their eyes before they watch that mess again" ("Rome," CBSSN, 10/22).

NBC ON A GREAT PACE: NBC is averaging a 13.4 final rating and 22.7 million viewers for its NFL telecasts this season, marking the best audience for the league’s primetime package through seven weeks since ABC was averaging 24.8 million viewers for “MNF” in ’96. This year’s figures are also up 2% and 5%, respectively, from the same point last season. NBC this season had the benefit of no MLB postseason competition in Week 7, whereas last year’s Week 7 game aired up against NLCS Game 6. NBC’s NFL Kickoff game last season was also played on a Wednesday night to accommodate President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. This past Sunday’s Broncos-Colts “SNF” telecast finished with a 15.9 rating and 26.9 million viewers, marking NBC’s best NFL regular-season game audience since the Steelers-Broncos “SNF” opener in ’12 drew a 16.5 rating and 27.6 million viewers. Broncos-Colts also marks the most-viewed October NFL primetime game in 21 years and the most-viewed October primetime telecast of any kind since ’05 (Karp).

HUMAN INTEREST: ADWEEK’s Anthony Crupi noted Fox, after months of promoting its new series “Almost Human,” has “decided to call an audible,” announcing that it will now roll out the show as a two-night event on Nov. 17-18. Switching from the originally scheduled Nov. 4 debut was “devised to make the most” of Fox’ Nov. 17 NFL doubleheader, “which should provide a powerhouse lead-in." The scheduled games -- Redskins-Eagles and 49ers-Saints -- are “particularly promising.” Crupi wrote, “As much as Almost Human will almost certainly have a lead-in audience in excess of 26 million viewers -- Fox’s national late game is the most-watched, highest-rated program on the tube -- it also will be competing with NBC’s late Football Night in America segments and a good half-hour of Sunday Night Football” (ADWEEK.com, 10/22).

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