SBD/November 4, 2013/Media

NFL Week 9 Overnights: CBS Leads With Nat'l Window; Fox' Singleheader Best Since '05

CBS’ national window led all Sunday NFL telecasts with a 15.4 overnight rating, with the broadcast featuring Steelers-Patriots in 88% of markets. That figure is down 3% from Fox’ Week 9 national window in ’12, which featured Steelers-Giants. CBS also saw a 14% decline for it early-window regional coverage, which was highlighted by Chiefs-Bills. Meanwhile, NBC earned an 11.4 overnight for the Colts-Texans “SNF” telecast last night, down 21% from a 14.5 rating for Cowboys-Falcons last year. Despite the drop off, “SNF” was the No. 1 show last night. The game earned a 36.4 local rating in Indianapolis and a 31.8 rating in Houston. Fox had the only Week 9 window to see an increase. Its singleheader drew a 12.8 overnight, up 13% from CBS’ similar window last year. The rating also marks Fox’ best singleheader since November ’05 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NFL WEEK 9 SUNDAY OVERNIGHT RATINGS
NET
'13 GAME
RAT.
'12 NET
'12 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
Fox
(single)
12.8
CBS
(single)
11.3
13.3%
CBS
(regional)
10.0
Fox
(regional)
11.6
-13.8%
CBS
Steelers-Patriots (88%)
15.4
Fox
Steelers-Giants (96%)
15.9
-3.1%
NBC
Colts-Texans
11.4
NBC
Cowboys-Falcons
14.5
-21.4%

TAKING A CAUTIOUS APPROACH
: NBC began its halftime show of Colts-Texans with Bob Costas briefly addressing the status of Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who had just collapsed on the sideline. Costas then threw it to Dan Patrick at NBC's N.Y. studio, where he began to show highlights from earlier games. Patrick today addressed why NBC did not stay with the Kubiak story longer, saying the net does not “speculate on an injury or on an illness” and it wanted to make sure it "got it right the first time.” Patrick: "In case anybody wants to know why we didn’t stay out there (in Houston), we didn’t want to stay out there and speculate and we wanted to make sure we got information and we were fair to Gary Kubiak and his family, because that could’ve been tragic at the time. ... We don’t know what has happened with Gary. We’re going to keep an update on that, but it's live TV and if you want to bang us for coming off that shot and going to New York, go ahead. That’s what happens in the moment and you want to get it right the first time” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 11/4).

FLEXING ITS MUSCLE: The NFL on Friday announced that Chiefs-Broncos during Week 11 will move to NBC's "SNF", while Packers-Giants will be played at 4:25pm ET on Fox and Chargers-Dolphins will be played at 4:05pm on CBS (NFL). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes moving Chiefs-Broncos from CBS to NBC is "arguably the most significant move" since the flex policy began in '06. NFL Corporate Communications Manager Joanna Hunter said the league wanted to give the Chiefs the "opportunity to play in front of the widest-possible audience, so we reached out to CBS." CBS had been protecting both Broncos-Chiefs matchups this season, but such a move by the net "would have been a public relations disaster." CBS in a statement said, "We had originally protected the Kansas City-Denver game for Nov. 17. After discussions with the NFL, we made a once-only accommodation so that the game can be seen by a national audience, which we could not provide during our prescheduled doubleheader weekend" (DENVER POST, 11/4).

BETTER ON TWITTER: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote under the header, "Twitter Took Me Deeper Into Ravens Game Than CBS Did Sunday." CBS' Kevin Harlan during yesterday's Ravens-Browns game "communicated absolutely no sense of the rhythm of the game or the feel in the stadium as momentum shifted." CBS' Solomon Wilcots "took me not one inch inside the success or failure of either team," as he espoused an "'act-like-you-know' bluster from beginning to end." CBS "does not give folks like Wilcots and Harlan the resources they need to excel." Zurawik wrote he "should not have to go to social media during a game to get an in-stadium sense of what’s happening," but he got "more important information and better sense of the momentum swings in the game from the tweets" of Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Zrebiec and Matt Vensel (BALTIMORESUN.com, 11/3).

RUNNING OFF AT THE MOUTH: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes Fox' Kevin Burkhardt "must think doing NFL play-by-play on Fox gives him a license to run his mouth incessantly," but "too much talking can lead to a play-by-play voice tripping over his analyst or his own tongue." That is "what happened in the second quarter of Saints-Jets" after Jets CB Antonio Cromartie intercepted a pass. Burkhardt initially said, "The Saints can't challenge. They have no timeouts left." However, he eventually "realized all turnovers are reviewed," and "should have acknowledged his gaffe" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/4). Meanwhile, syndicated columnist Norman Chad writes it is NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's "world on Thursday nights, and we just have to despair in it." Chad: "Mayock’s slogan is: 'By Myself I Destroy Football.'" Games he calls are filled with a "Mayockian soundtrack of endless football speak, overbearing babble and mind-boggling minutiae." It is "death by a thousand small, analytical cuts." Mayock "actually knows what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t know when to stop talking about it" (Mult., 11/4).

JUMPIN' JIMMY: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes "Fox NFL Sunday" analyst Jimmy Johnson is "quickly moving to the head of the list of the best NFL studio analysts," as he says "something strong" every week. Johnson yesterday talked about the stress coaches are under following the hospitalization of Broncos coach John Fox on Saturday (and subsequently that of Kubiak last night) and said, "When you ask a pro coach about his priorities, you get the standard, 'Well, it's faith and family, etc.' But the reality is it's about winning. There is so much pressure on these pro coaches to win that they try to outwork their opponents, so their priorities are completely out of whack. The way they work, they sacrifice their families, their health, and maybe you might say that (the Broncos' Fox) is a wakeup call for coaches, but really it's not going to change" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/4). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman wrote Johnson has become a "consistent instigator, a guy who stirs it up on the pregame show." When his colleagues "appear to be going through the motions, or falling asleep on the set, it’s J.J. who provides the wakeup call." He "has no trouble putting himself out there," and he makes the net's pregame show "worth watching" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3).

COSTAS FOR CONCERN? In DC, Kellan Howell noted as NBC's Bob Costas spoke last month during halftime of Redskins-Cowboys about the Redskins' nickname controversy, NBCSN was "quietly putting the final touches on a deal with the Oneida Indian Nation to stage the network’s 'Fight Night' boxing event at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort, a central New York resort owned and operated by the Indian tribe." The deal and Costas' commentary "have raised ethical and transparency questions." NBC officials "denied there was any connection" between the Fight Night event and Costas' commentary. NBC Sports Group Senior Dir of Communications Dan Masonson said, "Our relationship is with Main Events, the promoter. ... Our business interests are solely to produce the television show. So obviously, to draw a parallel between Bob Costas‘ commentary and this arrangement is ludicrous" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/3).

ROBOT WARS
: VARIETY's Todd Spangler noted Fox yesterday aired a new promo for producer J.J. Abrams' "futuristic robot-cop drama 'Almost Human.'" It featured a "stare-down between 'NFL on Fox' robot mascot Cleatus and one of the show’s MX-43 android flatfoots" (VARIETY.com, 11/1).
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