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ABC averaged a 5.0 overnight rating for the Warriors' blowout Game 4 win over the Clippers yesterday from 3:45-6:30pm ET, the first Clippers game since Owner Donald Sterling's controversial comments. That figure is up slightly from a 4.8 overnight for the comparable Heat-Bucks Game 4 last year. The game delivered a 9.8 local rating in S.F.-Oakland-San Jose, the third-best figure for a first-round playoff game in that market on any network since '03. ABC also delivered a 3.7 overnight yesterday from 1:00-3:45pm ET for the Wizards' win over the Bulls, down from last year’s comparable Knicks-Celtics Game 4. ESPN on Saturday averaged a 3.3 overnight for the Thunder’s Game 3 win over the Grizzlies from 9:45pm-12:45am ET, the net's top playoff game for the weekend and up from last year’s Thunder-Rockets Game 3 overnight. Meanwhile, TNT’s Sunday doubleheader, which consisted of Raptors-Nets and Rockets-Trail Blazers, was up 11% from ’13. The Blazers’ OT win garnered a 3.4 overnight, up 26% from the comparable Warriors-Nuggets Game 4 in ’13. TNT has average a 2.9 overnight to date for its coverage of the playoffs, up 12% over last year (Karp & Carpenter, THE DAILY).
CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote TNT's "Inside the NBA" on Saturday "reminded viewers of its greatness and honesty." During halftime of Hawks-Pacers Game 4, Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith were "definitive and passionate about what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should do with Clippers Owner Donald Sterling." It was a halftime segment where TNT "treated its viewers like adults and reiterated what most sports television fans already know: There is no better studio show on television" (SI.com, 4/26). In N.Y., John Healy noted CNN had Barkley on the phone to discuss Sterling, but as he spoke the net "plastered his mugshot from a 2008 DUI arrest on the TV screen, making Barkley appear slightly less credible" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/27).
TWITTER REAX: Praise for TNT's coverage of the Sterling situation continues to pour in on Twitter. The Big Lead's Jason MacIntyre wrote, "Extremely well done MT @mshamburger1: VIDEO -- TNT's Inside the NBA Talked About Donald Sterling." Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith: "Good job by the TNT halftime show shifting gears to talk about Donald Sterling." FoxSports.com's Bruce Feldman wrote, "Good discussion abt disgraceful Donald Sterling by TNT crew." Meanwhile, ESPN Communications Manager Ben Cafardo wrote of the net's coverage, "Van Gundy again showing why he's one of the best game analysts in sports throughout #LACvsGSW on ABC. Unfiltered common sense on Sterling." SI.com's Richard Deitsch: "Jeff Van Gundy just did something re: the Clippers no CBS announcer ever did with The Masters: He showed balls. ... Watching this Magic segment really emphasizes the differences between TNT & ESPN. One show is a free-flowing convo; the other formatted TV. … That said, this is as good as I've ever seen Magic Johnson on television in a commentator spot."
MEDIA MONITOR: ABC’s "GMA," "CBS This Morning" and NBC's "Today" all covered Sterling within the first 10 minutes of their broadcasts today. CBS' Norah O'Donnell said Silver is "under growing pressure this morning to punish" Sterling, while NBC's Savannah Guthrie called Sterling's comments a "major scandal" that could cost him his team. Each had live reports outside of Staples Center, the site of the Clippers' home game tomorrow, while ABC's Cecilia Vega reported live outside of Oracle Arena and said the controversy is "shaking the NBA to its core." Sacramento Mayor and NBPA Special Assistant Kevin Johnson appeared live via satellite on all three morning shows, while N.Y. Times columnist William Rhoden appeared on CBS and legal analyst Dan Abrams commented about the case on ABC. Last night's CBS "Evening News" led with John Blackstone's live report at the Clippers-Warriors game, which included an interview with CSNBayArea.com's Ray Ratto. NBC's "Nightly News" covered Sterling in its second story, with the net's Joe Fryer live in Oakland. ABC's "World News" did not air on the East Coast due to the net's NBA playoff coverage. The 9:00am ET edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter" this morning led with a taped report on Sterling's comments, followed by commentary from ESPN's P.J. Carlesimo. Later in the broadcast, a taped report was aired featuring comments from Magic Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy and Barkley. There was a taped interview with Clippers coach Doc Rivers and following that, a live interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith discussing Sterling's comments (THE DAILY).
Time Warner Cable is "starting to get more aggressive about wooing customers of rival pay-TV services to change providers if they want to see Dodger games," according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. The company in a recent ad said, "Switch today and never miss a game." It also is "offering a $300 Visa Reward Card" to new subscribers. TWC until recently "steered clear of advertisements trying to convince people to switch to its service," as it "did not want to unnecessarily antagonize companies with which it was trying to negotiate." While the ad "does not mention satellite broadcaster DirecTV, that's the company whose subscribers TWC is aiming at." Subscribers to Charter and Cox "can't switch to TWC" (L.A. TIMES, 4/26).
SI.com's Richard Deitsch reports Fox last week "quietly canceled" FS1's "Crowd Goes Wild" due to lagging ratings. The show featured some "talented on-air people but never figured it out exactly what it was, a recipe for disaster in a tough timeslot with ESPN and ESPN2's offerings and local news throughout the country." Viewers can look for show co-hosts Katie Nolan and Georgie Thompson to "appear on Fox Sports 1 programming elsewhere." The final episode of "Crowd Goes Wild" will air May 8 (SI.com, 4/28).
FOX HOLE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote ever since Fox unveiled FS1 and FS2 and "dedicated much of its programming initiative" toward MLB action, the NFL has been "pounding away at the Foxies." The league "stuck it to Fox" when it unveiled its '14 schedule last week and the new "cross-flexing" feature, which allows CBS to broadcast games usually shown on Fox. Meanwhile, the NFL scheduled a Packers-Saints "SNF" game for Oct. 26. Raissman: "We believe this is called 'intentional scheduling'" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 4/26).
WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S: In Cleveland, Terry Pluto wrote of why WKYC-NBC removed former NFLer Bernie Kosar as its color analyst for Browns preseason games, "They don't know what Kosar will say on the air, and they don't want any problems with the NFL or the Browns." The station also was "bothered by the complaints" after Kosar's controversial comments during a preseason game last year against the Rams. Also, there is "something about Kosar they just don't like, and it appears the Browns didn't step in to insist the station keep him." When "locked into the game, Kosar is so good, so insightful -- few can match him," and the Browns and WKYC "should realize that" (CLEVELAND.com, 4/26). In Ohio, Jim Naveau wrote the removal of Kosar is "another sign" that Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III "doesn't understand his fan base very well or doesn't care about its opinions." Naveau: "You'd think a gas station billionaire would check the gauges a little more often" (LIMA NEWS, 4/27).