SBJ/August 28 - September 3, 2006/This Weeks News

NFL wants to limit overlap of Fox, NBC shows on Sunday

Two weeks before the NFL regular season starts, the NFL and Fox are close to being on the same page when it comes to the network’s postgame show, but some issues still appear unresolved.

The Fox Sports crew is ready to go long.
The two sides were at odds last year over Fox’s decision to run its postgame “OT” show on doubleheader Sundays right up until 8 p.m. ET and lead into “The Simpsons.”

But after signing its new TV deal, the NFL grew concerned that Fox’s postgame show could detract from NBC’s much-publicized Sunday night pregame, “Football Night in America,” slated to run from 7 p.m. to the 8:15 p.m. kickoff of NBC’s new “Sunday Night Football.” With that in mind, the NFL pushed Fox to limit the amount of time it devotes to “OT.”

So this season, when games end before 7:30 p.m., the NFL says Fox has to wrap up its postgame coverage 10 minutes after the end of the last game. Fox can extend its postgame show to 8 p.m. for games that end after 7:30 p.m.

“There’s no reason for networks to continue coverage of NFL games until 8 p.m. when they end at 7:20 p.m.,” said the NFL’s Brian McCarthy. “We’ll work closely with the networks to monitor the situation.”

But Fox thinks it will be able to run its postgame show until 8 p.m. when games end just before 7:30 p.m., if commercial obligations run beyond 7:30 p.m.

Fox spokesman Lou D’Ermilio noted that last year the average doubleheader game on Fox ended at 7:36 p.m., which would allow Fox to extend its postgame show until 8 p.m.

Fox’s postgame show averaged a 7.2 rating last season, higher than the network’s overall 6.1 prime-time average.

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