The following lists final ratings from selected events from the past weekend. All times are EDT. Numbers are from the networks. CBS's ratings were unavailable (THE DAILY).
|EVENT ||DATE ||NET ||TIME ||RAT/SHR |
|Road to the Visa Triple Crown || |
|European Gymnastics || |
|"NBA on NBC": Pacers-Knicks || |
|"NBA on NBC": Jazz-Spurs || |
|Indy 500 Time Trials || |
|CART: Rio 400 || |
|"NHL on Fox": STL-DET/MON-BUF || |
|"NBA on NBC": Pacers-Knicks || |
|"NBA on NBC": Sonics-Lakers || |
|"NBA on NBC": Bulls-Hornets || |
RATINGS NOTES: Through 14 games of the NBA Playoffs, NBC's average rating of 6.0/17 is down 2% from last year's 6.1/17....Through the first three weeks of the NHL Playoffs, Fox's 1.8/5 is down 10% from last year's 2.0/5 (THE DAILY). ...In L.A., Larry Stewart reports that KCAL received a 16.1/22 for the Lakers-Sonics Game Five, compared to TNT's 3.5/5 local rating. That equals 2.4 million viewers on KCAL and 525,000 on TNT. Stewart notes that the preceding Jazz- Spurs game on TNT got a 4.0, "so L.A. viewers made a conscious effort to switch. This tells us that L.A. must love [Lakers broadcasters] Chick Hearn and Stu Lantz" (L.A. TIMES, 5/15). In related news, Tom Hoffarth reports that the WNBA Sparks "could have" Hearn for six telecasts on Fox Sports West. Details haven't been finalized (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/15)....Fox Sports Midwest's coverage of Game Three of the Blues-Red Wings series drew an 8.5 rating, the highest rating for any event in FSMW history. An average of 94,000 viewers watched the entire game (FSM)....In Toronto, Rob Longley reports that TSN's first round coverage of the NHL Playoffs was down 25% while CBC's ratings were down "slightly" from last year. CBC featured the Oilers and Senators, the "upstart Canadian teams," while TSN had Flyers-Sabres and Penguins-Canadiens, "matchups that looked good on paper, but fizzled" (TORONTO SUN, 5/15).
Former CBS golf analyst Ben Wright has admitted that he
made disparaging remarks about lesbianism on the LPGA Tour,
and said he was "stupid, naive and weak" for following CBS's
advice in the incident's aftermath, according to Jaime Diaz
in SI's "Golf Plus" section. Wright: "I was so bloody
stupid; stupid, naive and weak. A day doesn't go by that I
don't regret how I reacted." Wright "admits to suffering
from bouts of deep depression and a lingering sense of
shame" resulting from the three-year-old incident, which
resulted in his suspension from CBS. After telling
Wilmington News-Journal reporter Valerie Helmbreck, who was
covering the '95 LPGA Championship in May of '95, that,
"among other things, 'lesbians in the sport hurt women's
golf,'" Wright was "summoned" to CBS's offices in New York,
where he says the net's lawyers and execs "hammered out a
cynical damage-control strategy in which Wright was to deny
having made the statement and to discredit Helmbreck."
Wright, on his on-air denial of the statements: "Those were
not my words; they were written to reflect the strategy of
the network. The most stupid thing I did was remain silent.
I should have come out and said, 'Hey, I said all these dumb
things, and they were wrong.' I think people would have
forgiven me for that" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 5/18 issue).
CBS RECALLS DIFFERENTLY: While CBS had no comment on
Wright's statements in SI, Diaz points out that much of its
hierarchy has changed since the incident. However, Douglas
Jacobs, who was CBS's General Counsel at the time, said
Wright's description of the events surrounding the incident
"is completely untrue." Helmbreck, whom Wright recently
called to apologize, said she "never imagined CBS would go
to those lengths to destroy me. ... I was shocked by the CBS
strategy, especially saying that they had done a thorough
investigation even though they had never even talked to me."
Helmbreck left the newspaper in January '97. Wright, who is
under contract with CBS at $400,000 a year through November
'99, said that he "wants another shot" at doing TV work
(SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 5/18 issue). CBS Dir of Communications
LeslieAnne Wade, on Wright's comments: "Ben Wright's version
of the truth is as distorted as it was in 1995." David
Kenin, who was CBS Sports President at the time of the
incident: "We never told (Wright) to lie or alter any truth.
When we found out he had not told the truth, we had to act
on that" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 5/15).
REAX: In Chicago, Michael Hirsley writes that Wright
has "put the network and himself under scrutiny." Hirsley:
"If substantiated, his charge's impact would reach to
executive-level positions. ... If his accusation is not
substantiated, Wright has surely jeopardized his professed
desire to work on TV again" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/15)....In
Fort Lauderdale, Michael Mayo, under the header "Wright's
Cover-Up Charges Taint CBS," writes that the "only redeeming
thing" for CBS is that "most" of the department's top execs
have left since the incident (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/15).
DA DA DA: ESPN's Chris Berman, Dan Patrick and Bob Ley
will host the 90-minute, 20,000th edition of "SportsCenter,"
Sunday at 11:00pm ET (THE DAILY). In Hartford, Dom Amore
writes that the 20,000th show "smacks of self-congratulatory
journalism," but "we must cut 'SportsCenter' some slack,
even as ESPN's hype machine grinds into overdrive. The Big
Show is that big, that good, and we owe it that much"
(HARTFORD COURANT, 4/15). In St. Petersburg, Ernest Hooper
writes that life without "SportsCenter" "is almost
unimaginable" (ST. PETE TIMES, 5/15). The AP's Josh Dubow
notes that ratings for "SportsCenter" are down 17% for the
first quarter of '98, which can be "partially attributed" to
competition from FSN and CNN (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 5/15).
NOTES: Turner Sports has reached an agreement with NBC
Sports to televise cable-exclusive early round coverage of
The Presidents Cup golf tournaments in 2000, 2002, 2004 and
2006 (Turner Sports)....ABC will not use the Jockey Cam
during its Preakness coverage. ABC Sports Producer Curt
Gowdy: "The majority of trainers and owners have not
supported our efforts to use it" (USA TODAY, 5/15)....In
Chicago, Jim O'Donnell writes that the "[p]ros and cons of a
major investigative book on the ways and means of Jerry
Reinsdorf are being discussed by one extremely capable
Chicago-based writer" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/15)....GOLF
WORLD reports that The Golf Channel "has decided to slightly
reduce the responsibilities of its most visible face, Peter
Kessler," saying that it "hopes to develop other talent and
ease his heavy workload" (GOLF WORLD, 5/15)....TSN VP/
Programming Phil King, on why TSN picked up an ESPN feed of
the U.S. National Spelling Bee Finals: "Is it a sport, no,
but it is a competition" (TORONTO SUN, 5/15)....SFX
Entertainment's PACE Motor Sports, an event producer, and
Petersen Cos. are join to produce auto/motorcycle special
events plus other co-partnership opportunities (AD AGE,
5/12)....Univision signed Oscar de la Hoya as its "prime
communicator to the Hispanic community," and he will appear
in Univision programming, promos and PSAs (VARIETY, 5/11).
Sports Illustrated's recent cover story on pro athletes
fathering out-of-wedlock children was the subject of an op-
ed by NY-based writer Barbara Walder in NEWSDAY. Walder
wrote that the "behavior of the SI editors who published the
article, and editorial writers at The New York Times and
elsewhere who praised it ... should be in question, not the
private behavior of the athletes." Walder called the story
"shoddy, exploitative and in some ways, ridiculous" and
"written in a combination National Enquirer, Ladies' Home
Journal and Harvard Lampoon style." She called the story a
"cheap, easy way to make news and to seem important."
Walder: "But all that phony high-mindedness is just an
excuse to take the low road, examining the sex and personal
lives of some professional athletes in a way those editors
-- if it was done to them -- would surely see as unfair,
racially insensitive and dishonest. ... Is this any of our
business?" Walder concluded by noting that "almost all" of
the athletes "financially support their out-of-wedlock
children." Walder: "It's easy to take shots at pro
athletes. But it's sports journalism like this SI story
that should be in everyone's sights" (NEWSDAY, 5/14).