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Volume 24 No. 159
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Welcome Back: Several MLB Teams Setting Local TV Ratings Records

The Orioles' 4-0 start has translated to big TV ratings for MASN. The net posted a 12.2 rating and 135,000 HHs in the Baltimore market for yesterday's home opener against the Tigers. The Orioles' four-game average in Baltimore has pulled in a 7.8 rating and 79,000 HHs. The team last season averaged a 3.4 rating in Baltimore. The four '11 Orioles games have averaged a 1.6 rating and 38,000 HHs in the DC market, including a 1.34 rating/32,000 HHs for yesterday's home opener (John Ourand, THE DAILY). Meanwhile, WPHL-MYT's broadcast of Friday's Astros-Phillies game "set an opening-day rating record" for the net, while Sunday's game between the two teams "broke the record for a regular-season telecast." Friday's game earned a 9.9 local rating, up 43% from last year's season opener. Sunday's game earned a 14.8 rating, "the highest Phillies rating ever" on the station (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/5).

OTHER HOT STARTS: FS Southwest earned a 5.5 local rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth for its telecast of Friday's Red Sox-Rangers game, marking its best-ever rating for an Opening Day telecast. The 5.5 rating was up 161% from a 2.1 rating for last year's Blue Jays-Rangers opener and surpassed the net's previous record for a first-game Rangers telecast, a 3.9 for Rangers-Tigers in '99. FS Southwest earned a 5.7 local rating for Sunday's game between the two teams and a 4.4 rating for Saturday's game (FSN). Rogers Sportsnet drew 1.02 million viewers for Friday's Twins-Blue Jays season opener, the net's biggest audience ever for a Blue Jays telecast. The previous record was 807,000 viewers for Yankees-Blue Jays last August (Rogers). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes MLB starting its season on a Thursday "helped MLB's national TV ratings." ESPN's "second-day games Friday and Fox's season-opening coverage Saturday" were "up over last year" (USA TODAY, 4/5).

QUALMING FEARS: In L.A., Martin Miller noted part of the Giants' "initial hesitance" about appearing on the Showtime series that will chronicle the team "was rooted in anxiety about the genre of 'reality TV.'" The "hesitations proved serious enough" that Showtime President of Entertainment David Nevins "flew in to address the Giants in person." Nevins "assured the players that if they needed to close a door, they could close it," and he "agreed to end shooting around the end of July, before the pressures of the pennant race." Nevins said he told players, "The clubhouse is a sacred place. We're not some faceless network looking to put a spin on you guys." That promise "has been tested more than a few times, and it seems to be working out." A crew "wanted to shoot the often tearful goodbyes between the players and their families, a common occurrence during the grueling travel schedule players endure." But Giants 3B Mark DeRosa "declined the request to film his spring training farewell to his children." Miller wrote as with "any scripted program, the key to the show's appeal will be its storylines and characters." MLB Productions Senior Producer Gary Waksman, whose company is producing the show, said, "It doesn't take a genius to figure out [Giants P] Brian Wilson will be a major character" (L.A. TIMES, 4/3).

: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes YES Network "might want to follow" GM Brian Cashman "around with a camera." Raissman: "Call it 'The Life of Brian.' Not only is Cashman's reality interesting, but so are many of the words exiting his yap. The Yankees GM's vocal stylings had become edgy, unpredictable. If anything, Cashman has jacked up the rhetoric. If you didn't know better, you might think Cashman is auditioning for a post-GM career in television." Raissman adds, "Whenever Cashman opens his mouth it's an event. Made for TV" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/5).